This is a spoiler alert! And no, I'm not about to give away the ending of World Trade Center.
I'm talking about Joe Lieberman's selfish, self-serving, spoiled-rotten attempt to undercut Ned Lamont's historic victory -- and, ultimately, Democrats' chances of retaking control of Congress in November. And don't buy into the Lieberman camp's spin that his narrow defeat was some kind of victory. It wasn't. A sitting three-term Senator just had his clock cleaned by a political neophyte who, only eight weeks ago, was 25 points behind. This is just the fourth time an incumbent senator has lost a primary in the last 26 years. Like I said, historic.
Kicking the will of Democratic voters to the curb (and it's important to note that 43 percent of Connecticut's Dems turned out, not the 25 percent Lieberman had predicted and used as justification for his indie plans), Lieberman filed the paperwork for his independent bid this morning, vowing that he was in the race for good. "My mind is made up," he said.
What's more, he has the nerve to continue to insist that he's doing this "for the sake of... my party". That's right, the same party that he rejected this morning.
Party leaders now need to return the favor. They're off to a good start, with Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Evan Bayh, John Edwards, Barak Obama, Frank Lautenberg, Rahm Emanuel, Barbara Boxer, the DSCC, the DCCC, and Lieberman's Connecticut homey Chris Dodd all throwing their support behind Lamont. Even better, Hillary Clinton cut Lamont a $5,000 check from her HILLPAC.
But it's not enough for party leaders to back Lamont, they have to do everything in their power -- publicly and privately -- to pressure Lieberman to drop his For the Sake of My Ego run.
And that includes making it crystal clear that if Lieberman insists on running and somehow wins, they will refuse to allow him to caucus with them in the future. They should also, as David Sirota and Kos suggest, remove Lieberman from his committee assignments.
What Lieberman is doing is an act of betrayal and should be treated as such. Democratic donors, as Rick Jacobs suggests, need to let it be known that no Democrat running for office will see a penny from them unless they support Lamont.
Bottom line: all Democrats should immediately begin treating Lieberman as what he is -- a party-ditching, party-pooping, control-of-Congress-risking spoiler, ie a danger to the Party.
The good news is, they won't even have to hire anyone to come up with talking points -- they'll just need to pull out the old ones they used on Ralph Nader (to save time, merely replace Ralph Nader with Joe Lieberman in the following quotes:)
From Joe Biden: "You just have to hope he has a sense of decency left in him."
From Diane Feinstein (when asked what she'd say to Nader if she could speak to him directly): "Don't do it. You'll ruin it."
From Bill Richardson: "It's his personal vanity because... nobody's backing him. It's all about himself."
Convincing Lieberman to drop out has national implications. Ned Lamont is an exciting new leader on the political scene, one who can help galvanize voters across America who are fed up with the Bush administration's tragic and disastrous mishandling of the war in Iraq.
In the run-up to the Connecticut primary, 14,000 new voters registered as Democrats and another 14,000 switched their registration from unaffiliated to Democrat to vote in the primary. Lamont could help replicate that all across the country, and he could, of course, start in his home state where Republican incumbents Chris Shays and Nancy Johnson are in tough races with Democratic challengers.
The Democratic poobahs need to ask themselves, Would we rather have Ned Lamont spend the next two-and-a-half months campaigning for Democratic candidates in close races all across the country or having to spend his time and resources duking it out with Lieberman in Connecticut? The answer is obvious, and so is the solution: a full court press on Joe Lieberman.
When asked if he would call on Lieberman to pull out, Rahm Emanuel said no. "That is up to Joe Lieberman to do."
No, it's up to Emanuel and the rest of the Democratic establishment -- and, yes, that includes you Bill Clinton -- to use every means at their disposal to convince him.
The biggest spoiler alert in recent movie history involved the ending of The Sixth Sense, a film that something in common with Lieberman's campaign. In The Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis is actually dead. In Connecticut, Joe Lieberman is politically dead. He just hasn't copped to it yet.