Democrats befuddle with endorsements
ON Tuesday, Connecticut Democrats will go to the polls to pick a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Three-term veteran Sen. Joe Lieberman is opposed by political newcomer Ned Lamont, and the polls are showing that Lamont might win.
So Lieberman is calling in the heavy hitters ranging from former President Bill Clinton to Hawaii's Sen. Daniel Inouye.
During the 1998 sex scandal, Lieberman called Clinton's White House behavior with an intern "disgraceful," but Clinton was there last week to help.
Just as interesting is Inouye's endorsement. Lamont, a multimillionaire businessman, is making the best of a campaign built around the opposition to the war in Iraq because Lieberman is President Bush's biggest Democratic supporter.
Even thought Lieberman was the Democrat's 2000 vice presidential nominee, he has strongly backed Bush in prosecuting the Iraq war.
Last year in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Lieberman urged Democrats to acknowledge that Bush "will be commander-in-chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."
Inouye, according to a report in the Hartford Courant, emphasized his own World War II service in a speech last week cheering Lieberman.
"There are many issues, not just the war," Inouye said.
And Inouye's endorsement goes with Lieberman not just as a Democrat, but as a senator.
If he loses to anti-war Democrat Lamont in the primary, Lieberman says he is considering going into the general election anyway by running as an independent. And Inouye said he would remain with the hawkish Lieberman.
"My endorsement goes from here to November to December to January," Inouye said.
Although Lieberman has the top Democrats aligned with him, former Sen. Lowell Weicker, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., plus the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, according to the New York Times, are all supporting Lamont. Last week, the New York Times also endorsed Lamont.
The progressive Democrats in Hawaii must be hitting the replay button on their TiVos as they try to fit Inouye's endorsement of Lieberman next to his endorsement of Dan Akaka, who is running an "I told you Iraq was wrong, wrong, wrong" campaign.
Precisely what is the value of an Inouye endorsement if he supports pro-Iraq and anti-Iraq senators?
Just being in the Senate might speak louder than a voting record.
writes on politics every Sunday in the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached at 525-8630 or by e-mail at email@example.com