Day before yesterday, The New York Times looks at Sen. Joe Lieberman’s growing estrangement from his (former?) Democratic colleagues. The Connecticut Independent’s high-profile support for the Iraq War and a bellicose demeanor toward Iran, as well as his enthusiastic endorsement of and active campaigning for Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid and his criticism of Sen. Barack Obama as the presumptive Democratic nominee, have all helped to put his relationship with the Democrats in quite the precarious spot.
The Times’ reporter happened to be interviewing the Connecticut Independent in his office on Thursday of last week when netroots activists delivered an online petition with 43,000 signatures to Senate Democratic leaders. The petition calls on the Democrats to strip Lieberman of his rank and Homeland Security Committee chairmanship after the November election.
Filmmaker Robert Greenwald, the force the new media company Brave New Films, led the petition drive. Matt Stoller, liberal blogger and Sunlight consultant, helped with the campaign as well as helping to deliver the signatures to members of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee. “It is not appropriate for him to speak for the Democratic majority as chairman of Homeland Security,” Matt said as quoted by the Connecticut Post. Matt and his netroots allies are upset at Lieberman for his support for the war and his endorsement of McCain.
In another interesting angle on this story, The Times article states that Lieberman has not ruled out switching parties outright. Greg Sargent at TPM reminds us of two promises Lieberman and his aides made multiple times during the 2006 campaign against Ned Lamont: 1) That he would continue caucusing with the Democrats, and 2) He vowed to help elect a Democrat to the White House in 2008.
Lieberman’s office called the petition effort “old, petty, partisan politics.” Partisan? Fair enough. Petty? That’s their call. Old? Hardly. It’s an example of the new online revolution that’s reinvigorating activism. I’m looking for more and more of this type of online activism.