WASHINGTON — Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT) staunch refusal to support both the public option and the Medicare buy-in compromise, thereby killing both programs, has sent the progressive base into a fury, eager to toss him out of office.
The liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org on Thursday announced that it had raised more than $1 million in a campaign drive to target Joe Lieberman for “single-handedly gutting health reform,” as they accused him of doing in their first e-mail to members Tuesday.
“First, we’re going to launch a huge ad campaign,” Tuesday’s e-mail read, “to make sure every last Connecticut voter knows that Senator Lieberman is blocking strong reforms. Then, we’ll push Senate leaders to strip him of his chairmanship and seniority. Finally, we’ll work to defeat him in his next election.”
“Joe Lieberman can’t be allowed to stay in the U.S. Senate,” MoveOn declared.
Less than 24 hours later, the group claimed to have raised $650,000 “to send Lieberman home for good.” Before another 24 hours were up, it had hit the $1 million mark.
The rivalry between the liberal netroots and Lieberman goes back several years to 2006, when progressive activists helped U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont defeat Lieberman in Connecticut’s Democratic primary.
Lieberman, however, had the last laugh as he ran as an Independent in the general election and won.
A number of respected progressive writers and policy wonks — including Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein — have tallied up Lieberman’s adamant opposition to the bill’s liberal priorities as a sign of his lingering bitterness toward the base.
MoveOn released this sock-puppet caricature video of Lieberman on Thursday: