“Lieberman Party” Hijackers Win HoJo Skirmish

by Melissa Bailey | January 19, 2007 8:48 AM | | Comments (3)

IMG_6881.JPGThese men — a medical physicist and a political science prof — came head to head at a HoJo’s over the future of U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s fake political party. One left. The other recruited five more official “hijackers” to the anti-Joe cause.

The occasion was the second organizational meeting of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, the vehicle created to propel Connecticut’s junior senator to a general election win in 2006 after he lost the Democratic primary to anti-war challenger Ned Lamont. Lieberman created the “party” to have a line on the November ballot. Then he forgot about it.

John Orman (pictured at right), a political science professor at Fairfield University and a longtime outspoken Lieberman critic, contacted the Secretary of the State’s office to legally join and then take over the abandoned party, which has a guaranteed ballot line in the next Senate election. Orman came to a Milford Howard Johnson hotel Thursday night with a tall agenda to make the party a soapbox for political theater and Lieberman criticism.

Number two on the agenda: A call for a “sore loser law,” otherwise known as the “Lieberman Law,” preventing Lieberman-style political party-hopping for losers of primaries.

Before Orman kicked off the meeting in the small conference room, Stuart Korchin walked in the door. Standing by the cookie table wearing a red rain jacket and a reappearing smirk, Korchin challenged the prof on his chairmanship and the direction in which he’s taking the party.

“The purpose of your smart-alecky wrangling with the Secretary of the State” is not what the voters wanted when they elected Lieberman to a fourth term in November, charged Korchin.

“You don’t amount to a hill of beans as far as Joe Lieberman is concerned,” he said, calling the CFL party a joke.

Orman kept an affable, but serious, debating demeanor. “I think the people of Connecticut have been pushed to the side, don’t you agree?” When 70 to 80 percent of Americans oppose a troop surge, and Lieberman supports it, the senator’s not listening to voters, argued Orman.

“He’s spoken open and often on the fact that he does what he thinks is the right thing,” said Korchin. “I wish there were more politicians like him.”

The two men — who both claim to be chairman of the CFL — are wrestling for control of Lieberman’s party, which Lieberman has made clear he wanted no affiliation with after winning re-election. The senator retained a Democratic Party registration. He goes by the letter “I,” for independent, not CFL, in the Senate.

Korchin, who’s from Cheshire, seeks to keep the party open to further its original purpose: Reelect Lieberman.

Orman’s vision? “An experiment in citizen activism and people-powered democracy.”

Orman filed paperwork with the Secretary of the State documenting his first organizational meeting, in which he nominated, seconded, discussed, and elected himself chairman. The state has accepted the CFL rules he submitted.

Korchin claims he registered as a party member in August then nominated himself chair, but “the people of the Secretary of the State’s Office were not aware of my registration. There was a glitch.”

Korchin exited the HoJo after the face-off, declaring he would hold his own CFL meeting on Aug. 9 at his Cheshire home.

The Agenda

IMG_6903.JPGThe conference seats filled with a mix of small-town Democratic Town Committee members, bloggers, vloggers, and Democrats disillusioned with Joe. Some came to hurl jokes and relish political theater. Others came with a petition, ready to orchestrate a Lieberman “accountability” campaign. CTBob, who appointed himself unofficial CFL media relations director, manned the video cam wearing a “Kiss” button.

Orman’s one-man party having blossomed to six members, the voting got under way. First order of business: Elect a chair. Someone nominated Orman. “In the spirit of inclusion,” said Orman, sweeping his arms wide open, he nominated his absent adversary, Korchin.

IMG_6884.JPGOrman won the tussle by a 5 to 1 vote. The vice-chair? Jonathan Kantrowitz, the guy whose truck haunted the senator’s campaign this summer bearing the infamous Bush-Lieberman Kiss float. Kantrowitz ran for U.S. Congress twice in the Fourth District. Orman has run for Congress once; another time he battled Lieberman for the Democratic Party Senate bid before dropping out.

“He and I disagree on one thing,” admitted Kantrowitz. “He’s into the issues. I just think it’s great political theater.”

Voters approved a series of recommendations to their “glorious namesake” senator. Goals on the CFL agenda include asking Lieberman to:

• “Stop misleading Connecticut voters by saying one month before the last election that no one wants to bring the troops home more than Joe Lieberman and then calling for a robust, substantial and sustained troop increase in Iraq.”

• “Stop blindly supporting Bush’s Iraq war policy since over 75 percent of Connecticut citizens do not support those policies.”

• “Stop cavorting with FOX network conservatives to bash those opposed to the war in Iraq.” The latter drew dissent: “I think it makes it clear where he stands — he should spend all his time cavorting with FOX,” opined Kantrowitz.

• “Call for a sore loser law in Connecticut named the ‘Lieberman Law’ to prohibit major party candidates from running in the election after they lose a party primary. Our party also favors moving up the deadline for petitioning candidates to one month before the primaries.”

Two members of the Democratic Party State Central Committee leadership, fresh out of a monthly meeting Wednesday, reported the group had voted unanimously in favor of pressuring the state legislature to pass such a “sore loser law.”

IMG_6889.JPGKantrowitz (pictured) then read aloud some more proposals:

• A pledge “to NOT support the candidates our party nominates,” the way the Republican Party ditched Senate candidate Alan Schlesinger and some Democrats didn’t support Lamont.

• A pledge, “following the lead of our glorious namesake, to report ALL campaign expenditures as petty cash.”

• A pledge “to only support candidates who will promise, if they lose the primary, that they will form a new party named after themselves. We will support the candidate of that new party rather than the winner of our primary.”

Orman, in a clear grasp at seriousness, rejected the laws without a vote. He ended on a less theatrical, more earnest note: “We’re doing all this in good fun,” but when The New York Times takes notice, there’s a chance to push a platform. Orman said he could see the party running candidates against Democrats who had supported Lieberman over Lamont in November, to “hold them accountable.”

The course forward remained uncharted: “Nobody has ever tried to take over a fake political party and use it to keep [a politician] accountable,” said Orman. He expected to call another meeting in the next month or so.

“We may need to meet again:” With the State of the Union coming up on Tuesday, he noted, Lieberman “may be kissed again.”

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Posted by: Josh | January 19, 2007 11:20 AM

About 45 people demonstrated outside Lieberman's office yesterday (Thursday, Jan. 18) in Hartford. You can read about it here.

Posted by: robn | January 20, 2007 10:02 AM

This link gets you to an MSNBC interview of Sen Lieberman by Imus. Notable low points include the Senator suggesting that he wouldn't send 15,000 more troops to Iraq, he would send 35,000!!!

As ridiculous as it sounds, he just might succeed...after all, he was successful at getting 1/3 of the Democrats in CT to stab their party in the back and NOT vote for their party's candidate.

Posted by: joe dante | January 20, 2007 10:10 AM

How can anyone believe that Joe Lieberman is wrong about the Iraq war. He is a religious man, with the highest of morals and integrity. Iraq has always been an enemy of Israel, a true threat to their egsistance. Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, Scooter Libby, Joe Lieberman and many other chosen people, are doing, and have done, Gods work here on earth. If they must lie about WMDs, so be it. If they have to connect Iraq with al-Qaida, let it be done. To be true or false with the goyim - what difference does it make! The goal – to make the American military take up arms aganist Israel’s enemies. This is the zionist dream. And by their actions, and with the help of their media, they have suceeded in making Israel’s enemies our own. Thousands if not millions of Americans will have to die, but to the Joe Lieberman’s of the world, that’s a risk they’re willing to take.

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