Tom D’Amore, who joined the Ned Lamont campaign a few months ago, is former Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker’s former major domo. At one point, Weicker shoehorned D’Amore into the chairmanship of the Republican Party. The party’s central committee swallowed hard and voted him in. D’Amore also is a stormy petrel, a bird whose presence announces the coming of a storm.
Weicker is the storm.
Weicker and his lovely wife Claudia held a well attended fund raiser for Lamont in Chester on Sunday. Claudia is a Democrat; Weicker is still an Independent Maverick-- which, translated into Connecticut-speak, would make him a Democrat.
Weicker’s face has been popping up here and there in various venues for the last few months. Recently appearing with Mark Davis of WTHN channel 8, Weicker was asked whether sour grapes figured at all in his support of Lamont, who is challenging Weicker’s nemesis, Senator Joe Lieberman, in a Democrat primary. Lieberman hitched up with conservatives and battered Republicans to defeat then Senator Weicker, who once famously dubbed himself accurately as “the turd in the Republican Party punchbowl.”
No, Weicker said. Following his defeat by Lieberman, the people of Connecticut chose him as governor two years later. “I don’t carry any grudges; it has nothing to do with that.”
Really, it’s all about the war in Iraq.
No kidding, really.
The ironies are exquisite. During his victorious campaign against Weicker, Lieberman tapped into a river of Republican discontent. The Republican beef against Weicker went like this: First, Weicker was not a real Republican. He backed Democrat U.S. senators Chris Dodd and Edward Kennedy at every turn and gleefully savaged members of his own party, including the sainted President Ronald Reagan. Second, he’s not a real Republican. Weicker went out of his way to champion interests customarily associated with the Democrat Party, such as enforcing a rigid separation of church and state (Senator Weicker once said the U.S. Constitution provided a right of freedom from religion, though timid reporters never asked him whether he would call the police should church bells disturbing his Sunday morning sleep), inordinate taxation and Teddy Kennedy. Third, he’s not a real Republican …
Among the Kossacks – progressives who get their marching orders from the DailyKos, a liberal blog site -- the beef against Connecticut’s junior senator is: First, he is not a real Democrat. Lieberman has supported Republicans at critical turns, especially that dunce, President George Bush, who has involved us in another Vietnam. Second, he not a real Democrat …
Weicker was polished off in a general election; the kossacks hope to dispatch Lieberman in a primary. During the years of blight, when D’Amore was chairman of the party in which Weicker floated happily as a turd, Republicans had become so use to the spittle in their faces that they couldn’t even mount a successful primary against Weicker.
When some Republican defectors from the Weicker camp attempted a feeble resistance, Chairman D’Amore proposed that Republicans should open their nominating conventions to independents and unaffiliateds, an idea that did not go down well among mainline troops who wanted to retain the integrity of their party. Had the notion been adopted by Democrats around the time Weicker and DailyKos were concocting their poison pill for Liberman, Ned Lamont’s campaign would have been aborted in the womb.
In any case, we are once again involved in a cosmic battle for the soul of a party; actually it is a battle between old guard Democrats and party insurgents born with knives in their brains. This time, old guard Democrats have gotten stuck in the dessert of moderatism. But never fear, distaste for the Iraq war in this bluest of blue states is the shining beacon their new Moses will use to lead them to the promised land.
It’s about the war in Iraq. Really, it is.
No politics here.
At the Chester bash, Weicker told a reporter, “My presence here today has to do with the war, the war, the war. I am not a Democratic activist. I am an anti-war activist. I am not some left-wing nut or liberal crazy. I am an American of common sense who can recognize failure and pigheadedness.”
If pigheadedness could fly, Weicker would have wings sprouting behind his ears.