Saturday, June 16, 2007

Wiping the pie from my face

Oh... I screwed this one up. In that post I accused John Orman, chairman of the Connecticut For Lieberman Party of something close to hypocrisy for being associated with former Connecticut Democratic Party senator Joe "Let's bomb anything that doesn't love Bush" Lieberman, now sitting in the Senate as an independent.

I saw the irony of a situation and thought it worth spreading.

When I see something like that I usually do some research, to a greater or lesser degree. I like to be in possession of at least conventional knowledge before pushing keys. This time, however, I didn't do that.

My bad.

Luckily reader Joffre in comments put me down the right path and it's only right that I correct the TGB record and apologize to John Orman for suggesting he deserves Lieberman. I will point out my lack of knowledge of Connecticut politics. That, however, is not intended to excuse my lack of diligence in researching the information that was right there, if I'd only looked.

John Orman is no wingnut. In fact, John Orman is a thorn in Joe Lieberman's side, the likes of which gives one cause to cheer. Orman is making Lieberman's life miserable in a very democratic sort of way.

Orman actually ran against Lieberman for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2006 Senate race. By September 2005, however, he had run out of funds and withdrew. From there, Ned Lamont, announcing he was taking over from Orman, upset Lieberman and won the Democratic Party nomination to stand for the Connecticut seat.

Lieberman, who was lucid enough to know that he stood a good chance of being destooled as a Democrat, had a plan in the bushes and, the day after failing to secure the Democratic nomination, filed with Connecticut elections officials to run as a candidate under the Connecticut For Lieberman Party. He accompanied his party registration with 7500 signatures. He went on to win back his Senate seat under that party banner.

John Orman wasn't going to sit back and let Lieberman run amok as usual. Orman considered Lieberman disloyal and dangerous. Where Lieberman is little more than a self-promoting wingnut, Orman is somewhat more shrewd. A professor of politic science at Fairfield University, Orman executed a brilliant maneuver which is best described in his own press release:
Orman Elected New Chair of Connecticut for Lieberman Party

I called the Secretary of State's Office in Connecticut to find out how many people joined the Connecticut for Lieberman Party and I was told that no one had joined, not even Senator Joe Lieberman. I went down to Trumbull town hall and changed my registration to the Connecticut for Lieberman Party. Then I went home and called a meeting of all the registered Connecticut for Lieberman members to reflect on our party's victory in the U.S. Senate race with Senator Joseph Lieberman. Senator Lieberman did not attend the organizational meeting for Connecticut for Lieberman because he no longer wants to be labeled as a member of the party.
In order for the CFL to keep the great ballot spot that Joe Lieberman earned for us, our party had to organize and submit rules to the Secretary of State of Connecticut. Senator Lieberman did not do this when he ran so there was work to be done like platform and rules.

Minutes from first organizational meeting of Connecticut for Lieberman, at John Orman's house in Trumbull, November 15, 2006

At the first meeting I nominated myself to be party chair for Connecticut for Lieberman. I seconded my own nomination and then I voted for myself. I was selected unanimously as Chair of Connecticut for Lieberman on November 15, 2006.

These new rules were adopted:
1. This party is open to every citizen who wants to keep Senator Joseph Lieberman accountable. It is open to critics, opponents, bloggers and everyone else who will work to provide citizen oversight for Lieberman?s actions, words and deeds over the next six years.
2. The chair of the party shall be elected for a period of six years until Lieberman decides to run again.
3. Party history: This party was officially formed the day after Joe Lieberman was defeated in the August Democratic primary in 2006 by Ned Lamont. Lieberman
turned in the required signatures to go with his party organizing committee to declare their intent to form a new political party. Senator Lieberman and his committee did not change their party registration so some suggested that Senator Lieberman may have used the CFL as a gimmick to run twice for the same Senate seat within three months. We who are members of the CFL do not care .
4. We at CFL do care that Senator Lieberman is now turning his back on our party and wants to be called an "Independent Democrat" even though he was not the nominee from the Democratic Party. He was from our party, Connecticut for Lieberman and he should be identified that way.
5. Many citizens complained about our CFL and one citizen (me) asked the Secretary of State and the Elections Enforcement Commission to rule that the CFL was a fake political party contrived to allow Senator Lieberman to be a sore loser and to keep running after he lost. It was argued that Senator Lieberman had no intention of forming the CFL. State officials ruled that Connecticut for Lieberman was not a one man fake party and that it was legitimate.

New Connecticut for Lieberman Rules:

a. If you run under Connecticut for Lieberman, you must actually join our party.
b. The party will nominate people for office who have the last name of Lieberman and/or who are critics and opponents of Senator Lieberman.
c. If any CFL candidate loses our party's nomination in a primary, that candidate must bolt our party, form a new party and work to defeat our party endorsed candidate.
d. We in the CFL intend to run the same candidate for three different jobs at the same time, ie. House, Senate and Governor.

The meeting closed by observing that Senator Lieberman was threatening to caucus with the Republicans. One member said, "How can he turn his back on the CFL? We got him to where he is today."
Another member asked "What if state election officials rule post election that there is no such legal entity as Connecticut for Lieberman and that it is not a legitimate third party since Dr. Orman is the only registered member? What if they rule a party for one is not allowed in our state?" No chance of them going back on their previous rulings for Joe Lieberman, right.
A member asked, "What if election officials won't let us run for three different jobs by one candidate at the same time because we would be making a mockery of the electoral system in Connecticut?" No chance of that happening either.

These are the new rules for my new political party that I am working to keep alive so it will not be some fake gimmick that Senator Lieberman used to get elected. Thank you,


Dr. John Orman Chair, Connecticut for Lieberman

On January 3rd, 2007, Orman's application and rules for the party were accepted by Connecticut Secretary of State, Susan Bysiewicz.

The Connecticut for Lieberman Party, the minor political party created by Sen. Joe Lieberman for his successful independent bid for re-election, has been taken over by a longtime critic of the senator. Fairfield University political science professor John Orman's takeover has been recognized by Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. Orman is the sole member of the party and filed paperwork with Bysiewicz's office naming himself chairman. The state officials accepted Orman's takeover and his bylaws which limit membership to critics of the senator and anyone named Lieberman. "If someone wanted to challenge it, they'd have to go to court," Ted Bromley, a state elections attorney for Bysiewicz's office said Tuesday.
As with all things like this, there is a dispute. Stuart Korchin, a Lieberman supporter, claims to have been the first member of the party and is attempting to declare that he is, in fact, the chairman of the CFL party.

The State of Connecticut appears not to want to get involved, although Korchin has been told by the Secretary of State's office that Orman had already filed rules and they had been accepted.

That brings us to Orman's announcement on June 12th calling for Lieberman's resignation. Orman asked Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell to appoint Connecticut For Lieberman Party secretary Susan Henshaw as Lieberman's replacement.

So, once again, my apologies to Dr. John Orman for the aspersion I cast. And an apology to readers: I left you with an impression which was wholly incorrect.

As an additional bit of interest, Dr. Orman is something of a stand-up comedian. He has also written several books, one of which addressed celebrity politics and which he discussed with Mark Kelly on CBC's Disclosure.

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