Fox Pundit Says MoveOn.org Is Responsible For Lieberman's Choices

Mar 28, 2008 | Updated May 25, 2011

Yesterday, "Democratic operative" Bob Beckel waxed on, with thoughts of Capulets and Montagues ringing in his head, about Joe Lieberman's weekend endorsement of John McCain:

"This is the price...us Democrats pay for MoveOn.org and others who drove Joe Lieberman out of the party," said Beckel. "They campaigned against him actively and raised money against him and he was beaten in the Democratic primary. ... now we're paying the price and all I can say is 'a pox on their house."

Beckel's statements really help to point up the lonely existence of the aisle-straddling Lieberman. He's neither held accountable for his own decisions - a more accurate explanation for his defeat in the Connecticut Democratic Primary being that he simply held policy positions that were wildly divergent from mainstream Democratic voters - nor is he given credit for them: this "independent" Senator's endorsement is here depicted as the unintended endgame of MoveOn's dark manipulations.

Did MoveOn.org "drive Lieberman out of the party?" The facts are these: even as MoveOn supported rival Ned Lamont for the Connecticut Senate seat, Lieberman was saying things like: "I want Democrats to be back in the majority in Washington and elect a Democratic president in 2008. This man [Ned Lamont] and his supporters will frustrate and defeat our hopes of doing that." And even as he delivered the McCain endorsement, Lieberman's avowed distance from the Democratic Party only took him so far:

There's no question that at times I think some of the Democrats look at me sort of like the... eccentric uncle, perhaps even the odd uncle at the family gatherings: 'We like him, but every now and then he says things that makes us wonder.'

Indeed. And so too did Connecticut voters "wonder." And, lo, it came to pass that Lieberman lost the nomination, and, along with it, the willingness to stand by his word where the 2008 Presidential election was concerned.

Yet even if all of the above could be discounted outright, the idea that it was the velocity of MoveOn.org, as applied to the mass of Joe Lieberman, that provided the Joe-mentum behind his endorsement of McCain is preposterous on its face, as it does not even square with Lieberman's account of his decision:

LIEBERMAN: Well, I did. I mean, to have full disclosure, not one of the Democrats asked for my support, which may be a story in itself. John McCain and I are friends. He did ask for my support.

So McCain obtained Lieberman's support, in the same way a coatrack might lend its support to McCain's winter parka. This isn't Joe-mentum. This is Joe-nertia.