Monday, March 24, 2008

Re-electing a Joe enabler

At their last meeting, Middletown's Democratic Town Committee re-elected Dan Russo as chairman of the committee.

Russo initially supported Chris Dodd in his run for president, and is now actively campaigning for Barack Obama.

But the significant fact, and it is a significant fact, is that Dan Russo backed Creepy Joe™ Lieberman against Ned Lamont even after Ned Lamont officially won the Democratic nomination for Senator. Let it be known that Russo was not a lone CT supporter of Lieberman (see Spazeboy's list here).

I've always viewed that support as a black eye for Middletown Democrats. The Democrats on the town committee don't seem to think so.

One could draw a syllogism. Dan Russo supported Creepy Joe™ Lieberman's election to the Senate. In doing so, he helped make possible the imbalance of power in the Senate, and has abetted Lieberman's support of a Republican presidential candidate.

I for one would love to hear Russo admit his mistake and apologize, in public. A repudiation of his support for Lieberman would go a long way in gaining back the respect for the Democratic party in Middletown.

BTW, Lieberman is still listed on the Democratic Town Committee website as part of the Advisory Board. What kind of useful advice is errant Senator liable to offer town Dems?


Matt Lesser said...


Before you wrote this posting, you sent me an email asking about the Town Committe Chairman vote. I responded over the weekend, with a lengthy response.

In the response, I argued that the vote to reelect Dan Russo had nothing to do with Dan's misguided decision to support Lieberman after the primary.

I did explain what I felt the vote was really about and I would appreciate, as a courtesy, you sharing some of those reasons with your readers.

Anonymous said...

In doing so, he helped make possible the imbalance of power in the Senate... What imbalance? Lieberman and Sanders caucus with the Democrats, thus producing control of the Senate: 49 Republican, 49 Democrat, 2 Independent. Wouldn't be any different on that count had Lamont won.

Ed McKeon said...

Dan, I'd be happy to share all your comments. I thought I'd do you the courtesy of leaving out the fact that you, a young, progressive, Wesleyan student, seconded the nomination of Russo. Here's what Matt said in response to my email:

On Sun, Mar 23, 2008 at 1:42 PM, Ed McKeon wrote:
I bumped into a friend today who told me that you gave an enthusiastic
endorsement to Dan Russo who was running for re-election as chair of the
Democratic Town Committee.

This is the same Dan Russo who backed Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamont in the
last Senate race, correct?

Forgive my syllogism, but that endorsement is part of what has allowed
Lieberman to be a dividing, and deciding vote in the Senate, to continually
back an immoral war, and now to be the strongest backer of the Republican
Presidential candidate.

So, to complete the syllogism, if Dan Russo backed Joe Lieberman, who backs
John McCain, then Dan Russo backs Johm McCain. And finally, if Matt Lesser
backs Dan Russo, then....

Matt replies:

Thanks for the note. I hope you're doing well.

While many reasonable Democrats supported Lieberman before the primary, I vehemently disagreed with Dan Russo when he continued to do so after Ned Lamont won the nomination. I told him so privately at the time and have done so publicly since. When I seconded Dan's nomination last Thursday, I specifically mentioned that I have had my share of disagreements with him over the years and not supporting a Democratic nominee would certainly lead the list.

Now in saying this, I'm definitely no Lieberman partisan; I worked on Lamont's campaign both before and after the primary, voted for him three times (at the State Convention, the primary and the general), raised money to support his candidacy and brought him to speak at Wesleyan before anybody knew who he was. I don't think my views on the matter are particularly obscure.

If last week's Town Committee chair vote were simply a referendum on the 2006 election, I would have voted against Dan in a heartbeat.

I just saw it as something altogether different.

I saw the election as a referendum on the content of the Town Committee. Something you may not know: Dan has fought to bring in young people, people of color, women and students into the party. In the last election, Middletown's Democratic Party ran four young Democrats for elective office -- that may not sound like a lot, but more young people ran in Middletown last year than ran as Democrats in any of the other 168 towns and cities in Connecticut.

That is almost entirely because of Dan Russo's leadership, and it is a radical departure from the way we've done business in the past. Not only is diversifying the party the right thing to do to make sure Democrats stay relevant, but having a Party that looks like Middletown is a strategy that works; a wider base helps us win elections, brings in new energy and helps us achieve meaningful, progressive change.

I believe Middletown Young Democrats unanimously supported Dan, and the reason we did so was because, as much as we may have had disagreed with him in the past, we think that this is the single biggest issue at stake this year.

One last thing I'd like you to know, Dan Russo and his wife Judy were prominent supporters of Senator Dodd's campaign for President. Last month, after Dodd dropped out, they spent three days knocking doors for Barack Obama in subzero Barre, VT when I was the director of a field office there for the Senator. Neither they nor I have ever supported John McCain.

Hope this clears a few things up. I'd be happy to give you more thoughts on the race.



Ed McKeon said...


Who are you kidding? On important issues like the war, civil liberties and national security, Lieberman votes with the Republicans. That he caucuses with the Dems is a shame, and another disgusting political exediency.