A Top DLCer Delivers a Stern Message to Lieberman

Democrats used to know how to deal with Republicans in their midst.

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DENVER—We hosted Bruce Reed and Al From of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council for lunch today to chat about the election, the party, the Clintons, etc. When I asked them about the future of former (and increasingly former) Democrat Joe Lieberman, From had an interesting answer.

Lieberman, he allowed, is a personal friend. Then he recalled the early 1980s, when he was the executive director of the House Democratic CMAMaucus and a Texas Democratic House member named Phil Gramm (yep, that Phil Gramm) sponsored Ronald Reagan's economic program. We passed a rule, From recalled, saying you could not be a member in good standing of the caucus if you supported the other party's presidential nominee. He added that in the House, Lieberman would already be out.

It was a stern message from a Lieberman friend. And incidentally, to his credit Gramm resigned and ran again as a Republican—a path Holy Joe might consider when he's drummed from the Senate Democratic Caucus in January.