DSCC: not just for Democrats anymore

Sen. Chuck Schumer, chair of the DSCC, unveiled a new committee policy during a press briefing today — Schumer is apparently prepared to back an independent candidate in a race against a Democrat.

As Ned Lamont continues to surge in polls leading up to Connecticut’s primary in August, rumblings are that Joe Lieberman is seriously considering running as an independent. And just as Lieberman has repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility of abandoning the Democratic Party, Schumer also refused to rule out supporting an independent Joementum bid for re-election.

The bottom line is that if Democratic voters in Connecticut choose Lamont to be their Senate candidate, the head of the DSCC is on record saying the committee would support Lieberman’s independent candidacy — this despite the fact that the stated mission of the committee is “to elect more Democrats to the United States Senate.” (Note that it doesn’t say “to keep the same old, white guys in office no matter how cozy they get with the Republican president.”) Markos calls it a declaration of war on the grassroots, and I’m not so sure he’s off the mark.

As a recent transplant from Pennsylvania, I was frustrated to see the behind the scenes maneuvering that knocked Barbara Hafer out of the Senate race, ignored the candidates who wouldn’t step aside, and declared Bob Casey, Jr. the nominee before the state’s Democrats had cast a single vote. But this latest turn of events sort of signals the D.C. establishment is taking things to a whole new level. The DSCC has their candidate in Connecticut, and the process — not to mention the voters — will not be allowed to get in the way.

Hotline’s Chuck Todd points out it might not be all that easy for Schumer’s DSCC to back an independent over a Democrat, but something tells me they’ll figure out a way to get around any sort of rules or regulations that might complicate things. The real question after this latest move, though, is whether they’ll figure out a way to convince Democrats who are paying attention that they should continue to support a committee which seems to have gone so far off track.

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