The Democratic Party in Virginia fresh off the stunning upset of defeating Sen. George Allen, is now ready to exact some payback to a Democratic state legislator who supported Allen for re-election.
According to The Washington Post, Benjamin J. Lambert III (D-Richmond) a prominent African-American and 20-year veteran of the state senate now faces expulsion from the party. So much for letting bygones be bygones. The head of the Richmond City Democratic Council, James M. Nachman sent a letter to Lambert summoning him to appear the committee to explain why he endorsed Allen over eventual winner James Webb.
Nachman told the Post that “We can do a number of things: censure, pass a resolution expressing our disapproval, kick him out of the party,” in reference to Lambert who is a member of the committee. “The mood of the committee is to take some action, because the issue of party loyalty is something we just don’t let go unanswered.”
Lambert supported Allen by cutting a radio commercial, appearing with Allen and President Bush and defending Allen against accusations that he used racial slurs in college. In return for his support, Allen pledged to secure more money for historically black colleges and universities which is an important issue to Lambert and his constituents. He told the Post that he wasn’t going against the party, but that he had told Allen that if he got the money, that he would support him.
Maybe Lambert should have read the Virginia Democratic Party by-laws which state “No Democratic committee member or officer of any Democratic committee shall publicly support, endorse, or assist any candidate opposed to a Democratic nominee.” Those who violate the rule should be removed from office, according to the bylaws, which office holders and committee members pledge to uphold, before endorsing Allen. Heaven forbid a politician from supporting a candidate who will actually do some good regardless of party affiliation. So while the Democrats rejoice in their victory that tipped control of the Senate to them, they are determined to punish a veteran legislator from straying from the fold despite a history of Democrats supporting Republicans in the state without punishment.
Besides the threat of being expelled from the party, Lambert may also face a challenger in next years’ election, another African American who supported Webb. Maybe this is Nachman’s way of dealing with his frustration of losing his own race for a seat in Congress by more than 20 points when Webb and the Democrats were picking up seats. I think the Democratic losers should be expelled for not winning in the year of the Democrats.
And to think the Democrats had the audacity to call Republicans mean spirited.