Last October, Lieberman pushed this bill through the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, which he then chaired.
"The initial thought of the primary," said Tenner, "was that here's a guy, Joe Lieberman, he's running for president, he's been great for D.C. He could use a boost, especially in the African American community, to start off the nominating process. . . . It just so happens Lieberman let Howard Dean do all the organizing and pulled out of a primary that could have been his for the taking."
Indeed, Dean organized. Nine of 11 Democrats on the D.C. Council have endorsed him. In the first week of November, five rival candidates -- retired Gen. Wesley Clark, Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, and Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Lieberman -- all formally withdrew from the D.C. race. All cited an unwillingness to skirt DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe's Marquis of Queensbury primary rules.
More likely, they feared defeat by Dean. A poll released Nov. 26 by WTOP Radio showed Dean leading Clark 27 percent to 11 percent in a hypothetical nine-way D.C. race. Among the candidates still competing in D.C., Dean had 45 percent, to Al Sharpton's 11 percent, former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun's 8 percent, and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich's 4 percent. Dean even led Sharpton 29 percent to 18 percent among African Americans.
What price did Dean pay for the early boost D.C. may give him? Article 1, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution. "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State," it says. "As president," said Dean in response to a questionnaire from letsfreedc.org, "I will support Eleanor Holmes Norton's 'Taxation Without Representation Act' and work to ensure the full voting rights and representation of the residents of the District of Columbia in both the Senate and the House of Representatives."
The Founders made a Great Compromise allowing large states and small to join in the Union. But Howard Dean won't let that compromise his ambitions.