Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lieberman, I/D-Conn.

I saw Joe Lieberman on "Meet the Press" Sunday, and the TV show listed him as "Joe Lieberman, I/D-Conn."

That's right — I/D, for independent Democrat. He won the election as an independent but will caucus with the Democrats.

From the transcript:
Sen. Lieberman: I was elected as an independent, I was elected, I believe, because I said to my constituents in Connecticut, “I’m, I’m as fed up with the partisanship in Washington as you are. I promise you I will put progress and, and patriotism ahead of partisanship and polarization.” So I’m going to—I am now an Independent Democrat, capital I, capital D. Matter of fact, the secretary of the Senate called my office and asked, “How do you want to be identified” and, and that’s it. Independent Democrat.

MR. RUSSERT: So you’ll be Senator Joe Lieberman, I/D, Connecticut.

SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah, we checked with history and actually in the late ‘70s Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia listed himself as an Independent Democrat. You got to go back to the mid-19th century to find the last Independent Democrat.
So is the slash appropriate? A hyphen might seem to make more sense, but it looks awkward: I-D-Conn. Andy Bechtel at The Editor's Desk is suggesting "ID" with no separating punctuation.




At 10:59 AM, November 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ID is the universal acronym for identification, so people will read it as Identification-Connecticut but it applies because Lieberman's ID is that he is an independent democrat, in the lowercase sense of political nomenclature. Why not I:D? Because it looks like an “I” with a “surprised” smiley after it. Or I+D, meaning that even though he won his seat as an Independent, he's still going to vote with the Democrats most, if not all the time. Perhaps Republicans would like to see it as I@#$%D, meaning that even though he was elected as an Independent and they're hoping he’ll play for their side, he’s still a @#$% Democrat at heart and will stick with his team. My favorite would be I\D, to give the impression that he may be independent enough to act truly as an Independent when it comes time to push the button and record his vote. Then, there’s the hybrid vehicle, I&D, signifying that he's bi-party.

At 5:34 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Bill said...

This strikes me as a dangerous precedent. There is no Independent Democratic Party. If you're an independent, you're not a Democrat. If you're a Democrat, you're not an independent. To allow a lawmaker to declare a party affiliation with embellishment invites abuse. What next? "Super-Duper-Up-With-People Democrat" (SDUWPD)? "Non-Gay-Pedophile Republican" (NGPR)?

At 6:22 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Phillip Blanchard said...

Bill is right. I don't see Bernie Sanders identifed as "IS-Vt."

At 7:01 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Andy Bechtel said...

I was being a bit facetious in my recommendation. It is the logical extension of style in such things, though.

I don't like any of the "R-N.C." or "D-R.I." constructions. I like the more conversational tone of "a Democrat from Florida" or "an independent from Vermont."

For Lieberman, how about: an independent who aligns himself with the Senate Democrats.

Is that cumbersome?

At 11:38 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Vince Tuss said...

I'd say an independent is an I, and you can let the official call himself or herself whatever else in his or her publication.

For a while -- late 1970s to early 1990s, I think -- the Minnesota Republican Party actually was the Independent Republican Party. To distinguish themselves from those other Republicans.

At 9:51 AM, November 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're all ignoring the pragmatics, though, which is Lieberman wants to be a Democrat for seniority so he can get a committee. He doesn't want to be an Independent. He just wants to be annoyed at the Dems who made him lose the primary.

At 12:17 PM, November 16, 2006, Anonymous Julie said...

For what's it's worth, AP says to use three-letter combinations for affiliations other than Republican or Democrat... this is the example in the stylebook

Sen. James Buckley, R-Con-N.Y., spoke with Sen. Harry Byrd, D-Ind-Va.

At 9:57 PM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Sherry said...

When I first read it, I thought he was a proponent of Intelligent Design.

At 10:03 PM, November 21, 2006, Blogger Bill said...

Here we go (from the New York Times):

Mr. Lieberman, a longtime Democrat
of Connecticut who was re-elected
as an independent and calls himself
an “Independent Democrat,” has
not ruled out becoming a Republican.

At 11:33 AM, November 30, 2006, Blogger Metro said...

I think avery's got it nailed. Use a three-character abbreviation to identify him. The "surprised smiley" is only appropriate.

Otherwise what abbreviation shall we use for a man who had to get elected as an Independent due to Republican sympathies making him intolerable to the Democrats?



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