- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Virginia state Sen. Benjamin J. Lambert III is among Democrats across the country being targeted by liberal bloggers who say they disappointed the party in last fall’s elections.

Mr. Lambert became a target of the nationally known Daily Kos Web blog site for endorsing U.S. Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican. As a result, Mr. Lambert is being called a “Liebercrat” — after Sen. Joe Lieberman, of Connecticut, who won re-election as an independent after losing in the 2006 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont.

“There are a handful of Democratic [and formerly Democratic] politicians that many among the netroots would like to see, let us say, ‘brought home’ to the real Democratic Party, if not replaced outright through the primary election process,” read a recent posting on Daily Kos, which endorsed Mr. Lamont in the November 2006 election.

Democrats also criticized U.S. Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, California Democrat, on the blog for not taking a more assertive, public stance on party issues, including efforts to end the war in Iraq.

Mr. Lambert, a black Richmond Democrat known as “Benny,” said he endorsed Mr. Allen over Democrat James H. Webb Jr. because that was the best way to secure federal funding for historically black colleges, such as Virginia Union University.

The strategy backfired when Mr. Allen lost his re-election bid, which has resulted in the attacks on Daily Kos and from liberal bloggers in Virginia.

This is “the same Benny Lambert who allowed his name to be used to refute charges of Allen using the n-word …,” Ben Tribbett recently posted on his blog, “Not Larry Sabato.” (Mr. Sabato, founder and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, is a pundit frequently quoted in the news media.)

Mr. Lambert, who has served as a Democrat in the General Assembly since 1978, said he is not overly concerned.

“It’s a very small group,” said Mr. Lambert, who now hopes to pick up more former Allen supporters. “Somebody has to come after me. I’m not holding any grudges. Some of [the blog postings] are kind of funny. I’m still a Democrat and haven’t changed parties.”

Still, the Allen endorsement has hurt Mr. Lambert, especially at home in Richmond.

The local Democratic committee in December considered expelling him from the party.

Last month, he was booed when introduced in front of about 3,500 party faithful gathered for the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at the Richmond Convention Center.

Some of the boos were from the people running the political blog raisingkaine.com, which has teamed with the “Not Larry Sabato”site to raise money via the Internet for state Democrats such as Delegate Donald A. McEachin.

The group hopes Mr. McEachin, a black Richmond Democrat who endorsed Mr. Webb before the Democratic primary, will try to unseat Mr. Lambert in the Democratic primary later this year.

“McEachin is widely expected to challenge Benny Lambert, a ‘Democrat’ who endorsed George Allen against Jim Webb. Go Donald!” their joint fundraising site reads.

Staffers for Mr. Lieberman, whose victory sparked the loudest ovation from Republicans at Mr. Allen’s election-night headquarters, said they are unfamiliar with the “Liebercrat” tag.

“Senator Lieberman is an independent Democrat in the tradition of Truman, JFK and [Henry M.] ‘Scoop’ Jackson,” said Marshall Wittman, Mr. Lieberman’s spokesman. “That’s how he defines himself. He is what he is … and he is proud of it.”

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