Putting their friendship above party, Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) will headline a fundraiser today for one of the Democrats' top targets this cycle, Republican Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska).
Inouye, who chairs the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, on which Stevens is the ranking member, is the "special guest" at the noon event at 101 Constitution Ave. NW. According to the invitation, the lunch is organized by a several high-profile lobbyists, including Stevens' former top aide, Lisa Sutherland. The fundraiser seeks $1,000 in contributions from individuals and $5,000 from political action committees to aid Stevens' bid for an eighth term this fall.
Stevens, of course, is facing the toughest re-election battle of his career against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, so this kind of betrayal is all the more harmful.
But this isn't the first time that such behavior has landed Inouye in hot water. Remember his endorsement of Joe Lieberman's independent candidacy in 2006?
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye has backed away from his support of Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman in his controversial run for re-election as an independent.
Inouye drew criticism in the local Democratic Party when he said he would continue backing Lieberman even after he lost the Aug. 15 Democratic primary in Connecticut to Ned Lamont.
Party rules require loyalty to the Democratic nominee, and several Hawai'i Democrats have faced disciplinary action in the past for backing third-party candidates over the party's choice.
Is it time to make Sen. Inouye re-take his Democratic loyalty oath?
(Update: On reflection, I softened the title of this post a bit. Like Trapper John, I have a lot of respect for Inouye's service to his country, but I'm enormously disappointed and frustrated with his decision to interfere with one of the Democratic Party's hottest Senate pick-up opportunities this cycle.)