According to the New York Sun, the Connecticut ACLU has gotten into a spat with the national ACLU over ads the latter ran in that state. The ads attacked Senator Joe Lieberman for his pending support for the Terrorism Detainee Act, just passed by Congress. The Hartford Courant ran with the tagline, “Will Senator Joseph Lieberman pass this test on American values?”
The Chairman of the Connecticut ACLU, Don Noel, Jr., told the Sun that he and other board members believed this ad “broke the organization’s pledge to stay out of electoral politics.” He claimed the national office agreed with his complaint. The national office, however, denied that there was any apology, and said that similar ads were run in a dozen states “where Democratic and Republican incumbents … might be convinced to accept the [ACLU’s] stance on antiterrorism legislation.”
Before readers get the impression that there is an outbreak of idealism in the grass roots of the ACLU, consider that Connecticut is the only state in which the local ACLU has questioned the behavior of the national ACLU on these ads. The more likely explanation is that both Connecticut and the ACLU believe in partisan advertising; the Connecticut folks just don’t want the ACLU attacking their guy, Joe Lieberman, now running as an independent for Senate, and heavily favored to win.