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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Independent Joe

For an interesting spin on last night's Connecticut primary, one needs to read the New York Times lead editorial on the results today. Called "Revenge of the Irate Moderates ", the Times try and paint Lieberman's loss as the sole responsibility of the moderate democrats who've supported him in the past.

The truth is, there is nothing farther from the truth. While the Times uses lines like this to try and explain away the ultra-left involvement:

It's hard to imagine Connecticut, which likes to be called the Land of Steady Habits, as an encampment of left-wing isolationists, and it's hard to imagine Mr. Lamont, who worked happily with the Republicans in Greenwich politics, leading that kind of revolution

Actually, it's not hard to imagine, if the NY Times editorial board would open their eyes. Lamont wasn't selected by angry moderates to run against Lieberman. He was drafted by the Cindy Sheehan end of the party to run against Bush, by painting Lieberman as his lap dog.

The anti-war, "America is always wrong" group that drafted Lamont did it for two reasons, he had deep pockets of his own, and a desire to be in politics. They didn't care if he'd worked harmoniously with Greenwich republicans for years. They glossed that over in all his advertising and campaigning, instead painting Lieberman as the next best thing to Tom DeLay in Connecticutut.

With the Sheehan's, Kosites, and others from the far left of the party pushing him in, it's obvious to anyone who isn't trying to paint Lamont as the "moderate candidate" why he's there. Yes, some angry moderates did vote for him, but they weren't the groundswell that brought his candidacy to shore.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, November isn't a primary, and they just made it harder on themselves to regain control of the Senate this year. It wasn't the moderates in the party that screwed that pooch, either, it was the left wing of the party, who's "anti-Bush" mantra was used to twist Lieberman's record in the primary.

The GOP now has two strategies to consider in the Connecticut general election. The first would be to replace Alan Schlesinger, who is a political weakling who ran 3rd in a three way poll against Lamont and Lieberman, or concentrate on beating down Lamont, and allowing Lieberman to win as an Independent (He's always polled first in those 3 way polls).

Both strategies have appeal. The first would allow the GOP to possibly gain a seat in the Senate that has been in Democratic hands for decades. However, it's a long shot as there aren't a lot of strong republican's in Connecticut.

The second though, accomplishes almost the same thing. By working not to win the election, but to make sure Lamont loses, the GOP puts the seat into an Independent state, meaning that it's truly a net gain for them in retaining control of the Senate.

While the Democratic party is going to distance itself from Lieberman for the next six to eight weeks, I would bet that around mid-October they suddenly become very conciliatory if it looks as though he'll win. It won't matter, they've burned their bridges already, and will find them hard to rebuild with the current tone of the party. That tone is what Lieberman has vowed to run against in November.

Much like Jim Jeffords, who abandoned the GOP in 2000 because he felt they'd gone to far right, look to Lieberman, if he wins, to stay in the Senate as an independent, because his party is moving too far left.

If, on November 8th Democrats wake up and see the GOP holds the Senate by one seat, based on an Independent from Connecticut, I wonder how many of them will realize that in trying to win one battle against Bush, they lost their war.

The Gun Toting Liberal has a more "left centric" view on this race.
(New) Jessica McBride has a great run down of the winners and losers in the Lieberman Lamont aftermath

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Blogger LargeBill said...

I'm sure it is legal in Connecticut, but this whole idea smells. If you run in a primary and lose it is just wrong to turn around and say "I want a do over. I'm not not a Dem (or Republican) anymore. I'm an independent." Lieberman said he was a Democrat for this election cycle. Same guy who was VP on the ticketthat wouldn't accept the results in 2000 now is refusing to accept the choice of voters yesterday.

7:44 AM  
Blogger ablur said...

When you have a race that breaks almost 50/50 a lose could be a simple anomaly. I think Joe is right to give it another go. He gets an opportunity to clarify his message without the Dems leaning over his shoulder.
Being part of a club offers guilt by association. It also offers perks by association.
If he can retool and get 50% of the Dems who voted for him, some independents and a chunk of the republican vote, he may win this thing.

Largebill - Unless your soundly beaten you rise up and fight again. You may want to look at what is going on in the middle east for an example.

10:56 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

If Lieberman believes he was treated unfairly he has the right to run as an independent. The election will decide if he was treated fairly or not. You also need to remember that it is the more political people who tend to vote in primaries, which is why they can often go to extremists.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Bill, I can understand your frustration with it, but it's the way the game works. As long as you have the papers filed on time. Since Connecticut is a closed primary, Lieberman probably figures he'll get enough crossover votes from the GOP in the general election, plus the 48% of democrats who voted for him, to win.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I'd guess Lamont can't win without 60% of the Democratic vote come November, which he didn't come close to yesterday.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Actually CP, it's no different than George Ryan (former governor of Illinois) running as a Republican. He was never a Republican!!! He wasn't even a moderate. He saw the Republican Party as a way to get elected in the State of Illinois. He was a leftwing Democrat all along. I didn't live here when he was elected but I have seen what he did and what is policies were. Edward (Chappaquiddick) Kennedy was further to the right than Ryan. I can't believe he pulled it off, but he did.

At one time, it was a smart to do just that in Illinois if you wanted to get elected but not anymore. Look at history to figure that one out.

I lost all respect for "Joe" when he changed all of his morals to run for vice president under Al Gore. Everything he believed was gone (or so it appeared), just to appeal to the Gore crowd. Once they lost, he went back to the same guy he once was as a Senator. What a shame. Connecticut deserves what ever they get. I really don't think either deserves to be in the Senate but that is just my opinion.

Hell, let him run as an independent. Everyone has that right in this country. Teddy Roosevelt ran on the Bull Moose party ticket and though he didn't win, he should have. Perhaps things would be different in this country.

Oh well, things happen.

10:24 PM  
Blogger asacan said...

Joe Lieberman is just about as liberal as a Democrat can get and, for the most part, I don't agree with him. That being said, where do I send my money for his Independent campaign?!

For the most part, you wouldn't be able to tell between Lamonts and Liebermans positions, save one aspect. And IMHO, an extremely important aspect, that of this nations war on terror and against those who have preverted the religion of Islam.

I don't live in Connecticut, and I normally could care less about what happens in Connecticut, or the rest of New England for that matter. However, I believe that the war on terror is the right thing for this nation (and the world). For this reason and this reason alone, Lieberman would get what little money I could offer him.

Let's face it, a conservative will not be elected to the U.S. Senate from CT in the forseeable future. A "moderate" Democrat (CT Republican) won't be elected. The best that CT can offer, unfortunately, is Joe Lieberman.

The only requests that I would have, if I sent his campaign money, is that he saw the election all the way through, and that he not donate any of his funds to ANYONE else's campaign. I honestly think Senator Lieberman can win, since only a small portion of the electorate (about 10-11%) voted in the primary.

2:34 PM  

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