Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 10, 2006

LIEBERMAN'S 'OPEN OPTIONS'....This week, a Quinnipiac poll showed Sen. Joe Lieberman leading his Democratic primary rival, Ned Lamont, but not by the margin he'd like. The three-term incumbent, facing a political novice, was ahead 55% to 40%.

Given the circumstances, Lieberman should probably do everything he can to remind Democratic voters that, despite breaking ranks on several key issues, he loves the party, shares its commitments, and is proud to run under its banner. Instead, he continues to do the opposite.

In the wake of a statewide poll that shows U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman winning re-election easily if he runs as an independent, the three-term Democratic incumbent refused Friday to rule out the possibility.

"I'm not going to close out any option," Lieberman said during a campaign stop at Carmine's Italian Grill.

As a practical matter, I can appreciate Lieberman's dilemma. If he loses in the primary, Lieberman can very likely run a very competitive, if not successful, campaign as an independent. Indeed, the Quinnipiac poll shows him winning a three-way race fairly easily.

But if, in the short term, Lieberman hopes to win over primary voters, talking openly about possibly abandoning his party strikes me as a spectacularly bad strategy. He is, in effect, telling Democratic voters, "I want to be the Democratic nominee, but my allegiance will disappear if you choose someone else." (For the record, Lamont has said he'll back Lieberman if the incumbent wins the primary.)

Primary voters tend to be the most loyal, active members of both parties. As a rule, they have made a sincere commitment to the party, and more often than not, like candidates who feel the same way. If many Connecticut Democrats are concerned that Lieberman's values and priorities have strayed too far from the party's mainstream, how does Lieberman suppose these people will react to word that he's prepared to give up on the party altogether?

Steve Benen 12:59 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (95)

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This is one reason why I hate parties to begin with.

Posted by: NTodd on June 10, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

The day Lieberman loses will be a great day for the Democratic Party. He's George Bush's "favorite Democrat". That's all you need to know. He's been consistently wrong on Iraq. He's also a moralizing prig on a great many domestic issues. Let's remember how we got Lieberman in the first place. Conservative Republicans, outraged by Lowell Weicker's liberalism, supported Lieberman. This was 1978. Repubs, in the minority, realized that it was worth it to lose a Senate seat to move their party. We should learn from them. I think Lamont can win in the general even if JL's runs. But if JL does win, as an independent, hey, who is he going to vote for for Maj Leader? McConnell? Or Reid? As for other votes, he'd go on voting with the Repubs just about as much as he does now. No loss there.

But defeating JL in the primary will be a great victory for our entire party.

Posted by: jd on June 10, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't there a problem with his idea of "leaving the option open" anyway? My understanding of the deadlines is that if Lieberman waits until after losing the primary to decide to run as an independent, it'll be too late. He'll need to start gathering petition signatures well before the primary date, and if he does that what message is he sending to Democratic primary voters?

Posted by: KCinDC on June 10, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

jd, that was 1988, not 1978. I know because I voted for Weicker, who sounded a lot more like the real Democrat in the race even then.

Posted by: KCinDC on June 10, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Is seems like the issue (along with the war) that Lamont should make sure dominates their debate/s. "Senator, will you promise..." Speaking of which, could someone tell me if debates are scheduled yet?

Posted by: david mizner on June 10, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Joe does have a big problem. To run as an independent he must file his petition with the requiste number of signatures the day after the August 8 primary. To do that, he must devote a lot of energy and resources to collecting those signatures. He is probably doing it now below the radar but by July he will have to go mass market and it will become public. The moment it becomes publicly known that he is collecting signatures to become an independent candidate, Lamont gets a big boost.

Posted by: ArthurKC on June 10, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

I don't believe that Lieberman will stay in the Democratic primary long enough to lose it.

Lamont's 21-point gain in the Q-poll in just one month is extraordinary. I think there's no question that if Lamont pulls even with Lieberman in a poll in early July, Joe will bolt the fight because he's afraid to lose.

He'll show then that he's not just a big chickenhawk, he's just plain chicken.

Posted by: Maura on June 10, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Joe does have a big problem. To run as an independent he must file his petition with the requiste number of signatures the day after the August 8 primary. To do that, he must devote a lot of energy and resources to collecting those signatures. He is probably doing it now below the radar but by July he will have to go mass market and it will become public. The moment it becomes publicly known that he is collecting signatures to become an independent candidate, Lamont gets a big boost.

I don't believe that Lieberman will stay in the Democratic primary long enough to lose it. Lamont's 21-point gain in the Q-poll in just one month is extraordinary. I think there's no question that if Lamont pulls even with Lieberman in a poll in early July, Joe will bolt the fight because he's afraid to lose.
He'll show then that he's not just a big chickenhawk, he's just plain chicken.

I'm so thrilled by both of these scenarios, I almost dropped my coffee cup. Go, Ned.

Posted by: shortstop on June 10, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think the thing for progressives to do is put pressure on Schumer, who as head of the DSCC also says he won't commit to supporting the party's nominee. Didn't Hillary say the same thing?

Posted by: Jim on June 10, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm no Lieberman expert, but I do know a decent amount about him. I see where both sides are coming from with their opinions, and to be fair, he does get a bum rap from a lot of people. But yeah, in a lot of cases, he just asks for it.

Remember when he was supposedly calling it unpatriotic to criticze President Bush during a time of war in the last presidential election? There, he just left himself wide open. Even if he thought some of the rhetoric was a little too heated--and in a lot of cases, it can be--doing something that disqualifies your side from competing effectively isn't really helping. It wouldn't kill him to stop appearing so eager to play with the other side some of the time. At the very least, some of the criticism would fade away.

Posted by: Brian on June 10, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone in the Democratic Party in Ct. can ask Joe if he will pledge not to bolt the party and not to run if he loses the Democratic nomination and that he won't support someone other than the Democratic nominee who is chosen by the voters of his state.

Make him give you an answer before the nomination. If he won't promse his loyalty to the party then he is not worthy of the Democratic nomination.

It is the right of any of his constituents to insist on an answer to these questions. He is asking for your support as Democrats. He has no right to ask for your support while refusing to pledge his support to you.

Please. Someone get him on record now.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

wait a minute, lieberman is a democrat?

Posted by: jw on June 10, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm just trilled HOWEVER the Democrats lose another seat."

And who are the Republicans going to put up as such a sure thing?

Posted by: Brian on June 10, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know how many signatures it takes to get on the ballot as an Independent? If it's only 1,000 or so, he could probably get that the day after losing the primary. But if it's much more, he'd need to circulate petitions before the primary, and word would likely leak out that Holy Joe is leaking out.

Posted by: Ron Thompson on June 10, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

It's Joe Lieberman who has made this an issue. If he wasn't making noises about betraying the Democratic Party if it doesn't give him everything he wants it wouldn't be necessary.

It would be stupid for a Democrat to vote for a Democrat who won't give this minimal level of loyalty to the party. A Democratic candidate has an obligation to the members of the party. If he's planning on handing victory to the Republicans than Democrats need to know that up front.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Even if Leiberman runs as an independent, and wins, it will still be better than having him hold that seat as a Democrat. His constant undermining of the Democratic party won't be nearly so effective when he can't pretend he is a Democrat.

I think it is far from a sure thing, however, whatever the polls may say now. He's operating largely on name recognition so far, and by the time of the election people will focus on the candidates. And few who focus on Lieberman like what they see.

Posted by: EmmaAnne on June 10, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

You mean the nutroots works like hell to expel Lieberman beaten in a Democratic primary AND THEN gets mad at him when he says he'd run as an independent?

I thought the whole "Out, Out, Damn Lieberman" thing was to, you know, get him out of the Democratic Party. Party purity and all that. Right?

And now you're mad that you might be successful at accomplishing your own goal. Sheesh...

Posted by: Birkel on June 10, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

olvlzl:

It was stupid to vote for Jeffords up in Vermont then too.

Jeffords was a Republican. His party left him. And Democrats don't have to worry about that. If Republicans in Vt. wanted to make him pledge his loyalty they could have asked him. I'll bet he would have won with a bigger margin if he had pledged to bolt the stinking thing.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel, You seem to forget that Joe Lieberman is asking DEMOCRATS to support him. He owes the voters a pledge of loyalty because he is asking for THEIR Senate seat.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

I totally disagree that it's, per se, bad strategy. If Lieberman says he won;t run as an independant, and will endorse Lamont if he wins, then Democratic party primary voters will see voting for Lamont as a free vote. They know that, at worst, Lieberman wins, and the Dms retain the seat. At Best, Lamont wins, Lieberman endorses him, doesnt run as an independant, and Lamont probably wins.

This wy, Lieberman can scare Democratic primary voters, who are worried about losing the seat, into holding their noses and voting for him as the safer option.

Posted by: Hesiod on June 10, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hesiod,

That seems like a reasonable surmise.

Posted by: Birkel on June 10, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Jeffords and Lieberman are not equivalent. Jeffords walked out on his party after Bushco kicked him in the teeth and then acted stunned that Jeffords wouldn't sit still for it. Lieberman would be running as an independent for the sole reason that he couldn't get his own party to support him. He might as well be wearing a giant LOSERMAN banner, whereas Jeffords improved his own reputation while making the Bush administration look like fools.

Lamont's 21-point progress in the last month is amazing. He has two months to step up that name recognition. So funny that Lieberman has greater support among Republicans (the same ones who told the pollsters that Bushie's doing a heckuva job, contrary to the belief of 70-plus percent of Connecticut residents) than Democrats. If Lieberman bolts, most of his votes as an independent would come from Republicans, who would be splitting that vote with Schlesinger. Hello, Senator Lamont.

Posted by: shortstop on June 10, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

There is no room in today's Democratic Party for moderates like Lieberman.

No wonder the Dems have trouble winning general elections.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on June 10, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

There is no room in today's Democratic Party for moderates like Lieberman.

I'm happy to hear that there is no room in the Democratic Party for Democratic politicians who will not promise their loyalty to Democrats and who never waste an opportunity to betray us. If that is true than it is the best news of the day.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney, Lieberman, the recent VP nominee of the party, the Democratic Senator of Ct. who will certainly have a chairmanship if the Democrats retake the Senate is complaining about the party, which has always been to the left of him, leaving him?

Just no pleasing some people.

He's upset because he didn't get coronated in 2004.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I love these Democratic Party circular firing squads!

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 10, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Frazier Frequency: I love these Democratic Party circular firing squads!

We're just taking out the trash, hon.

Posted by: shortstop on June 10, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Thompson -- 7500 signatures IIRC; specifically, the lesser of 7500 or 1% of the number of the votes cast for the position in the previous election (based on 2004, the latter is about 15000).

Posted by: has407 on June 10, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, has407. So--a goodly enough number that he'd have to make some noise doing it.

Will be in Connecticut for a wedding in a couple of weeks. It was suggested to me that when the minister asks if there's any reason why these two should not be joined together in matrimony, I stand up and say, "Clearly, these individuals love one another and should be together. But I'd like to take this time, if I may, to talk to you about Ned Lamont." Must say the idea is tempting.

Posted by: shortstop on June 10, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

You guys thrilled about us trying to excise Lieberman don't realize that he is THE biggest stumbling block that we have in trying to reach out to traditionally apolitical that we need to form a long-lasting majority coalition.

Lieberman is the boogeyman that keeps young people from throwing out the Republicans en masse.

Posted by: Karmakin on June 10, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I am no fan of Lieberman and would love to see Lamont defeat the Bushlicker.

But it is plausible to conclude from the available evidence that the Lieberman hubub is a result of some Republican campaign to divide and vanquish and destroy the Democratic party. Sadly the Dems like Lieberman are too eager to help the GOP.

Posted by: nut on June 10, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'm no fan of Holy Joe, but I'd just like to see one single "netroots" candidate WIN before getting all fired up about booting out Lieberman. Dean, Clark, Hackett, Busby, etc - they're the flavor of the month on the 'net, but they all fail. Seems like the netroots get really excited about candidates who get to 35-45%, but never actually close the deal.

A much more plausible scenario is that Lamont has about topped out the generic anti-Lieberman Democratic protest vote. And that Joe has only just started to fire up his GOTV effort and call in his chits. And that Lieberman will win the primary handily (let's say 60-40) while the netroots will congratulate itself because Lamont came from nowhere to get 40% of the vote. And then Lieberman wins the general election handily. And then the netroots adopt another losing candidate, and pat themselves on the back for doing so well when that candidate only loses by 15%...

Again, I am a die-hard Dem and no fan of Lieberman. But I find it amazing (and utterly self-indulgent) that in this year of historical anti-GOP feeling, activist Dems are all fired up about taking out a surefire Democratic Senate seat. Why adopt Lamont? Why not adopt someone like Zack Space, D-Ohio, who's trying to knock off Bob Ney in a very winnable race? If we're serious about winning back control of government in 2006, we don't waste energy attacking our own party. I think a lot of activists prefer self-righteousness to swallowing their pride, knuckling down and working to actually win.

Every time I hear a fired-up Democratic activist say, "I'd rather go down in a blaze of glory!" a little part of me dies. Me, I'd rather just win.

Posted by: hubcap on June 10, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop -- I believe an application must also be filed with the Connecticut Secretary of State (and approved) before collecting signatures. Assuming that is a matter of public record, there's no way for Lieberman to do anything under the radar.

Posted by: has407 on June 10, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

hey, shortstop made Cheney say a bad word. Good work!

He's going to hell now!

Posted by: craigie on June 10, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

You read Cheney's posts???

Posted by: jcricket on June 10, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

April 11, Howard Dean at a meeting with liberal journalists/activists.

QUESTION: To what extent is the Democratic National Committee doing things to make Lieberman abide by the results of the Connecticut Democratic primary, and to quash efforts talk on his part that he might run as an independent?

DEAN: Were not doing anything. We dont get involved in primaries, period. We just dont.

QUESTION: But what about candidates who say if they who leave open the door and say if they lose the primary, they will leave the party?

DEAN: We dont get involved in that, either. Thats all matters for the you know, were gonna support the Democrat, of course. Whoever wins is the Democratic nominee. But we dont get involved in that. I havent made any phone calls about that. We dont the only role that we play in primaries is to try and keep the discussion civil, because we know theres gonna be a winner, and we want the winner to win. But we have not, since Ive been at the DNC, encouraged anybody, discouraged anybody. We do not push people out of races either. Thats something I feel strongly about. I think the Democratic Party has to work as a democracy. So, we just dont get involved at all. Not at all.

Posted by: Chris on June 10, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Holy Joe is just keeping his options open, you know, they way he ran for both Senate and VP at the same time.if he loses, then Bush'll appoint he SecDef.

not that I agree or anything, but seems that there's a pattern here

Posted by: susan on June 10, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Me, I'd rather just win.

I understand that. But isn't the point that having Lieberman in the Senate isn't winning? He might as well be a Republican - indeed, he probably is some kind of Manchurian Candidate put up by the GOP for just that purpose.

Posted by: craigie on June 10, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Chris, if you read my first post you would see that I said that a Democrat from Connecticut should ask Joe Lieberman for his promise of loyalty and to abide by the decision of the Democrats who decide the nomination. They are the people he is asking for their support. They are not the DNC who properly shouldn't have anything to do with the nomination on the state level.

It's Joe Lieberman who is hinting at stabbing Ct. Democrats in the back WHILE asking for their support.

Does anyone not see this as wanting it at least two ways at the same time?

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman was once a decent man. Now, he is just another sleazy politician desperately trying to hold on to his seat.

Leave the Democratic party, Joe! There are enough scumbags in the Republican party. We don't need any in our party.

There is no point voting for a Democrat at any cost. And especially no point voting for someone like Lieberman who is so far up Bush's ass that he is a disgrace to all Democrats.

I'd rather that we lose a seat than having this traitor in our midst.

Posted by: Devil's Advocate on June 10, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Another reason for Democrats not to vote for Lieberman, is that the weasel would probably change party once reelected, thus giving the Republican filth in Congress another seat.

Posted by: Devil's Advocate on June 10, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

At risk of allowing cheney to change the subject, I'm a gay man who believes in full and equal rights including the right to marry. But there are more important rights that we can get sooner. Insisting on pushing gay marriage rights will put Republicans in office and so delay both those rights and marriage rights. The possible is more urgent than the not-yet possible.

We have to be pragmatic and get what we can. Getting what we can will put us in a stronger position to push for what we can't get yet.

Making law and implementing law to make peoples' lives better is the most radical position you can take.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman doesn't want to represent the views and voice of Connecticut. He just wants to continue to be a Senator and he really doesn't care which of his options helps him to get it.

Posted by: jcricket on June 10, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

jiminy cricket is spot-on. Joe is in the Joe party, and that's why he has to go.

Posted by: craigie on June 10, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

"I love these Democratic Party circular firing squads!"

I know. It's like they want to keep losing. Let's give 'em all the help we can.

Posted by: Elvis8 on June 10, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Devil's Advocate on 10 June 2006 at 4:14 PM said:

"There is no point voting for a Democrat at any cost. And especially no point voting for someone like Lieberman who is so far up Bush's ass that he is a disgrace to all Democrats.

I'd rather that we lose a seat than having this traitor in our midst."

In many respects, this is the real issue. Lieberman gives shelter to the worst of Dubya's policies by enabling Dubya to claim that they're "bipartisan" when they're nothing of the sort. Lieberman abandoned the Democratic Party long ago and hasn't fought for anything in the last six years except corporate-oriented legislation. CT voters like myself don't need him and more are clearly learning that they can't afford him.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on June 10, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Dean, Clark, Hackett, Busby, etc - they're the flavor of the month on the 'net, but they all fail.

Everyone prefers a winning campaign, hubcap, but you're ignoring the fact that the people who run for office drive the debate in this country. Progressives need to support candidates who are going to fight for their ideas or they're going to lose completely. This has been the driving force for change in the country, and has pretty much defined the modern Republican party. Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan unsuccessfully campaigned for president, but successfully drove the ideology of the Republican party. The attacks on gays and immigrants, the attack on the separation of church and state and the attack on the judiciary started with these guys and have become a core part of the Republican agenda. They lost their elections, but won on the issues that were important to them.

Howard Dean failed in his election, but he was the only Democrat taking on the president on issues of the war on terrorism and on rule of law. Murtha demonstrated that you can challenge the wisdom of 'staying the course'. Feingold has drawn a line on issues of personal privacy and made the executive power grab an issue that even Republicans have begun referring to as a constitutional crisis. You're conceding a lot of ground if you want the debate to be between the Lieberman Democrats and the Falwell Republicans.

Lamont's campaign forces Joe Lieberman to engage a progressive community that he's taken for granted and cease his continual cheerleading for the Bush administration. It also sends a warning shot to less popular Democrats not to constantly steer rightward in their quest for more votes.


Posted by: Mike on June 10, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Dumping Joe Lieberman has everything to do with making the Democrats an effective opposition party, the first essential step in restoring the country's small-r republican values that have been betrayed by the Bush radical Republicans.

Regardless of the outcome of the 2006 election, the Republican ascendancy will not have been overthrown -- even a victory in the 2008 presidential election won't do that, given the Republican track record of manipulating the MSM to undermine the legitimacy of Democratic administration of the country.

Joe Lieberman has been, at best, a Useful Fool for the Republicans. He stands for the proposition that we not only can, but should, fully cooperate and collaborate with the people who are destroying our country. We Democrats need to send an unmistakeable message to the DC insider crowd that we will simply not stand for this Vichy approach. Ptain, too, tried to claim that he was as loyal to France as de Gaulle.

To take the country back, we need to change the framework of what passes for the corrupted "national dialogue". Getting rid of Joe Lieberman is more important than getting rid of Bob Ney -- the loss of Ney's seat can be simply attributed to his crookedness, whereas Lieberman's defeat can not be so easily dismissed.

Posted by: DeWitt Grey on June 10, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

I see that the 30%ers who support Chimpy McFlightsuit and the 28% who support the Worse-than-Worthless Republican Congress are trolling on this site.

With numbers like that, trolls, your Republicans will win only if they can throw out as many ballots as possible, turn away voters, and interefere with voting machines. Failing that, they can always go whine to the courts all the way to the Supreme Court. The courts will probably side with them since they are now packed with incompetent political hacks.

Tht's the Republicans for you. They cannot win an election fair and square because they have nothing but disaster after disaster to show for as "accomplishments". So, they have to cheat.

For, with numbers like that, trolls, you are clearly a minority. The sleazy minority that supports greed, corruption, war-mongering, bigotry, racism, xenophobia, government interference in people's lives, and fiscal irresponsibility...

Posted by: Devil's Advocate on June 10, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT Senator Joe Lieberman or for that matter, Joe Biden:

It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's all about me...It's about time we give the joes the boot

Posted by: S Brennan on June 10, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

"In many respects, this is the real issue. Lieberman gives shelter to the worst of Dubya's policies by enabling Dubya to claim that they're "bipartisan" when they're nothing of the sort."

You mean like, er, the joint resolution to authorize the use of the U.S. armed forces against Iraq? Yeah, clearly not bipartisan. After all, only 29 Democrat senators voted for it, including the party's most recent candidate for President and its Senate leader. Damn that Lieberman and his phony bipartisanship!

Posted by: Binghampton on June 10, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Devil,

You don't have to be popular to win an election, doofus. You only have to be less unpopular than your opponent. Who you gonna run against the GOP next time? Hillary? Pleeeeeeze!

Posted by: seamus on June 10, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

olvlzl: Does anyone not see this as wanting it at least two ways at the same time?

Yes. But I don't see it as a big worry, as the issue will resolve itself in short order. Based solely on the mechanics of the situation, it appears that Lieberman:

  • will live with the primary result, win or lose; or
  • leave the Democratic party and declare as an Independent before the primary; or
  • after losing the primary on Aug 8, declare and file as an Independent and collect 7500 signatures by Aug 9 (unlikely if not impossible); or
  • after losing the primary, support another candidate (Republican? both unlikely and Sysiphean).
That is, unless Connecticut allows a candidate to declare under more than one affiliation--doubtful, but comments from someone more knowledgeable would help--but even if possible, as a matter of public record leading into the primary, Lieberman must know it would do far more harm than good. (Another alternative should he lose the primary is registering as a write-in candidate, for which the deadline is Oct 24.

In short, Lieberman will either ask for party support, and live with the primary result; or run as an independent, and not get party support. (That of course does not address whether Lieberman, if reelected, would stay a Democrat.)

Posted by: has407 on June 10, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

You only have to be less unpopular than your opponent.

Ah, the GOP - raising the bar since Reconstruction!

Posted by: craigie on June 10, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

If he loses in the primary, Lieberman can very likely run a very competitive, if not successful, campaign as an independent.

If Lieberman loses the primary, he will have lost at least 15 points to a challenger among his base supporters. The Republicans would see an opportunity to pick up a seat, driving his numbers down on the Republican side as well, and the Independents would have to decide if he was acting for the 'good of Connecticutt' or entirely out of desperation. I don't see how he wins that election.

Posted by: Mike on June 10, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK
Given the circumstances, Lieberman should probably do everything he can to remind Democratic voters that, despite breaking ranks on several key issues, he loves the party, shares its commitments, and is proud to run under its banner.

The use of "remind Democratic voters" here suggests that the things that follow it are (1) true, and (2) things that Lieberman has previously shown Democratic voters that they may somehow have forgotten.

I'm not sure either of those is justified.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 10, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a question: Has anyone been collecting the necessary signatures to get Holy Joe on the November ballot as an indy? I read somewhere that those are due the day after the Ct Primary. Is this true? If so, how could anyone take his primary campaign seriously?

What's his platform? 'Make me the Democratic candidate for US Senate, but while you're at it please sign my petition to run as a non-Democrat'?

Posted by: JoeW on June 10, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK
Lieberman winning as an independent would be icing on the cake - I've already predicted that the GOP will retain both Houses of Congress and that even Feinstein will be given a run for her money out in California - recall I was the only one right about 60 million votes for Bush in 2004 as well ; )

Posted by: Cheney on June 10, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least you can't deny that you know who Charlie is anymore (from here):

60 million votes for GWB - just remember you heard it hear first ; )

Posted by: Charlie on November 1, 2004 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

So, about those jokes about dead kids, Charlie...

Posted by: cmdicely on June 10, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Follow your heart, Joe and leave already.
If you win as an independent, at least you could be more honest...

Posted by: doug r on June 10, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, nice Columbo impersonation!

Posted by: craigie on June 10, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

If Lieberman wins, which would seem to be the most likely outcome here, doesn't this whole episode actually make the netroots look still-impotent at being able to unseat Democrats they don't approve of?

Lamont is just not a terribly strong candidate (a Hackett-ish, generation x, "limited government" Democrat would be running much stronger at this point), and granted, I don't think anyone could beat Lieberman at this point (except perhaps Bill Clinton), but what exactly was the point of this whole episode? To teach Joe a lesson?

The lesson he will learn is that being a Bush-licker is in the end okay with Democratic voters. In the near term it seems more likely to help the already-fossilized Democratic status quo reach full petrification.

Posted by: Linus on June 10, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, the GOP - raising the bar since Reconstruction!

Given how low the Democrats set it that's not very hard.

Posted by: mikey on June 10, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

""I'm just trilled HOWEVER the Democrats lose another seat."

And who are the Republicans going to put up as such a sure thing?

Posted by: Brian"

They don't have to. Lieberman would be an Independent, like whatisname in Vermont. If he was beaten in the primary by a moonbat, which caucus do you think he would meet with ?

Keep working on it. You're doing great.

Posted by: Mike K on June 10, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I stated in my previous post: after losing the primary on Aug 8, declare and file as an Independent and collect 7500 signatures by Aug 9 (unlikely if not impossible)

That is incorrect. Connecticut Title 9 appears to allow an individual to apply for and collect signatures as an independent, irrespective of whether the individual is on the party primary ballot; Lieberman could be collecting signatures as an independent today.

JoeW: Has anyone been collecting the necessary signatures to get Holy Joe on the November ballot as an indy?

Before signatures can be collected, an application for a nominating petition is required, made to the Connecticut Secretary of State, which if approved results issuing the petition pages (i.e., the forms for collecting signatures).

I assume that is a matter of public record(?), and if so should be easy to determine whether it is even possible for Lieberman to be collecting signatures.

Posted by: has407 on June 10, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

I love these Democratic Party circular firing squads!

Yes, Republicans never run against each other in Senate primaries against prominent republican moderates

Posted by: Constntine on June 10, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

If Lieberman wins, which would seem to be the most likely outcome here, doesn't this whole episode actually make the netroots look still-impotent at being able to unseat Democrats they don't approve of?

Part of it is psychological warfare. "Contest every seat" does not imply that a party will "win every seat." It means that no one is "safe" and no one is "owed" their incumbent seat. The Toomey race against Specter did the job of scaring Specter into "falling into line" behind the Bush agenda. Lieberman is starting to "crack" and lashing out at Lamont. Other Lieberman-esque candidates would be put on notice that they'd have to be ready to defend their seats if they're far to cozy with Republican principles as opposed to Democratic ones.

There are thousands upon thousands of political races run every year. The majority of non-incumbants lose every year. If you're supporting a campaign against an incumbant, chances are that campaign will lose. But you do it anyway, because you don't cede ground to an incumbant. You make him fight for it.

I will be shocked if Lieberman does not return to the Senate in January. But to let him get back without fighting for it is worse than supporting a dark-horse primary contest against him.

Posted by: Constantine on June 10, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

A fine post, Constantine at 7:10.

The Hartford Courant's take today on liberal bloggers' effect on Lamont's rising star.

This Huffington Post item from earlier this week is interesting as well.

Posted by: shortstop on June 10, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

The positive side of it is that the trolls that come here have the good taste to avoid the freeper blogs.

The funny side, these are the cream of that crop.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Bill Frist is communicating with Joe Lieberman about his future options.

I think 90% of Republicans would welcome Joe Lieberman into the Republican party.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on June 10, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

hubcap sez: I'm no fan of Holy Joe, but I'd just like to see one single "netroots" candidate WIN before getting all fired up about booting out Lieberman. Dean, Clark, Hackett, Busby, etc - they're the flavor of the month on the 'net, but they all fail.

Reclaiming the Senate will not fix what's wrong with this country; nor will dumping Joe. But taking a stand will fix what's wrong with this country. Dumping Joe is a way to start doing that, and a darned good one.

I know it's rough to think that we're more than just a couple years away from turning the ship to a better course; but it's true just the same. Standing for something is the first order of business. Joe makes it hard for Dems to stand for anything, and thus must go.

There was a time when the GOP didn't field lunatic right-wing candidates, but the lunatic wing stuck to its guns, and the Rockefeller wing is toast.

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 10, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK


cheney: recall I was the only one right about 60 million votes for Bush in 2004 as well ; )

is that like the broken clock that is right twice a day

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 10, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

The Democratic Party has become a party of extremists. That is why they can't win general elections.

Posted by: rock paper scissors on June 10, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

constantine: Other Lieberman-esque candidates would be put on notice that they'd have to be ready to defend their seats if they're far to cozy with Republican principles as opposed to Democratic ones.

There aren't any other Lieberman-esque candidates. There are other stab-in-the-back Senators, sure; but none of them come from states where they could be running just about as Blue as they wanted. All of them fit their electorates just fine. Lieberman goes out of his way to be a GOP sycophant.

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 10, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Bill Frist is communicating with Joe Lieberman about his future options...
Posted by: Paddy Whack on June 10, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

If he is, he probably came away convinced that Lieberman is not in a vegetative state, and could recover eventually with enough therapy and prayer.

Posted by: jcricket on June 10, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

One of the greatest aspects of Charlie's use of various monikers -- Cheney, Don P., etc. -- is how he can't stop himself from also using his standard Charlie tics.

The emoticon in particular --

recall I was the only one right about 60 million votes for Bush in 2004 as well ; )

-- is the essence of Charlie. It's easy to imagine him as a priest running an Inquisition death squad, with a little smile on his face as he tortures heretics to death for their own good.

Anyway, it's a fascinating experience to watch Charlie's downward spiral into completely insanity.

Posted by: grh on June 10, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm no fan of Holy Joe, but I'd just like to see one single "netroots" candidate WIN before getting all fired up about booting out Lieberman. Dean, Clark, Hackett, Busby, etc - they're the flavor of the month on the 'net, but they all fail. Seems like the netroots get really excited about candidates who get to 35-45%, but never actually close the deal.

A much more plausible scenario is that Lamont has about topped out the generic anti-Lieberman Democratic protest vote. And that Joe has only just started to fire up his GOTV effort and call in his chits. And that Lieberman will win the primary handily (let's say 60-40) while the netroots will congratulate itself because Lamont came from nowhere to get 40% of the vote. And then Lieberman wins the general election handily. And then the netroots adopt another losing candidate, and pat themselves on the back for doing so well when that candidate only loses by 15%...

Again, I am a die-hard Dem and no fan of Lieberman. But I find it amazing (and utterly self-indulgent) that in this year of historical anti-GOP feeling, activist Dems are all fired up about taking out a surefire Democratic Senate seat. Why adopt Lamont? Why not adopt someone like Zack Space, D-Ohio, who's trying to knock off Bob Ney in a very winnable race? If we're serious about winning back control of government in 2006, we don't waste energy attacking our own party. I think a lot of activists prefer self-righteousness to swallowing their pride, knuckling down and working to actually win.

Every time I hear a fired-up Democratic activist say, "I'd rather go down in a blaze of glory!" a little part of me dies. Me, I'd rather just win.

Posted by: hubcap on June 10, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Please ban this person at once. His/her common sense threatens the descent into lefty madness that guarantees Republican electoral victories.

Posted by: Billy Bob Shranzburg on June 10, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Every time I hear a fired-up Democratic activist say, "I'd rather go down in a blaze of glory!" a little part of me dies. Me, I'd rather just win.

You haven't won anything if your candidate goes on, not only to side with the GOP on crucial votes, but to do it in a way designed to undermine his fellow Democrats.

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 10, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

What this whole stupid flap illustrates is how much more style and symbolism matter to liberals than substance. And that's why they'll keep losing. Lieberman is not remotely a conservative. His voting record is thoroughly within the mainstream of Democratic politicians. The reason you lefties despise him so is because of a handful of public statements he's made about Iraq and a few other high-profile issues. But by all means keep shooting yourselves in the foot.

Posted by: GOP on June 10, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

What this whole stupid flap illustrates is how much more style and symbolism matter to liberals than substance.

Ha! That's a good one.

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 10, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

A selection of Senator Joseph Liebermans interest group ratings:

Liberal:

Planned Parenthood: 100%
NARAL Pro-Choice America: 100%
National Education Association: 88%
Childrens Defense Fund: 89%
ACLU: 83%
NAACP: 85%
Human Rights Campaign: 88%
National Organization for Women: 75%
American Public Health Association: 90%
United Auto Workers: 86%
AFL-CIO: 85%
People for the American Way: 85%
Bread for the World: 100%

Conservative:

National Right to Life Committee: 0%
National Taxpayers Union: 9%
Eagle Forum: 0%
Republican Liberty Caucus Economic Issues: 6%
American Conservative Union: 8%
Christian Coalition: 0%
Christian Action Network: 3%
Concerned Women for America: 8%
Family Research Council: 0%
Gun Owners of America: 0%
American Land Rights Association: 0%
Federation for American Immigration Reform: 0%

My God, the mans practically a fascist! No wonder you want to get rid of him.

Posted by: GOP on June 10, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

"I see that the 30%ers who support Chimpy McFlightsuit and the 28% who support the Worse-than-Worthless Republican Congress are trolling on this site."

I think you left out Bush rox, libs suck, Jews for Jesus.

Is that you Mr. L?

Posted by: Linus on June 10, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

I don't find it particularly convincing when Republican trolls encourage us to do the "smart" thing and support people like Lieberman. If they weren't afraid that Democrats were going to elect someone better they would keep their mouths shut.

But I don't generally listen to Republicans. The lie.

Posted by: olvlzl on June 10, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

The enthusiastic support for Lieberman from our resident trolls is one of the best indications that he needs to go. When GOP right-wingers challenge "moderates" in primaries, it isn't the end of the world; there is a conservative challenger against Chaffee in RI. We want Lieberman either defeated or (like Spector) pushed into behaving in the interest of his party, not the interest of Holy Joe...

Posted by: Marc on June 10, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney, I don't see why Lieberman running as an Independent means the GOP is bound to control the Senate.

Also, who is going to give Feinstein a run for her money in California?

Posted by: Brian on June 10, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

I think 90% of Republicans would welcome Joe Lieberman into the Republican party.
Posted by: Paddy Whack

The 10% of them wearing the white pointy hats and robes may not, though. ...

;)

Posted by: Nads on June 11, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

You say : Talking openly about possibly abandoning his party strikes me as a spectacularly bad strategy. He is, in effect, telling Democratic voters, "I want to be the Democratic nominee, but my allegiance will disappear if you choose someone else."

But no. What Lieberman is really saying is I WANT OT BE THE SENATOR AND I DO NOT CARE HOW I GET THERE.

There are reasons for bolting your party. Sometimes your party changes and you don't. Reagan famously claimed that view.

Sometimes you change in ways that your party can't go. Neither of these is the case with Lieberman running as an independent. You'll find few examples of this case I think. Zell Miller come to mind.

But Leiberman is saying neither of these things. He is talking about pure ambition to be a Senator. It must be his entire ambition at this point.

He would never win national office and any cabinet position is becoming an increaisingly expensive bit of political capital to expend for whoever is looney enough to nominate him.

Maybe he's on to something. Personally I can't stand the unctious clod. He reminds me of Orrin Hatch minus the undertaker demeanor.

I for one look forward to him enjoying his earning years as a lobbyist.

Posted by: paul on June 11, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

What Lieberman is really saying is I WANT OT BE THE SENATOR AND I DO NOT CARE HOW I GET THERE.

And that this 'Me-Me-Me-Joeism' is yet another sign of his arrested emotional development which others have argued is at the root of his otherwise strange connection with GW. They both share this adolescent Manichean view of the world (Heck, they'd both make good trolls).

But am partially with hubcap. Hope to see the same fervor shown to knocking off weak Republicans.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 11, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

If I were Lamont, I would be openly questioning Lieberman's loyalty to the Party on the basis of these statements. I would also put up a billboard on I-95 of the infamous Joe/Bush photo.

Posted by: bob h on June 11, 2006 at 6:13 AM | PERMALINK

The only way the Democrats can ever hope to be even a remotely relevant entity in Washington is to fall in lockstep with the Republicans and go along with whatever Bush wants to do. So far Lieberman is the only one who appears 100% committed to doing that, and you liberals are trying to kick him out of the party?

Posted by: American Hawk's stand-in on June 11, 2006 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats must not ignore the Republicans' advice on how to regain power in Congress. If they do, they do so at their own peril.

Posted by: nut on June 11, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Prop 187 passed with the support of 59% in California

After which the Republican party was wiped out as a statewide political force in the state. It didn't take long for hispanic voters to realize that the forces behind the proposition were more anti-Mexican-immigrant than anti-illegal-immigrant. The Republican party is now repeating the mistakes of California on a nationwide scale.

Posted by: Constantine on June 11, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

dj moonbat said:
I understand that. But isn't the point that having Lieberman in the Senate isn't winning? He might as well be a Republican.
===
Respectfully, I don't agree at all. IMO that's the kind of "Gore is the same as Bush" thinking that got us where we are now.

Lieberman's voting record is solidly Democratic. His public persona is a scolding, self-righteous tool, but his overall voting record stacks up quite nicely. I'll take him on my team, even if it means biting my tongue when he rolls out the Holy Joe persona on every Sunday morning talk show.

Many Senators are pompous asses. Lieberman just hides it worse than most.

Posted by: hubcap on June 12, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

dj moonbat said:

You haven't won anything if your candidate goes on, not only to side with the GOP on crucial votes, but to do it in a way designed to undermine his fellow Democrats.
===
Again, I respectfully disagree. I could win the chance to have Harry Reid, D-Nev as Majority Leader of the Senate. Which would be worth it all.

I would also be able to cross Connecticut off the election watchlist. With Lieberman as the nominee the race is a slam-dunk win for the Dems. With Lamont as the nominee (esp. with Lieberman as an independent), its a scratch-and-claw fight that would require lots of money and attention that could better be used in races where we could actually pick up Republican seats.

Posted by: hubcap on June 12, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry for the triple-post, I thought it might be less annoying to break my response up into littler chunks. I just wish I could figure out italics on this board (sigh).
===
dj moonbat said:

Reclaiming the Senate will not fix what's wrong with this country; nor will dumping Joe. But taking a stand will fix what's wrong with this country. Dumping Joe is a way to start doing that, and a darned good one.
===
Well, I don't believe this is really about ideology or principle. We can talk about "fixing what's wrong with this country," but I don't think that's why people want to dump Lieberman. Most of the time he goes with the Democratic flow. I think the "stand" we'd be taking is "Joe Lieberman is an insufferable egotist who supported the war in Iraq and kissed President Bush and I don't like him."

My bias is that I don't believe in letting things get worse before they can get better. And I don't believe in the Long War. I believe that years of heroic defeats usually lead to more defeat, not eventual triumph. I believe in winning what we can right now, and worrying about the long run once we can do something about it. So maybe I'm too conciliatory. But I'd jump at the chance to retake the Senate and Stop the Madness now, even if it means I have to hug and make nice with the Liebermans of the world. Even knowing that he'll throw me under the bus the moment he thinks it might help him. *shrug*

As for the netroots, I just think there's a lot of energy wasted. I respect Lamont and tip my hat to him for making the effort you DO have to keep people honest, and a primary challenge reminds politicians of where they come from. Ned seems like a good guy who's got bigger stones than I do. But in my 20+ years of being a yellow-dog Democrat, I know my party has a weakness for lost causes. (Why, as a young man I thought a Jesse Jackson presidential run was an AWESOME idea...). And I see the netroots walking down the same old path.

I think in the context of THIS YEAR, and almost unprecedented anti-GOP feeling, it's just a waste for people outside of Connecticut to spend time, energy and money targeting a Dem, no matter how annoying he is, when that energy and dough could be used to help Democratic candidates who are actually trying to unseat Republicans.

Posted by: hubcap on June 12, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney: did you see the Planned Parenthood rating for Lieberman?

That's an interesting point. Part of how Lieberman got that positive rating was by voting for the cloture vote on Alito but against Alito on the floor.

This tactic is what many of the posters here would term "classic" Lieberman. He wouldn't support the filibuster against Alito but once the up or down vote was underway and Alito was assured of victory, then Lieberman made his symbolic stand.

What's interesting, is that Planned Parenthood bought Joe's gambit hook line and sinker while NOW and the local NARAL chapter did not.

And although I hold no misconceptions about Cheney's position on all of this, it something for other people to think about next time an organization comes asking for money: how effective are these ratings of candidates and do these ratings reflect your values?

Posted by: cyntax on June 12, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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