The Lieberman conundrum
A party at war
What has mystified me from day one about Lieberman's campaign is the way he's actually campaigning. He seems to be oblivious about offending the vast majority of war weary Democrats, by calling them haters.
The thing which is weird is that Lieberman, with all the advantages of incumbency, seems to be intent on pissing them away.
What is even more striking is that he's setting up the anti-Lieberman party for every pol who asked him for help and got a cold shoulder. Lamont may be inexperienced but he's got a lot of organic suppport, driven by Lieberman's arrogance.
What is clear from the local papers is that Lieberman has made a lot of enemies over the years and all the blogging in the world couldn't create them. The explosion of the Lamont campaign, something I didn't think would be much more than a challenge to teach him a lesson, is about to cost him his seat.
The idea that Lieberman could risk splitting the party to save his seat should be repellent for most people, but it is clear that Lieberman thinks about Joe first.
I think his independent run is going to be a failure. Because Lamont and his people can not only challenge Lieberman, but demand that Dems support Dems and the pressure to do so will be intense.
Normally, playing the independent card doesn't hurt a candidate, because Americans hate partisan politics. But considering the absolute hostility he was catching in the street, people need to realize that saying Joe has progressive values isn't enough. They want to see those values in action. And with Lieberman, he aggressively supports Bush and then wonders why people are so angry at him.
I think the numbers showing support for an independent run are deceptive. Lamont would be able to hammer on Lieberman's untrustworthiness like a drum. He can ask him why he's a public scold, a friend to reactionary Republicans and supporting a failed war in Iraq when he avoided Vietnam.
Lieberman is too cute by half in many ways. He hands out kisses while insulting voters. It isn't just the war in play, it's his longtime opposition to affirmative action, his lack of concern about abortion rights, and his refusal to support Democrats. He talks progressive and votes liberal Republican.
But most importantly, Lieberman would have to build an organization from the ground up. He would have to hire staff to replace the party regulars who would be working for his campaign. That won't be easy, even if the DLC and friends decide to help him.
One would hope that Lieberman, if he lost, would see the handwritting on the wall and not go down this road, and into infamy. Not because he's going to give seats away, but because it would reveal his contempt for the democratic process.
If he wanted to run and an independent, that's what he should have done. Not cowardly hedge his bets in case he didn't get his way.
I would expect an editorial barrage against him in the local papers if he lost. I would expect them to demand he not run and accept the verdict of Connecticut voters.
For people to claim the opposition to Lieberman is based out of state, they need to read the local papers. They have been hammering him over his stands. The bloggers reflect a growing local consensus that Joe's time is up. Now, he's got Biden, who is almost as disliked as Lieberman campaigning for him, Salazaar, who is unknown, and Boxer, who will hear about this from her own consitutents. None of them live in Connecticut. Local bloggers do. And they are the ones doing the work on the campaign.
posted by Steve @ 2:15:00 AM