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Comments by YACCS
Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hey Joe, I heard you shot your lady down

CT-Sen: Why Joe Lieberman will drop out
by PsiFighter37 [Subscribe]
Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 03:57:59 PM PDT

(cross-posted at Deny My Freedom)

Listening to Joe Lieberman's defiant non-concession speech on August 8, I honestly believed that he was going to be a very competitive candidate in the long run. In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Lieberman (C4L-CT) holds a double-digit lead over Democratic nominee Ned Lamont, almost solely on the strength of his overwhelming support from Republicans. Two more recent polls - one by Rasmussen and one by the American Research Group shows the race to be a statistical dead heat. Right now, it looks like this race could go down to the wire.

It won't, though. Just looking at the factors, there's no way Lieberman is going to be able to sustain a campaign for another 2 1/2 months. Come November, his campaign as an 'independent Democrat' will be a fading memory.

I still believe Lieberman's ego is too big for his own good. Nevertheless, I don't think that there will be a huge spectacle when he drops out, as Lawrence O'Donnell imagines. Instead, there are several harsh realities that the junior senator will have to face as he attempts to gain traction for his unaffiliated candidacy.

Rebuilding a campaign
The day after Lieberman's loss in the Democratic primary, he fired his entire staff, replacing Sean Smith and Marion Steinfels with Sherry Brown and noted wanker Dan Gerstein as campaign manager and spokesperson, respectively. Last week, the Lieberman campaign hired a new media consultant and pollster, even though the recent work both Josh Isay and Neil Newhouse have done has been for GOP candidates. In particular, Newhouse's client list is entirely comprised of Republicans, including two in Connecticut (Governor Jodi Rell and Representative Rob Simmons). So it's clear that Lieberman has at least the head of his campaign put together. But as any anatomical expert will tell you, the head doesn't work so well without a body.

That's precisely where Lieberman's problem lies. First, the main point of access to a political campaign these days - the Internet - is one at which Lieberman is sorely lacking. After pathetically claiming that the Lamont campaign was responsible for hacking its website, a brand-new site was relaunched on a new host - but there has been absolutely no work done on it. There's a new ad hosted on YouTube, but judging from the messages left on the profile, as well as the comments left for the ad, people think it's a complete joke. There's not much scouring of his website to do - no issues page, no contact page - only two links for volunteering and donating money. It's hardly something that proactively makes people want to volunteer for the campaign. Additionally, it seems that Lieberman is having great difficulty finding a Democratic vendor who will work on his website. Leave it to those in the business to tell it like it is:

One firm, Media Mezcla LLC, which produces Campaign Engine, a Web site management platform, has been running online ads highlighting Lieberman's site outage as a way of drumming up business. "If Joe Lieberman had used Campaign Engine, his site would still be up," the ad reads.

Would Media Mezcla work for Lieberman's independent campaign if approached? "My firm works with Democrats and progressive candidates," said President Ben Schaffer. "Joe Lieberman is neither." (emphasis added)

Lamont's campaign still has its all-star tag team at the top - campaign manager Tom Swan and campaign spokeswoman Liz Dupont-Diehl. Recently, they've added former state Senate Majority Leader and Connecticut Democratic Party chairman George Jepsen as campaign chairman, and today, there's news that Clinton advisor Harold Wolfson and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's 'war room' advisor Stephanie Cutter will be joining the Lamont campaign as well. Whatever one may think of the D.C. consultant crowd - and Cutter certainly has her share of detractors - it's clear that the big guns are lining up behind Lamont. It'll be very difficult for Lieberman to match that kind of firepower.

Although the political system would be a lot better off with full public financing of elections, that's not the world we live in right now. After the primary, Gerstein reported that Lieberman had $2 million left after the primary. Considering that Lieberman raised over $1.2 million in the last 15 days before the primary, it's clear that he had the connections to raise money quickly and easily. The funny thing is, you don't hear a lot about Lieberman raking in money hand over fist nowadays. Sure, you have the occasional idiot like Steve Rattner state that he'll keep putting up money for Lieberman, but is this really going to play? You haven't heard Rattner or any other big-time Democratic donors so much as utter a word in favor of Lieberman since the first couple of days past the primary.

I'd have to agree with Steve Gilliard's take on the Wolfson addition to the Lamont campaign. It sends a clear message to the moneybags in New York that Hillary's taken a side - and they had better not cross her.

Wolfson is probably the one person in Hillary's operation I actually respect, besides Peter Daou. He helped Chuck Schumer into the Senate and is a pro. Dan Gerstein is a boy compared to him.

What this means is that Hillary is firmly in the Stop Joe camp.

More importantly, this sends a signal to the New York money people that she's committed to Lamont and they might want to not feed Joe money.

Lamont has a very large base of small donors who will probably be willing to donate again if called upon. In addition, big names within the Democratic Party, such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. With a campaign stop with John Edwards under their belt and one upcoming with John Kerry, you can expect that more money will begin to flow into Lamont's coffers. It's only a matter of time until Lieberman's $2 million - an amount he raised as a Democrat - will dry up, while Lamont will have more money flowing in than before.

Put simply, this issue alone was most likely responsible for Lieberman's primary defeat. Although most of us know that Lieberman is still a true believer in the failure in Iraq, his increasingly 'finger-in-the-wind' positioning is going to cause him to lose even more support. Considering how Lieberman criticized Lamont in their July 6 debate for taking too many positions on the war, it's quite ironic that it's the senator who is now all over the map on the issue. Let's take a look at some of his latest political posturing on the issue - and keep in mind that this is all after the primary:

August 13, 2006 (according to MyDD, the date the site came back up):

And I'm staying because I want to help end the war in Iraq as quickly and successfully as possible, in a way that brings stability to the Middle East and doesn't leave us even more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

August 20, 2006:

Sen. Joe Lieberman, attacked by fellow Democrats as being too close to the White House on the Iraq War, on Sunday called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign but said the United States cannot "walk away" from the Iraqis.


"With all respect to Don Rumsfeld, who has done a grueling job for six years, we would benefit from new leadership to work with our military in Iraq," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

August 23, 2006:

"Iraq has now become what everyone thinks it was before, another battlefield in this war with Islamic terrorists, and we've got to end it with a victory," Mr. Lieberman said during an interview with the nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck on Tuesday.


Mr. Lieberman also reiterated his belief that the war against terrorists could drag on for several years, and that pulling troops out of Iraq would allow the Iranian government to move in and would increase the price of oil.

"If we walk away, then the Iranians will -- as sure as I am talking to you -- surge into Iraq, certainly take over the south and the oil that's there," he said. "We'll be paying six or seven bucks a gallon. And that'll just be the tip of it. I mean, there'll be instability and war throughout the Middle East. We've got to wake up to this. It is the test, unfortunately, of not just this generation of American leaders, but of the next generation as well, because this enemy ain't going away."

August 25, 2006:

Sen. Joe Lieberman, the three-term Democrat whose independent campaign for re-election is being seen nationally as a referendum on the Iraq war, said Friday he may consider a timeline for troop withdrawals from Iraq.

The proposal was floated by Republican Rep. Chris Shays, another Connecticut politician facing a tough re-election battle with an anti-war candidate. Shays has long been a supporter of the war and previously has opposed withdrawal timetables.

"It seems to me that Chris saying, maybe we ought to set some goals for when we want to get out and I'd like to see what he has in mind before I comment on it," Lieberman said while campaigning in New Haven, Conn.

Lieberman has gone from advocating a need to the end of the war to calling for Rumsfeld's resignation to telling Glenn Beck the war is on the scale of past world wars to saying he'll consider a Republican's plan - even though Shays' remarks may remind you more of Lamont's position than what Lieberman has advocated for the past 3+ years. The Republicans were able to make political hay out of John Kerry's perceived flip-flopping on the issue, even though it wasn't that blatant. Here, it's clear that Lieberman is struggling to win points however he can. 61% of America opposes the war in Iraq, putting the senator and his Republican cohorts in the severe minority of the country. Now, he may actually be moving towards the position that Lamont has been taking all along - setting a timeline to bring our troops home. If he hopes to win by belatedly taking the other side's position, he might do well to heed Harry Truman's words, with a slight modification: if voters have a choice between a real Democrat and a fake one, they're going to pick the real Democrat - Ned Lamont.

To me, there's only so much momentum that Lieberman can claim from these recently released polls before the tide begins to turn once again. It's clear that the Democratic establishment, with the exception of a few traitorous senators, are strongly behind Lamont. He's getting the money to compete; he's bulking up his campaign while keeping true to his campaign's roots - the grassroots; and while he can continue to hammer away at Lieberman over other issues, the biggest one of them all - Iraq - is the gift from the senator that will keep on giving.

Lieberman seems extremely disinclined to officially accept Republican aid, no matter how much he'll need it to have any realistic shot of winning in November. However, with every important Democrat abandoning him, I don't see any choice for him except to drop out. It may not be next week, but come the days running up to November 7, I suspect we'll be spending our time focusing elsewhere - because Ned Lamont will be running virtually unopposed by then.

What he doesn't say is that Lieberman hasn't really done more than TV and national TV at that. He hasn't been willing to go on the local stations and he isn't really doing interviews. The problem is that Lieberman is talking a game, but he isn't playing one, while Lamont has hammered him on Katrina and built up political chits from people who count. Lieberman doesn't seem to really have an organization to run with and doesn't seem to be building one.

His fellow senators don't want to turf him out, or didn't, until they realized he's basically committing treason by going on Glenn Beck and sounding unhinged, and now running around with Republicans. Russell Shaw in the HuffPo may not think it's a campaign stop, but I wonder how many he's organized. It looked like one to me. All that praise from Rove was designed to cause trouble as well, maybe force the Dems to be rash and force him from the party.

But Lieberman doesn't have any idea what he stands for besides more time in the Senate. And that becomes more clear every day. First, it's World War III, now it's timetable? Who wants to give him more time in Washington?

Hillary sent a message to Lieberman. The next step is the cocktail party circuit with Lamont on her arm.

It's easy to sit outside and say "fuck Lieberman", but his collegues like him to some degree, even the Clintons. They don't want to go to the matresses with him, humiliating him out of public life. We may, but he never did anything for us. Chris Dodd came to him as a friend. John Kerry clearly not. Hillary is now saying "Joe, get out before we hurt you".

He hasn't been listening, and it's only a matter of time before Lamont really puts the screws to him. He's been laying back, running his race, without really savaging Lieberman. He hasn't attacked him hard for still running.

But his Katrina remarks are just the start of what could be coming.

No one wants to put Lieberman down hard, at least in DC. But that's what is coming. Because Lieberman is endangering other races, like the three House seats in play, the gubenatorial race and others. Because they don't want that fight with the DLC and friends during the election. They'll wage it if they have to, but they don't want to start that shit now. Come January, Howard Dean and friends have some long standing business to attend to. But for now, shoving Lieberman out of the way in as friction-free way as possible is the goal of the people who have to deal with him.

posted by Steve @ 12:10:00 AM

12:10:00 AM

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