This is the Democracy they like best, where
the loser goes in the street to upset the election
BY JAMES TARANTO
Monday, August 21, 2006 3:53 p.m. EDT
Declare Victory, Get Out
They said they would be greeted as liberators for toppling the old regime. Instead, they find themselves caught in a quagmire--a vicious, unwinnable civil war with incalculable costs in both resources and prestige.
We refer, of course, to the Democrats in Connecticut.
An exchange between "TPM reader BM" and Angry Left blogger Steve Gilliard illustrates their predicament going into an intraparty general election race between Sen. Joe Lieberman, now an independent, and Democratic nominee Ned Lamont. Here is BM:
I don't like Joe Lieberman and hope he isn't in the Senate. End of story. Let's all move on and focus on the races where Republicans can be defeated. If Democrats regain the House or the Senate, even if Joe is elected it won't matter as much. As long as liberal blogs devote 20-30% of their time beating on Joe, they are missing out on beating on all of the vulnerable and possibly vulnerable Republican Congressmen. Conservatives understand--make your point then move on to where you can have an effect. The best use of resources is to defeat as many Republicans as possible. Why win the "Sore Loserman" battle and lose the war?
The problem is that Lieberman is the flying wedge for the GOP. He can say the Dems are weak and captive of radicals, and bolster Bush at the same time.
Taking him out is the number one priority because his continued presence hurts all races, especially the Connecticut House races. He is literally their lifesaver. Joe attacking Dems hurt all Dems, in all their races. Ignoring him would be suicidal. Getting him out of the race should be the priority. Not just for Connecticut Dems, but for the entire party.
Lieberman was a horribly divisive character and unless his political career is ended, other Dems will pay.
In a way these two are talking past each other. BM says defeating Lieberman in November shouldn't be the Democrats' top priority. Gilliard doesn't disagree; he says the priority should be "getting him out of the race."
But hope is not a plan, and Gilliard doesn't say how he proposes to get Lieberman out. They went to war without a plan to win the peace!Taranto is being cute here. It's very simple, he has no field ops, isn't going to get them. Pressure and time will, like water on rocks, wear Lieberman down. The polls are already sinking. It isn't hope. It's a brutal reality of people trumping money. He's now pushing "people power" like it's a magic potion he can invoke by calling for it.
..................................It looks as though Lieberman is in the race to stay--but there is an answer to the Democrats' quandary. For the good of the party, Lamont could throw his support to Lieberman. This would leave the incumbent running essentially unopposed, neutralizing the "flying wedge" and allowing the Democrats to concentrate on beating Republicans.
Lamont could declare that he made his point by winning the primary, but his own ambitions are less important than the party. He could then redeploy, going on the road with Lieberman, campaigning for Democratic House challengers in Connecticut and for Democratic Senate candidates elsewhere. Rather than stay in a race he is likely to lose, Lamont could prove he understands his own dictum: " 'Stay the course' is not a winning strategy."
Likely to lose?
I mean, I've read some stupid things over the years, but why in God's name would the winner of a primary quit so the loser can continue to run. He lost, it's over, Johnny, it's over.
"Stay in a race he's likely to lose" is going to be one of the most incredible statements ever made about politics I've ever seen.
I know there might be oxygen deprivation around the Wall Street Journal, but the fact is that while Lieberman goes on TV to talk to his DC friends, his opponents are doing local TV.
More importantly, Lamont is meeting the New York money people this week, on the arm of Hillary Clinton. And when they meet him and see he's one of them, Joe, well, he's gonna have problems. Because let's face it, his campaign organization sucked when he ran, he's running against the tide and any hope of local support, and even if the Rattners gave every dime they could, that will not buy one precinct worker who likes working the polls because the alderman or selectman lets them. And who is now supporting Lamont.
posted by Steve @ 12:15:00 AM