The Talking Dog

July 16, 2006, The kiss of political death

The Grey Lady treats us to a discussion of the political plight of Joe Lieberman, who seems... a tad down in the dumps... and in the polls.

Frankly, I have considered, and still consider the Connecticut intra-mural urinating contest among Democrats to be hopelessly counterproductive: lots of money, energy and volunteer time is going to multi-millionaire Ned Lamont, who is perfectly capable of paying for this kind of run on his own, but isn't (paying for things yourself is inconsistent with becoming a multi-millionaire, of course). This money, energy and volunteer time, of course, is not going to House candidates who might unseat Republican incumbents (three of whom are in Connecticut), or of course, to other Democratic Senate candidates in other states who... might unseat Republican incumbents. My view, for the umpteenth time: this pissing contest is a luxury we can't afford. Those helping to fuel the pissing contest are hurting us. Not that anyone will heed this humble blog on this point, or just about any other point.

That said, let me say that poetic justice would involve Lieberman either cleaning Lamont's clock in the primary (possible, but not how you bet) or in the general election (much, much more likely) as the candidate of "the Lieberman Party"... and then joining the Republican caucus! Not how you bet either, of course; Lieberman tells us he intends to stay a Democrat.

But what he's really told us is that he's a prick: the likelihood isn't that refusing to step aside if he can't win the primary puts Connecticut in likely play for the Republicans. It doesn't; if Lamont wins the primary and Lieberman goes away, Lamont would almost certainly win the general election. Lieberman's recalcitrance does, however, put the rest of the country in play, as critical resources are going to go to "hold" Connecticut one way or another that could be crucial in helping in close House or Senate races where pickups are possible. In a way, it's almost a scenario Karl Rove dreamed up.

But Joe doesn't care. It's always about him. Ironically, by voting record, he really is a solidly middle of the road Democrat-- even on the war. He's obviously done stupid things image-wise (see above). But mostly... he's a prick, who cares more about holding his own damned seat than the wishes of his own state's own primary voters... or of course, the fortunes of his own party's national position.

Love and kisses to you, Joe.


Not being a resident of Conn., the outcome of the Lieberman/Lamont race would not interest me under normal circumstances.

But these are not normal circumstances.

Though I certainly can’t give Lieberman a pass for his choices of late, I also can’t cast my lot with a movement whose goal isn’t to improve the Democratic party, but to burn it down and remake it into their image.

I realize most Lamont supporters are sincere. But then there is the rest of them who are seeking not only to oust Lieberman, but also Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Evan Bayh, Maria Cantwell, and others who do not fit into their narrow definition of what a “real Democrat” is. In Cantwell’s case, she could very well lose her Senate seat to a Republican because anti-war left candidates will split the vote in the November election.

Make no mistake, these movements to defeat sitting moderate Democrats aren’t of the grassroots variety. They are well funded from outside of each state in question. In Lieberman’s case, over 70% of the $800,000 plus raised by Ned Lamont has come from outside Conn.

This, of course, is not an endorsement by me of the Iraq war, a war that I oppose and the one issue that has raised the hackles of the left. However, in the coming years, this war will be over and a memory and I would prefer not to have Democrats-come-lately who are weak on foreign policy occupying the chambers of Congress. I don’t want to trade the ideological heirs to Truman and JFK that we currently have for the ideological heirs to Henry Wallace and George McGovern who are battling to control the Democratic party.

The last time a war divided the Democratic party, we got George McGovern as the nominee and lost in an electoral and popular vote landslide, an election that put the Democrats on a downward spiral that we’re still witnessing today.

Finally, it has not escaped my attention that Lieberman is prepared to run as an independent should he lose the August primary to Lamont. I don’t believe he should. However, similar circumstances haven’t prevented “progressive” candidates from doing, or considering, similar things.

Rep. Bernie Sanders, a confirmed socialist and lifelong Independent, has always refused to run as a Democrat and is only now agreeing to appear on the primary ballot as a Democrat for Jim Jefford’s seat. However, Sanders WILL NOT RUN AS A DEMOCRAT if he gets the party’s nomination. For this, the left has remained silent.

Was there any outrage from the left when Cynthia McKinney was considering running as a Green after she lost he seat in 2002? No. In fact, the left encouraged it.

See, I don’t really believe you’re angry that Lieberman might leave the Democratic party to run as an independent. You’re angry that in doing so, he’ll win a three-way race and, thus, foil your attempts to dispose of him.

For these reasons, for the preservation of the Democratic party as a national and mainstream political force, for the short sightedness of the so-called “progressive grassroots” movement, I cannot support Ned Lamont or any organization that does.

I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him yet, but I’m sure Ned Lamont is a good and sincere man. A part of me wishes he was the incumbent and running against a Republican. But a victory for him will only send a message that the big tent of the Democratic party is being taken down, and anyone who won’t tow a 100% ideologically pure line with the left could be a target. THAT is not the Democratic party I want to belong to.

Posted by Red State Donkey at July 20, 2006 12:12 PM

See, I don’t really believe you’re angry that Lieberman might leave the Democratic party to run as an independent. You’re angry that in doing so, he’ll win a three-way race and, thus, foil your attempts to dispose of him.

Well, I personally couldn't care less if Lieberman won, Lamont won, or the Republican-to-be-named-later won.

My concern is that this is such a dream scenario for Karl Rove that maybe he thought of it: set up a national internecine pissing contest-- DEM AGAINST DEM AND KEEP IT GOING UNTIL NOVEMBER-- while the rest of us take our eyes off the prize... the prize being TO UNSEAT REPUBLICANS, and not, of course, to unseat apostate Dems.

So perhaps we do agree on this point...

Posted by the talking dog at July 20, 2006 12:42 PM

Bull, dumping Lieberman is addition by subtraction. Democrats will do better with the voting public WITHOUT holy joe cutting their legs out from under them every chance he gets.
No one will ever think that the dems stand for anything as long as a DEMOCRAT keeps reading RNC talking points.
Joe made his own problems. Lamont should never have been a threat, but the people of CT decided Joe doesnt represent their values and positions. So now he's in trouble. Too freakin' bad - couldn't happen to a nicer asshat.
And Lieberman is toast in a 3-way. This has happened before and democrats vote for democrats, republicans vote for republicans, and there's nothing left for the third man.

Posted by Geeno at July 21, 2006 11:16 PM