Holy Joe's retirement closes the book, more or less, on a great question: was the decision by liberals to go all in on the primary challenge in 2006 a good idea? I called it "a reasonable gamble by liberals gone bad" a while ago, but I think I was wrong. Going back to the gamble...in 2006, Joe Lieberman was a very annoying Senator for many liberals, but he was not the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. He was, however, probably the Democratic Senator farthest to the right compared to his state, which made him a logical primary target, even if he wasn't so personally annoying.
There seems to be an undercurrent of surprise that Howard Wolfson is now advising Ned Lamont in his Connecticut gubernatorial campaign, but it's worth remembering that this isn't the first time these two have teamed up. Come back with me to the crazy days of August 2006, when establishment Democrats, having tried (and failed) to defeat Lamont in his race against Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary, were now rushing to Lamont's side--especially those Dems who were about to run for president.
Everybody is focused on the fact that Olympia Snowe will vote for the Baucus bill. This has obscured the news that Joe Lieberman announced today (on Don Imus, natch) that he's opposed: IMUS: Do you support the Baucus bill? LIEBERMAN: Not, not, no. I mean, not the way it is now. IMUS: Ok, what about it don’t you like? LIEBERMAN: Well, here’s my concern, as I watch the way it took shape. And it goes back to these two things we’re trying to do at once.
Jamie, below, expresses his displeasure over a new poll finding that Connecticut voters, if they had to do it over again, would vote for Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman by a margin of 51-37. I don't find Jamie's argument convincing. Let me go through it point-by-point. 1. Jamie writes that the poll "was commissioned by the Daily Kos (which the Times doesn't bother to mention, instead linking to a blog called "My Left Nutmeg,") and conducted by an obscure outfit called "Research 2000." That should tell you something, given Kos's history with Lieberman." Well, no, it doesn't tell you anything.
The New York Times editorial page blog goes after Joe Lieberman today, citing a poll which purports to show that if the Senate election were held in Connecticut today, Joe Lieberman would lose to Ned Lamont 51% to 37%. This, the Times and other liberal bloggers allege, shows that Lieberman ran for re-election on false premises, claiming he was a "loyal Democrat," and that Connecticut voters have buyer's remorse. Let's take a look at the poll.
In Stamford, Connecticut yesterday, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont, and what's-his-name debated in what The New York Times characterized as "a stilted and at times awkward exchange punctuated by sarcastic swipes from the candidates." The dispatch did not quote very much that I thought notably sarcastic.
The blogosphere of the left was a bit giddy when Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary. It is strangely silent now. So why? Well, one salient fact is that Lieberman is leading in the polls. According to a Hartford Courant/Center for Survey Research poll, reported in the Courant, "Lieberman leads Lamont among likely voters 48-40 percent." Monika McDermott, who supervised the poll, said Lieberman had met all of his challenges so far. Especially Iraq.
When I wrote my Spine on the Lieberman-Lamont race just below, I hadn't yet read Jason Zengerle's Plank today pointing out even worse news for the Democratic candidate than the conclusions derived from the last public opinion poll done for The Hartford Courant by the Center for Survey Research at the University of Connecticut. Maybe Mark Foley's shenanigans will throw some House seats to the Democrats. But, if Lieberman actually wins his seat--more important, if Ned Lamont loses it and loses it decisively, meaningfully--there will be real reason for reasonable people to celebrate.
Does Ned Lamont really want Al Sharpton's support? The reverend has lost just about all his fans in the Afro-American population, as anyone could tell by how he fared in the 2004 Democratic primary. I think he got fewer votes and fewer delegates than Kucinich, which is a great achievement. In any case, black Americans--having produced solid and achieving and aspiring politicians like Harold Ford Jr., Barack Obama and Deval Patrick (for all my carping at him)--have no reason to stick with Sharpton on anything.
At the beginning of August, President Bush introduced a war-weary American public to an old conservative slander disguised as a new approach to the Iraq war. Shifting from his earlier rhetoric of optimism, he gave a series of election-timed speeches that were noticeably grim. Bush no longer emphasized the prospects of success; rather, he spoke of the danger of defeat. "Some politicians look at our efforts in Iraq and see a diversion from the war on terror," he said in a speech late last month.