Microwaved Lieberman Leftovers

From the AP:

Sen. Joe Lieberman filed to run for re-election in November as an independent, saying Wednesday it would be "irresponsible and inconsistent with my principles" to quit.
Where was that sentiment in Florida, circa November 2000? Was quitting 'responsible and consistent with your principles' then? You even received more votes in that election!
Lieberman said that he fired his campaign manager and spokesman, and asked for the resignations of his campaign staff.
I'm going to read that as 'most of my staff are faithful Democrats that believe in the democratic process. When I lost my primary, they knew that an independent run was neither responsible nor in keeping with their ideas about representative government so they left and I'm trying to spin this as a 'shake-up.'

Washington Post columnist Eli Pariser piece today was, with the exception of a corny finish, excellent:
Ned Lamont's victory Tuesday night in Connecticut's U.S. Senate primary is great news for Democrats. And it's a watershed moment for the growing majority of Americans, in red states and blue, who want change.

For months, polls have warned that across the political spectrum people are fed up -- with the no-end-in-sight occupation of Iraq; with an energy policy that caters to oil giants while gasoline prices soar; with a health-care system that leaves more behind with every passing day. Lamont's victory is evidence that a long-awaited wave of voter sentiment on those issues has materialized.


[W]hile Lamont's victory is a promising development, it marks the beginning of the end for an old favorite of Washington insiders -- the tactics of triangulation. Originally employed as a survival strategy by a Democratic president in the wake of 1994's Republican revolution, the policy of seizing the political middle ground no longer makes sense in an era when any attempt at bipartisanship is understood as a sign of Democratic weakness and exploited accordingly.

Had triangulation worked, we'd be in a different moment. But for six long years, it hasn't. Even Sen. Hillary Clinton has seen the writing on the wall in recent weeks, criticizing the Bush team's Iraq fiasco by publicly confronting Donald Rumsfeld, calling on him to resign and demanding that troop withdrawals from Iraq begin soon.

With triangulation passing, a new era of bolder, principle-driven politics can begin. Lamont's success should be the opening salvo in a 90-day campaign to establish the clear-cut differences between Democrats and Republicans. Most independent voters, like Democrats, want change, but many of them aren't sure yet whether Democratic candidates are capable of giving it to them. Now's the chance to seize that mantle.
Yeah, lots of paragraphs. The Washington Post's lawyers will be after me, but I couldn't pick out just two or three. The whole thing is very good.

My final analysis of Lieberman (for now) is that while his position may look strong now, he will get weaker as November approaches. His ability to raise money is diminished. The resources of the Democratic Party are gone for him. His staff, certainly professional and experienced (despite a rather poor primary campaign) won't be replaced with anybody who's better simply because the Connecticut for Lieberman party doesn't have as large a pool of campaign workers to draw from.

Lamont, meanwhile, will only get stronger. The adds against Lieberman practically write themselves.
"Joe had an exit strategy if he lost the Primary, why doesn't he want one for our troops in Iraq?"
You get the idea. Money will come easier to Lamont now. He's getting money from every aspirant 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidate. They know that strong support of Lamont, the Netroot's darling, will benefit them in their runs for President.

Watch for Lieberman to start making mistakes and start looking desperate. With some luck, in a few weeks calmer heads within the Democratic Establishment will convince Joe that his independent run is ill-advised. Perhaps someone will convince him that he should retire gracefully from the U.S. Senate and wait for a chance to run for Governor.

No comments: