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Lieberman and McKinney Lose, Voters Win

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Ned Lamont has beaten Senator Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic primary election in Connecticut to run as the party’s Senate candidate on November’s ballot. With 97% of the vote counted, Lamont held a lead of less than 3.5%. My mild disappointment is not that Lamont won, but the small margin. If Connecticut were in the throes of an anti-incumbent fever, Lamont would have won over Sen. Joseph Lieberman by a landslide. On the flip side, another incumbent lost yesterday: Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney lost her bid for reelection.

I will go on record now and say that November’s race between Lamont as Democrat and Lieberman as Democratic Independent will go one of two ways. Either, Lamont will succeed in painting Lieberman as a divider of Connecticut and the Democratic Party and a man who doesn’t like playing by the party’s rules, or Lieberman will succeed with a lot of help from Independent and Republican voters who see more conservative prospects from Sen. Joe than their own Republican candidate (who has little chance in this predominantly Democratic state). You can hold me to this call.

Voters in Connecticut, largely a liberal lot, did not have a clear 100% Democrat choice. But then, it is getting harder and harder to define just what a 100% Democrat is these days. Ned Lamont’s stand on some fiscal issues side with Republican and conservative leanings, Iraq excepted. On social issues, his campaign site reads from centrist to liberal on issues like women’s right to choose and civil rights. Actually, both Lamont and Lieberman are moderates straddling the right-left divide on some issues. It is encouraging that Democratic voters are willing to entertain candidates who are not extremists from their party’s fringe. However, it also appears this election was largely a single-issue referendum on the war in Iraq, at least if the campaign rhetoric is the gauge.

Still, I am encouraged. I continue to support the voting out of irresponsible incumbents who choose personal and local gains over what is required for the health and future of the nation. I believe invading Iraq damaged our nation’s reputation in the world, and seriously impeded our leadership role in world affairs. The anti-incumbent movements springing up around the country are not referendums on Iraq. While a Senator has an obligation to represent their state’s constituents, what good does it do to serve local constituents if constituent greed and short-sightedness bankrupts the whole nation?

A senator has an equal, if not greater obligation, to vote for policy that insures the health and well-being of the nation. A state cannot succeed if the United States fails. The reckless fiscal policy of our federal government threatens the economic health of the nation and all its states and people as the Baby Boom generation moves into retirement. Therefore, it is desperately important that voters look to the nation’s future and cast their ballots with that priority set at least as high as their preferences for state issues. No good that will come of Senators bringing home the pork if, the nation’s indebtedness becomes unsustainable.

I am encouraged that a national issue was at the heart of this Connecticut campaign, and not which candidate could bring home more pork. Lest we forget, one million dollars of pork for Connecticut comes with a price tag: 49 million dollars of pork for 49 other states. Would you pay 50 times a product’s price to insure you get one of the 50 items available? McKinney’s and Lieberman’s losses yesterday were a first installment on what I hope will be a growing movement of anti-incumbent sentiment aimed at irresponsible politicians, and which will demand the nation’s future be the criterion for voting in November’s elections.

About David R. Remer

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You don’t say much about the McKinney loss, but IMO it’s almost as significant as the Lieberman defeat. McKinney was NOT a centrist like Lieberman, and I think her defeat shows a significant change in attitude among the African American population, away from the more radical wing of the Demcratic party and towards a more moderate position. That or they just got tired of her ego and posturing.

    As for Lamont’s margin, given that Lieberman was an incumbent, a 3.5% margin is HUGE.

    Dave

  • Matt

    Lieberman a centrist? No way. He is an old fashioned, through and through liberal. He will be reelected, and easily, this fall.

  • http://voidnow.org David R. Remer

    Dave Nalle, I agree with your comments. I think moderation is the trend in response to the previouse 2 election cycles when losses were pegged to extremist left issues.

    I would use the word significant instead of huge, but, that’s a minor point.

  • Nancy

    Is there any word on what percent of registered voters got out & voted? After all, if only 100 people bothered to get out & vote, then it’s not quite as heartening as it seems.

  • http://voidnow.org David R. Remer

    Nancy, Dean’s brother said last night that the registrations were up significantly as was the turnout for a primary compared to previous primaries. Someone mentioned 15% which I assume is of all registered voters. Primaries are not very big draws. But, this one seems to have been at the high end according Donna Brazil and Dean’s brother who worked on this election.

  • Nancy

    Well, then that IS encouraging; it means people are finally, possibly, beginning to get annoyed enough to haul their fat butts out of their lounge chairs & away from their TVs long enough to go vote for a change, instead of just sitting around & whining about things they don’t like. Which in turn implies that this may turn out to be a far bigger groundswell of public opinion than anyone has foreseen, and ‘way bigger than the pols will like. Now, THAT will be interesting. It takes a lot these days to get Americans out of their chairs.

  • http://voidnow.org David R. Remer

    Nancy, one race does not make a trend, but, I am hopeful that the PEW research polls indicating a groundswell of anti-incumbent sentiment surrounding this year’s elections is accurate.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Lieberman a centrist? No way. He is an old fashioned, through and through liberal. He will be reelected, and easily, this fall.

    I can’t imagine what ground you have for thinking Lieberman is a Liberal. His positions on almost every issue are more illiberal than a lot of Republicans. But I agree he’ll be reelected as an independent in the fall.

    dave

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    Turnout was somewhere between 40% and 50% of Connecticut’s Democrats…which is pretty damn good for a primary election anywhere.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    Im not so sure about him winning as an independent.. I would think that after losing the primary he would get some backlashes in public opinion. I think CT dems are going to be a lot more hesitant about supporting him once he’s left behind his legacy in the Democratic Party. And a victory for Lamont just builds momentum. CT newspaper’s were filled with headlines and phrases like, “Some wary of supporting an Independent candidacy” “A Casualty of War” “Fresh off a loss in the Democratic primary.” Not good press. Liberman and the Rep candidate will split the moderate and conservative vote, and Lamont will take the party liners and the liberals – the largest group in a state like CT.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Prior to the conclusion of the primary polls were showing Lieberman winning a 3-way handily. That might change now that the scenario is for real, but I’d be surprised.

    It’s not that Lieberman and the Republican will split the moderate and conservative vote, but that Lieberman will get all the moderates, some of the Democrats and some of the Republicans and leave the other two with just the extreme wings of their parties backing them.

    Mainstream Democrats DON’T want to vote for socialists who get rammed down their throats just as moderate Republicans don’t like constantly being forced to vote for religious ideologues. Lieberman offers them an alternative and I think he’s going to win a big victory as an independent and it will be a harbinger of the nation’s political future.

    Dave

  • http://voidnow.org David R. Remer

    pleasexcusethein, I agree but for different reasons. This is my take:

    The reason he will lose is because the Independent Voters out there are mostly opposed to the Iraq war’s continuation indefinitely. Lieberman will gain some Republican votes, but, not in numbers to compensate for his lost Democratic votes, and the Independents by about 60% will go to Lamont, the other 40 being split between the GOP candidate and Lieberman.

    And as important, Lieberman’s funding is going to dry up while Lamont’s is virtually unlimited. My guess is, the GOP candidate will get 15%, Lieberman will get about 30% and Lamont will get about 55%. Slam dunk. Lamont will be campaigned as the uniter, and Lieberman as the divider, despite the irony of it.

  • Nancy

    Dave, you still don’t get it: the VOTERS – the people – are fed up with congressmaggots who take on the attitude their incumbency is a permanent thing, & that once in, they don’t have to bother to listen to what their constituents want or say. Lieberman is in trouble – hell, most incumbents are in trouble – mainly because once they arrive in DC they start to ignore all the people that got them there (& I don’t mean their campaign staffs) & the issues that matter to the people, in favor of attending only to The Party. Got news for The Party (either one): to the average on-the-street voter, what The Party says & what The Party wants means jack shit. I vote (as do most people) for the candidate that represents ME, not The Party. Lieberman forgot that until it was too late to fix it, and that’s why he lost. It’s already an open secret that Rove has offered to help him in his bid for re-election as an Independent, and IMO that’s even more a kiss of death to moderates AND independents, that the extreme right & BushCo are pushing his cause. If he were truly concerned, as he claims to be, for the welfare of The Party, he wouldn’t run as anything.

    As for Ms. “The Mouth” McKinney – good riddance. I hear she’s claiming some kind of dirty tricks is responsible for her loss now.

  • Clavos

    Nancy, I don’t see how you can extrapolate from the Lieberman defeat that all incumbents nationwide are endangered. This race was a democratic primary in one state, a traditionally democratic one. I don’t think you can draw conclusions about republican races in other states from that. And, although many republican voters are unhappy with the administration, that won’t necessarily translate into defeat for local and state level republicans–many of them (and many dems, too) enjoy solid support in their home bases.

    Time will tell, but I don ‘t see a “throw the bastards out” groundswell, at least not yet.

  • Nancy

    I concede it’s possibly/probably just wishful thinking on my part. Still, it would be nice if it did put the fear of the voter (and a reminder of their primary responsibility) into the craven hearts of politicians everywhere (both parties).

  • Clavos

    A couple more primaries like Ct. and that may well happen. And I agree, it would be a very good thing for all of them to lose that incumbent attitude.