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Why Lieberman Will Win

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Democrats are starting to pressure Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) to step back. It has been reported that Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), is calling on Lieberman to give up his bid for re-election as an independent as a matter of party loyalty.

Citing his own Presidential primary loss and subsequent support of the party nominee, Dean told NBC’s Meet the Press that “[t]he way to help this country is to limit Republican power.” Democratic blogger Josh Marshall is also calling on all liberals and progressives to back the party’s candidate, which means throwing support behind the winner of last week’s primary, Ned Lamont.

But wait a minute, where were all these loyalist Democrats when Senator Lieberman was fighting for his political life during the Democratic primary? If memory serves, many were loathe to come to his aid for fear of offending the angry left, a group which was actively working to undermine one of their party's most loyal and respected members.

So, these loyalists held back during the primary, the Senator lost, and now they want him to show the kind of loyalty that they were unwilling to show? This is a classic double standard.

Furthermore, not only did Lieberman see less support during his primary, those who did show up to support him were treated in a manner that was, to say the least, less than courteous. Lanny Davis, special counsel to President Clinton from 1996 to 1998, writes that his experience campaigning for Lieberman during the primary exposed him to the hatred and vitriol of many on the left who are reviling the Senator for his decision.

As for Lieberman's peers in Congress — Senators Kerry and Clinton, for example — most of them offered their best wishes from afar, all the while reminding angry left bloggers that they would "support the winning candidate." I guess you could say they were with him in spirit, right up to the point where he lost. Then not so much after that.

Now that the election is over, all of the Senator's "loyal" – but distant – friends back in Washington are urging him to "do the right thing." In other words, Senator Lieberman is being asked to do as party leaders say, not as they do.

Yup, that sounds like the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to me.

But not so fast. Lieberman warned his party back in July that, if he lost the primary, he would continue on as an independent. It should have been apparent then to DNC leaders that a potential disaster was brewing. And, while Senator Lieberman has assured Democrats he will continue to caucus with them, there is no longer any guarantee, is there?

However, if DNC leaders go whole hog to defeat the Senator, and he wins anyway, well, that could spell utter disaster.  What if Senator Lieberman decides, for instance, that the GOP would be a nice place to visit… permanently?

All this in a year when Democrats seem to have their best chance since their 1994 route of regaining power. Now one man with consistent values, Joseph I. Lieberman, could be the nail in the coffin of their hopes and ambitions for 2006.

An MSNBC piece posted the other day spoke of a number of issues that contributed to Lieberman’s defeat, including his support for the Iraq war and his refusal to filibuster to block a vote on Supreme Court Justice Alito’s nomination, among other things. 

Wait a minute. Were there a number of issues which brought about the Lamont victory? Everything I had heard and read in the press before the election seemed to indicate that the primary was all about Iraq, not a Senate filibuster or anything else. Now, all of a sudden, we have MSNBC reporter Tom Curry telling us that it isn’t?

In light of the astounding revelation offered by Curry, I felt it might be useful to go back and see what else this intrepid MSNBC reporter had written.  On August 3, about a week before the primary,  Mr. Curry wondered whether Joe Lieberman’s political obituary might read “another casualty of the Iraq war.”

Unless I'm in need of the Da Vinci code to properly translate this statement, it appears to me that Mr. Curry was singing a different tune before the primary.  Just to be fair, I read the entire article and not once did I see any reference to an issue other than Senator Lieberman's support for the Iraq war and his seemingly close ties with the Bush administration.

However, to give credit where it is due, Mr. Curry does an admirable job in his August 14 article spelling out exactly why Lieberman has every reason to be confident of a win in November, pointing out that Bruce Bialosky, a leading Republican supporter from California, is attempting to garner financial support for Lieberman from the people on his political list. Bialosky describes Lieberman as a “great American” and characterizes Lamont as clueless.


Lamont, a political neophyte, is little more than a one-issue wonder. He has publicly and repeatedly asked the question, “Do we want to keep fighting in Iraq or do we want to start bringing the troops home?” And most media outlets transmitted that message faithfully in hopes that Lamont would indeed win in the primary.

So, whatever else happens in the larger election come November, Lieberman at least will win another term in office. The very fact that the MSM focused so heavily upon the Lieberman/Lamont race works to the Senator's advantage.

Now moderates and conservatives all over the country know what happened, and they are fully aware of the stakes.  And because they understand how much we stand to lose should we withdraw from Iraq, moderates and conservatives are far more likely to support Lieberman in the run-up to the November election, and are more likely, in my opinion, to pull the lever for him on election day.

Will Lamont enjoy a similar surge in support from the anti-war left? Not likely. They threw everything they had, it seemed, into the primary. Even then, Lamont had to use 4 million of his own money to eke out a win.

Candidate Lamont had his day in the sun. Now it's Senator Lieberman's turn. And Lieberman will win.

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About David

  • Harold Driver

    Republican Jake Knotts to decide today if he will challenge Sanford as Independent


    Sen. Jake Knotts said Sunday he has the numbers, but he is not yet sure he would have the votes.

    Knotts, R-Lexington, has until noon today to decide whether he’ll submit stacks of petitions to the S.C. Election Commission in an attempt to place his name on the November ballot for governor as an independent.

    “I really want to run and I really want to be governor,” Knotts said. “But I’ve got to look into the woods and not just at the tree line.”

    Knotts’ adviser, Rod Shealy Jr., said early Sunday afternoon that he did not have an accurate count but was sure they had more than 10,000 signatures — the number required to get on the ballot.

    Signed petitions “are still coming in from all over the state,” Shealy said. “We’re sitting down now to make sure that he’s going to pass muster with the election commission. The enthusiasm is out there, boy.”

    Passing muster with the commission is a major concern and it could take several days for Knotts’ petition to be accepted or rejected. The signatures must be verified as having come from registered voters.

    Petition experts in South Carolina have said it is wise to turn in 14,000 to 15,000 signatures to be sure that 10,000 meet the state’s standards.

    But even if he has enough signatures, Knotts said he has yet to decide if he’ll pull the trigger and run.

  • Liberal


    CT is such a strange place that “Jewish” and Pro-Israel” are not one in the same. (Most of the Palestinian rights activists I know are Jewish).

    Lieberman did well among Jewish voters in the primary, but not as well as might be expected (I think it was around 65%). Lieberman will get a lot of support from Republicans and conservatives over the next two months. Because support for GW is virtually non-existent among CT Jews, that support will actually hurt Joe with Jewish voters.


    You’re right. GOTV is the key to this election. But I’m not sure which candidate it will help.

    The thing that strikes me about the primary results is that Lieberman did better in poorer, urban areas. (CT is not all Fairfield County mansions. We have three of the ten poorest cities in the country.) This probably means that Lieberman did well among black voters. Obama came to CT early to support Joe. Sharpton and Jackson came in much later to support Lamont. They’ll be back. Obama won’t.

    The Lieberman campaign, if they follow conventional wisdom, will work GOTV in the areas where their support was highest. They may find that that support is no longer there.

  • Liberal,

    I agree that elections are not easily boiled down to one or two variables. On top of everything you mentioned above, Leiberman might lose simply on his inability to tap into the Democratic Party’s highly effective get-out-the-vote apparatus.

    If the race is close, then all the factors you listed, plus what I’ve mentioned might well make the difference. However, if the vote is not close, then all of those factors won’t mean much at all.

    Right now, Lieberman is polling with a 12-point lead of LIKELY voters over Lamont. If the spread stays at that level (a big “if,” I know), then short of trying legal means to keep Lieberman off the ballot, Lamont’s goose is cooked.

    My two cents on the issue.


  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Well, Liberal, apparently, if the comments here are any indication of reality (forgive me while I take a laughter break here), the Republicans have already ditched their sacrificial lamb. If Lamont sucks up the anti-war vote in CT, then a lot of the other folks you mention may follow along. Lieberman may haul out his skullcap and Jewish star and hustle the Jewish and pro-Israel vote in CT. But if he loved Israel that much, he would have picked up his ass and moved here like a cousin of his did years ago – like I did.

  • Liberal


    Connecticut (or Corrupticut as we prefer it to be called when discussing politics) has some unusual political dynamics:

    Like most of the Northeast, Connecticut has a very large percentage of unaffiliated voters (44%). Compare that to Florida’s 22%, Kentucky’s 6% or Louisiana’s 21%.

    Lowell Weicker, who lost his Senate seat to Joe, ran for Governor as an independent and won.

    Connecitcut elected the first female Governor. When we had six Representatives, three were women and one was a black, male Republican (yes, Virginia, there are some of those). Connecticut has had the only Jew in the Senate for as long as I’ve been alive.

    A pro-choice Republican defeated a pro-life Democrat for a Congressional seat. (Sixty-eight percent of Connecticut residents identify themselves as pro-choice.)

    The Republicans haven’t fielded a credible Senatorial candidate since Weicker. Lieberman’s last opponent is serving a 37-year Federal Prison term. I’ve tried posting comments about this year’s sacrifice, but blogcritics’ spam filter appears to be blocking “balckjack” “cosinos” and “gmabling.”

    It is entirely possible that the Republican will come in fourth (behind the Green Party candidate).

    And now for some opinion:

    If you’re looking for in-depth analysis of political issues, the mainstream media is not going to help you. The media has portrayed this election as a referendum on the war in Iraq (as if this unusually liberal state is any kind of guage of the country as a whole). That is, like most political reporting, an incredible oversimplification.

    The war is obviously the 400 lb. gorilla in this election cycle, but it is not the only animal in the room. Each of the other animals represent a small, but siginificant voting block.

    Gays: Connecticut is the only State to have enacted Civil Union legislation and 56% of CT residents support marriage equity. (Joe voted for the defense of marriage act in 1996, Lamont supports full marriage rights for gays).

    Parents: Joe’s authorship of the No Child Left Behind Act and his subsequent claims that the only problem with it is its underfunding cost him the endorsement of teacher’s unions. More than two-thirds of voters think that the Act itself needs to be changed.

    Seniors: Joe has supported the privatization of Social Security and opposed price controls on prescription drugs.

    There are other issues. Joe’s support for NAFTA, etc. will hurt him with labor. His affinity for government censorship will cost him some votes.

    But nothing will hurt Joe more than his own desparation. In 2000, Joe risked winning the Vice Presidency and in the process giving Gov. Rowland (recently released from Federal Prison) the right to appoint the deciding vote in the Senate. As he courts Republican votes (and campaign contributions) in a state where Republicans are indulging in a bit of self-hatred, that will bite him in the ass.

  • Well, one of the central quotes in my article does show that money is already coming in steadily for Leiberman. You have to remember, Leiberman was a tireless supporter of his fellow Democrats and his party. He travelled to numerous state and national party functions to raise funds for fellow Dems and the DNC, and that loyalty will be remembered.

    In regards to those Republicans who are willing to support and vote for Leiberman, it surprises me that you expect Republicans to vote blindly along party lines. Yes, there are those who only vote that way, but Republicans in general like to vote for the best candidate, and there are few better candidates anywhere in this country than Leiberman. I’ve voted for Democrats quite a few times when I agreed with them on the issues. The goal is to get the best people into office.

    As for the independents in Connecticut, their vote tends to be a bit more fluid, yes, but among them Leiberman has instant name recognition, whereas Lamont does not.


  • I think that Senator Lieberman has lost his loyalty for the Democrats if he runs as independent the only thing is going to happen is he will steal votes for his former pary and make the Republican to win, may be his is not smart enougth to see that.

  • thanks Suss…

    always looking to update the info..

    hurm..looks like around 1300 people polled, and a margin of 3%

    indicative, but not conclusive at this time…but definately more data to add to the pile

    however, using the same Quinnipiac poll, one can see the trend of Lamont going from 27% in June to the 38% they show him at now

    we will see how it all turns out, interesting that the GOPhas tossed their candidate aside and are getting behidn Lieberman, fascinating display of cynical politics in action… but that IS the system at this time

    may the best Candidate get the Seat


  • This one says the Jew is up by 9

  • excellent point, Clavos…

    what some folks, especially partisans, just don’t get about Independants is just that

    they’re independant…and very rarely vote as anty kind of block for or against specific candidates

    instead they tend to vote about Issues

    in this case, i find it a bit amusing as well as wishful partisan thinking, that on this thread, 2 GOP types think that the Indpendants will vote according to GOP wishes…

    especially considering that the data woudl indicate that to Independants, Iraq IS one of the biggest Issues, and that the “mood” of said people is to toss out incumbents in order to “change the course”

    so…speculation is Fun and all, but truly worthless until November

    oh yes, and according to yesterday’s polling data Lamont is still 5-7 ponts ahead of Lieberman in the general election for Connecticutt

    so, we will see how it plays out in a few months


  • Clavos


    Isn’t it a bit of an oxymoron to describe Independents as a voting “block?”

  • The GOP candidate in CT is a joke. Most Republicans will vote for Joe in November, as will most Independents (which is the largest voting block in CT). Most Dems will support their nominee, Lamont, but he’ll still lose.

    Joe will win 50-40-10 (or close to that). The only question is, how harsh will his fellow Dems be during the campaign? If they really cross the line, Joe will be obligated to side with the still-majority GOP in 2007…

  • IgnatiusReilly

    can’t wait to read your piece about the White House and RNC Chair not supporting the Republican Senate candidate in CT.

  • David, i am well aware of Jeffords and that whole bit, but Lieberman has already stated his Intent to caucus with the Dems… th edeal for his seniority is probably already worked out…

    one little hurdle…

    he has to win, and he won’t get any “machine” money for his campaign

    should be Interesting, but the GOP types might as well stop drooling now…

    i’m only giving 50-50 odds that Joe even makes it to November…

    we will see



  • goodgirl

    not a chance. OPRAH WILL WIN

  • Gonzo,

    Sorry, I should have clarified. Technically speaking, Leiberman was thrown out by voters as the Democratic candidate for the Senate seat that Leiberman now holds.

    And now, of course, Leiberman is running as an independent. Here in Washington there is a lot of speculation that party leaders might strip Leiberman of his seniority and, in a sense, demote him. It makes sense considering Leiberman is no longer the Democratic candidate for that Senate seat, but, if you remember, Republicans lost power in the Senate for a while when Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle convinced Jim Jeffords of Vermont to leave the Republican Party. Jeffords had been treated rather poorly by fellow Republicans and decided to change his party status. Thus, Senate Minority Leader Daschle became, for a time, Senate Majority Leader Daschle.

    So, if Democrats do win five seats in the Senate as Senator Reid predicts and Leiberman wins as I predicted, then it would mean utter disaster for Democrats.

    Anyway, sorry for the confusion.

  • greybeard

    He could do as most others and move to Georgia and run as a Republican as his wolves skin has slipped.

  • fair enough, David…

    i find only one Flaw in your commentary there…

    the democratic Party didn’t “throw him out”…

    the democratic primary voters of Connecticutt did

    BIG difference, eh?

    thanks for the Discourse, even tho i disAgree with some of your Points and Conclusions, it heartens me to see cordial discussion under such circumstances from wildly differing PoVs


  • Gonzo,

    I agree. Good answer on the money needed to run a successful campaign these days. Lamont was able to finance much of his own campaign, which helped a great deal. I wouldn’t call your answer a digression, I would call that spot on.

    Now, if you want to talk about simple voter choice, let me point out that only about 15% of the voters who turned up for the 2002 election cycle wound up voting in this last primary. So giving the broader electorate a chance to vote on whether or not Leiberman should truly be out is perfectly legitimate in my opinion.

    But even if you don’t like that explanation, Leiberman has chosen to run as an independent candidate, which is also perfectly legitimate. Teddy Roosevelt did the same thing in the early 1900s, as have many other candidates when they felt they had more to contribute but could not get the formal endorsement of their prior party.

    That is part of the normal democratic process in this country.

    Now, if Democrats in Washington choose to strip him of his seniority, they are free to do so. I think they will hesitate to do this because Leiberman is favored to win in November and alienating him too much at this point might give Republicans an opportunity to recruit him to their party after the election.

    Would Leiberman do such a thing? I tend to think not as he seems truly to love the Democratic Party. But if his party tossed him out wholesale, he might be tempted.

    Food for thought.


  • Not buying it.

    The MSM told us there was no way Lamont’s challenge was going to succeed. Next, they promised us that LIEberman would trounce any opponent.

    As of now, perhaps 5 points separate Holy Joe and Lamont, and Lamont has been utterly excellent on his public pronouncements-LIEberman, by contrast, sounds like he’s channeling “Shooter” Cheney.

    It ain’t gona work in Connecticut-it’ll hurt him. As it should.

  • troll

    good answer – good answer!

  • that would be, what is “money” for $1000, please Alex…

    but i digress…


  • troll

    a while ago I started wondering where all the independent candidates were for this 06 election…I didn’t realize that I was thinking about Lieberman

    any theories on why we haven’t seen more independent activity – ?


  • well David, decent reply, and i do Understand your Reasoning

    but as i stated, i see it being based on a false Premise…

    in a Primary, who and what a Party are behind is far less crucial or anywhere near as IMportant as what the rank and file of registered voters think, or want…

    it really IS just that Simple

    and in this case, the Voters in that state chose to get rid of an 18 year Incumbent whom they decided no longer Represented their Voices in the Senate, and that Lamont did…

    again, it IS just that simple

    now, again note that i am an Independant, NOT a D or R

    also note: i cited the examples of both Dean and McCain… two candidates who lost their Primary, and went on to back the duly elected Candidate as is traditional for both Parties

    and you do not even want me to get started on the mess’o potamia that is the Iraq conflict… all i will say is that again, it appears you are using excellent Reasoning to extrapolate from fallacious premises…


  • troll

    I’m with the good General that the MSM is worse than useless in this situation

  • Thank you Troll.

  • troll

    other regularly updated sources for Iraq info are the State Dept and the Brookings Institute

  • Actually, you have not heard much about Iraq because, as Iraqi forces take control of their own territory, less Americans are in harm’s way. The press loves to tell you all the bad stuff, while routinely ignoring the good stuff.

    So, if you care to read the good stuff (not many do, I know), then you can read a letter from Maj. General Bill McCoy, who is in Iraq currently and is overseeing most of the reconstruction projects there.

  • Gonzo:

    Here’s a question for you:

    What typically is the difference between a presidential primary, when a number of candidates are vying for the right to become their party’s nominee, and a state primary?

    Here’s the answer:

    When Dean ran in the presidential primary, there were no incumbents. They were all running on roughly equal footing. But, in a state primary, where you have 1 incumbent and 1 challenger, both the DNC and the GOP have a tradition of supporting the incumbent. In Leiberman’s case, he as the incumbent should have had the full support of his party, but did not. Because so many of them hope to run for President in 08, they chickened out, afraid they might alienate the angry left.

    Party incumbents are, in a sense, “unionized.” They work together in Washington, vote in blocs so as to increase their influence, and cooperate along a broad range of issues. Leiberman has been for quite a long time a leader among Democrats in DC. He’s a member of their union, but they ran from him when the going got tough and allowed, in a sense, a non-union challenger to defeat him without giving him the traditional support that he should have received.

    I know, the system stinks that way; but it is the way it is. And it works both ways.

    In 2004, Pat Toomey nearly unseated Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania. And Toomey would have won had the President and other party leaders not come to Specter’s aid.

    Don’t you think conservatives like myself wouldn’t have LOVED to see Specter out? We were just about drooling over the prospect of replacing the moderate-to-liberal Specter with a true conservative.

    But the President’s support made all the difference, and Specter eked out a win. I was disappointed, but I also understood that political parties cannot survive if they arbitrarily decide who to support and who not to.

    Now Democrats are willing to support Lamont’s candicacy without ever having even tried to support a long-term incumbent who has been incredibly loyal both to his party and to his fellow elected officials. I think the Brits would call that “bad form.”

    Finally, not all Democrats in Washington have come out in support of Lamont. The following Democrats have openly declared their support for Leiberman’s independent bid to retain his seat:

    • Tom Carper (Del.)
    • Daniel Inouye (Hawaii)
    • Ben Nelson (Neb.)
    • Mark Pryor (Ark.)
    • Ken Salazar (Colo.)

    • Brad Sherman (Calif.)


  • the Original Poster sez…
    *But wait a minute, where were all these loyalist Democrats when Senator Lieberman was fighting for his political life during the Democratic primary?*

    here we have a clear example of “framing” as well as a completely fallacious Postulate offered up to us as an Axiom…

    to wit: remember kiddies, this was a fucking Primary!

    meaning, the part of the election cycle where the Party in Question decides amongst themselves WHO is going to be their Nominee to “get behind” and show “party loyalty” for…

    so, it is only correct and fitting that if constituents are nto happy with the way an Incumbent is working, they get behind another Candidate and sort it all out in the Primary…

    which is EXACTLY what happened… just like it is supposed to

    the second half of the Original Poster’s completely false logic is shown in part two of his baseline canard when he sez…
    *So, these loyalists held back during the primary, the Senator lost, and now they want him to show the kind of loyalty that they were unwilling to show? This is a classic double standard.*

    well, in a Primary (as ex-Gov Dean pointed out) that’s how it works…winner goes on, loser stays home , smiles grimly and backs the Candidate…

    you know, just like how the GOP types applauded McCain for when he had to eat shit after being fucked over in the GOP primary in SC in ’00… or like Dean himself did in ’04

    so the entire Post is shown to be logically flawed at the very basis of it’s thesis…

    don’t ya just love it when the GOP spin doctors try and tell the Dems what “strategy” they should follow…

    “no…don’t throw me in the briar patch!”

    puh-leeeEEEEEEEeeeeazzZZZzzzze… fucking spare me


  • troll

    that’s 7 months – can’t count – need coffee

  • troll

    here’s some Iraq Happy Talk for Bliffle

    the # of ‘displaced persons’ has increased from >3,000 in Feb 06 to 162,000 or more – there are now refugee camps in 14 of the 18 Iraqi governorates

    40% of Iraq’s ‘professional class’ has left the building since 03 as part of 889,000 refugees

    Iraqi civilians killed violently has increased from 1,671 in Jan 06 to 3,402 in July – better than 17,000 in the six month period…and the situation is so far gone that it is no longer possible to determine which of these deaths is ‘crime related’ vrs due to ‘military action’

    but hey – Iraq rates above most countries in the area on the ‘Freedom Index’


  • Bliffle

    Whatever happened to all the Iraq Happy Talk?

    Lieberman was part of that. About how we HAD to invade Iraq. WMDs. How we were going to create a new economic zone there.

    Now, nobody wants to talk about Iraq. Not interesting anymore. Just another mideast interneccine war.

    Another GWB failure. Like Spectrum oil.


  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    Senator Lieberman may win as an independent in Connecticut. I do not know enough about Connecticut politics to argue intelligently about the issue. The way I look at it, the big question is whether Republicans will put their own guy on the chopping block so that Joe Lieberman can win. Good question. But his fate in the Senate, should he win, will not be good.

    Now let’s watch and see…