July 25, 2006

Odd Man In

I haven't been paying too much attention to the Joe Liebermann/Ned Lamont Democratic primary battle in Connecticut, other than to read blog commentary from the progressive "Nedheads" and smirk, but this post has me thinking it could get a lot more interesting:

The most interesting question about the possibility that Connecticut Democrats could deny Joseph Lieberman renomination is whether that would help or hurt the senator's political prospects. Or, for that matter, the Democratic Party's.

That's because even if Lieberman loses the Aug. 8 Democratic primary - and the newest polling data says that is a real possibility - he would be a huge favorite for re-election as an independent come November.
And if that is the case, it would not be hard to write a scenario in which the real loser from a Lieberman defeat to anti-war candidate Ned Lamont might be the Democratic Party itself

That would especially be the case if Lieberman's good friend Sen. John McCain of Arizona becomes the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and picks Joe as his running mate.

There are a couple of good nuggets to mull over in just those few paragraphs.

First, what would a Lamont primary victory really mean?

It would be a huge victory for the Kossaks and their ilk, beating an incumbent with a progressive political newcomer (who is leading 51%-47%, barely within the margin of error, in the latest Quinnipiac University poll). But that moral victory aside, would the primary election cement a win for Lamont in "blue" Connecticut?

Probably not.

Primary voters in Connecticut, (or so I've read here and there) tend to be far more liberal than their fellow Nutmeg State voters, which seems be be true when you consider the state's electoral map in the 2004 Presidential elections. True, John Kerry trounced Bush in Connecticut 55% to 44%, but the county-by-county map shows a state that while Democratic in makeup, was hardly a progressive monolith. The state itself is solidly Democrat, but there doesn't seem to be an overarching affinity among Connecticut voters for the rabid netroots politics favored by Lamont's most vocal supporters. It is quite possible—perhaps even probable—that Lamont could win the primary battle, but lose the war for the Senate seat in a state that is Democratic, but moderately so.

And how Paul Brown think that this battle in Connecticut may affect '08?

If Lieberman were to win as an independent it would give him great influence, not just in the Senate, but as the face of a new politics that transcends party labels.

Although he has pledged to caucus with the Democrats if elected as an independent, he would be a bigger player than even today as the party's former vice presidential candidate.

And he would be an awfully attractive running mate for McCain, not to mention other potential Republican
White House hopefuls.

A fusion ticket with a Republican Presidential candidate (please not McCain) and Lieberman as a Vice Presidential candidate would be even more competitive than the Cheney/Perazzi ticket I've secretly been holding out hope for. Cheney/Lieberman, anyone?

Quite frankly, the Lamont primary challenge is tough to view as anything other than a liability for the overall Democratic Party's long-term chances, even if the Frothing Few think that a Lamont primary victory would be a long-term triumph for the netroots.

Look for the wailing and knashing of teeth to continue.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 25, 2006 09:03 AM | TrackBack

Cheney/Perazzi? It's a possibility, but Cheney doesn't seem to be gearing up for a run at the top office.

Someone on another site suggested Giuliani/Allen - made a case for them as a decent, strong-where-it-counts pairing A lot of Reps are fuming that Rudy might turn out to be a RINO, given his on/off relationship with social conservatism; to them I reply that, in the words of Mick Jagger, you can't always get what you want.

Posted by: Rorschach at July 25, 2006 04:09 PM

It is quite possible—perhaps even probable—that Lamont could win the primary battle, but lose the war for the Senate seat in a state that is Democratic, but moderately so.

Ummm... have you bothered to find out the likely republican nominee who Lamont/Liberman would face in the general? You can read all about why he has exactly zero chance of winning against either Joe or Ned here:
and here:

Posted by: Pinson at July 25, 2006 05:59 PM

You are on the right track CY. If the reps have any chance to win the presidency after Bush, it would be advantageous for the ticket to lean very moderate, as Bush is a huge F-up radical.

Liberman comes off as a sissy. Call me shallow, but the American people won't vote in a scrub like Liberman, not to mention he is Jewish and a yank. He's not "cowboy cool", and that's what our public always wants.

That is my take, not my view.

Posted by: Johnny at July 25, 2006 07:51 PM

There are few things more amusing than someone what is arrogant and stupid.

Pinson, you are perhaps the only idiot out there that didn't catch what everyone else already knew: the Republican candidate doesn't matter, because Lieberman will beat both as an independent.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 25, 2006 11:32 PM

I will never support Sen. Leiberman due to his high profile as a game censor.

Just the thought The nightmare Republican ticket (McCain/Leiberman) made be throw up a little in my mouth.

Seriously, I'll write in Pat Paulson before supporting Leiberman.

Posted by: Sinner at July 26, 2006 09:31 AM

Ned Lamont is a wealthy individual, who could have run as an anti-war independent. His rational could have been there is no way I beat Lieberman in the primary. That could have hurt the Democratic party far more than a primary challenge. Indeed, had the CT gop had a real candidate they would have won.

Instead, Lamont runs in the primary and says he will support the winner. Meanwhile Lieberman, rich with political capital, rejects the primary voters and runs as an independent. His move hurts the Democratic party, because he rejects the system in which he is participating. Lieberman may poll well as an I in July, but October typically brings different numbers.

Why has the press avoided the primary immediately due east of CT, where Lincoln Chafee is engaged in a battle for his political life. Same situation just different voters and parties.

Posted by: terrapinbeach at July 26, 2006 11:04 AM