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Monday, July 03, 2006

The Joe Lieberman Problem, Feature Not a Bug

The Latest News from the Nutmeg State:

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, facing a stronger-than-expected Democratic primary challenge and sagging poll numbers because of his support of the Iraq war, said Monday he'll collect signatures to run as an unaffiliated candidate if he loses next month's primary.
An aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid first used the term "Lieberman Problem" -- as Markos recounted:
While on the book tour I ran into a top Reid aide. I pressed this aide on what Reid would do if Lieberman quit the party and went independent. After a bit of runaround, the aide finally said, "We have a Lieberman problem."
But the Lieberman problem is far worse for DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer who tried unsuccessfully to get Ned Lamont to pull out of the campaign so voters wouldn't have a choice in the primary. Then Schumer earned the scorn of Democrats by stating that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee might support Lieberman even if he lost the Democratic nomination (see here, here, and here). Bloggers are poised for a full war with the DSCC if Schumer uses the DSCC against Democrats. If fact, there is a new Chuck Schumer Watch blog set up to lead the push. And Schumer won't be able to count on a united caucus, Senator Russ Feingold has already pledged to support the primary winner, which would put other Democratic Senators thinking about running for President in 2008 in a bad situation with the base if they didn't support the nominee. Will Senator Hillary Clinton support a crony against the Democratic Party?

Who Stands Where When the Chips are Down?

The nice thing about the Lieberman Problem is that it is a great solution to learn where Beltway Democrats really stand. Despite his anti-democratic bossing in Pennsylvania's senate race, Ohio's senate race, and Virginia's senate race, some people are still holding out hope that Chuck Schumer isn't really that bad. We'll find out. Same with Harry Reid. And Hillary Clinton. And Joe Biden. And Evan Bayh. And any other Democrat thinking of running in 2008.

Here is some of the initial analysis:

Unofficial Lamontblog:
Joe has also clearly stated he thinks he will lose the primary on August 8th. His internal polls must look even worse than I thought.

Just like when Joe ran for Vice President and Senate at the same time in 2000 -- meaning that if he and Gore had won, Democrats would have lost a senate seat to a Republican appointment -- he is again putting his own career and self-interest ahead of his constitutents and his party (or now ex-party).

In addition, Joe has just created a world of shit for his supposed friends Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd, Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney, and Chris Murphy. I wonder what they all think of this.

This is how he treats his friends. This is how he treats his party. On the slowest news day of the summer.

These are the actions of a very weak candidate, and a selfish and cowardly man.

What a sorry sight to see an 18-year incumbent senator running scared from a little primary challenge like this. No backbone. No courage. No integrity.

And not a Democrat anymore, either.

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Branfordboy at MyLeftNutmeg:
No surprise to many of us. Joe is desperate to cling to power and the voters of his own Party be damned.

Lieberman is desperate. This is a pathetic, weasely, low (even for Joe and Sean Smith) attempt to hold on to power by any means necessary. Where was this zeal when Democrats needed it...say in the 2000 election?


Chris Bowers at MyDD:

Here is what I have right now:

  • Joe will announce he's pulling petitions from the sec. of state to run in November.
  • Joe will say he intends to run in the primary.
  • Joe will say if he loses the primary, he intends to run as a "petitioning Democrat in November"
More as it develops. Joe Lieberman has left the party. If the DSCC backs anyone except the Democratic nominee, they better be prepared for real consequences. Do not abandon your own party and break your own rules and then expect the plebs who have been playing by those rules to sit quietly and accept it.
Sean-Paul Kelley in The Agonist:

Netroots Score Signal Victory in Leiberman Petition Drive

The netroots won this fight and those on Capitol Hill who want to support Joe should be very wary of doing so. Lamont will win this primary fair and square and Joe shows his contempt for real democracy by announcing his petition drive.Every Democrat should be shouting at the top of their lungs encouraging Joe to not do this. It's not in the best interest of the country or his party, that he seems to be leaving.


So the question becomes even more salient -- who will support the Democratic nominee, and who won't? Schumer will keep getting this question until he answers it. Now, Lieberman, who thinks he is overflowing with integrity, promised Reid and Schumer that he'd stay a Democrat in exchange for letters of support. To get around that pesky little promise (who thought people would hold him to them?), Lieberman says he'd run not as an independent, but as a "petitioning Democrat".

An interesting kind of "Democrat", Lieberman thinks he is. One who doesn't respect the wishes of his state's Democratic voters, one who will split his state's vote on the left and potentially hand the election to a Republican.

Down with Tyranny:

George Bush's and Ann Coulter's favorite Democrat, Joe Lieberman, pulled his finger out of his ass and held it up to the wind-- with the help of the most expensive polling firms corporate dollars can buy-- and realized he has virtually no chance to win the Democratic primary August 8th against an actual Democrat, Ned Lamont. Lieberman has been assiduously serving the reactionary Republican agenda for years and is cognizant that his only chance to retain his seat is if Republicans can vote for him. He has therefore just announced that he will be requesting petitions from the Connecticut Secretary of State so that he can run as an "independent" in November. Now let's see if Chuck Schumer decides to wreck the Democratic Party. Schumer has said he will support Lieberman if he bolts the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, many Republicans have endorsed Lieberman, including Congressman Christopher Shays, who, like Lieberman, is a weak rubber stamp for Bush's catastrophic policies in the Middle East.

Updates throughout the day, a day that is probably as good a time as any to send Lieberman and Schumer a message that Democrats like primaries where we pick our candidates. Here's an effective way of doing it!

Christy Hardin Smith at FireDogLake:

Here's the deal: Lieberman is running as a Dem in the primary. But he's having staffers put out petitions in case he loses the primary so he can run as a sore loser "petitioning Democrat." Is it me, or does this sound like someone's internal polling numbers are tanking even MORE than we know about publicly? PS — Anyone talk to Chuck Schumer today?

Renee in Ohio at HowardEmpoweredPeople:
Okay, who are the Democrats who stepped forward and endorsed Joe Lieberman in the primary--presumably because sticking together is what good Democrats do? I know that Barack Obama did, and that was certainly a disappointment. But I'm pretty sure a number of other Dems with national name recognition did as well. We should start contacting them and asking if they plan to withdraw their endorsements in light of today's news. [...]

And don't forget that you can donate to Ned Lamont via our Howard-Empowered Act Blue page.
Genghis Conn at Connecticut Local Politics:
Doing this three days before the debate is like handing Ned Lamont a bat with a nail through it and saying, "Here. Club me with this."

It also suggests that Lieberman is really not all that interested in what Democratic primary voters have to say. What, exactly, is an "independent Democrat" anyway? A Democrat who isn't a Democrat?

No matter how he tries to spin it, this is not where Joe Lieberman wanted to be right now.
Step Up

The netroots, combined with the great campaign by Ned Lamont and the incredibly inept cluelessness of the Lieberman campaign, has led to Joe Lieberman declaring that he doesn't really give a shit if he's a Democrat or not, that he doesn't respect the party he's a member of, and that he's more important than the wishes of the Democratic voters of Connecticut.

We won a round. All hail blogofascism!

Throw some coin to defeat the Wanker Lieberman.
More Chris Bowers:
Don't take Lieberman's defection sitting down. It is time to hit back. Show Lieberman and other insiders what they are taking for granted. We are at 2,100 donors and $76K for Lamont on the combined netroots page. Let's see if we can add another 100 donors and reach $80K by the end of the day.

Donate to Ned Lamont.
Volunteer for Ned Lamont.

David Sirota:

So again, what will the Democratic Party in Washington do? Will the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee back Lieberman if Lieberman loses the Democratic Party primary? After all, the DSCC itself claims that its "mission is to elect more Democrats to the United States Senate." So, will the DSCC respect the will of Democratic Party voters in Connecticut and back the Democratic nominee, even if it is Ned Lamont? Or, will the DSCC succumb to Washington insiderism and back Lieberman, even if he loses the Democratic Party primary and leaves the party?

It’s time to take action. Call the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at 202-224-2447 or email them here. Tell the party's insiders in Washington that they should issue an official statement immediately promising to uphold their own mission statement, back Connecticut's Democratic Senate nominee and not back someone who, after losing a Democratic Party primary, would leave the Democratic Party in order to cling to power.

The blog swarm has been going on for a few hours already, with links to multiple actblue pages and the Ned Lamont's contribute page. At posting, Ned Lamont has raised $246,975.90 on Actblue. Updates to come.

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