Lieberman’s Independence Day?

Dick Morris makes the argument that Joe Lieberman should drop out of the Democratic primary in Connecticut and run as an independent:

By insisting on running in Connecticut’s Democratic primary against anti-war candidate Ned Lamont, he is in a fight he won’t win and, in the process, destroying his chances in the general election, which he can win.

As my populist and liberal friend Bill Curry discovered when he defeated the Democratic Party establishment’s candidate for governor, Rep. John Larson, in the primary of 1994, primaries in Connecticut are notoriously polarized. The right dominates the GOP nominating process just as surely as the left controls that of the Democrats. This is no place for a centrist to thrive.

If Lieberman simply skips the primary and runs as an independent, forcing a three-way race, he will win overwhelmingly. The larger Connecticut electorate adores him and will happily desert either party to vote for his reelection.

But in an August Democratic primary, with its low turnout and ideologically skewed voters, he faces decapitation. As surely as an American soldier on patrol in Iraq, his very presence in the Democratic primary provides a tempting target for those who want to vent their frustration at American foreign policy.

Those who back Lieberman will stay home in a primary. Those who shine with passionate intensity against him will surely vote.

I’m thinking that Morris might be right on this one. The fact is that the radical leftists in the Democratic Party has sold Joe Lieberman out. Despite the fact that Senator Lieberman has a liberal rating of 90 from the ADA (while left-wing idol Jack Murtha scores significantly less), the radical netroots have turned him into a traitor – because he had the audacity to declare that putting partisan politics above the national interest was beyond the pale. For his heresy, the left hates Lieberman almost as much as they hate Bush, even arguing (falsely) that Liberman is the ideological match of the President.

If Lieberman ran as an independent, he’d win. If he stays in the Democratic primary, the anti-war empty suit Ned Lamont could suck enough air from his campaign to make the race wide open – even opening the possibility of the Republicans taking the seat. It would certainly make the race competitive, and the DSCC would have to decide whether or not to honor the results of the primary and back Lamont. The Democrats, once again, are finding themselves in a civil war between the radical “netroots” and the party establishment.

Lieberman won’t leave the Democratic Party, but it’s clear that the Democratic Party has left him. There’s no longer much room in the party for someone who argues that getting rid of the Butchers of Baghdad was a good thing, even if they think that the war was incompetently waged. The term “liberal” has been spun into meaning “anti-war”, and not much else. Lieberman is a patriot before a partisan, and his kind no longer seem welcome in the Democratic Party.

One thought on “Lieberman’s Independence Day?

  1. I’m not so sure Lieberman wouldn’t leave the Democratic Party. The Republicans would do everything they could to court him to caucus with them, and it wouldn’t be out of the question given that the Democratic Party establishment will align with Lamont if he wins the primary. Ultimately, I’m still hopeful Lamont flames out before August 8, which is still possible, but thus far it’s Lieberman following his party’s tradition of doing everything in his power to lose. The prospect of an Alan Schlesinger victory seems wildly remote even in a three-way race given Lieberman’s popularity with Republicans, increasing the likelihood that the Republican establishment will pull out all the stops to court Lieberman while the Democrats stand by the party label and support Lamont.

    This race has profound national implications, which are not wasted on Chuck Schumer who realizes Lieberman’s support among independents and conservative Democrats nationally. In fact, the only way the GOP may be able to run against “netroots” bogeymen is the event of a Lieberman defeat which would propel the netroots narrative into the headlines rather than obscure opinion columns by Peter Beinart and the like consumed only by hard-core political aficianadoes.

    As an aside, Dick Morris pontificated only a couple of months ago that Lieberman was unconditionally safe and that Lamont’s challenge was a joke. Without even admitting this recent miscalculation, Morris is now assuring us in no uncertain terms that Lieberman WILL LOSE the primary. No wonder Morris hate such a visceral disdain for Hillary Clinton. The two of them are exactly alike….both embarrassingly transparent finger-in-the-wind opportunists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.