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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How Can 136,042 People be So Dumb?

Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary last night by a tally of 146,061 (52%) to 136,042 (48%), in what has repeatedly been called a referrendum on President Bush's foreign policy and the war in Iraq. I find it fascinating, though, that polling on the war itself is much more polarized (60% / 36%, according to the latest CNN poll). It's almost as if opinion on a generic issue doesn't fully translate when people are voting for an individual candidate. Now, I wonder where I've heard that before?

Speaking of voting for an individual candidate, I'm also fascinated by those who endorsed Lieberman through yesterday, but are now coming out squarely in favor of Lamont. If you take it as a given that Lamont and Lieberman disagree on many issues (the war being chief among them), then I would think these "blind Democrats" would have some explaining to do. Do you support the war or not? If not, why did you back a pro-war candidate for senator? If so, why are you backing Lamont now?

If their only concern is putting a Democrat in the seat, regardless of what that Democrat believes, I would think that all but the died-in-the-wool party faithful (in Connecticut and elsewhere) could be swayed with a solid, issue-oriented campaign.

posted by Brian at 8:25 AM


  • Hi,

    Hopped over here from John Scalzi's blog and thought I'd give you at least one opinion on the subject. (Disclosure: I am not from CT, but supported Lamont over Lieberman in the primary; adjust your bias-spectacles accordingly)

    My issue with Lieberman running as an independent is at least partially, I have to admit, wanting "my guy" (inasmuch as I can be said to have one in this race) to win; but even more than that, I'm outraged about the fact that Lieberman is basically asking for all of the benefits of party membership and none of the risks or responsibilities. That is, he is perfectly happy to take all of the money and support from big-name Democrats that he has over the years, not to mention the name-recognition he racked up in the last two Presidential campaigns and the fact that he owes at least a portion of the votes that put him in office for his first three terms to the fact that there was a (D) next to his name on the ballot - but when things don't go his way according to the rules of that party, he wants to turn around and demand a do-over. And he wants to do it without relinquishing any of the power, in terms of committee seats and influence and so on, that being a member of the Democratic Party brought him - and while, I might add, reviling as 'extremists' the voters who told him 'thanks, but no thanks.'

    I could go into the ways he has betrayed his party by his votes and his words (and no, I mostly don't mean the war here), but that's really more of an explanation of why I'm glad Lamont won than of why I'm pissed at Lieberman for this independent run. If someone who was an exact clone of Lieberman in terms of opinions, name recognition/popularity and so on, who was not trading on years of benefit that he'd reaped from being a member of the DP, were running, I'd say more power to him, and still hope Ned won. If Lieberman had won the primary, I'd have ranted about it to my friends for a few days, and then sucked it up and hoped he won, because at least it's one more seat in a shot at a Democratic majority in the Senate. But for Lieberman to mount this independent campaign, which is inherently damaging to his purported party even before one considers his rhetoric about 'extremists' and 'the left' and so on, is just the height of arrogance and hypocrisy.

    Er - and now I've gone and ranted all over your blog, sorry. In short, I think the support from party leaders and other strong Democrats who may have supported Lieberman until last week comes from essentially the belief that you dance with the one that brought you - you don't get to reap the benefits of being a member of the Party only when it's convenient for you to do so.

    By Anonymous Lisa, at 9:01 PM, August 13, 2006  

  • Lisa,

    Firstly, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad to see some cross-blog polination from Scalzi to here, and hope one day to have a high-quality, steady commenter pool like he does (see how I compliment Scalzi and both of us in one, compact statement? Pretty cool, huh?)

    Anyway, as for Lieberman: I take your point that he is where he is because of his party affiliation, and that the only reason he's a viable Independent candidate is because he spent so many years as a successful Democratic candidate.

    Where we differ, I think, is that I don't see his running as an Independent as him switching parties. I see it more as him running without a party.

    If the party that supported him all these years no longer supports him, and yet he feels his views are different enough from the Democratic candidate to be a legitimate alternative, and he's willing to go it alone financially & organizationally, then I say more power to him. He has as much right to run as anyone else in Connecticut.

    If he's wrong and he's "just another Democrat," then the primary will be prologue for the general election and he'll lose horribly. If he's right, and the primary was just an exercise in bringing out the most extreme wing of the Democratic Party, then he'll be doing the Democrats a service by winning, since the Connecticut Democrats will have someone in office who more closely approximates their views.

    What bugs me most are the folks who supported Lieberman who are suddenly supporting Lamont, a candidate with very diffrent views on many issues (the war among them, but not exclusively the war). I understand the benefit of a Democratic majority in the senate, but these folks are, IMHO, showing themselves to be concerned only with the party affiliation and not the political views of their candidate.

    You seem to be concerned with both, and continue to support (at least in spirit), the candidate that best represents your views and your party preference. That gives you much more credibility than the Chuck Schumers of the world, for instance...

    By Blogger Brian, at 10:22 AM, August 15, 2006  

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