Lieberman's Independent Counteroffensive?
by Matt Stoller, Sun Jul 02, 2006 at 07:55:57 PM EDT
After four months of being battered by a far superior Lamont campaign, and one Carter Eskew built insipidly stupid campaign commercial, Lieberman is beginning to figure out what his counterattack will look like. At first, Lieberman tried to dismiss Lamont as an antiwar candidate, unimportant and unserious. Then he tried to burnish his own credentials as a Democrat. He ran commercials in which he acknowledged his principled difference with most Connecticut Democrats on the war, but pointed out the wide areas of agreements he had on other issues. Finally, when that didn't work, he went negative on Lamont, calling him a Republican and a puppet of Lowell Weicker.
This messaging didn't work, at least not among Democrats. Lieberman is clearly very angry about this campaign, and this challenge. He recently vowed to run as an independent, which is a further escalation of the pressure against the Democratic establishment. Previously, he had only said that he would not rule out presenting his record to all the voters of Connecticut, but that he was a Democrat. Parsing words, maybe, but this guy's doing a lot of polling and he knows what's going on.
Now the messaging is subtly changing. Lieberman is having his surrogates talk about him as a JFK Democrat unafraid to use force, and the voice of the abandoned Democrats who left the party years ago because of liberal intolerance towards the 'middle' of the country. One Op-Ed in the Hartford Courant co-authored by Republican Marshall Wittman is a coincidence, but this second Op-Ed in the Concord Monitor, by Lieberman supporter Bob Quinn, is not.
I think Lieberman's making a last ditch effort to threaten the party base with electoral disaster if they don't pick him. This Thursday is the first debate, and we'll see what happens then. These Op-Eds though read to me like they are targeted at independent voters, not Democrats. I mean, if you were going to pander to independent voters in Connecticut, you'd probably talk about excessive partisanship and how the Democratic Party abandoned independent voters.
So I guess that's my question. With this counterattack, is Lieberman conceding the primary already? He's sure starting to sound like an independent.