CT-Sen: Schlesinger, Republicans are Lieberman's Only Hopes
by Chris Bowers, Fri Aug 11, 2006 at 06:34:33 PM EDT
Lieberman knows that not only Republicans, but the far-right wing conservative base is his only path to victory. That is why he is now claiming that the terrorists are somehow worse than the Holocaust or the Soviet Union. That is the sort of batshit wingnuttery that appeals to the Little Green Footballs crowd--the same crowd he knows he has to win to pull this thing out. Soon, in the name of "bi-partisanship," we can expect him to start calling for a fifty-foot fence along our borders, and for a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran. I mean, seriously, if you think that Al-Qaeda is worse than the Third Reich or Stalin, why should we ever expect your crazy wingnuttery to restrain itself?
If Schlesinger were to drop out of the race, and a less felonious Republican placed on the ballot, Lieberman would be toast. He is probably toast anyway, but in that scenario the campaign would turn into a blowout sooner, rather than later. If he is at only 46% with a majority of Republican votes, he would truly have no chance if a credible Republican entered the race. Two weeks ago, when looking through old election returns, I noticed that in the vast majority of House districts, simply having a candidate on the ballot guarantees a major party 20-27% of the vote. A percentage like that means that you automatically win a sizable majority of your own partisan self-identifiers. Thus, if Schlesinger drops out, and another Republican takes his place, Lieberman has no shot at winning a majority of the Republican vote, and is therefore finished.
While Schlesinger says he is staying in (someone needs to check to see if he is on Lieberman's payroll) Republicans in Connecticut are working hard to replace him. They have, for example, approached Jack Orchulli, who is open to the idea. Orchulli got waxed by Dodd in 2004, winning only 32% of the vote in a two-way race. It is a mathematical impossibility to win a three way race without at least 33.4% of the vote. If Orculli could not pull that off in a two-way race, there is no chance at all he could win a three-way race. While he couldn't win, if he or any other even semi-credible Republican were ont eh ballot, Lamont would instanesouly take a commanding lead. This would allow us as Democrats to turn our attentions elsewhere, expect to bask in Lamont's warm glow and mock Lieberman ala Katherine Harris in Florida. There is not other reason to pay attention to the Florida Senate race except to mock Katherine Harris. I'd love to see Connecituct in the same category.
Lieberman has to do two things to even have a shot in this race: keep Schlesinger on the ballot, and appeal to the far-right Republican base in the void Schlesinger has left. Even then, Lieberman's chances are not very good. If Lamont is within the MoE on Lieberman already, and now we will see every major endorsement Lieberman has received switch to Lamont, that alone probably finishes Lieberman off. Over time, these flips will probably cause a total collapse in Lieberman's already low (36%) Democratic support. But it gets worse for Leiberman: by appealing to the far-right, he will see the same precipitous drop among Independents that Republicans around the country has seen since early 2005. Throw in the fact that Lieberman has shown himself time and time again to be a pathetic campaigner (he dropped 50 point to Lamont From April 28-August 8th, or about one point every two days), and he is really up a creek. Worries of the now-banned concern troll aside (although I grant the possibility that she was an idiot rather than a concern troll), Lieberman's chances to win this election are minimal, at best.
It is time to strip Lieberman of his committee seats, and to freeze off his donors, lest they end up reflecting badly on the rest of the party in the wake of his disastrous plummet. For months, the DLC and the national punditry warned Democrats how bad they would look if they nominated Ned Lamont instead of Joe Lieberman. They may yet be proven right, but for different reasons than they claimed. Lieberman's continued downward spiral is going to be ugly and make him look even more pathetic than he looks now. He will start to fall behind in polls, and then he will respond by making comments like claiming that Al-Qaeda or the Iraqi insurgency are worse than the Third Reich or Stalin. As it gets even worse, he will become a major lodestone. In order to salvage our image to the rest of the nation, we will need to cut him free, just as he has cut us free. This is going to get ugly fast, and the establishment needs to take more aggressive measures to end it before it gets worse.