Assessing the Lieberman-Lamont Race
by Matt Stoller, Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 09:00:04 AM EST
I remember a conversation that I had with a very smart donor about Lamont before November, one in which he said that the second worst situation for progressives would be a loss to Lieberman in the primary, and the worst situation would be winning the primary and then losing the general. At the time, it seemed like an eminently reasonable opinion, because he was essentially arguing that either situation would reveal the impotence of the progressive movement. As you know, the second scenario came to pass. After the election I was confused as to why Joe wasn't chest-beating, wasn't talking anymore about saving the soul of the Democratic Party. I didn't understand why the press wasn't helping him.
I still fully don't, but with conservative Democrat Max Baucus calling for a withdrawal in six months, it seems fairly clear that Joe Lieberman just doesn't matter anymore. The whole escalation fight has been between Bush and a number of Democrats, including Reid, Pelosi, Biden, Murtha and Kennedy, all of whom have different positions and strategies. McCain is in there too, backing Bush with even more of a surge. So are the blogs and Moveon, pushing for withdrawal. Moderate Republicans are in a pickle, being pushed back and forth.
But where's Joe? Sure he was at that AEI event calling for escalation, but would he have mattered without McCain? I don't think so. Lieberman is just out there, like another irrelevant warblogger. It's weird. It's unexpected. My sense is that a good part of this is traceable to his defeat in the primary on August 8. I wish we had won in November, and it hurt us that we didn't. But maybe not as much as I had feared.
What do you think?