CT-Sen: Rob Simmons (R) Pounces

This week, the rightwing media slime machine has been on overdrive tarring Chris Dodd with the AIG bonus fiasco. Their goals are (at least) twofold: to tie Dodd and Democrats at large to Wall St. and to ultimately defeat Chris Dodd in his bid for re-election next year. So it is hardly surprising to finally see Dodd's Republican opponent, former Congressman Rob Simmons, pounce on not entirely honest coverage of Dodd's role in watering down his own amendment to the stimulus package.

Simmons, who is running against Dodd, is now speaking out.

Daniela Altimari of The Hartford Courant is reporting the following:

"He says one thing one day, one thing another day,'' Simmons said.

"Where's the transparency in all of this? People have lost their savings, they've lost their jobs. There's no leadership...I can't believe the chairman of a committee can take a bill to the floor and speak in favor of it and vote on it without knowing what's in it. The issue of executive compensation is obviously an important issue...you would think someone's reading the language of the bill.''

Simmons said he was particularly troubled by Dodd's assertion that much of the detailed work on the bill was done on the staff level. Simmons served as a Senate staffer for six year, working for former Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Arizona, and former Sen. John H. Chafee, R-Rhode Island and "never once were they so disengaged with important issues that they let the staff do it all.''

"The chairman has responsibility for the bill. You can't slough it off to the staff,'' Simmons said.

Simmons is all over the place message-wise here and I think at some point Republicans are going to learn that campaigning against the stimulus package will not work but Simmons is on firmer political ground -- although on weak factual ground -- by focusing on the claim that Dodd is a flip flopper. That's the story local media is telling. This plus his Countrywide problem spells a really tough fight ahead for Dodd, although the good news is there's plenty of time for this to turn around.

Still, it's not insignificant that in a Quinnipiac poll released last week this race was already tied up.

Simmons 43
Dodd 42

Keep in mind Simmons was a congressman, not even known statewide; add to this that Dodd is under 50% for both his job approval rating (49-44) and favorability (46-45;) plus the fact that this poll was released before the whole AIG thing blew up and you have a textbook example of a vulnerable incumbent. Dodd's gonna need us to have his back.

There's more...

Lieberman Looks Weak

Things aren't looking good for Joe Lieberman in the Nutmeg state.

By a narrow 48 - 45 percent margin, voters disapprove of the job Sen. Joseph Lieberman is doing and give him a negative 43 - 49 percent favorability. Republicans approve 75 - 20 percent. Democrats disapprove 70 - 21 percent and independent voters split 48 - 46 percent.

By contrast, State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal gets a 79 - 12 percent approval rating and 71 - 13 percent favorability rating. Republicans approve of the Democrat 66 - 25 percent. Democrats approve 85 - 6 percent and independent voters approve 81 - 10 percent.

If Sen. Lieberman faces Blumenthal in 2012, the Democratic challenger has an early 58 - 30 percent lead. Republicans go with Lieberman 67 - 23 percent while Blumenthal leads 83 - 9 percent among Democrats and 55 - 29 percent among independent voters.

This isn't the greatest survey ever. It would be significantly more helpful if in addition to a head-to-head matching Lieberman against Democrat Richard Blumenthal there were also a three-way matchup featuring those two along with a Republican (perhaps Chris Shays), because it's not entirely likely that there wouldn't be a GOP nominee in the race. That said, an incumbent who is polling at 30 percent in a named matchup, and trailing by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, is not in a strong position. I'm skeptical that these numbers will move Lieberman to figure out that he would be better served by actually representing the interests of his constituents -- but they should nevertheless serve as a wake up call to Lieberman that his current course has him on the path to ignominious defeat.

There's more...

CT: Lieberman Endorses Local Republican

It's municipal election season here in CT.  In towns all across Connecticut candidates are knocking on doors, putting up lawn signs, and seeking endorsements from Statewide and Federally elected officials.  Last year's Senate race created some truly strange alliances and we're seeing the results of that this year, most notably in Milford.

Last year Milford's Republican Mayor James Richetelli and Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Amman both supported Joe Lieberman.  Both men campaigned for Lieberman, in post-primary.  Now in 2007 Amman and Richetelli are on opposite sides of an election: Richetelli's own.

Jim Amman has decided to go back to supporting Democrats, backing Democratic challenger Kerri Rowland.  Guess who Lieberman has endorsed?

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Kos Poll: A Year Later What Does it Mean?

I wasn't surprised by the results of the Kos poll.  It only confirms what I've known for some time.  Joe Lieberman sold voters in CT a bill of goods, and buyer's remorse has set in.  But the race is long over.  You might be asking yourself what the value of knowing is?  The answer is political capital, namely how little of it Lieberman has left.  

Lieberman used up nearly all of his political capital in last year's Senate race.  I don't believe he could win another election here, even with being a well known, well funded incumbent.  More important is how little weight his endorsement will carry, and how Democrats can use that to our advantage.  

What does that mean for 2008?  Here in Connecticut it's good news for Jim Himes.  Lieberman will almost certainly endorse Shays and campaign for him in the 4th CD.  Who better to illustrate Shays' ever changing position on Iraq than Joe No one wants the troops home more than I do Lieberman?  I can't wait for them to hit the campaign trail together.  

Nationally, Lieberman's lack of political capital can be utilized for any race he chooses to get involved in.  We've already seen Senate Challenger Tom Allen invoke Lieberman's support of incumbent Susan Collins with great results.  Joe Lieberman could easily become one of the best weapons in the progressive Dem infrastructure's arsenal. Who will Joe help next?

Confessions of a Former Lieberman Staffer

This diary was originally posted at My Left Nutmeg (www.myleftnutmeg.com)

I was a regional field director for the 2nd CD for Joe Lieberman in 2006. Thanks to my new friend tparty, I've been given the opportunity to give the MLN community a behind-the-scenes look at the historic '06 primary from a new perspective.

In the spring of '06 I had decided not to return to school to pursue a career in restaurant management. That didn't last long, especially when I realized my passion was in politics. I signed up for Democratic Gain and sent my resume to just about every race I could. I interviewed for jobs in New Jersey, Missouri, Michigan, Washington and here in Pennsylvania. I was leaning toward the job in Jersey when I got a call from Lieberman's field director. We talked for about an hour, and he offered me a job. I was pretty excited, because Lieberman was a national figure, and I thought it would look great on my resume.

More in the extended entry...

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