Lamont-Lieberman: One Year Out

Today marks the first anniversary of the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary in which Ned Lamont crashed the gates, defeateing three-term incumbent and establishment favorite Joe Lieberman. Though Lieberman managed to secure another term by running a third party candidacy fueled in no small part by Republican donors and voters (70 percent of GOP voters in the state backed Lieberman over their own party's nominee in the general election), it would be worth looking back towards the 8/8/2006 primary and the general election -- particularly among Democrats -- to see if Connecticut voters have any second thoughts about sending Lieberman back to Washington.

So what we'd like to see at this point is fairly simple. In the next poll from Quinnipiac of the Hartford Courant or whoever else does polling in the state of Connecticut, we'd like to see voters asked whether they still stand by their decision to vote elect Joe Lieberman. This question could follow a statement about Lieberman's strong support for George W. Bush's Iraq escalation or his calls for military action against Iran, but maybe not also. Perhaps a balanced question that pits Lieberman's long service or committee chairmanship or perceived centrism against his overt hawkishness would be more to their liking. Who knows.

Now I do know that I, for one, would be someone who would admit to having different feelings today than a year ago. Mind you, I was no vocal supporter of Senator Lieberman, either in the primary or the general election. That said, I thought that the specter of a primary challenge would force him to come home to the base and moderate some of his hard right positions, particularly in the area of foreign policy. Clearly, I was wrong in this belief.

So will The Courant or Quinnipiac go ahead and do what they should do? If you'd like to do your part to cajole them, send a polite and courteous email to either pollinginstitute@quinnipiac.edu or jfrank@courant.com (Upate: email address fixed) letting them know exactly what type of question you'd like to see them ask on this subject. Perhaps one email, or one blog post won't sway their opinion. But, then again, if enough voices call out, perhaps they will listen.

There's more...

Response to "60-seats possible"

I think these seats are really possible:

Wyoming (special election) AND regular
Colorado
Idaho
New Mexico
Minnesota
North Carolina
Kentucky
Virginia
Maine
New Hampshire
Oregon

That is 12. People forgot both seats in WY are up in 2008. Add in these new fights:

Alaska
Texas
Mississippi
Nebraska (if Hagel retires)
Oklahoma

If the right people run in these states these are too:

Georgia (Chambliss is at 50 approval)
Kansas (approval 52)

That totals 19 possible races out of 22. Subtract only losing LA, considering Iowa is trending blue  (first control of house and senate in I think about 15 years) and you cannot really attack a guy who is recovering from brain surgery (if he runs).

And remember Republicans usually dump money into the presidential race and are being out raised 2-1 in both houses.  I think this could be an electoral shift on the scale of 1932 or 1980 (since 1958 was an off year) if we get a movement building presidential candidate (Obama or Edwards)

Finally the increase in young voter turnout, and call me crazy I think that a plus-12 in the senate and and 50-60 in the house are possible, given the right conditions--which are shaping up (we are now trusted more on just about everything and evangelicals have taken up enviroment and poverty as moral issues)

There's more...

Lieberman's Republican Support

During the final weeks of the primary campaign, Lieberman was fond of attacking Lamont for his "out of state donors," despite waves of evidence compiled by MyDD and other sources that he was collecting out of state donations hand over fist. He was also often defensive, claiming that he was not George Bush. However, unsurprisingly, like everything else Lieberman says, that turns out to be basically untrue as well. From the Hartford Courant:
In the general election, in which Lieberman ran as an "independent Democrat," his take from Republicans soared 80 percent. He collected more money from Republicans than from Democrats. And of major donors - giving $200 and more - Republicans exceeded Democrats.

Officially, the White House stayed out of Lieberman's 2006 race, and Lieberman, who today caucuses with Senate Democrats, did not actively seek its support. But the signs from the White House were unmistakable.

"A lot of people would call and ask, `What's our position?"' Charles R. Black Jr. said last week. The former Bush adviser, who remains close to the president, said, "And I'd say, `There's no official position, but if I were you, I'd help Joe Lieberman.'"

There were other signals. On primary day, White House political guru Karl Rove called the senator. "He's a personal friend," Rove said later. "I called him. It was a personal call."

That call, leaked to media organizations at the time, "sent a message to Republicans across the country to embrace this guy. When Karl Rove calls, most Republicans ask how high they should jump," veteran GOP strategist Scott Reed said last week.

Throughout the campaign, the White House and Republican Party sent other veiled, and less veiled, messages. Vice President Dick Cheney, for instance, would mention at rallies how the Democratic Party had moved away from Lieberman. Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, campaigned with Lieberman two weeks before the election. Melvin Sembler, a former Bush administration ambassador to Italy and former GOP finance chairman, held a fundraiser at his Florida home.(...)

Other Republican donors included brewery chairman Peter Coors, former New York Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, Wall Street financier Henry Kravis, real estate magnates Trammell and Harlan Crow, and John C. Whitehead, a deputy secretary of state in the Reagan administration.

After Lieberman's victory, exit polls found he received the support of 70 percent of Connecticut Republicans, 34 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents.
70% support from Republicans, eh? With Republicans making up 26% of the electorate in Connecticut, that means Ned Lamont would currently be the junior Senator from Connecticut had Lieberman received less than 35% of Republican support. Overwhelming Republican support was crucial to his campaign, and the constant pro-Lieberman messaging, donations, and signals of Republican support were crucial to making that happen (that, and Alan Schlesinger was a complete joke). Among only Democrats and Independents, Lamont defeated Lieberman by 7%-twice the size of his victory in the primary when only Democrats were voting.

When conducted by players in the DLC-nexus, bipartisanship has always actually meant "joint attacks on the left." There are cases when bipartisanship is not like that, such as when Russ Feingold is able to scrape together a majority coalition. However, it is clear that for Lieberman, Republicans were always his main base of support. Had he not always been so willing to criticize the left, he would never have been so loved in a Republican town like the political industry in Washington, D.C., and by establishment media that was slowly being dominated by the Republican Noise Machine. At the very least, now that he was forced to win an election via overt Republican support, his ability to speak on behalf of Democrats has been annihilated. Everyone knows in the last election that Joe Lieberman was basically the Republican nominee. This is just the latest evidence supporting that claim.

Update: Dan Gerstein back in September:
A top aide to U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman adamantly is denying a thinly sourced report that the White House used big Republican donors to secretly funnel "millions of dollars" to the three-term senator's campaign committee before the Democratic primary last month.

But while Lieberman's campaign spokes-man, Dan Gerstein, insists there is "not a shred of truth" to the story now being widely circulated on the Internet, he also promised readers of the senator's new campaign "blog" that he would "look into whether or not serious Republican contributions have been made to Joe's campaign."
I wonder how Gerstein's investigation went. Probably about as well as the FBI's investigation into the supposed "hack" on Lieberman's website. Yet more lies from Lieberman's camp.

Progressives Should Put Constitutional Reform on their Agenda

We wish Senator Johnson a speedy recovery, and hope that he will continue his term in the senate.  But his sad case, along with Bush v. Gore, and the Dick Cheney's advocacy of a dictatorial executive, point up the shortcomings of our constitution. Progressives need to put the issue of constitutional reform on the table. I do not claim to have the best answer, what I'm laying out here are tentative opinions to stimulate discussion for a new, workable and democratic constitution for the nation.  I think we need to consider a parliamentary model. Another idea, perhaps more politically possible, would be direct election of the president. Changing the political superstructure is not a panacea, but the past twenty years suggests that the constitution is severely flawed and our country is in great danger as a result.

Political pie in the sky, one might say?  But so were the direct election of senators and the progressive income tax when the Populist Party made them a part of political discourse.  Twenty years later they were in the constitution.  

In picking a senator fewer than 200,000 South Dakota Republicans votes  for John Thune were valued the same as nine million Californians who voted for Barbara Boxer. Now their choice for governor may thwart the will of the American people to put a check on a rogue presidency. Such a differing ratio in the power of citizens does not belong in a democracy. The Senate should be democratically elected or its constitutional function should be changed.  Obviously, we need less partisan institutions for redistricting as well.

There are other constitutional problems as well.

The executive is paradoxically too powerful, with insufficient accountability to Congress and not powerful enough in terms of the ability of political parties to construct a legislative program and pass it through congress.

There's more...

Bush Plummets, Democrats Win Huge Popular Vote Victory

Democrats won the popular vote for the Senate by 12.6%, or 55.0%--42.6%. From the Huffington Post:Look how easily the media manipulates everyone's perceptions, including our own. An hour of vote tabulation reveals a stunning fact: Democrats won the popular vote for the Senate by an overwhelming 11.6% margin - 55%/42.4%. "Bipartisanship" and "compromise" are today's buzzwords, when the phrase on everybody's lips should be "mandate for dramatic change" - especially in Iraq. The thing is, Democrats had actually won the Senate popular vote for the 55-42-2 Senate, so it isn't surprising that we have a huge popular mandate when we took control.

Simultaneous to the Democratic popularity wave, Bush's numbers have crashed:President George W. Bush's response was swift and decisive--if a little late. After voters gave Republicans "a thumpin'" at the polls, handing Democrats control of both houses of Congress, Bush banished his contentious defense secretary; invited the presumptive leaders of the new House and Senate to lunch (would-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had pasta; the president ate crow, a Bush aide joked); and suffered through two pained photo-ops with Pelosi and Harry Reid, the Nevada Senator expected to become Majority Leader. And what did the president get for listening to the voice of the American people? The worst approval rating of his presidency.

President Bush's job approval rating has fallen to just 31 percent, according to the new NEWSWEEK Poll. I'm not sure why MSNBC decided to write this article as though the voters are being unfair to Bush, but it doesn't change the numbers. Oh wait--I know why MSNBC decided to write this article as though the voters are being unfair to Bush. Sorry about the lapse in memory and judgment.

That Democrats are only ahead 51-49 in the Senate despite a crushing popular vote victory, and that major new outlets are still presenting voters as whining, ungrateful plebs who don't understand the bi-partisan outreach of our Dear Leader, shows just how much work we still have to do in order to dismantle the levers of power Republicans have used to maintain a 50%+1 majority for so long.

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