Sunday, December 04, 2005

Weicker Rumors

I have no idea how valid this is, and it's just a rumor for now, but there appears to be a very slight possibility of a Weicker-Lieberman rematch in the cards.

Rumors fly in the comment section of this post.

If Weicker, who was governor from 1991-1995 and a U.S. Senator from 1971-1989 (when he was defeated by Lieberman in one of the strangest races in recent memory), did decide to come out of retirement, it would be a huge, huge story.

If Weicker ran as an independent, he would have no trouble raising money and wouldn't suffer for the lack of a political party behind him. He could resurrect his dormant A Connecticut Party, if he liked. Money and support would pour in from all over the state and the country.

If he ran as a Democrat (I doubt this), I think the convention would be sharply divided. Town committees have been expressing displeasure with Lieberman, even though rank-and-file Democrats seem to like him. It's hard to say how deep that support runs, though.

There are some reasons to doubt this rumor (I stess again, it's just a rumor!). Weicker is not a young man (he's 74), and I have heard that his health is not the best. He's also made noises about getting back into politics in the past, and nothing has come of it.

Still, the rumor is compelling. It would be the most interesting race in the state, and possibly the country. Weicker is a charismatic and highly entertaining political figure, and many people have fond memories of him as governor (myself included). He is also quite probably the only person who could give Lieberman a run for his money next year.

Here's hoping.

33 comments:

stomv said...

Could somebody talk us young 'uns through the 89 Weiker v. Lieberman battle?

Genghis Conn said...

In 1988, conservatives had had enough of Weicker. If you think about how much liberals hate Joe Lieberman, conservatives felt exactly the same way about Weicker in 1988. He was a "traitor" and a RINO, and they couldn't stand him. The National Review had a "Weicker Watch" column where they detailed all the stuff he had done that they found annoying.

Lieberman, who was regarded as a moderate, was attorney general at the time, and was recruited to run against Weicker. Conservatives like William F. Buckley and his powerful BuckPac latched on to him immediately.

Weicker didn't really run a very good campaign, expecting an easy re-election, and Lieberman, bolstered by national conservative support, fought much harder than expected. Weicker was seen as pompous and as something of an egomaniac, while Lieberman came across as humble and honest.

Lieberman eventually squeaked out a win (by about 7,000 votes out of over a million cast). Weicker withdrew from politics in a huff, only to come back to win the governorship two years later. Lieberman took his Senate seat in January of 1989 and hasn't been seriously challenged since.

MikeCT said...

The Danbury News-Times mentioned the rumors a few days ago, and Weicker declined comment. The winner of the most comical political spinmeister of the year award is Republican party director John Catelan: "I don't see how you can be any more left than Joe Lieberman."

I can't imagine that Weicker would run as a Dem or that Dem delegates would openly embrace him in large numbers at a convention - I don't think they have the courage, regardless of how much they dislike Joe.

ctblogger said...

I'll never forget the Weicker-Lieberman campaign of 88. That was a strange one indeed.

If Weicker challenged Lieberman, it would be the biggest campaign of the mid-term election and DeStefano, Rell, and Malloy can kiss the free-press coverage bye-bye.

And you can bet that everybody would be looking at Connecticut political based blogs for the inside info...it would be a race for the ages.

Aldon Hynes said...

As I noted in the previous comment section, I've been receiving calls about this rumor from across the state. There are a lot more details out there that I am not at privilege to reveal.

I wrote up some of my comments about this in a post on DailyKos a couple days ago, including a pointer to an interview with Buckley about Weicker in the National Review from 1988.

Over there I commented, Prior to this, Weicker was leading by 17 points, yet William Buckley and his friends stirred up national antipathy against Weicker. Could Kos and his friends undo what William Buckley did 17 years ago? It might be interesting to find out.

From all that I'm hearing, ctblogger is right. It is likely to be a race that everyone will focus a lot on and the blogs could play a really big role.

Anonymous said...

Weicker gave CT two casinos and still won't own up to what that has done bad for the state- he should be banned from the state not elected to one of its highest offices!!!

Chris MC said...

I was an active opponent of the phony Schaghticoke/Republican casino expansion in western CT. Casinos are not good things in my view.

Not to defend Weicker, but that post about the casinos betrays ignorance of the facts. Those indian tribes are sovereign under Federal Law and were going to build casinos whether the rest of us liked it or not. Weicker attempted to make the best of a bad situation.

But wait! More rumor mongering courtesy of the Chris Matthews show this morning! Andrew Sullivan, late of the New Republic and currently Time magazine, revealed a rumor in WDC that Lieberman is getting lined up as the next Secretary of Defense, and Matthews confirmed he has heard this as well. Perhaps explains Lieberman taking the point on Iraq last week, Matthews speculated.

Ole Lowell can forget going back to the Senate if this happens.

Can you say "Senator Blumenthal"? That is a candidacy I'll get behind.

Genghis Conn said...

You're right about Blumenthal, Chris MC. He's had his eye on the Senate for a very long time.

If that happens, Bysiewicz will announce for attorney general, and an avalanche of ex-candidates will fall back into the SOTS race.

I still don't think it'll happen. Colin McEnroe is right, Joe would have to be an idiot to take SecDef in a sinking administration.

The SecDef rumor isn't new. People have been batting that one around for months.

Anonymous said...

Are the Republicans going to field a candidate?

(FYI, Lowell Weicker would lose a GOP primary to any "anomymous" out there. He won;t go that route).

Anonymous said...

Aldon says he is " close to those that want to draft Weicker to run" Is that official DeStefano policy? Remember what you say online will be interpreted by us as DeStefano policy given the fact you are a paid staffer.If its your personal opinion then you hurt the Destefano effort by not declaring "which hat" you are speaking as and not giving DeStefano and staff any time to "process" a Weicker entry as a Dem in the Senate race as to what it means for DeStefano's race....you have alot of conflicts, such as telling us in this blog before to go ahead and give Malloy money and support all the while you are getting a paycheck from DeStefano.

Chris MC said...

Bysiewicz would declare for AG? That would be so pathetic it would be funny. I don't think she is stupid, and that would be stupid. "I wanna be Guv! No, wait, I mean, I still wanna be SOTS! Um, oh, Dick's not running? That thing I just said, forget it. Just kidding. What I reaaally want is to be AG! Yeah, that's exactly it, AG. I was only running for Guv 'cause I couldn't run for AG, ya know?"

Here's the more likely scenario:
Maloney v Jepson

That is, of course, if Maloney isn't already running for LG.

Aldon Hynes said...

If Anonymous(2:53) had read closely any of the stuff that I've written, they would understand that I am not speaking on behalf of the DeStefano campaign. I'm not sure how much more explicit I can be than I said in the Kos post, I will simply say that this is my personal thoughts and has nothing to do with my support for Mayor DeStefano.

Yes, there are always people who will deliberately, or simply out of ignorance take things out of context and misrepresent them. The only thing we can do is to continually point out their ignorance.

I need to respect the privacy of people in the DeStefano campaign and of people that are contacting me about the Draft Weicker movement. So, I won't go into details about any of my discussions, but I can tell you that I have told people on the staff about calls I have been receiving before I've posted anything online about it.

As to claiming that I've been telling people "in this blog before to go ahead and give Malloy money", I do encourage everyone to give to the candidate of their choice. I am committed to encourage participatory democracy. I hope everyone on the DeStefano campaign, as well as the Malloy campaign and the Rell campaign are committed to promoting participatory democracy. I have also consistently encouraged public financing of elections where everyone effectively is contributing to all campaigns.

Of course part of my commitment is to get people to decide to support Mayor DeStefano. This includes talking about how he is the strongest candidate on getting people involved in politics and has been the best candidate supporting public financing of elections.

If you want to play senseless allegation games, let me suggest that John Rowland has managed to get Internet Access from his cell.

Chris MC said...

McCain: Murtha's emotional in his old age

How disappointing to watch John McCain impugning the integrity of Rep. Murtha by calling him a weak and sentimental old man.

Here is the substance of Murtha's actual position, which according to some sources comes right from the flag officers in Iraq themselves:

"The future of our military is at risk. Our military and our families are stretched thin. Many say the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on a third deployment. Recruitment is down even as the military has lowered its standards. They expect to take 20 percent category 4, which is the lowest category, which they said they'd never take. They have been forced to do that to try to meet a reduced quota.

"Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We cannot allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared.

"The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls in our bases at home. I've been to three bases in the United States, and each one of them were short of things they need to train the people going to Iraq.

"Much of our ground equipment is worn out.

"Most importantly -- this is the most important point -- incidents have increased from 150 a week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over a time when we had additional more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revolution at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled."


Sure looks like substance to me. And Murtha stood up there, all alone, and soberly delivered his position and defended it. Doesn't appear to be anything weak about him.

Shame on John McCain.

Great Santini said...

I remember Weicker. He brought us the state income tax with a promise that the sales tax would be eliminated. Good idea. But that's not what happened. The sales tax was reduced slightly when the income tax was instituted. I don't know if it was Weicker's fault or the legislature's - probably both.

One thing I'll say for Weicker - if he were governor, the Whalers would still be here and Robert Kraft wouldn't have played for fools like he did with John Rowland. One of my friends still has his receipt from the deposit he paid for Patriots tickets in 1997 or whenever it was.

Anonymous said...

well, Chris I guess McCain is only a war hero when you agree with him

Bin Laden creidts our running out of Somalia as his inspiration for thinking the US would not see thorugh a foreign engagement in which it suffered casualties. Murtha supported our departure from Somalia, but neither he not his supporters learned the lesson Colin Powell put bluntly. i.e. Iraq is like Pottery Barn, we can;t leave until it is fixed. BTW, now John Kerry seems eager to go into Syria. Gonna disavow him too now, my liberal friends?

Anonymous said...

Play with this folks.

joe goes to defence and Rell appoints HERSELF to take Joes seat.

Thats the rumor the my Republican town chairs been talking up.

Chris MC said...

Heh. Democrats' wet dream. She is formidably popular in her current position. She's a sitting duck if she sends herself to Washington.

- Blumenthal takes her on in November, and wins handily.
- Democrats take the Governor's mansion.

Only way that gets better is if she just decided not to run at all.

DeanFan84 said...

New Englanders are not about to add a seat to the Republican Senate majority. Not in this cycle.

Chafee is in deep trouble, (with a Republican challenger ahead of him in the polls), and Snowe is vulnerable.

There is no way that Rell would hold up against a Blumenthal, Larson, or DeLauro challenge.

Statehouse politics are one thing, national politics completely another....

Anonymous said...

chris mc,

You think Rosa will just stand aside and allow Dick to walk into that Senate seat.

If you were at this years JJB dinner you would know that ain't happening.

Chris MC said...

Was, but I don't know to what you are referring?

Brass Anon said...

Bob Scheiffer had the Lieberman to Defense rumor yesterday too and asked Sen. Kerry about it. Which Republican would Rell appoint if Joe left?

Anonymous said...

My info is that Weicker helped the two tribes gain federal tribal recognition and Reagan reluctantly went along with the program. No recognition would have meant no casino but the story does get a little twisted at times. Weicker's third party entry should help a Republican enter the Senate race and give it a good go.

FrankS said...

If, and it's big if, Weicker involves himself in the 2006 Senate race he will run as an independent. That's a problem for Lieberman, if there is a Republican candidate.

Weicker would sway a substancial share of voters and that places Lieberman's re-election in doubt. Remember, Weicker's initial 3-way election race aganist Dodd and Duffy had a similar anit-war and democratic candidate displeasure twists. Weicker won another 3-way race for Governor, so he understands the political dynamics.

I doubt Bush could prevent Republican involvement, a real chance at a Senate seat is too tempting, to preserve Lieberman and with the margin in that body so close that the Republican senators seek every opportunity to gain seats.

It's also bad for Rell, Lieberman would have to involve himself very early with money in the state campaign and later with more money, organization and personal commitments for voter turnout.

In short, to be a factor, Weicker would need a conserative Republican, to draw voters from Lieberman to make this a race.

Mr. Reality said...

Mike CT said..."The winner of the most comical political spinmeister of the year award is Republican party director John Catelan: 'I don't see how you can be any more left than Joe Lieberman.'" Well Mike the joke is on you...

In fact if you Dems did your homework, (which you don't becasue you are all close-minded) you would see that Catelan is correct. Face it the reason you don't like Joe is becasue he does not engage in mean-spirited, divisive politics. Joe is a nice guy and respectful...God forbid the the Dems have someone like that in the party. Nice job!

How much more liberal do you want him? Here are the ratings!

Worst of the Worst
Senators scoring 0% on ACU's (American Conservative Union) 2004 rating of the U.S. Senate.

(Party - State)

Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE)

Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)

John R. Edwards (D-NC)

Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA)

John F. Kerry (D-MA)

Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Carl Levin (D-MI)

JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT)

Jack Reed (D-RI)

Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD)

Proud Moderate Dem said...

Genghis, in your assesment of the '88 race you forgot to mention the infamous 'Bear Ad' in which Weicker was portrayed as a sleeping bear in the cave missing votes that were important to CT voters. also, another interesting part of that race was judd hirsch writing postcards in support of weicker to jewish american groups. for extra credit, can anyone tell me the color of the bear in the '88 bear ad i previously mentioned?

Anonymous said...

Given the attitude of local R's,. Lieberman style Dems and Weicker likers, watch the R's tactictly support Lieberman. The offset will be the old O'Neill people backing Rell to stick it to another lefty academic dreamer.

The implication will be that DeStefano is backing Weicker. It's a no win, he backs Lieberman pubicly, his base is turned off; he doesn't and he is a quisling to the old guard.

The Valley and places like Bristol Torrington and Enfield trend big to the "right" under this scenario

Chris MC said...

Mr. "Reality", if you've read this blog for any period of time, you should know better than to attempt to glom "DeanFan84" and his ilk together with myself and a number of other (moderate, pragmatic, whatever) D's who post here.

The spectrum of opinion amongst Democrats - as is routinely pissed about by the table pounders who too frequently post their rants in this blog - should be hard to miss for even the casual observer.

You are exactly right about Lieberman's voting record, of course. That said, his focus on matters of international politics, and specifically his commitment to the neoconservative crusade - to project US influence and political culture at bayonet point - are a meaningful point of departure. Suggesting that this is not a legitimate issue for those of us who otherwise find little fault with him is lazy and weak. If you can look up his record, you can do better than that last post. Try a bit harder, please?

Mr. Reality said...

All I am saying Chris is that it to say that John Cattelan is wrong to point out that Joe Lieberman is one of the most liberal member of the US Senate is completely laughable. The bottom line is that he is right, Joe is liberal...more so than Weicker that's for sure.

So Lieberman backs the US mission in the Middle East. Wow!! What other plan is there right now. Let's face it the Dems don't have one! If they did why isn't anyone promoting it?

Chris MC said...

Mr. Reality

OK, that distinction made...

I don't want to give your post short shrift, I just can't respond fully (got to work right now).

For the time being, I'll mark my position by saying that the neocons' philosophy is structurally flawed and their strategy is functionally useless, as are all ivory tower theories when they meet the real world.

And this one is rapidly turning the American experiment into a tragedy.

Aldon Hynes said...

The fact that the ACU lumps 10% of the Senate together as all being the most liberal may indicate not so much any given Senator's liberalness, but instead how broad and inaccurate their groupings are, sort of like grouping Chris Mc and DeanFan84 together.

For a more precise grouping, I would suggest checking out Progressive Punch's analysis of Joe Lieberman. Over all, they list him as 39th most liberal Senator.

On issues of Housing, Education, Humanities and the Arts, they do rank him as the most liberal. However, on of War and Peace, Labor Rights, and Health Care they consider over 40 percent of the senators more liberal than Lieberman, which is how he ends up 39th over all.

The problem that many people see with Lieberman, however, is that he has been very vocal on his most conservative positions and fairly quiet on his more liberal positions.

DeanFan84 said...

Hey, Chris Mc and I worked together on the Dean campaign last cycle. We're not that different, ideologically. Chris likes to play the consummate political insider, and as an outsider I get off on being outspoken.

Torture. Elective War. Kissing George Bush. Being friends with Sean Hannity.

Joe Lieberman gladly advocates for these things that make the rest of us want to throw-up. Beyond the nausea, who cares about the rest of his voting record?

Willy said...

While contemplating the Weicker rumors I thought about his campaign slogan of several years back. The conclusion I came to was, Weicker in office again is just like throwing another turd on the fire.

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