Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Shays: GOP Considering Endorsing Lieberman

Shays Will Vote for Democratic Senator, Encourages Cross-Endorsement


It's been the subject of whispered conversations among top Republican officials for the past month. Now, U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, R-4th District, has let slip the secret: GOP officials have discussed cross-endorsing Democratic Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman this fall.

In an interview today with the editorial board of The Advocate of Stamford, Shays said he intends to vote for Lieberman and is encouraging a Republican endorsement of the three-term senator. (Pazniokas)

As mentioned earlier today, Shays and Lieberman have almost identical positions on the Iraq War, as well as on other issues.

Shays is apparently not entirely alone in this, although the article notes that Republic Party officals are backing away from it. Lieberman's camp also seems a little surprised:

By Tuesday evening, spokesmen for top Republicans publicly distanced themselves from the possibility of backing Lieberman, who faces a Democratic primary over his support of President Bush and the war in Iraq.

And a spokeswoman for Lieberman, who previously had refused to rule out appearing on any but the Democratic line on the November ballot, said he would not accept a cross-endorsement.

"Would he accept the endorsement of the Republican Party? No, he is seeking the Democratic Party nomination," said Casey Aden-Wansbury, his communication director. She said no one representing Lieberman has discussed a cross-endorsement with Republicans.
"I thank Chris Shays for his support," Lieberman said, according to his staff. "But of course I am enthusiastically supporting my fellow Democrat Diane Farrell in this congressional race, as I did two years ago." (Pazniokas)


This may just be Shays saying what he thinks. It also may mean that the GOP isn't planning on running a strong candidate against Lieberman, after all.

Ned Lamont and his backers ought to be thrilled. Even the possibility of a Republican endorsement, despite Lieberman's protestations, seems to prove their point that Lieberman isn't a "real" Democrat quite neatly. The real loser here seems to be Diane Farrell, who compromised her stance on the Iraq War by endorsing Lieberman, only to find her opponent endorsing him a few days later.

Notice also that Republicans aren't aghast. It's significant that Rell didn't dismiss the idea out of hand, but was "noncomittal." I wonder what George Gallo thinks?

What's really happening, here?

It's fascinating that, despite the polarization of political parties in Washington and elsewhere in the country, that a Republican and a Democrat can have so much in common. This, plus the fact that the Senate is ultimately controlled by a loose centrist coalition (the so-called "Gang of 14," of which Lieberman is a member) suggests that there are no longer only two opposing political parties, but three major conglomerations of interests. There is the right, the left, and a resurgent center which straddles the parties. The direction of that wavering, hesitant center may very well determine the course of the nation.

Democrats in Connecticut have occupied the center for nearly forty years. For Republicans who want a piece of that center ground, a cross-endorsement wouldn't be a bad move at all. Lieberman is well-liked by independents in Connecticut, and having both Jodi Rell and Joe Lieberman on the same line could result in significant gains for the GOP. It's a thought that should make Democrats shiver.

A cross-endorsement of Lieberman probably won't happen--not this year. But the left-right-center dynamics the possibility exposes are intriguing.


Pazniokas, Mark. "Shays Endorsing Lieberman." Hartford Courant 28 February, 2006.


Anonymous said...

Chris "Sell out" Shays....I can see a Republicans for Farell campaign starting soon. He just cooked his goose.

MikeCT said...

And Kos has already made the national rallying cry.

Genghis Conn said...

No surprises there, Mike.

Think this could hurt Shays? A lot of Republicans are fans of Lieberman.

MikeCT said...

Lieberman is running a general election campaign in a primary. I encourage him to remain confused about that.

ctkeith said...

GC proves by this rediculous analysis and then Sprinting over to Kos to link to his Blog that all he really cares about is Traffic at his Blog.

How Desperate for attention can one be?

Genghis Conn said...

I'm not sure what you find ridiculous, here. If the Connecticut Republican Party is going to make a play for the center, this is the year to do it. They have Rell at the top of the ticket and three comparatively moderate congressional candidates. A Lieberman endorsement would be a fascinating addition, which, while infuriating Democratic activists, could really draw independents to the GOP line.

Not that I think the CT GOP, which has a history of dropping the ball, will do this.

...Hey, I get to plug.

Real Republican said...

Let me see if I understand this.

Shays supports Lieberman
Farell supports Lieberman
Lieberman supports Farell

Looks like Shays is going to the dance all by himself.

ctkeith said...


Wheres the Pro-Iraq war Middle.

Shays made this all about IRAQ.I hope Lieberman,Shays,Simmons and Johnson all want to run on "staying the Course" in Iraq.

Genghis Conn said...

Real Republican,

I'm not seeing a lot of annoyed Republicans, out there. At least not yet. We may see more tomorrow, but hard-right Republicans aren't fond of Shays, anyway. I don't think this makes them any less likely to vote for him.

Independents, however...


It doesn't seem as simple as pro/anti-war. A lot of independents think the Administration has done a lousy job, but they're not comfortable with an immediate withdrawl, either.

ctkeith said...


You think it's going to get better in Iraq over the next 8 months?

W is already implementing the Murtha plan in case you hadn't noticed.

Beat Shays said...

Yeah, Joe is sticking Diane Farrell, I don't see how this hurts her at all. Shays is just being odd.

Real Republican said...

Farrell must be happy today! The only question is, will Shays now come out and support DeStefano over Rell?

Anonymous said...

real rublican... DeStefano against Rell? Mark my words, he isn't making it to the general, and if he does he'd be destroyed. Did you see the Register today? New Haven taxes are going up in the largest increase EVER under DeStefano.

I really loved his defense too. From the article:
"The words of comfort to taxpayers would be, ‘You should expect to see property taxes across the state be a problem’," DeStefano said, noting that all but 37 towns statewide last year hiked taxes more than 4 percent. A 4-mill tax hike in New Haven equals 9 percent.

You think Jodi Rell isn't just dying to go up against a tax and spender???

turfgrrl said...

Of course the CT GOP will run a senate candidate, and they won't need a strong one either. All they need is for the dems to split on Joe and for an independent candidate to run as well and you have a three way race and the GOP picks up the senate seat.

This is the only conceivable way that the GOP can win that seat. Let me underscore this, there is no downside to this plan to the CT GOP. If a third party candidate does not emerge, they still get first claim to the centrist position and look better for being open about the Shays endorsement. The dems should focus on beating the public drums to have Shays switch parties. That is the only move they have in this chess game.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I got a good chuckle out of DeStefano's quote on his tax increase. I'm sure the good citizens of New Haven will take comfort that they're not the only ones being taxed. NOT! Could you even imagine if this guy were running the state? "The residents of Connecticut shouldn't be bothered that I'm raising your taxes because a bunch of other states are raising their taxes too." It reminds me of something my mother used to say to me when I was young and tried to give her the "everyone's doing it" line..."If your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump too?"

Anonymous said...

Did you happen to notice that part of DeStefano's increased budget is due to adding in funding for a permanent budget director? It's funny that in an election year, JD's finally decided that it's time to end his highly irregular arrangement with his friend Frank Altieri, who's been serving as the budget director for 12 years, but was never on New Haven's books (or subject to ethics and other city rules). Check out Paul Bass' article: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/city_hall/#001094

I'm sure New Haveners will be happy to know that Tax-and Spend John is increasing their taxes so he doesn't have to face scrutiny for his relationship with Altieri.

Anonymous said...

Prediction: Joe crushes Ned in November.

conspiracy theorist said...

I'm a Democrat, I have no inside information or indeed any basis for this comment, but I've been thinking about this since last night:

Does anyone think there may be some method to Shays maddness?

Shays may be banking on the theory that a Republican endorsement only means more ammo for Lamont. Ergo, Lamont could go in and make a good showing at the convention and definitively force a costly primary. It seems no coincidence that as of today town committees beging to pick delegates.

Perhaps the Shays folks doubt that Lamont beats Joe at the convention, but feel a good showing sets up a contentious, negative, bloodbath of a primary. Even if Lieberman comes out on top he will be significantly weakened, leaving room for a Republican, with some money and political capitol to have a shot.

Kevin Rennie mentioned sometime ago that the CTGOP was looking for a Fairfield County R to run for Senate. Could it be that Shays is setting up his own Senate race? How much of his war chest could be used for a Senate run?

Think about it. If Lamont comes out of the primary, Shays pulls the Republican and Independent Votes that Joe would have gotten. If Lieberman comes out over Lamont, he could be weakened significantly in the Democratic base, especially among liberals who would likely stay home and Shays could split the independent vote. Even if its a three way race, it may be worth the shot for Shays.

In some ways politics is a lot like poker, you look at the table, look at your cards, play and safe and usually come out on top. If you want the big pot sometimes you have to bet big.

bluecoat said...

I think turfgrrl id'd herself as a Democrat somewhere along the way but I don't care. She's got my vote for whatever she runs for. She's a smarty.

And Genghis, the comments aren't working on the latest post for me.

MightyMouse1 said...

Joe is going to blow Lamont out of the water. A one trick pony isn't gonna get legs, even with his trust fund campaign funding.

Anonymous said...

Joe can't kill Lamont in November because Lamont won't be around in November.

DeanFan84 said...


What is it with you Republicans? Can't you argue substantively? And do you have any regard for facts?

For a TFB, Lamont sure has built himself up a pretty solid business. Eh? You forgot about that?

And if you had bothered to do any reading, you would know that the Lamont campaign is about more than the War. It's also about Joe's basic loyalty to the Democratic Party.
turfgrrl & Bluecoat--
You both really think that it would make sense for Dems to lobby Shays to switch parties??

Seems kind of ludicrous to me in that one, we have Farrell, and two, Shays will never turn his back on his FFLD Co. Republican friends.

bluecoat said...

Dean Fan,


DeanFan84 said...


turfgrrl wrote: "The dems should focus on beating the public drums to have Shays switch parties. That is the only move they have in this chess game."

You then endorsed her post by saying about Turfgrrl: "She's got my vote for whatever she runs for. She's a smarty."

I take it by your latest response that you don't actually agree with what she posted?

Franks said...

This is classic Shays, he's siding with Lieberman to appeal to Lieberman hardcore base in Stamford, hedging Lieberman's support of Farrell, tones down discussion of Iraq where the results of an anit-war primary could hurt him as well and generates a small media circus.

bluecoat said...

I missed the beating drums business about switching parties. Probably not a bad idea if you are a Democrat strategist but I do not know the answer to your question now that I understand it. I'm not a Democrat and turfgrrl is still smart.

MightyMouse1 said...

Great post DeanFan, actually I am neither a democrat nor a republican. Is your best insult to call someone Republican?

I used to post as anonymous, but decided to get a consistant handle.

Anonymous said...

conspiracy theorist, Shay's is not the CTGOP's mystery Fairfield County Senate candidate.

Weicker Liker said...

Than who is the mysterious Senate Candidate?

Anonymous said...

Jack Welch

Anonymous said...

DeanFan84 said...

What is it with you Republicans? Can't you argue substantively? And do you have any regard for facts?

MightyMouse is from a real ranching town called Middlebury. Middlebury CT? I doubt it. He can't argue substantively because he doesn't even know the issues. Hence the turgid language.