The Prospect of an Independent Lieberman Becoming More Likely
Political Wire has a story up today that Lieberman "allies" are planning for an independent Lieberman run. This could mean a any number of things from a bunch of guys thinking up a contingency plan to Lieberman supporters, friends and advisors actually laying the groundwork for an independent Joe.
Even more interestingly, one report in the previous post (hat tip to CTObserver) suggests that Lamont may be as little as six points behind Lieberman (40%-46%), according to a Rasmussen poll. (Update: That poll number now confirmed. Lamont is actually within the margin of error.)
So maybe it'll happen after all. And if it does, what then?
First, despite the polls, there's no real guarantee that Lieberman will actually win in November if he's an independent. He'll have to battle Lamont for Democrats and independents (who seem to be trending towards the Democrats this year), and conservatives will have their own candidate in Alan Schlesinger. Lieberman, as the primary race is starting to show, can't necessarily count on Democratic votes to carry him. If Democrats see him actually leave their party, it could turn a significant number who might have voted his way against him. A Lamont victory, or even a Schlesinger victory, over an independent Lieberman, is possible. Niether are likely, mind you, but the possibility is there.
But what if Lieberman does win? Polls suggest he will. Then what?
Connecticut will essentially have a Jim Jeffords. If Lieberman leaves the party, will he continue to caucus with Democrats? Or will he cross the aisle? What if it's up to Lieberman to decide which way the Senate will go for the next two years? Jeffords swung the Senate. Lieberman could do it, too. If that's the case, he'll be in a great position, and will probably be one of the most powerful and influential men in Washington. For a while.
If not, he'll be a man without a party, which means he'll either be the kind of guy who can easily go back and forth between the camps, or someone nobody will ever talk to.
It will almost certainly mean that this will be his last Senate term.
Now that an independent Lieberman is seeming more and more likely, these sorts of questions are going to come up. If the Rasmussen Poll is right, and Lamont is within easy striking distance, we can expect to start asking them to him very soon.