Sunday, June 18, 2006

Some Days the Bear Gets You

It's been a lousy week for Joe Lieberman.

It started off with a Lamont ad calling for him to support the eventual primary winner, and then got worse when Lieberman's friends tried to help by saying wild, dimwitted things. Lamont got endorsements from two big teachers' unions, then, even worse, a Rasmussen poll showed Lamont only six points behind among likely primary voters.

It was then that the strategic geniuses at the Lieberman campaign decided to unleash their secret weapon: Son of Bear Ad, which turned out to be a miserable, unwatchable flop. Lieberman ended the week with an acerbic interview with David Broder, in which he compares the Lamont campaign and its supporters to a "crusade or jihad." Nice.

The one bright spot in the week, in which the Lieberman campaign agreed to a debate, seemed like a bitter concession, especially given the venom of the Lieberman press release.

Now, newspapers which saw Lamont as something of a novelty (and Lieberman as a foregone conclusion) a month ago are now taking a hard look at the Joe Lieberman who has been revealed by this week's events, and asking tough questions about his character and motivations. Connecticut voters who were paying attention might be starting to ask those questions, too.

So it can't get worse, right? This has to be rock bottom for Joe Lieberman. The image he's spent years honing, that of a prudent, intelligent, thoughtful compromiser with a ton of integrity, has been tarnished, perhaps irrevocably so. His campaign is wasting time and money on ads and statements that hurt more than they help, and the media honeymoon Lamont is enjoying just keeps getting longer.

Lieberman is a smart guy with a ton of campaign experience. He'll find a way to pull out of the nose dive somehow. We may see some campaign shakeups, a couple of firings here and there, and maybe some better-made ads and a stronger defense of his record. The debate will give Lieberman a chance to gain back a lot of ground, if he can manage to show up as Joe the Statesman, and not as the bitter, arrogant candidate we've seen over the past week.

He'll come out of it. But by then, it may be too late. There is one way things could get worse for Lieberman, of course, and that's being Joe Unemployed next January.


MikeCT said...

Plus, prominent Dems are running away from Independent Joe, and worst of all, he has to endure a better bear ad and another kiss video, sure to send him over the edge and into retirement.

TrueBlueCT said...

I'm not sure Lieberman will pull out of his tailspin. Maybe the Nation, and particularly CT, is simply ready for change.

In terms of Joe being unemployed, I wouldn't count on it. He'll simply join his wife as a corporate lobbyist.

cgg said...

I think Lieberman needs to make some staff changes, and quickly. Ok well as a Lamont supporter I don't think that, but if I were a Lieberman supporter I'd be hoping to see some staff changes.

CommonSenseDem said...

Genghis--What happened to the fairly unbiased coverage that this blog normally provides?

Did you happen to see the op-ed that ran in the New Haven Register today "Challenge to Lieberman Could Hurt All Democrats?"

I suggest you look it up and post it when you get a chance. I think alot of people on this blog need to read it.

cgg said...

Here's a link to the register op-ed. You have to register though. Use Bugmenot to bypass that.

GMR said...

The NHR editorial was interesting, but I think it's overplaying the chances that Schlesinger win a three way race. Schlesinger could win, but he'd need Lamont and Lieberman to get about the same number of votes.

A three way race between a Democrat Lamont, and Independent Lieberman and a Republican Schlesinger yields a huge number of new and interesting dynamics.

Fundraising. Where does the Democrat donor money go? Whom does the DCCC back? Where do corporations and others who typically back incumbents place their funds? Does the National Republican Party smell blood, and start funding Schlesinger? Will a three way race make it virtually impossible for Malloy (or JDS) to raise funding?

Turnout. Both Lieberman and Lamont on the November ballot would boost Democrat turnout, and most of these voters would presumably vote Democrat in the down races.

Straight Tickets. Rell looks like she could break 60%, and in any event, she's going to get a lot of votes from Independents. Some of these will vote Lieberman. Rell will be Line A. Lieberman will be line E or worse, depending on the town. Then comes state senator. So in this scenario, the independent has been skipping around the ballot lines, not doing a straight ticket. Someone claimed this would have an effect; I doubt it, and if so, it's negligible.

National Image. If Lieberman breaks with the party and runs as an independent, don't think that Republicans won't mention that on about every Sunday morning talk show. They'll mention how the Democrat party has been taken over by extremists, and how VP candidates don't even trust their own primary voters ("Just six years ago, this man was almost elected Vice President. Now his own party won't back him. Joe Lieberman hasn't changed his views in the last six years. He hasn't left the Democrat party. They've left him."

This will get played up after the election as well. if Lieberman wins, then everytime he appears on any talk show or any public appearance, people can say this is the guy who didn't trust the voters of his own party. They can imply that his party has been taken over by extremists.

If Lamont wins a three way race, then Republicans will say that the Democrat party has purged anyone who doesn't follow basic litmus tests. Also, if Lamont wins the primary, but the national party refuses to support him and instead supports Lieberman, and then Lamont wins the general election, what kind of relationship is he going to have with the Democrats who run those fund raising committees?

Chris MC said...

Good analysis, GMR. Here's the thing - most individuals can do nothing about any of those potential consequences.

The idea that Joseph I. Lieberman is incapable of repelling a challenge from a selectman from Greenwich would have been laughed out of the room a year ago.

Lieberman should have crushed Lamont like a bug under the heel of his wingtip, at least that is what the Lamontites were all hysterically complaining would happen.

But it didn't. Instead, Lieberman is in "the fight of his political life". Sunday editorials are attempting to excoriate with political esoterica people who simply don't give a damn about those arguments. Which leads me to beg the question...


If the 800 pound gorilla of Connecticut politics can't quash this, how much sympathy does he deserve?

Get rid of the asinine ad and the overpaid hacks who produced it. Get into the ring and show you know how to brawl. This isn't a finesse situation.


Chris MC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BRubenstein said...

commonsensedemocrat....we already know about that..its too numbers have Lamont winingg and frankly i think he could win a 3way race as well

BRubenstein said...

commonsensedemocrat....we already know about that..its too numbers have Lamont winingg and frankly i think he could win a 3way race as well

BRubenstein said...

GMR..i already posted the numbers in a prior post for a 3 way race...the long and short is...the replican and dem parties will tend to back their own...the fight will be for the U's not in bed for Joementum...go see the numbers in the prior posting.

Furthermore, its the DSCC not the DCCC that will be calling the shots in the Senate primary.

Lmaont's challenge will be to put pressure on the party to support him if Joementum bolts...and most will support him except for the extremists who will support Joementum.

MightyMouse1 said...

MikeCt, "prominent Dems running away from Independent Joe" is a little bit of misinformation. For instance, Joe Courtney has endorsed Senator Lieberman in the Democratic primary. Like any (most?) loyal Dems, he will support the nominee throught November.

Bruce, you are very confident in touting your numbers. I am waiting to see if you are accurate.

BRubenstein said...

mighty am i

GMR said...

yes, of course, DSCC not DCCC...