Chapter #27,493: Debate Week
It’s Fourth of July week. Everyone is tuned-out, taking off and basically in a mood for baseball, hot dogs and hitting the beach.
In other words, it’s a perfect time for what may be the most crucial and fascinating debate of the year: Lieberman vs. Lamont.
Yes, this Thursday at 7pm, Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman will face one another in the eerie, otherworldly stillness of a television studio, with a few news anchors and the cameramen as their only live audience. Even reporters will be sequestered in a different room. The debate will be broadcast live on WVIT (Channel 30) to them as well as to the rest of us.
Joe Lieberman is an old hand at high-stakes debates, although the jury's out on whether he's ever actually won one. Lamont, as is the case with just about everything else, is untested.
Lieberman's been off-balance for the entire campaign so far. There's a good chance he'll try to use the debate to regain his footing. The best case scenario for Lieberman is if he essentially has one of his better debates, and Lamont makes a couple of rookie mistakes. That gives Lieberman a chance to define Lamont for voters, while looking like the seasoned statesman his campaign wants him to be.
The worst-case scenario for Lieberman is if he comes off as an angry, bitter, self-important jerk--which is exactly what he's been doing for most of the campaign. If this happens, all Lamont has to do is keep his head above water and hope his weird charisma translates well to live television.
I'm betting on a polished, gracious and wise Joe Lieberman to show up at the debate. Note that I said that he'll show up that way. Where he'll be by the end of it is largely up to Ned Lamont.