Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Man in the Middle

In trying to whip up support for his independent run, Joe Lieberman has been reaching out to voters from out-of-state:
"If you're disappointed with the ugly tone of our politics, if you're fed up with the nasty partisanship in Washington, then I ask your help too," said Lieberman, looking into the television cameras.

Lieberman called on Americans to visit his Web site and send ideas "on how we can build this new politics of unity and purpose." He also hit them up for campaign contributions.(AP)

What is he up to? Suddenly, this isn't even remotely about Connecticut anymore, is it? It isn't about Joe clinging desperately to a single Senate seat.

This is about the White House.

Joe Lieberman was a few hundred votes from becoming Vice President in 2000, and ran for his party's presidential nomination in 2004. He believes he ought to be President of the United States--and now he's hit on a way to get himself there.
"I'm looking for people from outside of Connecticut to help me with their support, by coming to Connecticut to help, and by contributing money if they want," Lieberman said Thursday. "This is saying to a lot of people across the country, who I know are as fed up as I am with the partisanship in Washington that stops our government from doing anything about the big problems that average people face." (AP)

He's trying to start a national campaign against "partisanship," which he has on many occasions helped to fan the flames of (remember his attacks on Wesley Clark for being too recent a Democrat?), and he's enlisting the support of people from all across the country. To what end? First and foremost, he wants to win his seat back. But then what? If he can manage to defeat Lamont, he will spin his victory as moderation triumphing over extremism, the center defeating the fringe. The public will take notice.

Lieberman is a long way from winning his party's nomination. In fact, he will probably never be able to win a Democratic primary. But he may be exactly who these guys are looking for:
For most of the 20th Century, the contest for the U.S. presidency was waged over those “in the middle.” Recent Presidential elections, however, have not been focused on the middle but on the turnout of each party’s special interest groups – with each party’s “base” representing barely ten percent of the American people.

We believe that, while the leaders of both major parties are well intentioned people, they are trapped in a flawed system – and that the two major parties are today simply neither relevant to the issues and challenges of the 21st Century nor effective in addressing them.

As a result, most Americans have not been enthusiastic about the choices for President in recent elections, the key issues they ran on, or the manner in which the campaigns were conducted.

Therefore Unity08 will act to assure that an alternative ticket is presented to the American voters in 2008.

Imagine that the choices for president in 2008 are John Edwards, George Allen... and Joe Lieberman. How far out of the question is it?

He's starting now. He is trying to appeal to all Americans, not just to people from Connecticut. His message is a simple one: enough partisan bickering. It could wind up being very compelling. If he's successful in getting past Lamont... the sky may be the limit for Lieberman.


"Lieberman looks outside state for help with independent run." Associated Press 12 August, 2006.

Our Beliefs, Our Goals & Why We'll Succeed." Unity08., accessed 12 August 2006.


Anonymous said...

when you get a lemon, make lemonade

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

I don't buy the thesis.

Joe is trying desperately right now to raise money- and he'll have to do so out-of-state to achieve the scale necessary to beat a Democratic opponent who can also self-finance.

Your thesis is that Joe is trying to buy a million-dollar house. My guess is that he's trying to pay next month's rent for his campaign HQ.

Rasmussen ran numbers on a McCain-Lieberman ticket, I believe. I think this speculation is fun, but that's all it is...

Bobby McGee said...

I've been saying this for days. Lieberman, if he wants any chance at being considered "centrist" needs to tone down his rhetoric; portraying your opponent as being supported by al Qaeda is not the way a "moderate, centrist, bipartisan" would be conducting business.

By the way, what were the Rasmussen numbers for that ticket.

cgg said...

I think Fatguyinmiddleseat is closer to Joe's motivations than you are Genghis. He's hanging on by a thread, and has to seek out of state support because it doesn't exist here. Lieberman is a man without a party.

Chris MC said...

GC -
Somebody reading this might contact Unity '08 Founders Council member Lindsay Ullman, Painted Post, New York. Junior at Yale University.
Or, maybe, Lindsay is reading this and can comment directly.

Who are these people, and how did they get together? A lot appear to be undergrads in various institutions of higher learning.

matt said...

I do buy this thesis. Look up "Bloomberg Democrats," then note that Bloomberg is one of the last 3 or 4 elected officials still aboard the Joetanic.

All the more reason to make sure that Joe gets his ass beat soundly in November.

Anonymous said...

has anyone heard about stephen stills coming in to campaign for courtney and murphy on monday? i'm sure courtney remembers who he is - but isn't murphy too young for that kind of thing?

matt said...

My take on the new Lieberman: he embodies everything the left hates passionately circa 2006 (pro war, torture, right-wing judicial appointees), and ostensibly supports everything that the far right hates (pro choice, labor, environmental regulation.)

Even if that has a chance in 2006 in CT (I don't think it does), it certainly doesn't in 2008 nationwide. He is hitting all the buttons that people vote against, without any of the ones that people vote for.

Anonymous said...

Matt, think Perot with a better resume

Anonymous said...

Lamont is in big trouble. While he has the unanimous support of the radical Democrats that want every Democrat to hate every Republican and thrive on discourse, Lieberman will attract centrist Democrats, Independents and Republicans.

Lamont’s primary win will not seem like a win in November when all the normal people have a voice. What will the people like Dodd, Larson and others say when Joe is still in the Senate come 2007? I hope Joe remembers how they turned their backs on him.

Gary Holder-Winfield said...

"Lieberman is a long way from winning his party's nomination. In fact, he will probably never be able to win a Democratic primary. But he may be exactly who these guys are looking for:"

His party, Connecticut for Lieberman,loves him - our party, The Democrats -not so much right now.

JoanBasil said...

Did anyone else read the amazing Newsweek article by Rabbi Gellman

Gellman contends that Lieberman lost because Jews didn't vote for him as a bloc as they should have, according to Gellman and then goes on to divide Jews into tribal and cosmopolitan types. Amazing article. If a non-Jew wrote it, it would be called the worst kind of anti-semitism. In effect all Jews are contemptible as the tribals only care about other Jews and the cosmopolitans are anti-Jew.

The media and the Washington establishment gloss over Lieberman's Jewishness at the same time as they make a big deal of it, a very weird thing. There is no doubt it would be a factor in a national election, as it was in 2000 and a negative one, as it was for Gore. Among Jews themselves, Jewishness is an issue, so of course it is with the broader public of non-Jews who don't know what to make of it, particularly in light of the fix we're in over in the Middle East.

Chris MC said...

Caught the end of the interview on Fox this morning with Lamont. There is still a bit of the deer in the headlights thing, but Ned acquitted himself very, very well. His answers were substantively smack in the center of the electorate and he is good on the issues. At the risk of making the "progressive" bloggers go nuts, he is a centrist like most of us (you might say excluding the war, but the polls say otherwise at this point).

He is more and more poised in front of the camera and as he gets more practice I think he'll continue to improve. Specifically on the pointed questions asked pertaining to Sen. Lieberman's independent campaign, he demonstrated that he can articulate his view diplomatically and fairly, and he showed exactly the right balance of respect for the process and for Joe's right to pursue an independent run.

Nice job.

Brass Anon said...

I would consider myself a centrist Democrat, and as a centrist, I'll be supporting Lamont, not Lieberman.
Lieberman's support among Democrats will come from the very conservative Naugatuck Valley and Waterbury regions. I hope that is not enough support to carry him.

Of the handful of people that I've spoken to since the primary in the Waterbury area, Lamont is getting hammered for having Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson by his side during his victory speech. That played really negatively in the still very race-conscious Waterbury area. Joe is going to clean up in Waterbury. But I doubt it will matter much in the rest of the state.

BTW, Swann's apology, that he "seldom" associates Jarjura with corruption in Waterbury, was classic. However, it would be wise for Lamont to say that he does not associate all Waterburians with the slimy Giordano and the evil Rowland. That should be enough to shore up his Waterbury support.

How did Swann forget about Tocco (he's not named after the meal favored by illegal immigrants) Sullivan, in associating Waterbury with scandal. Speaking of Tocco, a mini-scandal is developing in Waterbury, with Tocco's son slated to be named a department head in the Waterbury education department, after just three years of service. He is likely going to get the job ahead of some qualified teachers with more than 12 years, just because "he is Tocco's son" according to Jarjura. Maybe the Republican-American should look into this bit of cronyism associated with St. Tocco.

The beat goes on in Waterbury.

Anonymous said...

chris mc said: "At the risk of making the "progressive" bloggers go nuts, he is a centrist like most of us (you might say excluding the war, but the polls say otherwise at this point)."

chris mc, i don't think that Lamont knows what he is. He has NEVER taken positions on any of these political issues because he's not held any serious elected position. Being a Selectman in Greenwich, CT is hardly a significant post. He is a Democrat, no doubt. He is also a millionaire from the richest town in America, and he grew up with a platinum spoon in his mouth. To be fair, he had an upbringing that makes GW Bush's look almost pedestrian. Was he really a strong anti-war individual before his run for the Senate? Did he really embrace the policies of Jesse Jackson before this run? I don't think so. My impression: he is a nice guy, well meaning, intelligent, but not a great, decisive leader. I think he is, in many ways, a puppet being told what to do and what to say in an effort to win. Smart strategy, no doubt. But I ask you, when does Ned go from criticizing policy that most of us disagree with, to providing us his solutions to these problems?

Anonymous said...

GC - Can you link the Waterbury Rep-Am's editorial today on the Lamont family political history? Basically, the Rep-Am calls Lamont a communist (no doubt Swan's comments about Waterbury did not help). This is a shocking editorial. Wow, this is going to get nasty.

Genghis Conn said...


Wow. Here's the link. That's... quite the editorial.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for The Waterbury Republican...a Newspaper that actually sees Ned Lamont for what he really is. Personally I think it is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

The Waterbury Republican has hit a home run on this one!!!!!!!!

Chris MC said...

Reading Rabbi Gellman's piece on Joe losing because of the Jews, I suspect that joanbasil is probably right in asserting that if Gellman's opinion were expressed by a non-jew it would be assailed as anti-semitic. It is superficial, glib, and utterly anecdotal, thus providing no insight whatsoever.

I am reminded of something a friend of mine (an accomplished psychiatrist, a staunch Joe supporter, a veteran of the "glory" days at Berkeley, SDS, and so on) explained to me about being Jewish.

He told me that arguing the Torah is an essential component of Jewish culture, history, and life. He suggested that one of the ways to understand the varieties of Jewish belief and practice stem from this universal and fundamental fact.

So how about this formulation: Jews aren't voting for Joe for being a Jew because they are thinking about things as Jews do, instead of reacting like a bunch of racists. The comparison to the guys in the schvitz isn't even valid, because it connects Iraq with Israel. What a crock.

A more than reasonable argument can be made that the war in Iraq has significantly contributed to Israel's insecurity and isolation in the Middle East. Shall we now argue that Paul Wolfowitz, Charles Krauthammer, and Bill Crystal are self-hating Jews and crypto-anti-Zionists?

Are Dick Blumenthal, Joe Courtney and Nancy Wyman anti-Israel because they got up and stood with their Party's nominee on Wednesday? That's so absurd it isn't even funny. No, there are many more factors to be considered here.

The notion that disagreeing with this Administration on Iraq is anti-Israel is as offensive as suggesting that to disagree with this Administration on Iraq is un-American (in all that epithet's formulations).

Anonymous said...

could our "centrist Democrat" explain how the "very race concious Naugatuck Valley" elected the only African American in CT history to Congress?

Seems like there's a lot of self-loathing going on out there

mccommas said...

FatGuyinMiddleSeat is right. I don't buy the thesis either.

Where is Lieberman going to get his money?

If he has no money than how is he going to stay in the top two in the polls?

If he slips to third place, if his support starts thinking strategically, where are they going to go?


For Schlesinger this is the start of the process. He has no where to go but up from here.

Just you keep misunderestimating him.

Chris MC said...

Schleezinger was on one of the Sunday shows last week. Really, is he the weenie he appeared to be?

Derby Conservative? Anybody? Bueller?