Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Something About a Party

I read this in the Journal-Inquirer yesterday:
Connecticut is about to see what it is when most party leaders are friends with an independent candidate who wants only to rejoin them and there is no Republican threat.

Yes, 40 years ago it would have been unthinkable in Connecticut for someone holding any special position in a party to support an independent candidate. But Connecticut's parties have disintegrated a lot since then. (Powell)

The entire piece is well worth a read (some nice history about former Speaker Richard Balducci, who was from my old hometown of Newington, Lowell Weicker and Tom Dodd), but the upshot, that party endorsements really don’t help at all in an age of party disintegration, is pretty accurate.

Which means that the endorsement of Bill Clinton, which didn’t help Lieberman at all, probably won’t help Lamont either. It also means that the endorsement of Jim Amann, who I guarantee you a majority of Connecticut voters have never even heard of, will mean nothing as well.

Politics today seems to be more about individual loyalty instead of party loyalty. And why not? What good are the parties? The Democratic Party in Connecticut is an aging, creaking conglomeration of competing interests, haphazardly cobbled together into a body that is impressively large, but ultimately non-functional. The state Republican Party is a mere rump of its former glory, without even the strength to rid itself of a stubborn and doomed Senate candidate.

Neither has anything approaching the unity or discipline seen regularly in the days of Henry Roraback or John Bailey. This is also true on the national level, although the Republicans are a little more unified than the Democrats. Really, though, personal loyalty seems very able to trump party, especially where Joe Lieberman is concerned. That's why the Republicans aren't pushing for Schlesinger's removal. That's why Karl Rove can call the Lieberman campaign with offers of support, despite the fact that he's a Democrat. There's loyalty there. Same thing with Amann.

Which makes efforts like this and this pretty interesting. The Democratic Party's membership, or at least a small (but, following Lamont's win, newly powerful) part of it, is trying to enforce a discipline that hasn't existed for decades--if it ever existed at all--on the leadership. To them, partisanship is not an obstacle, but something to be strived for, as they persue a return to power for their party and an effective block against the Bush Administration.

The bonds of individual loyalty are still very strong, though. It's likely that Jim Amann won't change his mind, and that he won't suffer any consequences for his endorsement of Lieberman.

At least for now.

Source
Powell, Chris. "Democrats' party loyalty show for Lamont was a charade." Journal-Inquirer 14 August, 2006.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Powell is right...ive lived through all of those prior battles...its my belief that alot of the office holders will do their own thing...regretably..

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

Genghis,

This post could not be more on target.

And what's wrong with a Burkean approach toward public service in a representative democracy?

The only thing wrong here is that the Dems who say that they back Lamont (but really don't) are hypocrites. It would be easy for Amann, for instance, to back Lamont and wink at Joe. But he is suffering great aggravation for his honesty, while others (and we can name names) say one thing and believe another.

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

Interesting article on MSNBC (though a bit vague and poorly written) about how Joe will be well-funded in the general.

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/14334681

The question is will it be enough to make Ned's Donations + Ned's personal resources irrelevant.

My take is that ultimately free media will carry the day.

ctkeith said...

It's totally amazing how little you Know about Politics GC.No wonder you staggered your way into the Green Party and never grew after that experience.

It's a messy buisness and not for the faint of heart but the two party system is alive and well in this country.

You can't get to the big game if you lose in the Playoffs GC.Watch Lieberman fade away and learn.

Anonymous said...

You jumped the shark there, Genghis. The decline in party loyalty was arrested some time ago, the Lamont-Lieberman battle being a prime piece of evidence for the turnaround (the main slam against Joe was and is that he is a disloyal Democrat).

It never did decline as much as some prognosticators said. Chris Bowers at MyDD says having a (D) or (R) next to your name is good for 20%-27% of the vote, period.

No, we are seeing an increase in party identification and loyalty, exactly what you would expect at a time of increasingly bitter party polarization. Certainly true of me anyway, never more so over my forty years as a voter.

-- MikeB
.

Anonymous said...

GC - Well done.

ctkeith - We would expect nothing less from you. Spoken like a man who believes that loyalty to party is more virtuous than loyalty to one's constituents, or one's principles.

Top-n-Center said...

Once the Senate race is over someone should monitor the Democrat Town Commitee finances and contributions in the locales where significant D-migration took place this summer. Do these folks remain involved, will they engage in party or municipal activities - will the continue to support the part where it often means and does the most - in their towns? My guess is no. We've witnessed the summer edition of American Idol won by Lamont and by fall we'll all be again bowling alone.

disgruntled_republican said...

T N C -

I would agree 100%.

Anonymous said...

"I have great sympathy for those wishing our politics could be more genteel, where both sides could come together to work things out for the common good. But I have great sympathy for those wishing our politics could be more genteel, where both sides could come together to work things out for the common good. But we live in a different time, and the rising partisanship in the Democratic Party is a necessary, pragmatic and I believe virtuous response to the circumstances we face today at the dawn of the 21st century."

This is a statement from Kos, which explains just how radical and out of touch the entire Lamont movement is. Note to Kos: the entire purpose of an elected official is "to work things out for the common good." Forcing elected officials to remain loyal to rigid party positions, rather then demanding that they serve the "public good" is why, in the long run, you will be on the outside lobbing bombs, while the grown ups are helping makes things better for all of us (you included).

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

CtKeith,

You can't get to the big game if you lose in the Playoffs GC.Watch Lieberman fade away and learn.

Um, ya can. Joe has a berth in the tournament and is the money favorite right now.

The nomination has limited utility. 70% of Joe's primary voters are sticking with him right now, if you crunch the Rasmussen numbers.

Math usually trumps the silly sports analogy, but I'll play:

Joe barely lost the division, but he won the wildcard. And he has good pitching.

TrueBlueCT said...

I love the Republicans commenting here against partisanship and the enforcement of party loyalty. Has it been that long since Tom, "The Hammer", Delay stepped down? Honest to god, the reason why Dems are fighting back so hard is because toadies like Shays, Simmons and Johnson have consistently toed the party line, instead of doing the right thing for Connecticut.

If those three had shown any backbone, they would long ago have formed a moderate Republican caucus in a similar vein to the "Blue Dog" Democrats. Instead they go along to get along, in the most partisan of fashions.

cgg said...

Top-N-Center: one of the goals Democrats have is to keep the new voters active and engaged. Last Saturday I was at a rally for Democrats in Fairfield CT. Over 200 people attended and more than 100 of them signed up to volunteer for the DNC. Most of those in attendence were not already members of a DTC, and many whom I spoke to were inspired by this primary.

TrueBlueCT said...

FatGuy--

You just don't get it. If we are upset at Democrats going along with Joe, it is because they aren't respecting our basic processes.

North Haven DTC chair Bernie McLaughlin decided to continue supporting Joe. But he had the good sense and decency to first step down as DTC chair. As such, you won't hear any grumbling about his actions, as they were within the bounds of fair play.

Lieberman, OTOH, is well outside of those bounds. What he is doing will be highly destructive to Connecticut Democrats. He knows this, but doesn't care, as it is all about Joe.

Joe's big mistake was to participate in our Democratic primary, to take our money, many people's support, the State Convention's endorsement, etc. Then he thumbed his nose at the Party, the Primary results, and the entire process. Shame on Joe.

He's acting like a rat, and it says a lot about many of the Republicans here that they so eagerly embrace rats. If someone was defecting from the Republican camp in such a manner, I don't think I would accept him or her, --on character issues alone. Scum is scum.

bluecoat said...

cgg: if there were 100 people there I'll be a monkey's uncle!!!

The True Gentleman said...

TrueBlue, you mean like Rosa DeLauro, who never votes against her party?

Anonymous said...

Top-n-Center raises an interesting question, which is unfortunately presented as a statement instead of a question. Is what we’ve witnessed the summer edition of American Idol won by Lamont only to be followed in the fall a return to bowling alone?

Personally, I hope not. I hope that people who have gotten involved will stay involved. However, I don’t think that the metric of Democrat Town Committee finances and contributions is the right metric to use.

I suspect that many of the newly energized are less likely to be involved with Democratic Town Committees. I suspect that their involvement is likely to be more personal instead of financial contributions, and their financial contributions are more likely to be via online tools than to DTCs, which as a general rule do not accept online contributions.

There are exceptions, but I believe that most of the people who helped with the Lamont campaign were not involved local town committees. I hope that will change, but I’m not expecting that. However, even if we don’t see increased involvement in DTCs doesn’t mean they have gone home to bowl alone. There are new communities that have formed online. People meet in less formal structures to continue their involvement.

This is what needs to be watched, but is particularly hard to measure.

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

TrueBlue-

As the J-I points out, Chris Dodd managed his father's independent campaign in 1970- a campaign, unlike Joe's, that threw the election to a Republican. The apparat should have purged the young Dodd immediately!

What a rat! Scum! How have you ever managed to forgive him in 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998 and 2004?

Yours is an argument of convenience and expedience.

TrueBlueCT said...

Thanks Aldon. Is there a reason why you aren't posting under your name?

ctkeith said...

Fat Guy,

Watch and learn.

The rich guys in the Senate understand that the next Lamont might come after one of them.If Joe gets away with this the next Lamont might as well save his money and spend it ALL on the general election instead of playing on the incumbents territory.

When was the last time a 3 term senator who was the partys VP nominee six yrs previous got beat in a primary?

Lieberman had every advantage anyone could ask for and still got beat because he's incompetent and has no organization.

In other words Old Joe was a Failed Senator an idiot and is too stupid to be allowed back in the Senate.He was not only defeated but totally disgraced.As Chris Mathews said after viewing Lieberman post defeat TV ad yesterday "I see Dead Men,He's already lost the election"

Anonymous said...

Lieberman's 49% is his high water mark. How far that number drops is anyone's guess, but if I were a betting person, I'd put his chances of victory at about 40%.

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

Heard rumbles out there...

Ned is shaking up his staff to retool to appeal to moderates.

He's smarter than I thought.

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

The Ned shake-up rumor has hit Drudge... he says to watch the Weds NYT.

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

OK, Keith,

The rich guys in the Senate understand that the next Lamont might come after one of them. If Joe gets away with this the next Lamont might as well save his money and spend it ALL on the general election instead of playing on the incumbents territory.

This makes no sense. Why would rich guys care about their state's version of Lamont? They are rich enough to match him.

When was the last time a 3 term senator who was the partys VP nominee six yrs previous got beat in a primary?

It is not unprecedented for Dems to shoot themselves in both feet. Your point being?

Lieberman had every advantage anyone could ask for and still got beat because he's incompetent and has no organization.

He ran a bad campaign against a guy with a ton of money. You seem to be encouraging him to run a better one in the general. He just might.

In other words Old Joe was a Failed Senator an idiot and is too stupid to be allowed back in the Senate.He was not only defeated but totally disgraced.

So, if he had picked up 4 points in an August primary, he would have been a successful genius. Name-calling makes you look somewhat undignified Keith. Don't use it as a substitute for actual thought.

As Chris Mathews said after viewing Lieberman post defeat TV ad yesterday "I see Dead Men,He's already lost the election"

Oh, yeah. Matthews. He's gone back and forth on this. Keep watching Hardball, Keith. It's easier than actually studying the race.

And if Ned's organization is so perfect, why is he on the verge of shaking it up?

Anonymous said...

So, Neddie flip-flops on keeping Tom Swan

Guess all you "workers of the world" types got one hot and heavy date out of the dude before he stopped taking your phone calls

Hope he sent you flowers at least.

and I suppose the "Evil Empire" has struck back!

Anonymous said...

The Lamont campaign is adding staff NOT shaking anything up.

Jeez,when will the idiots on the right learn that Raw Story and Drudge are not to be taken seriously?

Anonymous said...

it's an old trick then, rich campaign keeps on failing staffers by creating new titles for the newcomers that are really doing the work, and tells the old staffers to go and drink beer with the true believers and stay out of eveyone else's way...since firing them would alienate some interest group

Anonymous said...

Yeah thats it,

Your staff beats a 3 term incumbent while spending less than half the money the incumbent did so you "shake up" you staff.

You folks are as dilusional as Lieberman and Gerstein.

Anonymous said...

Fat guy....Ned has a secret weapon which will carry him to victory...that weapon is...ROY O !!!!!!!! who is a 0 for 6 strategist for Leiberman...

ctkeith said...

The NYT story is up.

If any of the Republicans here can show me where the Words "Shake up" or anything close are written about Lamonts Campaign I'll Kiss Drudge and you can make a Button out of it.

Man,this is just TOOOOOO easy.

PS.Lieberman got another Endorsement tonight.Susan Collins (R),You know the woman who refuses to investigate anything .Even the 9 billion missing from our first yr in Iraq.

FatGuyinMiddleSeat said...

Throughout that article are some acknowledgments that amateur hour is ending for Ned- they are going to bring in big fundraisers.

Additionally, Swan sounded a bit defensive about outside strategists coming in. Perhaps, just perhaps, that reflects the chatter in the last few days following the accident at the intersection of slime and evil. And its awkward and delayed cleanup. If Dems are going to put their credibility and money behind Ned, he'd better spend it wisely.

So, while the NYT did not use the words "shake-up", there certainly will be a shift. Joe Trippi never even got to see the promised land...

Anonymous said...

Bringing in "big fundraisers" for Neddie?

Word is Emily will change her registration to R if Daddy spends her dream cottage on the Vineyard on any more negaive ads

Anonymous said...

FMG,

Your comments about Trippi are very astute. When Dean went from being an unknown insurgency to the front runner, his campaign didn't sufficiently retool and manage its growth appropriately.

Managing growth is difficult for businesses and campaigns. How do you grow and expand while holding on to your key values.

Swan is right that much of the Washington consultancy doesn't seem to reflect the core values of the Lamont campaign. Will Ned and Swan be able to bring in the talent they need and fully integrate it with the campaign without losing the core values?

This is probably the most important question that the campaign needs to face right now.