Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Summer Candidate

Colin McEnroe has two thoughtful posts about the problems facing the Lamont campaign here and here. The Courant is running a piece labelling Lamont an amateur on today's front page.

Two months ago, this guy could do no wrong. He came from nowhere to take down a titan in August, while the entire world watched.

Since then it's been a slow slide downhill. The latest polls show him trailing Lieberman by double digits. He has lost whatever momentum he had from his August victory, while Lieberman seems to have been invigorated, rather than dismayed, by his loss.

Why? What happened?

Summer's End

Perhaps what's most significant is what didn't happen. Following his historic victory, Ned Lamont took the rest of August off, or so it seemed. He didn't really get his act together for the general election until September, by which point Lieberman had gained crucial ground.

Lamont also lost control of the story. He was great as an underdog, and that was his story. He was a tenacious underdog. What does he have now that that's gone? He won the primary, which raised expectations. Somehow, it was easier when no one really expected them to win.

Coverage of the race has shifted. Lamont's media honeymoon ended with the summer. Now Lamont is just a rich, inexperienced liberal who is behind in the polls, instead of a populist insurgent who had tapped into something larger than himself. The national blogs and other media who covered every detail of this race are focusing on other races and issues. It's just Ned, Joe and Connecticut, now.

Mr. October

Worse, Joe Lieberman has his game back.

Lieberman didn't disappear like Lamont and his supporters had hoped. It's as if the victory on August 8th was stolen from them. They had won an historic and exhausting primary race against an entrenched opponent, only to discover that all they had actually won was a ticket to round two, against the same guy, but this time with different rules. It must have been a nasty blow to morale.

So much of Lamont's support came from anger at Joe Lieberman. Lieberman's approval ratings sank, especially among Democrats. Lieberman made matters much worse by running a terrible primary campaign, during which he started to seem more like a cranky, power-hungry old jerk rather than a seasoned statesman. His campaign was relentlessly negative, attacking Lamont on every front he could think of. People forgot why they liked him in the first place.

In his concession speech, and in a speech a few days before the primary, Lieberman began to turn himself around. He started to use his reputation as a Democrat who works with Republicans to his advantage, and began a campaign against partisan politics. One of Lamont's objections to Lieberman during the primary was that he wasn't partisan enough, which helped Lieberman all the more.

Lamont has tapped into anger about Iraq, very true. And there's a lot to be said for that. Diane Farrell is using it as pretty much her sole campaign tactic, and she's running neck-and-neck with Shays. But Lieberman has tapped into something that runs a lot deeper: the frustration people feel after twelve years of ever-increasing partisanship.

Lieberman has at times made this worse by giving the Republicans ammunition to use against his party, and he's less a bridge builder than a simple rebel.

But maybe it doesn't matter. People want change in Washington, and suddenly Joe Lieberman, despite his four years of support for the Iraq War and eighteen years of not putting an end to partisanship, is offering it to them. This ad of Lieberman's is particularly compelling and simple.

Lamont has so far been unable to counter him.

An Early Winter?

So what now? The debates are coming up. Lamont did all right in the only debate of the primary season, in large part because Joe Lieberman seemed angry and bitter instead of calm and statesmanlike.

These debates should be different. Lieberman doesn't seem angry anymore--he seems determined. He has a vision. It may be a somewhat flawed vision, but it's there. It resonates.

The race isn't over yet. Lamont does well when he's behind, which he certainly is now. This one could still shift, especially if Lamont can do well in the debates. This race has always had the capacity to surprise us. Maybe Ned Lamont has one more surprise left.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

21 of our kids were killed in Iraq in the last 2 days.

The Stamford Advocate did a poll that has Lamont down within the margin of error and 14% undecided in the 4th congressional district and Lieberman still can't do public events without REAL PEOPLE asking REAL QUESTIONS (How have you gone from freedom rider to torture apologist).

The MSM didn't do Lamont any favors in the primary and won't during the General but in the end Lamont will still win going away because everyone knows Lieberman lost the primary and if he is returned to the Senate he'll be seen as a joke.

Anonymous said...

Genghis,

If you haven't figured out yet that the media is too stupid to report on anything but the horserace aspect of politics why bother having a blog?

Why you insist on using the opinions of newspaper people to form your own opinions is beyond me.

McEnroe,Medina,Lightman and all the rest proved they haven't an idea or a probing question amongst them and their profession is full of the laziest people on earth. If Prostitution in the form of "journalism" was a crime they would all be serving life sentences.

Genghis Conn said...

Anonymous,

I had forgotten what an idiot I am. Thanks.

So, just for debate's sake, what do you think is happening? Are all the polls wrong?

Anonymous said...

Lieberman is a joke... There is nothing more patriotic than having my first vote as a young adult to count for Ned Lamont. Lieberman defines the status quo. He whines about oral sex, but bitches about losing the primary. So he will do anything to represent the state of Connecticut. Thanks Joe, but no Thanks. Joe Lieberman you should look at your own morals.

Ned Lamont stands for much more than representing the status quo or accepting self-servingness as a his motto. Lately, that is what Joe Lieberman has been only god at doing in the Senate.

Bobby McGee said...

Yes, the polls are wrong.

Too many people around here are looking to newspapers to see how the race is going. Lieberman is skillfully manipulating the press coverage. But, that's not going to help him.

Lamont has word of mouth behind him. He also has 2/3 of a state that is extremely unhappy about the way things are going in Washington.

Lieberman is relying too heavily on unmotivated voters.

I think if Lamont can pull within 6 points in the polls, he'll win on election day. That's my prediction. People are angry. People are pissed at Washington, and right now, Lieberman epitomizes it.

Just because the newspapers say Lamont's stuck doesn't make it so.

Anonymous said...

It's the Dean scream all over gain....very deep, not very wide

Folks in CT are pretty content with the locals,....none of whom look like clones of Dick Cheney

Anonymous said...

The Lamont campaign has to make sure inner city folks VOTE.........

I'm sick of the surban folks who are fine with the same old status quo feeling. Joe Lieberman doesn't care and he fines with Bushy. Can we please get people motivated and realize who the real Joe Lieberman is.

Anonymous said...

I think the polls are garbage.

The Q had Lamont up 13 a week out and 6 points up 4 days later.Does anyone belive there was a 7 point swing in 4 days.

Polls were first produced as propaganda and thats what they are today.If you think any of them are independent and unbiased your easily fooled.

Newspaper people love polls because if one comes out their daily story is already written for them and they're workday is done by 10am. All they have to do is write a story to fit the poll and get a comment from both sides presss secretary.

When is someone going to ask"If we have to spend 5 yrs,a trillion dollars and 50,000 American lives in Iraq in order to fullfill your dream of a pro USA Democracy in Iraq should we Sen. Lieberman?"

Show me one instant where any of the reporters in this entire campaign asked Lieberman a cutting question and didn't settle for a bullshit answer.Every one of them have forgotten that as a reporter you can say "you didn't answer my question" and you can demand a real answer.

Polls and the Horserace.If you read the Newspapers thats as deep as it gets.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe Lieberman and Rob Simmons!!

.......how come you guys wont participate in a public rally or debate at Uconn. Oh.....they would be exposed for the bums they are in office. Rob Simmons already declined to have a public debate with Joe Courtney at Uconn last month.

It's bullshit that a incumbent would cancel a debate to a challenger because he knows he wouldn't be able to fully cover his mistakes. Joe Lieberman's class-room talk to Southern students was supposed to be coordinated so Joe didn't have to answer the tough questions. As we all know some of the students were pissed that he supports the status quo and self-servingness.

Anonymous said...

Heres a simple question for a reporter to ask Lieberman.

If your country was invaded by a foreign country with promises of Freedom and Democracy and all you got was a daughter raped and 2 sons dragged off in the middle of the night and found Dead, bound and gaggged with a bullet hole in the back of their head might you consider killing a few of the invaders?

Anonymous said...

yep, the city folks will turn out in droves for Neddie from the Round Hill Club.

If urban CT didn;t vote big for Lamont when he was hot, why will they when he is not ?

Manchester cast more votes than Hartford in 2002 and probably will again this year

GMR said...

When is someone going to ask"If we have to spend 5 yrs,a trillion dollars and 50,000 American lives in Iraq in order to fullfill your dream of a pro USA Democracy in Iraq should we Sen. Lieberman?"

There are not even close to 50,000 American casualties in Iraq.

To the people against the war: do you think that Arabs or Muslims are really capable of Democracy, or are they always going to need some sort of strongman in a totalitarian style system? If Arabs and Muslims cannot have democracy, then shouldn't we ensure that the strongman in place is "our" strongman? Do you think it was a mistake of Jimmy Carter not to fully back the Shah of Iran, since he was "our" strongman? And if you think Democracy is possible in a country dominated by Arabs or Muslims, do you object merely to the battlefield tactical decisions made by the Pentagon? Or do you merely object to the cost of the war (both financial and body count wise), because there's nothing worth fighting for if our direct interests aren't at stake?

MikeCT said...

The Lieberman-Lamont debates

Monday, October 16, lunchtime
Stamford
Broadcast by... whom? News 12? CT-N?
Why is there nothing about this on the Lamont or Lieberman Web sites?!

Monday, October 23, 8 pm
Broadcast live on Channel 8

Also a Hartford debate reportedly in the works for late October.

In other news, DeStefano and Rell will debate Monday (tomorrow) the 9th at 8 pm. Broadcast by .... whom? (And why does DeStefano have nothing about this or anything else on his Events page??)

MikeCT said...

Also, for DeStefano fans, there is a pre-debate rally at 6 pm and a post-debate party.

Anonymous said...

Genghis--
What you have written sounds way too much like a post-mortem. Please rememeber those same polls show the race to be within 10 points.

The dynamics of this race (which have found Joe in the lead) are simple. Republicans have completely abandoned their own nominee to instead support the "good Democrat" otherwise known as Joe Lieberman.

This doesn't point to a failing on the part of Lamont or his supporters. Instead it's a freaking validation. Our whole argument was that Lieberman was a rat in Democratic clothing, a GOP/Bush enabler that we couldn't trust.

What proved us right more than anything? The speed with which Republicans came to embrace him.

If Lamont loses in a November race, (where independents will break more or less evenly), it will be the result of a weird coalition between Republicans and patronage Dems. Honestly, what could be stranger than Republicans voting for a Democrat who plays the best in cesspools like West Haven, Bridgeport and Waterbury?

Anyway, in the end, I don't see all those Republicans abandoning one of their own to dive down and save Lieberman's ass. This race will be close. Very close.

Anonymous said...

Ned's college age toadies seem alot like the McGovernites of early 70's - idealistic, yet without a clue. They say kids start out with liberal views and then become more conservative once they get older and have real life experiences (like paying bills, buying a house, having a family, etc). Ned's college toadies are clueless to all of this since mommy and daddy are footing the bill now. They have time on their hands to protest wars and cruelty to animals. One day when they grow up they will understand the error of their younger naive years.

cgg said...

I just don't think we're seeing any accurate polling, which IMO was also true of the primary.

I also don't think Lieberman sees himself as the front runner. Why run such a nasty petty campaign if you're ahead? Joe sees the writing on the wall, or at least his staff does. For all the crap about "people over politics" the Lieberman campaign is running on the worst kind of politcal mudslinging. It smacks of desperation.

Lamont's media honeymoon is over, but that doesn't mean that his campaign is. There have been a few bumps in the road, but no disasters that anyone can point too. And I think he'll shine in the debates.

Anonymous said...

GMR,

Ethnicity has nothing to do with Democracy but you knew that,didn't you?

Would you be stunned if some people didn't "Yearn for Freedom and Democracy" as much as W thinks every person on earth does?

If your choice was Democracy but 3/4 of your family would starve to death or a benevelant dictator with plenty of food,water,electricity and free housing and a guarenteed job which would you choose.

The rest of your strawman post can be disasembled just as easily but taking a dump is a more worthwhile use of my time.

Anonymous said...

Mr X said...

Lamont is a joke and so is Keith Crane and his Liberal Cronies Joe Wins in 4 Weeks Enough said.


First of all, howis this post anything but a personal attack on a candidate and a long-time poster?

Second, that's not enough said. It would have been anough if you had included punctuation...

turfgrrl said...

GC--In a state that has consistently elected Republican governors, and seems poised to do so again, why is it such a surprise that Lamont has peaked? What the Lamont lefties have consistently failed to realize is that winning primaries doesn't get your elected in a general. Running a general election like a primary doesn't expand your voter pool.

Anonymous said...

GC,
The mutual admiration society you and Colin McEnroe have created is getting really creepy.

A little mutual criticism may be in both your interests.

The Architect said...

Why should Rob Simmons debate at UConn? The "People's Republik of Mansfield" made up its mind for this election one second after the polls closed on Election Day 2004.

The Daily Campus blindly endorsed Jimmy Sullivan in 2004 (and the entire Democratic ticket I might add). One of their reasons for the endorsement: "[Sullivan] enjoys spending time with his family."

Give me a break. In 2004, Simmons gained endorsements from Planned Parenthood and Human Rights Campaign, gained a 100% rating from NARAL, and was labeled a highly reliable pro-environmental vote by the Sierra Club. All these issues are held in high regard by politically active college students - yet the Daily Campus completely ignored them.

All a debate at UCONN would be for Simmons is a total setup and ambush.

Anonymous said...

I'm voting for Lamont (i've got a bumber sticker and a sign for the 1st time ever) but I can;t help but think that this thing was over on primary night when sharpton and jesse were front and center on stage. If the lamont campaign needed those guys to win the primary, so be it, but didn't anyoen think that after the primary it might be a good idea to appeal to independents and possibly repubs? The people running his race may have known how to tap into a movement but don't seem to have any idea about how to reach a broader group of voters. I hope i'm wrong though, if you think Joe L was intolerable in the senate before, wait until after this win. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of hearing about Team Connecticut from Joe Lieberman. There is nothing team related to Lieberman's fake party name. Can Joe just give it up and stop being a self-serving hypocrite. He ispandering and trying to hang on to whatever support he can get in this state. The voters of Ct. have one month left to realize that the status-quo is not good enough.

Joe Lieberman is NOT an independent and for him to have the guts to call himself one after losing the primary is deserving enough for his own party to kick him out of the Senate.

Thanks Joe Lieberman for being upset about oral sex, but having a problem when you lose a election. Obviously, you are a republican deep down inside because you know how to effectively mix your own morals and sex. Maybe, Joe should re-examine his own morals.

Anonymous said...

For Rob Simmons to have a debate we better make sure that the room has a equal amount of dems and repubs. It is a total joke he won't do the debate at Uconn. There is great chance that Uconn will make the difference in that election.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for New London debate. It could get rowdy especially if Lieberman acts stubborn, angrily, and interupts Ned everytime it is his turn to talk. Should be wild without a doubt.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone even consider Joe LIE-man a Democrate anymore? They should kick him out of the party to run as the whatever he calls himself party. Even the Republicans are wise to this fact, which explains why they are paying JOe and NOT their own candidate.

BTW I even doubt Joe comes from CT .....I am sure he is already getting a retirement home in Crawford to be near his best friend ...

BTW if I were Alan Gold, I'll fold and quit the party that sacrifices its own for political expediency - a real party of whores and predators.

The Architect said...

UConn will make the difference in that election? Are you on drugs? I'd bet $1,000,000 without hesitation that UConn and the surrounding Mansfield area will be a victory for Courtney.

Anonymous said...

rumors are spreading in nyc and online that bill will be campaigning for Ned the last week of the campaign. I hope this comes to fruition.

Anonymous said...

Clinton came in for Lieberman in the primary and Curry in 2002...with no success.

Maybe he can remind us how well his Korean policies worked out

Anonymous said...

The polls are being manipulated.

How and by whom, I don't exactly know. But I will say, there are more people indebted to Lieberman who needed to give a 'payback'. If you think about the polls, you'll see they make NO sense. How Lamont goes from winner to 10 points behind, seemingly in one fell swoop, doesn't make any sense.

WHO IS BEING POLLED?

Anonymous said...

people tired of Ned Lamont?

The Architect said...

Here's an explanation for the poll shift: Normal people are being polled. Not just rabid liberal Democrat crazies.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 1:47,

9/11,the Iraq war failure and N Korea detonating a nuke are all George W Bush failures.

Turn off Fox news.Everyone else with an IQ over 80 already has.

justavoter said...

If Joe were a good Democrat he would have honored the voters decision in the Primary.

Now Joe is not a Democrat and not even good.

Good Democrats stick with there party not run to the Wshington Republcans for help.

The Architect said...

You can also bet that if Joe wants to caucus with the Senate Democrats come January, they won't tell him to go f*** himself.

Will they be "bad Democrats" then too?

Anonymous said...

Joe is trying to hang on and this last month is going to be his toughest dogfight yet in his political career. It all comes down to who is more motivated to vote and whether how nice the weather is on November 7th. We better make sure that everybody votes even if they have a flat tire. We better make it work . Vote Lamont.

Anonymous said...

What's the matter with you people? Lamont has NEVER been ahead in a 3 way poll. While significant progress in a 3 way has stalled, averaging all polls show him continuing to narrow the gap. Lieberman's favorability ratings CONTINUE to drop--he is now in negative territory. Lieberman's poor ballot position will cost him at least 5% of his support. There are 4 weeks to go, plenty of time to restart the Lamont momentum. Joe is nothing but a warped Bush apologist, who can't bring himself to hold ANY Washington Republican accountable for anything.