Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Joe Party.

Joe Lieberman’s phoenix-like recovery from the ashes of his astonishingly bad primary effort has left him (rather ironically) freer than ever to pursue his destiny as he sees fit. He has left the door open to caucusing with Senate Republicans; hired as his chief of communications a man who has probably the most eclectic vitae on the national scene; and talked openly about the potential for a viable third major party in this country. He demonstrated that even a candidate from his own party with a silver bullet issue, a fervent base of support, and unlimited funding could not take him out and, as the truism goes, what doesn’t kill you in politics makes you stronger.

Joe Lieberman is now a franchise like no other in US politics, never mind Connecticut politics. This is not Bernie Sanders. This isn’t Lowell Weicker. This isn’t Ross Perot. Lieberman did what he chose to do and he won.

What if Joe decided to act on his public rumination (if that is all it was) and sought to build on his victory for the Senate? Could he set up shop as a true kingmaker in ’10 in Connecticut? One might wonder if the author of The Power Broker is nurturing a desire to take up the role that John Bailey crafted – first in Connecticut and ultimately nationally – updated for the twenty-first century.

What would it take to do that? As things stand right now, Connecticut for Lieberman is technically a minor party, because it got 1% of the vote in the Senate race, and cannot endorse a candidate for Governor or any office other than United States Senate. “Minor Party status is conferred office-by-office, election-by-election,” according to Michael Kozik, Managing Attorney for the Secretary of the State’s office. “The steps for becoming a Minor Party [are]… first you have to petition onto the ballot under that Party name for some office. Then, you run a candidate and your candidate running under your Party gets at least one percent of the vote. That makes you a minor Party. Then the next time that office appears on the ballot, you can simply endorse a candidate by filing a certificate.”

CfL has a line the next time United States Senator appears on the ballot and not for other purposes. “That’s the basic difference between a Major Party and a Minor Party,” Kozik said “Minor Party you only get your status one office at a time.”

Could CfL become a Major Party in Connecticut? There are two paths to that. “Either your candidate for Governor gets at least twenty percent of the vote, or you have enrolled as members of your Party at least twenty percent of the total number of enrolled party members in all Parties, statewide.” In other words that doesn’t include the Unaffiateds. Although a number of people have randomly told me that they are going to change their registration from Democrat “because you guys threw Lieberman out”, that is an awful lot of Party registration changes.

However, Kozik added this bit of history “It was done this way because the year that Weicker won the Governorship there was concern that the Democrats wouldn’t get twenty percent of the vote. Right after that election, they amended the Statute to put in the 20% of registration provision to keep Major Party status.” Democratic nominee Bruce Morrison got 24% in that election. Figure the “yellow dog” vote is probably lower than that today.

We’ve discussed the widespread disaffection that Connecticut Republicans feel with the national GOP. Lieberman got a significant percentage of the Democratic vote statewide, and Unaffiliateds turned out for him, splitting their tickets after voting for Governor and then coming all the way back up the ballot to vote in the Congressional races. The Legislature is dominated by Democratic caucuses that have significant representation from both the “progressive” and the “moderate” wings of the Party. And political threats have already been made by some activists against some Democrats who refuse to bend to their views.

Lieberman is a man who has thought globally and acted locally from the very beginning of his career, has the ambition of a Presidential contender and world leader and, thanks to his decisive and broadly based victory three weeks ago, owes fealty to no party nor group. Connecticut ain’t New York or California. It is a small state with no clear political pole. If you wanted to undertake a Teddy Rooseveltian project, you might just look for a place like Connecticut to get started.

What would you do if you were in his position?


Anonymous said...

How silly....Connecticut for Lieberman has 0% chance of being a major party. It was just about him.

cgg said...

Lieberman isn't even a registered member of CFL, but Dr. John Orman is. If CFL becomes anything it will be a small and vocal opposition to Joe.

Chris MC said...

A1:10 & CGG, you've both misread the post.

Anonymous said...

The sooner Ghengis gets rid of Chris mc and turfy the sooner he can try to get back some sense of relevency to this site.

This is just Pathetic.

cgg said...

I didn't misread anything. I wanted another excuse to promote the fun that is CFL.

Genghis Conn said...

I believe that in 2010, I will make every effort to procure the CfL nomination for my tabby cat Ophelia.

You say no to this face.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of Chris and Turf, why? Because they're fine contributors who you happen to disagree with on some things? Go scratch.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lieberman should join forces with the Centrist Party ( and create a much needed, thought of, wished for third major party. The people will follow, guaranteed!

Anonymous said...

This Centrist thing seems to have some legs. If Lieberman's CFL nameplate joins them, then why not the UnityO8 people too? They all seem to be going in the same direction.

Anonymous said...

I vote to keep turf and Chris, anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Unity08 should as well consider joining the Centrist party, time has come to reclaim the power of government and hand it back to the People!

cgg said...

Ophelia for Senate!

Gabe said...

CMC - Here is my problem with your premise:

He demonstrated that even a candidate from his own party with a silver bullet issue, a fervent base of support, and unlimited funding could not take him out and,

This is true, but you left out that the other major party has to roll over and play dead for this to take place.

This is essentially my problem with the Centrist/Unity08 arguments - Absent one of the major parties simply packing it in for an election cycle, that "center" run is doomed to fail (I also would love to see a coherent explanation of just what the political center is - two oft-mentioned centerists, McCain and Lieberman, advocate or are at least open to sending more troops to Iraq. Which two policy solutions is that one between?).

Sorry for the rambling.

Gabe said...

GC - I don't understand why you keep pushing your looney-left kitten on the moderate centrist voters of CT!

Oppugnant Ophelia has no experience in anything except licking herself and defecating in a box - this simply isn't consistent with CT family values.

Finally, she is a communist and voted with the Republican cats 80% of the time.

cgg said...

GC, wasn't your cat Max also running for Senate at some point? I think my two cats still have their Max for Senate campaign collars.

Dave Mooney said...

Any discussion of new parties should include a mention of Duverger's law. Give it a read.

Also, McCain is no moderate or centrist, he is a conservative. There are some extremist conservatives to his right, but no politician favoring sending more troops to Iraq, who flip-flopped on Bush's tax cuts and choice should be considered centrist. I could go on.

Genghis Conn said...

Max was accused of negative campaigning.

Then he was found in bed with a cat of a different breed. The nasty rumors say that licking may have been involved.

Max has decided to return to private live to spend more time with his family. And his food dish.

cgg said...

Max's two biggest supporters are devastated.

((Ok I really have to stop cat blogging now. If people hate '08 threads I can't imagine how they must feel about OT comments like this. OTOH at least cats are CT residents.))

Shadow said...

Exactly. The assertions that Lieberman and McCain are centrist are simply concerted efforts from the right to move the perceived political spectrum further in their direction.

Lincoln Chafee, Jon Tester, and Harold Ford Jr. are better examples of centrists.

Joe Lieberman is a joke as bastion of centrism, and just because a marketing slogan works during the elction doesn't mean we're obliged to continue repeating it afterwards; Lieberman's relevance to the term "centrist" is about as believable as Bush's relevance to the term "compassionate".

Anonymous said...

Smokin' Joe has a future, in whatever form he wishes. The Lamont backers just can't get over this simple fact. While, it is true that Alan Gold contributed to Joe's victory, even as much as Joe did, Joe now has added stature. His best shot is '08. Otherwise, he is on the sidelines until after Hillary's reign ends in 2016. That's a long time to wait at his age.

Anonymous said...

Let's lose all the cat stuff. I'm a dog man and I'm interested in CT Local Politics, not CAT Local Politics.

Gabe said...

GC - Please remove all signs of levity from the blog, it burns my skin.

Anonymous said...

"McCain is no moderate or centrist, he is a conservative."

ROTFL! I almosr spit beer all over the monitor.

McCain is no conservative.

Lincoln Chafee? Much more to the left then center.

Bo ItsHaky said...

Who is a centrist?

Anonymous said...

McCain is absolutely a conservative. A principled, responsible conservative. George W. Bush, on the other hand, is not.

Lieberman Revealer said...

Anyone who thinks Lieberman is truly strong and significant in the US Senate misses several obvious points. First, he was reelected with 49% of the vote from his state. Second, in a 51-49 Senate, every Senator has leverage on every close vote. Joe will not be the only one on either side who will use this leverage. Third, Joe remains strong in one area: his ability to build a consensus - - - to hold a press conference. That's all he's really every done. He is not the author or real co-sponsor of a single piece of major legislation (excepting the Homeland Security Act which is a more political than substantive as we've seen). Standing on his own island putting patriotism above partisanship, Joe will still hold press conferences but pass nothing of substance and deliverying little to his state - as always.

Gabe said...

Smokin' Joe has a future, in whatever form he wishes.

True, but first he has to find to touch rings with his twin and proclaim, "Lieberman Twins Activate, Form of Centrist, Shape of Centrist!"

Anonymous said...

"McCain is absolutely a conservative. A principled, responsible conservative."

I'm sorry is this a comedy channel?

Sorry, he isn't a responsible conservative.

He has no principles at all aside from staying in power.

Keating Five ring a bell?

Mirror said...

Conn does not represent the US. It is a minor piece of highway between boston and New York and offers no electoral springboard to any other office. The national parties must look upon us as amusing with our nanny behavior and undisciplined patterns - remember Weicker?? He was a one man party too. Lieberman exists because he has sold himself constantly as a non controversial familiar face. Only blummie spends more time in front of the tv cameras tilting at windmills. What exactly has Lieberman ever accomplished - except for himself ???? What initiatives can he point to?? His total support for isreal? for torture? for connecticut - corrupt connecticut?? The reality he could not get the support of the liberal element of the democratic party -- a major decision element of the national voting public --- he does come off as "good ole Unc Eddy" but would you really think anyone out west would see him as nationally functional ???

TrueBlueCT said...

First, I'm happy that Chris Mc is finally out of the closet as a Lieberman Lover. (we knew it all along).

Second, I have bookmarked this silly post, for all of history. It takes a lot to get Genghis to start making funnies. He and Gabe ought to consider getting their own radio show.

Finally, I can't imagine that anyone believes Lieberman limps into his fourth term as anything other than deeply wounded. Joe is the one who will have to make nice, as the Senate 2008 races are sooo tipped towards the Democrats. Give Harry Reid just two or three more seats, and Lieberman will become Mr. Irrelevant.

P.S. We made Lieberman wear his war. Watch what happens over the next few years, as he gets fully scape-goated for the Bush/Lieberman fiasco. (That has literally inflamed the Mid-East.) In the end, Joe will be more and more alone. I almost feel bad for him.

Gabe said...

Thanks, TrueBlueCT (at least, I think its a compliment). I will talk to GC about starting up a Connecticut Comedy Radio Hour (I have a face for radio).

Dave Mooney said...

Bo ItsHaky asked who is a centrist. I'm not sure exactly how to define a centrist. Is it somebody who is liberal on some issues and conservative on others? What if they are liberal on gay marriage and conservative on abortion?

For the sake of argument, let's say a hypothetical centrist politician would probably share "mainstream" views on a variety of issues without regard for any underlying political philosophy or partisan coalitions of interest groups. (Please suggest better definitions.)

Top issue is Iraq
Would oppose iraq war today but initially supported it. Would favor withdrawing at least some troops

Other top issues are economy and health care. Top health issues are costs and access. I couldn't find any specific economy polls, but there are a lot of polls on health care.

Agrees it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage but favors maintaining a mostly private system. You would support a Massachusetts-like plan in your state. You would believe the government spends too little on health care. You would think Canada's health care system is at least as good as ours, if not better. You would favor raising taxes to ensure all Americans have access to health care, even if it meant limiting your choice of doctors and waiting lists for non-emergency treatments.

Other misc issues:
Would be pro-choice and oppose a total ban but would favor some restrictions.

Would be favor expanding nuclear power generation but greatly prefer alternative energy development.

Would favor making gun laws more strict, oppose a handgun ban but support a ban on semi-automatics.

Would support local laws to fine businesses for employing undocumented immigrants, a guest worker program and a way to work towards citizenship. You would also support a fence but also support allowing those here now to stay if they meet certain requirements.

Might oppose civil unions for same sex couples (polling conflicts), but would definitely oppose marriage rights. You would also oppose a constitutional amendment banning same.

Would feel Social Security is some trouble but personal accounts are not the answer. Would favor reducing future benefits somewhat for middle and high income people over raising taxes or the age of eligibility.

Would believe global warming is happening and human activity is responsible for it.

I haven't put any thought into which, if any, national political figures fit this bill.

All data compiled from Polling Report

Bo ItsHaky said...

Hmmm….interesting, thanks Mr. Mooney. Any other takes, thoughts, about who is a centrist? What’s about topics such as foreign policy, globalization, energy dependency, energy alternatives, human rights, government role & size, taxation, homeland security, special interests, ethics, morals, values, education? What is the greatest threat to humanity as a whole now days?

Chris MC said...

This is true, but you left out that the other major party has to roll over and play dead for this to take place.

Well no, that isn't the case. Weicker faced Rowland and Morrison and won. Perot faced Clinton and an incumbent Bush and lost, but as many of us recall, there was plenty of interest in his candidacy and a third party. However, the formation of a Party isn't the only possible form that "A Joe Party" might take. That was kinda the point of the post.

Oh well.

Anonymous said...

"Lieberman did what he chose to do and he won." Helped by some very snakey CT characters! Sadly, there oughta be laws stopping this egomaniac.

I see Lieberman as a liability for both the state and the Senate. There will be no bi-party fusion. People are avoiding him like the plague!

Lieberman has no moral compass. And CT republicans elected him.

Wolcottboy said...

A third "centrist" party cannot take shape in the US as a "centrist" party. Just think about how this party would form. Whether it be at the local, state, or national level, this party would presumably be an umbrella alternative to the other two parties - thereby encompassing people of pretty much every political view imaginable.

So. We've formed our 3rd viable party. An issue is presented before us. Where do we stand? How do we come to consensus? Perhaps on one issue, we might take a stand. Let's say on Iraq, we mostly agree on a solution. Fine. Issue solved.

Then a second issue presents itself. Abortion. Gun Control. Capital Punishment. Welfare. Taxes. You name it, its going to be a controversial issue that we can't agree on. Since we can't agree on it, we become a muddled mess of a party that doesn't stand for anything because candidate A doesn't agree with candidate B, A's supporters won't work for B and a rift develops, funding drops, organization is in shambles and the party dissolves.

Unless of course the third Party's views adopt and overtake the views and direction of the Republicans or Democrats. But then we're left again with 2 parties.

But perhaps someone who's studied parties in other countries might have a more promising scenario.