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Lieberman's Independent Candidacy:

I was wondering just how Lieberman can run as an Independent and win, rather than throwing the election to the Republican. In 2000, he did 64% of the vote, so he might expect that if the Republicans can't beat the 35% figure in 2000, he could win 40-24 over Lamont. But Connecticut is far from a 65% Democratic state — the Republican governor seems likely to be reelected — and my guess was that the Republicans would be energized by the chance of winning over the divided Democrats-plus-Independents.

Yet a bit of digging suggests that the Republican candidate seems very weak. Rasmussen Reports says:

[Republican candidate] Alan Schlesinger, viewed favorably by only 31%, loses badly no matter how the election is sliced. In yet another curve ball thrown into the race, Schlesinger has even been pressured by some to drop out because of questions about his past as a gambler. Conceivably, the GOP could then hand the nomination to Lieberman, and a rumor has been circulating to that effect. Let's just say this is one race that won't be over 'til it's over.

Doesn't say much about the Connecticut Republican party, sorry to say.

Apodaca:
Schlesinger's baggage is discussed in detail here and here. Money quote:
Connecticut's party chair and Republican governor both made it clear they wanted him to go, but Schlesinger is having none of it. "I'm not leaving the race under any circumstances," he says. Party operatives have even started comparing him to Katherine Harris, the unloved Florida Congresswoman whose seemingly hopeless insistence on running for the Senate has infuriated Republicans who see a chance to take a seat there slipping away thanks to her unpopularity.
8.9.2006 6:37pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):

It just suggests that the Connecticut Republicans, like Lieberman, thought it was futile to run against an incumbent Senator and former vice-presidential candidate, and didn't bother to line up a decent candidate. I'm sure they could do better than Schlesinger if they could do it over again.
8.9.2006 6:42pm
ctb:
National Review is backing Lieberman over the Republican candidate, who they apparently think might as well be a democrat.
8.9.2006 6:51pm
Seerak (mail):
If the Democrats do move farther to the left, thereby marginalizing themselves, my strategy as a Republican wouldn't be to go around saying "we suck less than the Democrats".... instead, I'd see about reclaiming the center. Lieberman is probably too liberal for their taste (outside of his position on Iraq), so supporting him as an Independent all stealthy-like, by sinking their own candidate, might work for them.

Other than Lieberman, however, I have to wonder how many moderate Democrats could be talked into crossing over, either de facto or de jure (with their votes). "We'll see your Jim Jeffords, and raise you Joe..."
8.9.2006 6:51pm
limes (mail) (www):
Was thinking to myself this morning that Senator Lieberman would make a great Republican VP candidate in 2008. Would he accept?

I argue that the Republicans want him to keep his seat.
8.9.2006 6:54pm
Houston Lawyer:
McCain and Guliani are already unpopular with the Republican Right, so adding Lieberman to a ticket headed by either of them wouldn't be helpful. He already had to disavow a significant part of his beliefs to be on the Democratic ticket back in 2000. If he were on the Republican ticket in 2008, he'd have to disavow his previous disavowal as well as much of his other beliefs. Not even Bill Clinton could cover the double talk necessary to explain all that.
8.9.2006 7:08pm
Zywicki (mail):
Tyrone:
That's a great point. I recall some speculation that one reason Bill Clinton got the Democratic nomination in 1992 was because at the time that candidates were deciding whether to run (right after the first Gulf War and Bush's approval rating at 90% or someting), many of the more nationally-known "first-string" Democrats assumed that Bush would be unbeatable in 1992 and decided to sit it out. Recall how weak Clinton's opposition was that time--Tsongas, Brown, etc. The rest is history.

Anyway, I'll bet there are plenty of Republicans in Connecticut who thought as you described--and are kicking themselves now.
8.9.2006 7:16pm
limes (mail) (www):
Houston; Point well taken, but I've got a hunch that national security is going to dwarf any other issue in a couple years. I'll put the odds at 7:1.
8.9.2006 7:29pm
Byomtov (mail):
Doesn't say much about the Connecticut Republican party, sorry to say.

Or perhaps it says a lot about the appeal of the national Republican Party in Connecticut.
8.9.2006 7:39pm
fishbane (mail):
I can certainly see why the current batch of Republicans like Leiberman - he combines the big spending ways they currently excel at with nanny-state social conservatism, with a big dash of beltway insider thrown in.

Which is why Lamont is a lot more appealing to me - an outsider (check), socially liberal (check) big government leaning (Oh, well. two out of three isn't bad.)
8.9.2006 7:50pm
Helen:
I agree with Byomtov that the problem for Connecticut Republicans is the national republican party. All the Connecticut Democrats need to do to win is reprint and circulate the Texas Republican platform within the state.
8.9.2006 8:14pm
Zywicki (mail):
Helen, Byomtov:
That may be, but I'm not so sure. 3 out of Connecticut's 7 Congress members are Republican. And the current Governor is a Republican as well. So it doesn't seem like there is a complete meltdown on Republicans in Connecticut, but rather that possible good candidates chose not to run because they believed that Lieberman would be unbeatable. Surely one of those Republicans would have a chance of winning today, unlike their expectations a year ago.
8.9.2006 8:24pm
Zywicki (mail):
Sorry, I meant to say 3 out of 5 House members are Republican and then the 2 Senators are Democratic.
8.9.2006 8:27pm
Jared K.:
All three of those Republican House members are in seriously contested (maybe not toss-ups, but still contested) races this year. The two Democrats are not. The state Republicans do okay (Governor Rell will win handily, having successfully distanced herself from former governor and convicted felon John Rowland), but the national Republican party is not well looked upon these days in CT.
8.9.2006 8:39pm
Steve Rosenbach (www):
Am I crazy, or is there a big story that everyone is missing here??

I just read that the final tally in the CT Dem primary was Lamont 146,587, Lieberman 136,468.

The total voter turnout for the 2002 federal elections in CT was 1,022,942.

So do you mean to tell me that moveon.org, Cindy Sheehan, and the Entire Left Wing of the Blogosphere spent megawords and megabucks for a vote for their guy that amounts to a whooping 14.3% of the 2002 voter turnout?

Yeah, I know off-year congressional primaries have lower voter turnout than Presidential elections, but there was a huge, nationwide push to defeat Lieberman.

Is it just me, or was the Lamont primary campaign a big failure, relative to the goals of the Lamont allies?
8.9.2006 8:40pm
The Drill SGT (mail):
My recollection is that the CT party split is something like
DEM 35%
IND 40%
REP 25%

If Lieberman gets:
1. The majority (say 40-60%) of his primary 48% vote that yields roughly 20-30% in the general

2. The majority (say 40-60%) of IND 40% vote that yields roughly 16-24% in the general

3. The a share of the REP (say 20-30%) of his primary 25% vote that yields roughly 5-7.5% in the general


Top end, That is 30% + 24% + 7.5% = 61.5% of the 3 way general vote. Lower end sums to 41% with perhaps 15% for the REP candidate still ends up with Lieberman within range. Your can quibble and lower the numbers, but an Independent bid is possible.
8.9.2006 8:41pm
Moral Hazard (mail):
<blockquote>
It just suggests that the Connecticut Republicans, like Lieberman, thought it was futile to run against an incumbent Senator and former vice-presidential candidate, and didn't bother to line up a decent candidate. I'm sure they could do better than Schlesinger if they could do it over again.
</blockquote>
That's probably true, but if the Republicans had a serious candidate would the Democrats have nominated Lamont? If they had been in a position where nominating Lamont might have cost the Democrats the Senate seat a large enough portion (certainly enough to swing the election) would probably have backed Lieberman.

In that respect it might have been tactically to the Republicans advantage to nominate such a weak candidate. At the least there is now great division in the Democrat ranks, and if they could manage to convince their candidate to withdraw and replace him with a better one the Republicans might even win.
8.9.2006 8:42pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> if they could manage to convince their candidate to withdraw and replace him with a better one the Republicans might even win.

Only Democrats are allowed to switch candidates after the primary.
8.9.2006 8:46pm
Moral Hazard (mail):
Drill Sgt,

I think you should check your math on (1).
8.9.2006 8:48pm
Baseballhead (mail):
Is it just me, or was the Lamont primary campaign a big failure, relative to the goals of the Lamont allies?

It's just you. He won the party nomination, remember? Nobody was walking around thinking Lamont was going to blow out Lieberman by 15 points. He won the party nomination.
8.9.2006 8:54pm
Third Party Beneficiary (mail):
"I just read that the final tally in the CT Dem primary was Lamont 146,587, Lieberman 136,468. The total voter turnout for the 2002 federal elections in CT was 1,022,942. * * * Is it just me, or was the Lamont primary campaign a big failure, relative to the goals of the Lamont allies?"

You may wish to note that this was a Democratic primary, i.e., only registered Democrats could vote in it. Only about 1/3 of the CT electorate are registered as Democrats. This was also reportedly the highest senate seat primary turnout in CT on a percentage basis since 1970 and only the fourth time since 1980 that an incumbent US Senator has been knocked off in a primary. So no, this was a significant achievement even though Lamont is likely to lose at the general election.
8.9.2006 9:01pm
Steve Rosenbach (www):
Hi Baseballhead,

It's just you. He won the party nomination, remember? Nobody was walking around thinking Lamont was going to blow out Lieberman by 15 points. He won the party nomination.

Yeah, I think there were people thinking Lamont was going to blow out Leiberman by exactly 15 points. Here is a quote from a Quinnipac University poll taken Aug 3, 2006 (I found it on Kos!):


Momentum for Ned Lamont, the anti-war Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate, increases as he rolls to a 54 - 41 percent lead over incumbent Sen. Joseph Lieberman among likely Democratic primary voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today


Also, part of what I was asking is - was this an unusually low total voter turnout for a CT primary?? I'll have to pay attention to the turnout in the MD primary next month after I go to vote - I've never actually looked at it before - perhaps it's just as low as in CT.
8.9.2006 9:03pm
Dawnsblood (mail):
There is always the Rove Factor you know...
8.9.2006 9:04pm
kristof:
According to Tradesports, the odds are 45% Lamont and 54% Lieberman and 1% GOP.
8.9.2006 9:05pm
Steve Rosenbach (www):
This was also reportedly the highest senate seat primary turnout in CT on a percentage basis since 1970

Thanks! that's the kind of information I was trying to find out.

So the answer to my questions are indeed, yes, I am crazy, and yes, it's just me.

I stand corrected.

My thanks to Baseballhead and Third Party Beneficiary
8.9.2006 9:17pm
Mark Lyon (mail) (www):
8.9.2006 10:16pm
Shangui (mail):
Democrats assumed that Bush would be unbeatable in 1992 and decided to sit it out.

I believe there was an SNL skit at that point with the dems all pointing out why they should NOT be nominated. Mario Cuomo just kept saying, "I repeat, I HAVE MOB TIES!"
8.9.2006 10:19pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
Using Steve's numbers, only 10k votes different between Lieberman and Lamont. Out of roughly 280k votes.

Assuming at least 1.5mm registered voters in Conn., that is a pitiful turnout for Dems.
8.9.2006 10:57pm
Paddy O. (mail):
So, there's actually a state Republican party that is worse than the California Republican party?

That is shocking.
8.9.2006 11:06pm
Justin (mail):
I think most sane people prefer the state of the Connecticut Republican party to the state of the national one.

Then again, if most people were sane, the national Republican party wouldn't be doing any better than the state one.....child molesters notwithstanding, of course.
8.9.2006 11:23pm
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
If the Republican candidate has a gambling problem, maybe he and Lieberman can join forces to fight the moral decline of America.
8.9.2006 11:45pm
Bobbie (mail):
Jim, check your math: only registered Democrats could vote. Close to half of all eligible voters voted.

. . .


I find it funny that the Republican party is today trying to paint this vote as evidence that the democrats are "far left." According to a recent opinion poll, 60% of all Americans oppose the war in Iraq. Bush's approval rating is still in the toilet. Over 60% of Americans opposed the federal Government’s intervention into the Terri Shaivo case. Given that Lamont ran primarily on Lieberman's close ties to the President, Lieberman’s support for the war in Iraq, and his support of intervention into the Shaivo mess, how is this vote evidence of the democrats moving outside of the mainstream?
8.9.2006 11:47pm
guest:
Mysterypollsterclaimed, that turnout (41%) was much higher than anyone expected (although he suggested it might happen), for a primary during vacation season. The major thing I take away from this election is that turnout among Democrats is likely to be very high in November, as well.
8.10.2006 1:25am
Caliban Darklock:
I may be a conservative Republican, but right now Lieberman looks like the best candidate. In my opinion, the Republican party ought to just admit outright that Lieberman is a better candidate than they can muster within their own ranks, and offer him the Republican nomination.

Even if they don't, odds are I'm voting for him. I'm Republican, not stupid.
8.10.2006 1:32am
Justin (mail):
How can an intelligent Republican support Lieberman? This is what I don't get. Lieberman is pro-choice, not particularly pro-tax cut, pro-regulation Democrat. The two flaws he has - one, that he backstabs his own party, and two, that he supports the war, aren't particularly pro Republican things - the war is a mess to any sane person of ANY party, and I haven't seen anyone saying they support Lieberman because Lieberman is bad for Democrats.

I mean, Republicans hate Harry Reid, and I think most semi-intelligent traditional Republicans (if that isn't an oxymoron already) would take the pro-life thing over the pro-nutso foreign policy thing in a heartbeat. But I bet Lieberman wins over Reid in a Republican party by a landslide
8.10.2006 2:00am
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8.10.2006 3:46am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Lieberman has always leaned republican on many issues and he (admirably) seems to care more about getting the right outcome than party loyalty so maybe he wants to throw the race to the republican as opposed to someone he may consider a left-winger who will hurt the troops.
8.10.2006 5:53am
joel (mail):
Comparisons to Bill Clinton are interesting. Bill illustrates Dems' cluelessness and the bias of the media.

Bill got I think 36% of the vote to Beat Bush in 1992 (Nobody talks about Ross Perot anymore) then got 49% against that old bald Republican Senator with erectile problems in 1996.

When he left the White House, the republicans controlled the White House and both Houses of Congress.

The Dems still think of Bill as a popular President and a great asset for the Democratic Party. They are even thinking of nominating his wife in 2008. You just have to love them.

That must give hope to Republicans.
8.10.2006 8:18am
Helen:
Replying to Zywicki:

As an independent Connecticut voter (who re-registered in July as a Democrat in order to vote for Senator Leiberman), I'm well aware of the makeup of our congressional delegation and the party affiliation of our governor. I live in the second district, currently represented by a Republican with a moderate voting record. It's very much a "purple" district, and is considered one of the most vulnerable Republican seats. The Democratic candidate is running primarily against the national Republican party, and not against the incumbent. In fact, this strategy was advocated by the district's Democratic Committee and the man who is now the campaign manager, even before the identity of the candidate was finalized. (I'm on the email lists for both party's committees.)

Our Republican congressman was instrumental in reversing the decision to close the Navy base in New London, and would be an absolute shoo-in for re-election without the national party. And, yes, copies of excerpts of the Texas platform have already shown up in my email, although probably not from the official campaign.

Right now, I'd bet money that the Democrat will take this seat. The incumbent Republican's best bet for re-election would be to endorse Senator Leiberman, thereby distancing himself from the national party.
8.10.2006 9:56am
Bobbie (mail):
"[The Republicans] ought to offer him the nomination."

The republicans already had a freakin primary! Doesn’t that mean anything anymore?! The Republican voters of Connecticut have already stated who they want. Why should certain people get to override that decision because they think the person they picked isn’t good enough? Honestly, how can we claim to fight for democracy in the middle east when voting apparently means nothing in this country?
8.10.2006 10:13am
Helen:
Replying to Bobbie:

No, the Connecticut Republicans did NOT have a primary. Their candidate came out of the convention unopposed.
8.10.2006 10:24am
Justin (mail):
Helen,

No. The Connecticut Republicans DID have a primary. Their candidate was the only one on the ballot, but was susceptible to being beaten by a write in campaign.
8.10.2006 10:42am
Justin (mail):
My mistake. Connecticut had a CAUCUS in which nobody beat out Schlesinger for the nomination, nor received the requisite number of supporters to go forward with a primary. But the caucus was open to everyone.
8.10.2006 10:47am
JosephSlater (mail):
Justin:

You make an interesting point. Lieberman is, on most issues, pretty liberal. In a way, his opposite number is McCain, a guy the media keeps wanting to paint as a moderate/maverick, who in fact has a very conservative voting record on almost all issues (insert slam on McCain-Feingold here, I suppose).

The reason Repubs love Liberman (and many Dems don't) is, I think, this. Lieberman, although liberal in many ways, joined in the Repub. slanderous partisan lie that criticizing Bush's Iraq policies were somehow "undermining the war on terror." That meme helped the Repubs significantly in the last two elections (and it's already being pushed again, with Cheney's disgraceful comment that Lamont's victory would encourage terrorists). Lieberman going along with it was horribly wrong morally and politically, but you can see why Repubs like him for it.
8.10.2006 11:30am
eddie (mail):
Given the somewhat "conservative" leaning of the commentors to this blog, I am fascinated by the interest in this race. What galls me however, is that in the face of public opinion that seem clearly in sync Mr. Lamont's views on the war in Iraq, why, then, is his position repeatedly represented as a shift to the radical left. (See, e.g., Tom Delay's disdain for the War in Bosnia during the Clinton administration.) What may be the most important underlying "lesson" from this primary is that the many voters feel disenfranchised and that feeling comes from the "center" itself being hijacked by radicals on the right.

But that's just a suggestion from a Democrat who actually has a stake in how Democrats do and not from pundits on the right who need to spin anything to somehow avoid the real stinking elephant in the room: G. W. Bush and his popularity with the people.

This still is a democracy isn't it. And when a majority of the people in an election vote a certain way, is it really appropriate to characterize them as "radicals"?

If the founders were running for office today, they would also be considered radicals. And try that originalist idea on for size.
8.10.2006 12:07pm
MEZ:

The republicans already had a freakin primary! Doesn’t that mean anything anymore?! The Republican voters of Connecticut have already stated who they want. Why should certain people get to override that decision because they think the person they picked isn’t good enough? Honestly, how can we claim to fight for democracy in the middle east when voting apparently means nothing in this country?


Voting in actual elections counts for something, voting in primaries means a lot less. I don't understand the logic behind the anger at Lieberman for running in the election as an independent. Connecticut voters should be entitled to choose the candidate they prefer. If that's Lieberman, then so be it. It doesn't really seem fair to middle of the road voters in Connecticut that radicals have the upper hand in getting nominated, because they only have to appeal to a polarized fraction of the electorate at the time of nomination. (Note: I'm not saying Lamont is a radical, btw.)

Frankly, the primary system itself seems pretty undemocratic to me a lot of the time. It's supposed to be government of the people, not of the parties.
8.10.2006 12:09pm
The River Temoc (mail):
The biggest beneficiary of yesterday's Connecticut primary will be none other than John McCain, who in my view is now the frontrunner for 2008.
8.10.2006 12:12pm
abb3w:
While I'm not a fan of Leiberman, I consider his run as an independent a hopeful sign. I believe that co-dominance of the Democratic and Republican parties far too often forces voters to chose from a false dichotomy.

Is it too much to hope that I might live to see a third party not dominated by whackos?
8.10.2006 12:46pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Mez:

So you would have had no problem if, say, McCain had run as an "independent" in the 2000 (or even 2004) Presidential election, after Bush won the Republican nomination?
8.10.2006 1:04pm
Gordo:
Mathematically speaking, if the Republicans got 35% against Lieberman in 2000, and repeated that figure, they would only win in the 65% who voted for Lieberman in 2000 split very evenly between Lieberman and Lamont. Any uneven split would give either Lieberman or Lamont the winner's prize.

A most fascinating hypothetical for January 2007 would be a Senate with 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and Joe Lieberman. (I'm counting Senator Jeffords as a Democrat, even if he technically isn't).
8.10.2006 1:11pm
Shake-N-Bake (www):
Slater: That would be his right, no? There's nothing in the Constitution that says "if you lose a primary in a two-party system you are thereby barred from running for President of the United States" or are you reading from some bizarro Constitution? You wouldn't be the only one reading the bizarro Constitution, GWB as well as the "Constitution guarantees an absolute right to abortion" crowd are reading from it too.
8.10.2006 1:23pm
MEZ:
JosephSlater,

I would have had no problem whatsoever, especially since I voted for McCain in a primary in 2000.

But if that kind of thing were to happen, I would hope the floodgates might open up and we would see a number of alternative candidates from a wide range of ideological perspectives. There doesn't have to be a two-party system in America. In fact, looking at it now, I think it's a pretty bad thing.
8.10.2006 1:41pm
Gordo:
One of the supposed advantages of a two-party system is that it tends to make each party a "big tent" to get enough votes to win. In multi-party democracies, the tradition has been to fire up an extreme or special interest base and then try to work out a coalition once the election was over.

At least that's the way I was taught in Political Science courses around 1980. Things don't seem to be working in the same way these days.
8.10.2006 2:01pm
The River Temoc (mail):
(I'm counting Senator Jeffords as a Democrat, even if he technically isn't).

Sen. Jeffords caucuses with the Democrats, so for purposes of allocating committee assignments, you're counting correctly.
8.10.2006 2:05pm
Shake-N-Bake (www):
One of the supposed advantages of a two-party system is that it tends to make each party a "big tent" to get enough votes to win. In multi-party democracies, the tradition has been to fire up an extreme or special interest base and then try to work out a coalition once the election was over.


Unfortunately the two parties are now firing up an extreme or special interest base to try to win, so I don't see how we lose that much by having multiple parties. At least then I wouldn't be forced to choose between the party trying to turn the USA to Jesusland and those other guys on the left. Right now I see it as a choice between a party believing in big government and lowering taxes to make a huge deficit and legislation of morality, and a party believing in leaving me alone on the legislation of morality front and having big government and higher taxes.

Being I was always taught you aren't allowed to spend what you don't have, and I don't like someone foisting their values on me I vote Democrat. I sure would be happy if there were other parties that represented the lower taxes-smaller government-not legislating strict Christian morality, that I espouse. You know, a real libertarian candidate, not the Libertarian Party (the intials of which apparently stand for Legalize Pot and nothing else).
8.10.2006 2:33pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Shake and Bake:

Slow down. I never said that any particluar person didn't have a "right" to run for President (and I certainly never said anything about abortion). Of course Lieberman has a legal right to run. The question was whether it's appropriate for Dems to be annoyed at him for so doing. And I think the answer is clearly yes, just as many Repubs would have been annoyed if, in 2000, there had been a McCain/Bush/Gore race, since a likely outcome of said race would have been to split the Repub. vote such that Gore would have won (or, won by even more than he did, take your pick).

MEZ:

So you personally would have approved of a scenario which greatly increased the probability of Gore winning? Interesting. I'm guessing that would not have been the position of most Republicans.

More generally, a two party system is almost inevitable in a "winner take all" system like the U.S. has. If you want more parties with more varied perspective, go to a Parliamentary system with something like proportional representation (a party gets 15% of the vote, it gets 15% of the seats in the legislature, or something like that).

The point of a primary is a party saying, "we're going to run this one candidate to represent our party and its belief system." Obviously, running more than one candidate from that party risks splitting that.
8.10.2006 2:42pm
MEZ:

So you personally would have approved of a scenario which greatly increased the probability of Gore winning? Interesting. I'm guessing that would not have been the position of most Republicans.


Interesting that you assume I am a Republican. FYI, I voted for Kerry in the last election. I do not consider myself to be a member of either party, and have voted Democrat as many times as Republican.


The point of a primary is a party saying, "we're going to run this one candidate to represent our party and its belief system." Obviously, running more than one candidate from that party risks splitting that.


That's fine, and true. But the Democrats have known this was a possibility for a long time with Lieberman. They bear at least a portion of the responsibility for splitting their own party. It is as much their fault for running Lamont against Lieberman as it is for Lieberman to run in the general election. At any rate, it's beside the point. The point is that the people of Connecticut should get to elect who they want to elect. When the primary system leaves the most popular candidate out of the running (which seems to be the case here, from the polls I've seen), how is that a reasonable democratic system?
8.10.2006 3:13pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Mez:

As to your first point, you're right: I assumed you were a Republican. To the extent that label insults you, I apologize. I still maintain, however, that many of the Republicans who are criticizing Democrats for disapproving of Lieberman's run as an independent would by equally critical of some alleged "RINO" running as an independent after being defeated in a primary by a more right-wing Republican.

As to your second point, I disagree. This is Lieberman's responsibility. While there are a handful of exceptions, there is a long tradition in U.S. politics that if you lose your party's primaries, you take it like a grown-up and don't run as an independent, thus threatening to split your own party.

By your logic, should Democratic party voters in Connecticut have not voted for Lamont -- their preferred candidate -- because Lieberman was threatening to split the party if he lost the nomination?
8.10.2006 3:25pm
Davebo (mail):

In yet another curve ball thrown into the race, Schlesinger has even been pressured by some to drop out because of questions about his past as a gambler. Conceivably, the GOP could then hand the nomination to Lieberman


I'm certainly not familiar with CT law, but that didn't work out so well for Tom Delay.
8.10.2006 3:30pm
Davebo (mail):
That's fine, and true. But the Democrats have known this was a possibility for a long time with Lieberman. They bear at least a portion of the responsibility for splitting their own party. It is as much their fault for running Lamont against Lieberman as it is for Lieberman to run in the general election.


Are you under the impression that the DNC asked Lamont to run against Lieberman?

I think you are a bit confused about how primaries work. Never the less, it seems highly unlikely that higher ups in the DNC pushed Lamont to run. If they did, why did they almost all choose to campaign for Joe?
8.10.2006 3:32pm
MEZ:
Joseph Slater:

As to your second point, I disagree. This is Lieberman's responsibility. While there are a handful of exceptions, there is a long tradition in U.S. politics that if you lose your party's primaries, you take it like a grown-up and don't run as an independent, thus threatening to split your own party.

There is nothing grown-up about subverting the will of the people, which is basically what this comes down to. To me, my loyalty to a party is not above my loyalty to the public. I'm not saying that Lieberman is doing this for Connecticut; he may well be doing it for himself. But regardless, it also seems clear that the people of Connecticut probably want him to run (seeing as how they will probably vote for him). And that is far and away the most important issue; far more important than silly notions of decorum and maturity.

By your logic, should Democratic party voters in Connecticut have not voted for Lamont — their preferred candidate — because Lieberman was threatening to split the party if he lost the nomination?

No; they should vote for who they want to vote for. And they did. But that shouldn't deprive the rest of the people in Connecticut from having a say in who gets elected. Why should a (relatively) small clique of Democratic insiders get to veto Lieberman for the rest of the state?

Davebo:

I think you are a bit confused about how primaries work. Never the less, it seems highly unlikely that higher ups in the DNC pushed Lamont to run. If they did, why did they almost all choose to campaign for Joe?

I am well aware of how primaries work. I never said the DNC pushed Lamont to run. I used the term Democrats (admittedly imprecise), by which I meant a broad swathe of Democratic Party loyalists, insiders, activists, etc. Please don't pretend he wasn't getting support from any of these people. A quick tour of the Internet shows that is completely false.
8.10.2006 4:46pm
Hamilton Lovecraft (mail):
But regardless, it also seems clear that the people of Connecticut probably want him to run (seeing as how they will probably vote for him). And that is far and away the most important issue; far more important than silly notions of decorum and maturity.

The Democrats of CT don't want him to run, and the Republicans of CT don't want him to win. I think that's a good reason for him not to run.
8.10.2006 5:28pm
JosephSlater (mail):
MEZ:

You write:

There is nothing grown-up about subverting the will of the people, which is basically what this comes down to.

But that's not how we traditionally determine "the will of the people" in American politics. We traditionally determine that by having people run in party primaries, for reasons we've already discussed. Lieberman is subverting the will of the members of the party he claims to represent.


You say:
To me, my loyalty to a party is not above my loyalty to the public. I'm not saying that Lieberman is doing this for Connecticut; he may well be doing it for himself.

He's obviously doing it for himself. He is refusing to accept the results of a fair election.


You write:
But regardless, it also seems clear that the people of Connecticut probably want him to run (seeing as how they will probably vote for him). And that is far and away the most important issue; far more important than silly notions of decorum and maturity.

I'm not sure that it's "clear" that the people of Conn. "probably" want him to run. I guess some of the the people that voted for him might, but they lost the election.

[I wrote] By your logic, should Democratic party voters in Connecticut have not voted for Lamont — their preferred candidate — because Lieberman was threatening to split the party if he lost the nomination?


You write:
No; they should vote for who they want to vote for. And they did. But that shouldn't deprive the rest of the people in Connecticut from having a say in who gets elected. Why should a (relatively) small clique of Democratic insiders get to veto Lieberman for the rest of the state?

I'm amazed at the way "abnormally high turnout of primary voters" gets turned into a "a (relatively) small clique of Democratic insiders."

Finally, there's a broader issue here about what it means to be a member of a political party, and a standard-bearer of that party. In the case of primary candidates, it means standing down so as not to thwart the will of the majority of the members of that party and not to be a divisive force in that party.

I previously had a decent amount of respect for Lieberman. He is forfeiting that (not that he cares).
8.10.2006 5:30pm
MEZ:

But that's not how we traditionally determine "the will of the people" in American politics. We traditionally determine that by having people run in party primaries, for reasons we've already discussed. Lieberman is subverting the will of the members of the party he claims to represent.

Just because that's the way we've traditionally done it doesn't mean it's the right way. If, say, 49% of Republican Primary voters and 49% of Democratic Primary voters favor the same one guy, he won't even get nominated under the present system. Yet, he would almost certainly be the consensus candidate in an actual election. Is that the outcome you want to happen?

He's obviously doing it for himself. He is refusing to accept the results of a fair election.

He may well be doing it for himself. I suspect his reasons are a bit more complex than you give him credit for, but I strongly suspect that keeping himself in power is high on the list. But he is not refusing to accept the results of a fair election. The election he took part in was the Democratic Primary. If he refused to accept the results, he would be claiming to be the Democratic nominee. But he isn't; he conceded that and will run as an Independent. Why do you think parties should have this much control over who the people get to vote for?

I'm not sure that it's "clear" that the people of Conn. "probably" want him to run. I guess some of the the people that voted for him might, but they lost the election.

My impression is that the polls suggest he would win in a three-way election, if he makes it that far (which I'm not convinced he will). Do you have any contradictory evidence?

I'm amazed at the way "abnormally high turnout of primary voters" gets turned into a "a (relatively) small clique of Democratic insiders."

An abnormally high turnout of primary voters is a relatively small clique of Democratic insiders. The electorate of Connecticut is far bigger than people who vote in the Democratic Primary.

Finally, there's a broader issue here about what it means to be a member of a political party, and a standard-bearer of that party. In the case of primary candidates, it means standing down so as not to thwart the will of the majority of the members of that party and not to be a divisive force in that party.

So you put the will of the Democratic Party ahead of the will of the general electorate? In my opinion, the broader issue is what's more important to you: party or state. I find it disheartening that so many people in this country would choose party.
8.10.2006 5:47pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Mez:

You say: If, say, 49% of Republican Primary voters and 49% of Democratic Primary voters favor the same one guy, he won't even get nominated under the present system. Yet, he would almost certainly be the consensus candidate in an actual election. Is that the outcome you want to happen?

I think that scenario is highly unlikely in any case (if it's even close in this case it's because the Repubs nominated a complete loser). And, since we will never really know before a statewide vote what statewide support is, at what point, if any, should losers in primaries drop out? Suppose I lost a Dem. primary 60%-40%, but then a bunch of Republicans said, "but we like you." Should I run against the Dem. primary winner?

You say: "Why do you think parties should have this much control over who the people get to vote for? "

I thought we had already been over the reasons for primaries -- and it's not just me that believes in them, by the way, it's been the rule of most of our political history. The U.S. system of winner take all is going to produce two parties. The parties stand for at least somewhat opposing values, priorities, and theories of how best to accomplish certain things. To promote the interests of the party you believe is better, you generally need to have only one member of your party running for a certain seat. Primaries are the best way to do that: let the members of the party decide who represents the party.

Further, being a leader of a party -- as Lieberman has -- gets you significant benefits and privileges. The flip side of that is you don't go against the expressed wishes of a majority of your party by running against another party member that defeated you in a fair election.

As to the rest of your post, I believe a democratic (small "d") state can only function when there are effective political parties.
8.10.2006 6:11pm
The King:
Why should a (relatively) small clique of Democratic insiders get to veto Lieberman for the rest of the state?

If Loserman didn't want DEMOCRATS deciding his fate, he shouldn't have entered the DEMOCRATIC primary.
8.10.2006 6:18pm
MEZ:

As to the rest of your post, I believe a democratic (small "d") state can only function when there are effective political parties.

I believe a democratic state only exists when its elected officials can fairly be said to be the ones the people have selected, without being unduly restricted in making that choice.

But at this point I guess we're going in circles. It will be interesting to see what happens to Joe now. I'm kind of doubting he'll actually stick it out until the election, but he seems kind of stubborn about it, and he's been planning for this eventuality for some time, so who knows.
8.10.2006 6:28pm
MEZ:

If Loserman didn't want DEMOCRATS deciding his fate, he shouldn't have entered the DEMOCRATIC primary.

Very mature. But I'll say it again: he is not running as the Democratic candidate. That is the ONLY thing the Democratic Primary decides, as much as you may want this to be the knock-out blow for Joe's career (which it may still be). He is running as an Independent now. Deal with it.
8.10.2006 6:31pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Mez:

Yeah, I think there's probably a bigger conversation we could have about this if we were really motivated and it wasn't near the end of the day, but ... I'll just agree that it will be interesting to see what happens.
8.10.2006 6:51pm
Syd (mail):
Gordo:...

A most fascinating hypothetical for January 2007 would be a Senate with 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and Joe Lieberman. (I'm counting Senator Jeffords as a Democrat, even if he technically isn't).


Not Jeffords, because he's retiring. Bernie Sanders is running as an independent and pretty certain to win, so same difference.
8.10.2006 7:04pm
The King:
But I'll say it again: he is not running as the Democratic candidate. That is the ONLY thing the Democratic Primary decides, as much as you may want this to be the knock-out blow for Joe's career (which it may still be). He is running as an Independent now. Deal with it.

Loserman can do what he wants, but only a phoney like Loserman would spend a month pandering to Democratic voters and then turn around and slam those voters. If Loserman really believes what he said, he wouldn't have been in the primary in the first place.
8.10.2006 7:29pm
Gordo:
Eugene, in perusing other primary news, I note that the Republican governor of Connecticut is expected to easily win re-election.

So the Connecticut Republican party isn't quite as anemic as you seem to think.
8.10.2006 8:09pm