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Aug. 8: Winners and Losers

The day after the most exciting primary night so far this cycle, political observers of all types are sifting through the results to understand the lessons learned.

While Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman's (voting record) defeat at the hands of wealthy challenger Ned Lamont in the state's Democratic primary was clearly the story of the day, House incumbents in Michigan and Georgia were also defeated.

Let's take a look at the winners and losers from last night's vote. As always, we try to avoid the obvious (Lieberman was a loser, duh) in hopes of projecting the results forward to divine who will win and who will lose in November and beyond.


George W. Bush: Although the president didn't appear on the ballot last night, connections to him caused at least two incumbents -- one Democrat, one Republican -- to lose. Lieberman's loss can be directly attributed to his inability to convince voters that he wasn't George Bush's favorite Democrat. The overarching symbol of the campaign were buttons (worn by Lamont supporters) that said "The Kiss" over an image of Lieberman and Bush in near-embrace. In Michigan, Rep. Joe Schwarz (R) (voting record) ran an ad touting his endorsement from President Bush. The President and First Lady also did automated phone calls on Schwarz's behalf, which may have done more harm than good as the incumbent lost to former state Rep. Tim Walberg (R).

Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R) (voting record): Chafee already faced an extremely tough primary against Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey on Sept. 12 but the race got a little bit tougher last night. Laffey has painted himself as the populist outsider in his race against Chafee -- a similar profile to the one Lamont adopted successfully against Lieberman. Remember that a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday showed that just 55 percent of voters think their own member of Congress should be re-elected -- the lowest that number has been since the tidal wave election of 1994. Voters in both parties appear dissatisfied with the status quo and are ready to make a change -- a warning sign to any targeted incumbent.

Bill Clinton: Clinton's appearance on Lieberman's behalf received wall to wall media coverage and the former President remained a major player in the race until its final day. Clinton and Lieberman embracing were featured on buttons entitled "The Hug" worn by Lieberman backers and Clinton appeared in Lieberman's final television ads.


Club For Growth: The fiscally conservative group had another good night. They were heavily behind Walberg -- financially and organizationally -- and also backed state Rep. Doug Lamborn who won the primary to replace retiring Rep. Joel Hefley (R) in Colorado's 5th district. Despite their record of successes so far this cycle, the Club's fate is likely tied to Laffey. They have endorsed the challenger in Rhode Island and have already funneled massive amounts of money to his campaign. The Club is also running television ads attacking Chafee as a liberal.

Al Gore: Lamont rode a wave of anti-war sentiment to come from nowhere to defeat Lieberman. Who has been the Democratic Party's most outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq since its inception? You guessed it. There is already considerable excitement surrounding a possible Gore candidacy among the liberal left in the Democratic Party and Lamont's victory will embolden these advocates. Gore has insisted he has no interest in running but if New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been criticized by anti-war forces for her unwillingness to call for a timetable to withdraw troops, looks to be the nominee, Gore may be compelled to jump into the contest to offer a true anti-war alternative to voters.

Netroots: Say what you will about this group of online activists (and we have already heard plenty) but they deserve credit for highlighting Lamont's candidacy and helping to bring national attention to the race. The netroots didn't win this race for Lamont (his deep pockets coupled with Lieberman's slow reactions and the national environment did) but they bolstered his candidacy at the start and drove chatter about the race among the political class throughout. As we've written before in this space, the netroots are quickly becoming another interest group within the Democratic party -- one that politicians ignore at their peril.

Bill Hillsman: Lamont's media consultant used his quirky approach to perfection in introducing his candidate to voters and portraying Lieberman as a tool of the Bush Administration. The ad in which Bush's face morphed into Lieberman's was a calculated risk that paid off as it created a visual connection in voters' minds between the two men. The creative disclaimers on all of Lamont's ads -- in which he says he approved the message followed by a crowd of supporters shouting "And so do we!" -- was a neat innovation that created the feeling of a populist uprising. Hillsman is not right for every candidate -- for every Jesse Ventura or Paul Wellstone there is a Willie Logan -- but Hillsman's outsider approach fit Lamont's campaign to a tee.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 9, 2006; 5:44 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Eye on 2008 , House , Political Pros , Republican Party , Senate  
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looney lamont say hi to Walter Moandale for us!


George Mc Govern and
The Peanut farmer

Posted by: NEAL | August 15, 2006 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey Kate, 3 years ago we weren't involved in a civil war in Iraq. We were actually fighting more terrorists than we were semetic groups back then, that is no longer the case and while we fight the semetic groups, the real terrorists are out in places like Great Britian preparing to bomb planes.

Posted by: Rob Millette | August 14, 2006 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Hey, let's diss the State of Vermont! Okay, Kate, you start...

Posted by: Jeff | August 11, 2006 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Colin...Vermont is almost the smallest state in the union. It only had a little over half a million people when Dean was governor. Lamont could have paid off the debt with a check. Tourism alone would probably pays the rent. Dean's hubris made him a laughing stock--and reflected badly on the state and the party. He hasn't practiced medicine or even being a husband in a long, long time. He's a hack and a nutcase.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2006 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that one. The maniac. Possibly God to you. you know how long Dean was governor? And...I'll bet you weren't talking like this about Joe Lieberman three years ago, were you? Just throw him away.

Posted by: Kate | August 11, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Kate, do you mean that "maniac Howard Dean" who received the endorsement of the NRA in every gubenatorial election? The Crazy left Howard Dean who balanced the budget every year in Vermont, even though the State is one of the few in the country that doesn't require that? The one who fought with the Democratic state legislature to stop it from over spending? Demonize Howard if you want to b/c he has a spine, but he never was and still isn't a liberal. Unlike Lieberman, he just doesn't want to be invited to Dinner parties with GWB so badly that he's willing to sell out the core values of the Democratic party on issues ranging from SS privatization, school vouchers, prayer in school, end of life decisions (terry schiavo), choice (supported hospitals right not to provide birth control), and, yes, Iraq.

Posted by: Colin | August 11, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Just one point for all of you who consider Joe Lieberman a spoiler. Look at the total number of votes. Tiny. Think of the general election--not so tiny. Lieberman will win. I don't live in CT, but I did observe the antisemitic comments about him; I did see the photo-shopped photos of him in blackface; I did note the huge amount of financial support from very out there idealogues--not from CT. So, I'm betting Lieberman will win. I'm a Democrat, live in another state, and have no doubt as to what has happened. The Democratic party has been hijacked--beginning with that maniac, Howard Dean.

Posted by: Kate | August 11, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The CT Republicans are in GREATER danger if Leiberman is on the ballot. With Leiberman on the ballot, Lamont has a challenger. No republican candidate has a chance in this race for Senate, so supporters of Lamont would turn out in lower numbers without Leiberman, there would be no fire, no fear, no chance of loss. With Leiberman on the ballot, Lamont will ramp up his campaign with ads and visits, the voters further to the left will come out in droves to attempt to beat Leiberman again. Those voters will clearly not vote for the Republican house candidates. Having Leiberman on the ballot to give Lamont a challenge will bring out the voters and if you think that half of Leiberman's supporters vote Democrat the whole way down, there is no way the CT Republicans would have a chance. Leiberman's bid helps the house Dem's and I for one am glad he is running, though I hope he loses again.

Posted by: Rob Millette | August 11, 2006 2:07 AM | Report abuse

I am not sure that Lieberman will bring out Republicans who would not otherwise have voted. I also think that a lot of Lieberman voters will vote for Democrats in the House.

It also remains to be seen if Lieberman sticks to his independent candidacy. That will depend on how much money he can raise and how persuasive his Democratic friends are in convincing him to withdraw.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 10, 2006 7:31 PM | Report abuse

NoVaDem wrote: "Here's a big potential loser if Lieberman runs in the November election as an independent: House Democrats.

If House Democrats fail to take the majority by 3 or fewer seats, and the difference is wins by Shays, Johnson and Simmons, guess who helped them win? Lieberman.

An independent Lieberman bid will mean CT Republicans going to the polls when normally they would be staying at home.

Lieberman staying in could end up backfiring big-time."

Anything is possible, but I see the flip side as being equally possible. That being the left-leaning nonvoters who are energized by the Lamont campaign and turn out to vote, in numbers large enough to oust those three GOP reps, all of whom are in Dem-leaning districts to begin with.

Remember, this primary shattered the Conn. record for primaries, and there are a lot more Dems than Repubs in Connecticut these days.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 10, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Tina -- Maybe Bush is getting blamed for the country's problems because...get ready for it...he's the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and has been for six years. I realize you and many other republicans (although certainly not all republicans) don't like to take responsibility for any of your actions. However, the american people do actually expect their officials to address the issues of the day. Bush is GREAT at attacking opponents in an election, but clearly can't govern. THAT is why he's being criticized.

I'd love to hear your respond to me just once Tina, but I know you won't because actual debate is too scary. Feel free to prove me wrong.

Posted by: Colin | August 10, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Rove called Lieberman to tell him the President is not coming to help him?

As I said, if the President had planned to pump up his approval numbers and help Lieberman win the primary, all of the arrests in England would have happened on Monday, before the primary. That is my point in showing the Dems/libs are just obsessed with defeating Republicans and trying to pull down the "statue" so to speak of President Bush. Pay back for impeaching Clinton and defeating Gore in 2000 is the only excuse for all the venom today in blaming Bush and the Republicans for everything.

Posted by: Tina | August 10, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Tina - Please explain the Rove call to Lieberman? After that is it any wonder why some Democrats believe there were been dirty tricks.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | August 10, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Here's a big potential loser if Lieberman runs in the November election as an independent: House Democrats.

If House Democrats fail to take the majority by 3 or fewer seats, and the difference is wins by Shays, Johnson and Simmons, guess who helped them win? Lieberman.

An independent Lieberman bid will mean CT Republicans going to the polls when normally they would be staying at home.

Lieberman staying in could end up backfiring big-time.

Posted by: NoVa Dem | August 10, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Good point on Lieberma. His voting record was not conservative in fact he was party line on about 90 percent of his votes. He was one of those unwilling to call for a deadline for withdrawal as have mosr Democrats, but remeember that most Democrats in Congress did support the war in 2003.

In Montana, the national issues all hold sway, but there are local issues that may have some importance in deciding the all-important swing vote. For one some of Montana's moderate voters are green voters. The two largest Republican enclaves in Western Montana Montana, the Bitterroot Valley and the Flathead valley, have had large influxes of people moving in from out of state, many of them retirees. They trend REpublican, but they are also green voters. The left Califoria suburps to live in paradise. They don't buy the view that "environmentalists have spoiled the Montana economy." They aren't simpathetic to logging companies and mining companies. They may be right of center, but they came here for the view. They don't want it spoiled by logging etc.
Burns is running adds that portray Tester as a dangerous environmentalist, but that pitch will not hold muc sway with the California immigrants.

Farm policy is another concerrn. Burns supported the unpopular "Freedom to Farm" act, which was a revamping of the government's relationshi[p with farmers. The traditional swing counties in state wide elections are the grain-growing couties in northcentral Montana and all along the Canadian border. Tester, a farmer from Big Sandy (Golden Triangle) is one of them.
Burns has some agricultural identification as a former broadcater who built a radio news network for agricultural news. But the bulk of the agricultural region is in grain farming. As a broadcaster Burns was much more assocated with the livestock industry. There are many more farmers than ranchers.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 10, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think the Dems also lost on this one. Once again, the simple distortions of the GOP (left wing is for immediate withdrawal, Dems don;t tolerate diverse viewpoints, etc...) will play better than the more complicated reality. you can't force a man to run a good campaign, but the Dems have really opened up another chasm.

Posted by: JR Flanders | August 10, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are certainly going to try and spin this as a sign that the Democrats are controlled by the far left. Rove has been quoted as saying that the war on terror is their best issue for the mid-terms. The spin-meisters are already using these talking points. The Republicans are going to try and tie all Democrats to Lamont and the most liberal elements supporting him. Let me be clear, I do not think Lamont is a wild-eyed extremist. I do think some of his supporters could be easily caricatured that way. Jacob Weisberg has an interesting analysis in Slate today along these lines:

I think his analysis is somewhat overstated but does capture some essential points. The Democrats have lost 5 out of the last 7 presidential elections in large part because many swing voters do not trust them on national security issues. This is simply a fact and polls show that many swing voters who were unhappy with Bush voted for him in '04 because they did not trust Kerry on national security. That was partly due to the Rove propaganda machine but Kerry's inability to outline coherent strategies on Iraq greatly assisted that effort. This poor national security image started with the Nixon-Agnew strategy of caricaturing anti-Vietnam war Democrats as allies of the more extremist elements of the anti-war counter-culture (I remember chants of "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna win" at anti-war demonstrations I attended in the late 60's and early 70's. Most Americans came to oppose the war but were disgusted by demonstrators rooting for the Viet Cong.) The failed Iranian hostage rescue mission under a Democratic president reinforced the image of Democrats as inept on defense issues. During the Cold War, many Democrats seemed too prone to reflexively oppose any weapon system (leaving aside for a moment the merits of each case, this opposition made great 30 second attack ads). Today, some elements on the left prefer to blame the US and our foreign policy for terrorism rather than support efforts to combat terrorists. The Democrats cannot afford to let themselves be tarred by the same brush. I think that there are two lines a Democrat could adopt depending on what position he/she took on the original authorization for war:

1. For those who supported the war authorization: I supported the war because the intelligence said there were WMD in Iraq and we could not trust Sadaam with WMD. Remember that all the major intelligence agencies thought that there were WMD in Iraq and that Sadaam himself encouraged this fiction because he thought it enhanced his prestige. Even some captured Iraqi generals thought they had chemical weapons. But, we now know that the administration shamelessly hyped the pro-WMD intelligence beyond reason and ignored the contrary intelligence. Also the administration's planning for the post-war situation was so incompetent as to approach criminal negligence. Point to General Eric Shineski, Army Chief of Staff at the time, who said we would need several hundred thousand troops to occupy Iraq after a successful invasion. The General was ridiculed and repudiated by the neo-con ideologues running the DOD. Point to the way that Rumsfeld froze out any other agency from the post war planning process - agencies like State and CIA which had more realistic assessments of what a post-invasion Iraq would look like. Point to their refusal to send more troops in early when it became apparent that the rosy scenarios were not playing out. The neo-cons painted a picture of post-invasion Iraq as a reprise of France after D-Day. Point to the total disbanding of the Iraqi Army - the vast majority of whom were not Sadaamists - as contributing to the mess. Not only did we disregard a convenient tool for helping to maintain order, but we turned loose a mass of trained fighters with no job and no prospects. How many of them joined the insurgents because they were at loose ends and bitter about what the US had done? There is plenty of room to critique the execution of the war and I could go on for days on that.

2. For someone who opposed the war from the start, it is a lot easier. The crucial point is to critique the administration for mishandling the war on terror. The neo-cons have consistently tried to conflate Iraq with Al Qaeda. This is fundamentally dishonest. Al Qaeda was in Afghanistan, not Iraq, and the Iraq invasion was a distraction from the war on terror. There are a lot of foreign jihadists in Iraq because we invaded who were not there before. The insurgency is a response to our invasion and inept occupation which failed to provide security for the civilian population. Democrats should hit hard at the problems in Afghanistan today because the administration fixated on invading Iraq before completing the job in Afghanistan. The Taliban is resurgent in parts of Afghanistan today because we diverted troops and resources to the Iraqi fiasco. Democrats must make the case that the war on terror is a multi-faceted task that encompasses many different elements. Bush criticized Kerry in the '04 campaign for supposedly viewing the fight against terrorism as primarily an intelligence and law-enforcement battle rather than military. Well, the counter-attack should be that Kerry was correct on this. There will not be many cases where a regime like Taliban Afghanistan is so snugly in bed with the terrorists. Most terrorists operate in the shadows even in friendly countries. Should we bomb and invade Saudi Arabia because the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi? Whatever your view of the Saudi regime, that is obviously nonsense. We do need robust military, especially Special Forces that can go in and attack terrorist facilities and conduct other such operations. BUT, I would argue that it is above all an intelligence effort. Certainly the post 9/11 reviews point to serious intelligence flaws. Democrats should advocate serious reforms and a major build up of intelligence capabilities. We also need robust counter-terrorism capabilities for our law enforcement agencies. Early news reports on the arrests of terrorism suspects in the UK today indicate that it was Scotland Yard that thwarted this plot. We also need to stress that the war against terror is, in large part, a war of ideas and ideals. The US must live up to its ideals in prosecuting this war. The Republicans are certainly going to try and spin criticisms of detainee abuse, military commissions, illegal wiretapping, etc. as signs of weakness in the war on terror. Democrats should counter with the criticisms that the uniformed military have made against the interrogation guidelines, military commission ground-rules and general disregard of the Geneva conventions. Democratic ads could use clips from generals and admirals testifying about their views on these issues which support the criticisms. The US does itself no favor in the war on terror when it abandons its ideals. The torture issue, in particular, can be pushed hard on that count. Use of Sen. McCain, himself a former torture victim, as cover here would be helpful. No one has been more forceful in opposition to US use of torture. As for wiretapping, I would just say Democrats stand for the rule of law and that the FISA courts should authorize it. If reforms are needed to make that process work more expeditiously, then advocate those reforms. The other element of the national security argument should be Homeland Security. There is so much fodder for attack ads on the incompetence of the Bush Homeland Security Department that I will not go into that here. Beyond criticisms of the current administration on this issue, there should be a positive, pro-active program. Certainly our ports need more security. Very little of the cargo coming into the US is inspected. Bush has resisted efforts to substantially beef up port security. The other point is that we need allies in the war on terror. We cannot always go it alone and we have serious problems to face with Iran and North Korea, to name the most pressing. We cannot gratuitously alienate our allies. However, no candidate can afford to make it seem like we would need UN or other foreign blessing to act unilaterally if it is in our interests.

Democrats need to keep in mind that committed liberals are about 20% of the electorate and committed conservatives are about 33% of the electorate. Simple math says Democrats need more middle-of-the-road voters than Republicans. I have seen a lot of vitriol directed against middle-of-the-roaders - both against politicians and voters - in here. But the fact remains that most voters are centrists and Democrats must be credible on national security issues to win nation-wide.

Posted by: JimD in Fl | August 10, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Some comment about the "Bush dirty tricks" needs to be ashamed of themselves. If the President has a conspiracy going on to help Lieberman so much, he would have called Tony Blair on Monday night to raid the London plotters trying to explose flights back to the States. Look at yourselves. Have all of the liberals become so overwhelmed by hate and anger toward our President that they can't have any logical viewpoints anymore? Even on Cspan this morning, Thursday right before the press conference about the British flights facing possible terrorism, some liberal was placing blame on the President and the Republicans for Sept 11 and that they create these "terrorism" press conferences just to pump up the President. Cynical is one thing, but being a paranoid liberal looking under every rock for Bush and Republican dirt has just become disgusting.
Lieberman would have won the primary on Tuesday if Bush had done on Monday what was done today.

Posted by: Tina | August 10, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Some comment about the "Bush dirty tricks" needs to be ashamed of themselves. If the President has a conspiracy going on to help Lieberman so much, he would have called Tony Blair on Monday night to raid the London plotters trying to explose flights back to the States. Look at yourselves. Have all of the liberals become so overwhelmed by hate and anger toward our President that they can't have any logical viewpoints anymore? Even on Cspan this morning, Thursday right before the press conference about the British flights facing possible terrorism, some liberal was placing blame on the President and the Republicans for Sept 11 and that they create these "terrorism" press conferences just to pump up the President. Cynical is one thing, but being a paranoid liberal looking under every rock for Bush and Republican dirt has just become disgusting.
Lieberman would have won the primary on Tuesday if Bush had done on Monday what was done today.

Posted by: Tina | August 10, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I like this Boston Globe editorial, "Whose Polarizing Now?," excerpt and link below:

Lieberman tried to explain his embarrassing loss in those terms, saying yesterday morning that his opponent, Ned Lamont, "really represents polarization and partisanship."

Lieberman said Lamont had succeeded, by distortion, in making the race "a referendum on George Bush and the Iraq war."

But no distortion was required. While most of the 29 Senate Democrats who voted for President Bush's Iraq war resolution in 2002, including John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, have become highly critical of the way the war has been handled, Lieberman has been steadfast in his support of Bush and the war effort.

A majority of Connecticut Democrats clearly found him as polarizing as Lamont.

This represents a significant turnaround for Lieberman, who came within a handful of Florida ballots of being elected the nation's vice president in 2000. He said that he hadn't changed; the Democratic Party had. That claim rang hollow. Not only has he supported the overall war effort, but he has been awkwardly quiet on issues such as the abuse of detainees and warrantless eavesdropping -- issues that the Lieberman of a few years ago, a stalwart defender of civil liberties, could have been expected to pounce upon.

PS I would disagree with the above poster that Chris's analysis is always good, sometimes he doesn't see the forest for the trees as in his review of John W. Dean's book Conservatives Without Conscience.

While I agree with Chris that Dean may not have given a finely textured account of modern conservatism or that Altemeyer's interpretations of the data (rather than the findings of the test) may show some liberal bias. I do submit that Dean has made a first class brief of understanding authoritarianism and leadership accessible to the general readership.

If one were to meet the literary standards that Chris insists upon in recommending the book, then one would have to wait for the 20-30 years that John T. Jost another academic researcher cited in Dean's book (whose findings largely dovetail with Altemeyer) says it will take to fully understand the problem. At that point, all the talk about American democracy and freedom would truly be only "an academic discussion." Sometimes its important not to dismiss the good, just because it is not perfect. Good analysis is better than none (and definitely better than bad analysis).

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | August 10, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday's comments by Tony Snow made it clear that the Republicans got what they wanted in Connecticut: a Lamont victory.


1) Nationally, it gives them a national campaign point against Democrats--that people like Lamont are what Democrats are really like, extreme left-wingers. I'm not saying Lamont or Democrats are like that--just this is what the Republican campaign will look like in the fall.

2) It muddles the Connecticut general election for Senator. If Lieberman had won the primary, he would have the general election in a cakewalk. Now that Lamont has won, and Lieberman's staying around for a 3-way race, things are more interesting. I know that the Republican is only slightly about 20 percent in the polling, but that is double what he had a month ago--a strong increase considering that all the focus has been on Lamont-Lieberman and most voters don't know who the Republican nominee is. In 2000 the Republican nominee against Lieberman received 36-37 percent of the vote, and not much more would be needed for a Republican victory. While such a result is not likely, it is a possibility. At a minimum, it means that much more Democratic party resources will have to be spent on this campaign, thereby depleting money that could be spent elsewhere.

Snow's comments on Lamont, which provide a blueprint for the Republican fall strategy:

I know there's a lot of concern and interest about that. Democratic voters in Connecticut have made their choice, and they have chosen Ned Lamont over Senator Lieberman. Just a couple of observations. Key leaders in the national Democratic Party have made it clear -- let me back up. This is a defining moment in some ways for the Democratic Party. I know a lot of people have tried to make this a referendum on the President; I would flip it. I think instead it's a defining moment for the Democratic Party, whose national leaders now have made it clear that if you disagree with the extreme left in their party they're going to come after you.

Posted by: Zathras | August 10, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Squirt, Your comment "Now you might want a united Democratic front for the sake of Democrats being united...but it would appear that that is not what Connecticut voters want."

I guess you haven't heard the results of the primary and what the voters decided they want.... Lamont. To say otherwise is typical loser rewriting of history to fit personal egos and agendas.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 10, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Dave in CT wrote: "How out of touch are they [CT Dem leaders] with the state voters?

Well I can give you an example. I moved to Minnesota from Connecticut in January '06. Since that move I received 8 glossy flyer mailings from Dan Malloy (the endorsed defeated candidate for CT Gov) and several from Joe Lieberman. I even had internal survey pollers from both campaigns calling my cell phone (which has a 612 area code) asking me which candidate I supported in the Connecticut primary. Clearly they're so out of touch, they don't know when their party members have moved out of the state!

Posted by: Anton in MN | August 10, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter-

Why is it necessary for a united front against the GOP CT candidate? Polls show that the gentleman would be lucky to get 20% of the vote.

Now you might want a united Democratic front for the sake of Democrats being united...but it would appear that that is not what Connecticut voters want. If Lieberman could not win (or get really close to winning) the general election, it is unlikely that he would run. It's much more profitable to become a Professor or a News correspondent or..a lobbyist... than a failed candidate.

Posted by: Squirt | August 10, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

As I watched closely from down here in "Nascar Country" and the "kill 'em all if they ain't like me crowd", I rejoiced when Joe lost.
And, if you were ever wondering whether Joe was a republican-suck-up or not, I think his decision to run as a third party inks that he was/is. What if he wins as a third party candidate? Then he doesn't have to worry about any fallout from dissapointment from either party, and my guess is he will become extremely to the right and serve one more term. His choices in what he proposes and votes for and against in that one term will indeed be scary.
Democrats had better unite behind Ned.
Somebody offer me a job in Connecticut. These people and their guns and intolerance to all things different are killing me down here.
Parker Smith

Posted by: Parker Smith | August 10, 2006 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Another big winner: Hillary Clinton. Since she became a senator, I've considered her record too middle of the road and deplore her record on Iraq, but for most of the general electorate, she's "too liberal" (could she ever win in Iowa or New Mexico, much less Tennesee? She's not even sure to win in Arkansas!). But if Gore is pulled in as an anti-war candidate, and the Democratic Party shifts to the left, it's easier for Hillary to look (in Chris's term) "moderate" After six years, my priority will not be promoting my personal politics, it will be getting rid of the people behind this administration. The sorry fact is that presidential elections cannot be won without both holding your base and attracting the middle.

Posted by: SadSack | August 10, 2006 5:21 AM | Report abuse

chris-so senator lieberman lost and you think president bush lost too.we now know that mr lamont won now is this the beginning of america winning? with reference to the situation in iraq,i have always said that it was wrong to do the right thing for the wrong reason. David-new zealand

Posted by: David | August 10, 2006 4:49 AM | Report abuse

so senator lieberman lost and some so called visionaries say the president lost for the winner is that mr lamont or america itself.i have always said of the decision to invade iraq....that you do not do the right thing for the wrong reason. David-new zealand

Posted by: David | August 10, 2006 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman in Oklahoma would be considered a liberal democrat James. So I think it is fair to call Lieberman a moderate. So if Lieberman is so conservative, what do you call Democrats like Joe Tester in MT or Brad Henry in OK? The democratic party is a broader party than you seem to understand James, however Mr. Cillizza seems to understand that, proving he understands politics.

Posted by: Grant in OK | August 10, 2006 3:56 AM | Report abuse

Nobody likes a sore loser. And that's why Lieberman will lose. Imagine if you will, if Al Gore did this to George W. Bush after the 2000 election. Bush would have creamed him in '04 because Gore would have been seen as a sore loser. Lieberman's campaign is not about the people of Connecticut, but about keeping him in power no matter what. Joe Lieberman would only abide by the primary result if he won. Yes, that is the definition of principle.

Posted by: Q | August 10, 2006 12:12 AM | Report abuse

It is unfortunate that Mr. Lieberman lost to such a zealot but that is life. I look forward to his campaign and offering my support.

Regarding November, look for Republicans holding both houses. We don't need weakness in congress now or ever.

Posted by: Larry | August 10, 2006 12:08 AM | Report abuse

You forgot the biggest loser. Lieberman. He is not only a loser but a sore one, one that we were all warned in kindergarten that no one liked or respected. That is the issue now. He tries to dress it up infancy terms like independent democract of petitioning democrat, but all that says is I lost and I want another chance. That first poster is right that he outspent Lamont 12 mill to 4 and still lost and is sore about it.

Posted by: flounder | August 9, 2006 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm a bit surprised to see Clinton listed among the losers. While it is true that Lieberman lost, the polls at the time that Clinton came to help Lieberman were showing more than a 10 point gap between him and Lamont. That gap closed considerably but only after Clinton's help. So it looks like Clinton's backing was what made this as close a race as it was rather than the blowout victory for Lamont that it looked headed for. That would seem to suggest Clinton's endorsement was worth approximately a 6-8 percentage point gain, which is substantial when you consider the nature of political endorsements.

Posted by: James | August 9, 2006 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Dave, You make an excellent point. Really, the "leaders" of both parties have lost touch with what the people want, or if they know they don't (or didn't) respond.

Hopefully in November we'll clean the stables of all of these do-nothing, self-promoting politicos. What better example is there than Lieberman who thinks he doesn't have to bow to the will of the majority of his party.

It's time to send a message to all of them... "big time."

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 9, 2006 9:55 PM | Report abuse

This may be a bit parochial here, but what does it say about the CT Dem leadership when the endorsed candidates for governor and the US Senate both got rejected by the party members Tuesday? How out of touch are they with the state voters?

Posted by: Dave in CT | August 9, 2006 9:40 PM | Report abuse

The Connecticut Democrat primary voters have spoken. Joe Lieberman should have accepted that fact with grace and worked to help the party in November.... it would have been a statesman's choice.

Instead Lieberman has "decided" to save the voters from themselves.

So, rather than a united front against the Connecticut GOP candidate in the fall, Lieberman is going to drag the Connecticut voters, and the Democrat party, into a divisive battle.

Like his idol in the White House, "The Decider," Joe has decided to ignore the mandate of the people.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 9, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Cillizza

I again ask you to define your term "moderate Democrat" in view of your piece last night that claimed that Lieberman was a "moderate" Democrat.

I believe my request was polite enough and I find that using the term "moderate Democrat" to describe Senator Lieberman is such a cliche that journalists who use it seem to be either very lazy or ideologically aligned with Republicans.

It is the view of the majority of Democrats that Senator Lieberman is very conservative on most issues that Democrats care about.(Let me note here that the majority of Democrats don't live in Washington DC nor nor attend Sally Quinn's cocktail parties, which seems to be where these erroneous cliches originate.) So your characterization of Senator Lieberman is wrong, whether from lazy, cliche-ridden work or from ideology is unclear.

But it is rude of you not to respond.

Posted by: James | August 9, 2006 8:21 PM | Report abuse

I hope the DNC starts paying more attention to the netroots after this.

Posted by: Nan | August 9, 2006 8:03 PM | Report abuse

The republicans are all over the Lamont win calling it a democratic loss (see CNN and Time)....we're a divided party and this proves it plans, etc., etc. The spin doctors are madly at work trying to frame this as their victory. Let them spin away. They're losing their audience.

Posted by: Bill | August 9, 2006 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Whoever says that this result shows that the Democrats are being taken over by ANYONE should have their heads handed to them.

This demonstrates in fact that Democrats are thoughtful and care about the nation AND the party, and can and will stand up a formidable class of challengers to the status quo, for November, 2006, AND November, 2008.

Posted by: EllenG | August 9, 2006 7:24 PM | Report abuse

All honorable persons should agree that -- regardless of any disagreement with Lamont's political positions -- Lamont ran a very clean, issue-oriented campaign. On the other hand, Lieberman demonstrated again and again his lack of integrity and flawless hypocrisy: for example, while making evidence-free accusations that Lamont supposedly engaged in criminal behavior (i.e. attacking his web sight) Lieberman simultaneously accused Lamont of running a Rove-ian like attack cammpaign. What a true hypocrite. Bush's kiss-fest on Lieberman was no accident. In fact, this liar-in-chief, obviously greatly appreciates people who use dishonest and disgusting tactics to accomplish Bush's dirty work (like Rove, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice and Libby, among many others). Lieberman needs to be prosecuted for war crimes like the rest of these Republicans.

Posted by: Justice Delayed | August 9, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Those voting record pages are pretty uninformative, showing only the most recent votes leading into an election year. Why not display some of the rating scores each incumbent has received from interest groups and the like? Or, at least, have some of the most important votes from the past six years on the front page for people to see . . .

Posted by: Bill | August 9, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

You left off Sean Smith from the losers list. Think he'll ever get another campaign to run? Probably not even for the school board, unless, of course Bob Schrum is hiring.

And frankly you can't underestimate how badly Lieberman lost. In fact, he is lost. He outspent Lamont 2.5-1 and thinks it was about facing a wealthy challenger. He went negative early and often, right up until the final smear about his overloaded web site, and yet says he lost to a negotive campaign. He changed his Iraq stance at the last minute and then claimed his record was distorted. Hahahahahahaha. LOSER.

You also left off the RNC, Ken Mehlman and Tony Snow. They can spin all they want, but the tidal wave is coming. Is it November yet?

PS Tom Swan is a huge winner today too.

Posted by: Greg in La | August 9, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Chris--good analysis, as always. Was there some technical problem that prevented you from getting this posted earlier? I clicked several times but saw nothing til nearly 6 p.m.

Posted by: alexandria, va | August 9, 2006 5:54 PM | Report abuse

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