Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
About Chris Cillizza  |  On Twitter: The Fix and The Hyper Fix  |  On Facebook  |  On YouTube  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

Conn. Senate: Will Lieberman Jump Ship?

One of the biggest surprises coming out of last weekend's Yearly Kos convention in Las Vegas was just how much the so-called "netroots" dislike Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut senator who just six years ago was the Democratic nominee for vice president.

Sen. Joe Lieberman
Will he or won't he? A survey suggests Sen. Lieberman could easily win reelection as in independent. (AP File Photo)

The very mention of Lieberman's name drew hisses of derision from the crowd, and Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga predicted Lieberman would lose the Aug. 8 primary to businessman Ned Lamont. Don't even get The Fix started on the buttons that showed Lieberman and President George W. Bush in near-embrace.

The Kos conference coincided with the release of a Quinnipiac University poll that showed Lamont making considerable inroads into Lieberman's large lead. Among registered Democratic primary voters, Lieberman held a comfortable 57 percent to 32 percent lead. But when the sample was screened down to only those most likely to vote, Lieberman was ahead by only a 55 percent to 40 percent margin. Contrast that with Lieberman's 65 percent to 19 percent lead over Lamont among registered voters in a May poll and the trend line doesn't look good for the incumbent.

Buoyed by the poll results, Lamont is now running a radio ad asking Lieberman to pledge that he will not run as an independent if he loses the August primary.

"I have a challenge for our junior senator," Lamont says in the ad. "Joe, let's both go to the Democratic primary on August 8th, and let the people of Connecticut decide. I'll pledge to back you one hundred percent if you win. And for the good of the party, you'll pledge to support me one hundred percent if I'm victorious."

Lieberman has repeatedly refused to rule out a run as an independent even though his campaign aides insist that he has absolutely no intention to do so. The buzz grew louder Monday when a former Connecticut Democratic state party chairman -- and Lieberman supporter -- urged him to make a bid as an independent. The Quinnipiac survey, by the way, showed him easily winning a three-way general election as an independent.

The Fix has generally assumed that Lieberman's unwillingness to slam the door on an independent bid was nothing more than a politician being a politician, but clearly that opinion is not shared by the progressive blogosphere. A number of people we talked with in Las Vegas are convinced that Lieberman is not just holding the option open but actually plotting an independent run. And we were reminded of the fact that when Lieberman was chosen for vice president in 2000, he still ran for reelection to the Senate -- a sign that he wasn't ready to leave the political stage if the ticket came up short (hardly uncommon -- see Lloyd Bentsen in 1988 and LBJ in 1960).

How easy would it be for Lieberman to qualify for the general election as an independent? Not very. Under Connecticut law, Lieberman would need to have gathered 7,500 votes by Aug. 9 (the day after the primary) to qualify. So if he's planning to do it, Lieberman's camp will need to start gathering signatures in the coming weeks.

A confluence of factors makes the Lamont challenge a serious one for Lieberman. First, the primary is likely to be an extremely low turnout affair, meaning that only the most committed voters, most of whom tend to skew liberal, will show up. Lamont is also likely to get a financial boost from his supporters in the liberal blogosphere who have adopted this race under the belief that it's their best chance to send a message to establishment Democrats.

Then there is the war in Iraq. In the Quinnipiac survey just 15 percent of Democrats said the war was the right thing for the United States to do while 83 percent said it was the wrong thing. Lieberman allies note that in spite of those numbers he retains a 15-point edge over Lamont. But it's also important to remember that 75 percent of Connecticut primary voters in the Quinnipiac poll said they didn't know enough about Lamont to offer an opinion -- a statistic that suggests the challenger still has room to grow.

The incumbent remains the favorite in the race but it is likely to be much closer than many independent analysts (including The Fix) assumed.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 13, 2006; 1:33 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Primary Primer: Virginia, South Carolina and Maine
Next: Campaigning in the Kos Primary


Periwinkle, as far as I'm concerned Lieberman isn't a Democrat. He's made that pretty clear recently. My beef with Daily Kos is that they're kinda sorta neo-Stalinist in their orthodoxy, and of course Moulitsas is in my judgment engaging in some pretty unethical behavior by become an appendange to a political campaign.

But Lieberman? Let him run as an independent. All that will do is re-confirm what we all knew, which is that he hasn't been a Democrat for quite a while now.

Posted by: WW | June 18, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I really hope the far leftists at KOS and other extremist bloggers get their wish that Ned Lamont becomes the Democrat nominee. That will make it much easier to split the Dem vote when Lieberman runs as an independent, then a Republican can step in to maintain the Republican majority in the senate. The only thing that could make this an easier win for the Republicans would be to have Lieberman run as a Republican. No one knows better than the liberals in the Democrat Party how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Keep it up KOS, you'll hand the Republicans another Senate seat.

Posted by: Periwinkle | June 18, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

New Rasmussen poll shows Joementum's lead in the primary has shrunk to just 6 points! His lead is melting faster than an ice cube in St. Louis. Joe is toast.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 17, 2006 1:40 AM | Report abuse

"Under Connecticut law, Lieberman would need to have gathered 7,500 votes by Aug. 9 (the day after the primary) to qualify."

I think you meant 7,500 signatures, not votes.

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you in Las Vegas, Chris.

Posted by: Jay Rosen | June 14, 2006 11:49 PM | Report abuse

motherwolfe, would you care to rephrase that after you've changed your meds? Thanks.

Posted by: WW | June 14, 2006 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Of course Markos Moulitsas Zuniga "predicted Lieberman would lose the Aug. 8 primary to businessman Ned Lamont." He's on his campaign!

Posted by: Fred Smiley | June 14, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

To all the dandie andies and sandys who want to stick with the bobbling headed Joe standing behind the Administration like a good dog in support of the Port deal and a host of other issues critical to what the Democratic party stands for, you better do some research on who he's really working for. PBS's Frontline did a story on the collapse of Enron, and specifically pointed to Lieberman and that very happy camper Billy Tauzin for championing the enabling legislation.
And no one can doubt that we've seen ol Joe on the White House lawn more times than Barney or Dick Cheney.

Posted by: motherwolfe | June 14, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

To all the dandie andies and sandys who want to stick with the bobbling headed Joe standing behind the Administration like a good dog in support of the Port deal and a host of other issues critical to what the Democratic party stands for, you better do some research on who he's really working for. PBS's Frontline did a story on the collapse of Enron, and specifically pointed to Lieberman and that very happy camper Billy Tauzin for championing the enabling legislation.
And no one can doubt that we've seen ol Joe on the White House lawn more times than Barney or Dick Cheney.

Posted by: motherwolfe | June 14, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

A correction. I meant to write the following:

"Yes, they are/were partisan but they were NOT formally tied to this or that candidate or campaign as Moulitsas is."

Posted by: WW | June 14, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

p.s.: Mara, you really must learn to think more and fawn less. Fawning is unbecoming, be it liberal fawning or wingnut fawning.

Posted by: WW | June 14, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I have mixed feelings about objectivity in the media. It is nowhere in the first amendment -- either the text, the philosophical underpinnings or the history. At the time the first amendment was written, the press was partisan and objectivity was unknown.

Objectivity arose during the Civil War in response to market demand for reliable reports from the battlefields, and over time it became tradition and custom. The media became overly objective, at least in the style of presentation, after WW2. The result was the so-called New Journalism of the left, which has more recently been matched and exceeded in influence by right-wing outlets like FauxNews.

Neither the New Journalists of '60s and '70s (the so-called alternative press, which has now turned into the yuppie press) nor FauxNews have been directly involved in political campaigns. Yes, they are/were partisan but they were formally tied to this or that candidate or campaign as Moulitsas is.

I do think Moulitsas has broken new ground. He has hitched Daily Kos to the Lamont candidacy. As I've already written, if I were in CT I'd almost certainly be a Lamont supporter and financial donor so it's not as if I disagree with the substance. But there is an ethical issue involved.

At the very least, Moulitsas's website should prominently disclose his partisan affiliation(s). It is not enough to reply that "everybody knows that." If they did, then the fawning mainstream media would be noting it, which they are not. Daily Kos has an ethical duty to inform its audience that it is not an independent voice, and that it in fact its owner is an appendage of a specific political candidate.

Beyond that, I don't think it's wise for Moulitsas to do this. Yes, it is his absolute right. But there are forces far more powerful than his out there, and for the time being they have not stepped across the line that he's stepped across. The argument that there's no difference between being opinionated, partisan and a campaign operative is absurd. There can be similarities between those roles, but they are not identical.

People should look past the immediate and see where this will lead, and in particular the "netroots" crowd needs to be a bit less defensive in the face of well-articulated criticism. At times there is a neo-Stalinist character to the Daily Kos site, just as there is a neo-fascist character to its mirror images on the right such as Free Republic and the so-called "milblogosphere."

All of this is part of the ongoing deterioration of political discourse in this country. Every year, another 2% of the electorate stops voting. Readership of newspapers drops; TV news programs resort to car chases and the lost-white-girl du jour to capture audiences; the Internet becomes a megaphone just like talk radio.

Posted by: WW | June 14, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Kos is NOT a traditional journalist per se. He represents no one but himself. His writing, and that of his frontpagers, is subject to fact checking and realtime, PUBLIC criticism and/or corrections. They might trollrate you into oblivion for unhelpful or baiting comments, but not for challlenging progressive orthodoxy. But make no mistake, he does NOT present himself or his site as a non-partisan news source.

As for his activities as a campaign operative, it's not at all like O'Reilly, who represents the conglomerate of Fox News. Kos isn't akin to Howard Kurtz, who writes FOR the Post. Kos is his own man, stating his own opinions, on his own personal website.

Posted by: Mara | June 14, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the well thought out explanation to THS's question. Also the criticism that the rest of ya'll are throwing out there has less to do with the media as it does with the media corparations. The unifying of multiple media outlets (newspaper, radio, TV, and now the Net) by a small group of large multi-national corporations is what is KILLING objectiviity. Fox News is bad because ALL of their commentators are GOP leaning. The New York Times owns half of the paper's on the East Coast and can thereby control the news (not to mention they own part of the Boston Red Sox, which is sooo wrong in soooo many ways). Now it seems that the folks at Daily Kos are consolidating the netroots power as well. Looks like one more avenue for true Free expression is going the way of the Dodo.

The only way to get true objectivity back into the media is to break-up these multi-media groups, like Ma bell in 70s. Basically we need a law that only allows one company to own one types of media outlets, that will help to keep everyone a little more honest.

Posted by: Andy R | June 14, 2006 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I only wish they did.

What we have now is a BS game, where everyone pretends to be "objective", while spinning the public blind. There are a million ways you can manipulate "objective" styles into outrigh6t shilling (see, Campaign 2K, Ceci Connelly, Frank Bruni, Sandra Sobiraj, etc...etc...). This manipulation hides the reality and allows people to fake themselves out that they are really being "objective" themselves, when in fact they are burying their heads in their nice safe ideological sand.

Personally, I'd rather it be right out front, in six foot red letters. Then we all know where everyone stands.

Posted by: UH...WW | June 14, 2006 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Drindl, please list the names of the staff columnists in newspapers, or staff commentators on TV, who are currently operatives for a campaign. What are their names?

Don't give me metaphors and don't give me vague characterizations. I want to know which of them are actually working directly for a campaign or appearing in a candidate's commercials. Come on. Tell us.

Posted by: WW | June 13, 2006 11:49 PM | Report abuse

'There is a difference between being opinionated and partisan, and there is a difference between being partisan and being a campaign operative.

The commentators in the newspaper and on TV are opinionated. It's their job. Their opinions are predictable, so they tend to at least appear partisan. Some are openly so, like a James Carville, but they tend to be the exceptions to the rule.'

That is a ridiculous statement. You are disconnected from reality. Almost all of the pundits on TV are rightwing, You are trying to tell me that rightwing pundits don't benefit financially from republican candidates? Please. There are ways and ways.

The big boys are already involved in electioneering -- and have been for years. The news outlets are ALL owned by transnational corporations whose only interests are no regulation, no oversight, no taxes. So which party do you think they will favor. Christ, you are naive.

Posted by: Drindl | June 13, 2006 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Apologies, Jason; all I meant was that Goldwater was of Jewish family background, and as a practical matter, for a lot of people in a lot of political situations, that would have been enough. For his own attitudes a good place to start is Theodore H. White's "The Making of the President 1964."

Posted by: Kakuzan | June 13, 2006 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Drindl, FauxNews is obviously right-wing. And isn't that what many progressives object to, their slanting of the news while piously denying it? Political discourse is corroded, and our grip on reality itself is loosened, by that sort of thing.

So, what's the answer? To take it even further on the Left? Better watch out, I say, because as tantalizing as Daily Kos might seem, it's a flyspeck compared to the corporate media. The day will come when the big boys will be directly involved in electioneering, and something tells me it won't be for your candidates or mine.

Take a longer view. Moulitsas's candidates aren't important enough to sacrifice the last remaining bits (even if somewhat illusory) and expectations of journalistic independence.

Posted by: WW | June 13, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

There is a difference between being opinionated and partisan, and there is a difference between being partisan and being a campaign operative.

The commentators in the newspaper and on TV are opinionated. It's their job. Their opinions are predictable, so they tend to at least appear partisan. Some are openly so, like a James Carville, but they tend to be the exceptions to the rule.

Moulitsas is the only campaign operative with a major commentator's role. That is new territory, and carries implications that go far beyond the specific election in which he is involved.

Daily Kos is, among other things, an extension of the Lamont campaign. I fully expect that it censors pro-Lieberman sentiment, especially if that sentiment is displayed with equal vigor as is displayed in favor of Lamont.

I can't prove that statement, and since I don't support Lieberman -- I am a Democrat and more liberal than Lieberman has turned out to be -- I'm not going to go out there and test it. But as someone who was driven off of Kos (through "troll-rating") for repeating the documented fact that Democrats got one-third of the campaign contributions from the Abramoff keiretsu, I can attest that censorship is vigorously enforced there.

So, what you have at Daily Kos is a website for a candidate's campaign, but whose contributions are undeclared and unregulated. And you've got a "commentator" whose status as a campaign operative is disclosed nowhere on Daily Kos's front page and is rarely discussed in the fawning media profiles of him and his enterprise.

I'd say there are questions to be asked. The "netroots" crowd hates criticism and dissent just as much as the "Freepers" and "milblogs" of the far-right wing. As the political interet grows, cross-talk diminishes and ethical standards decline.

Posted by: WW | June 13, 2006 9:47 PM | Report abuse

WW -- what is the difference between advocating for a specific candidate and constantly shilling for an entire party and everything it stands for?

As I have said, Fox News is an organ of the republican party. They make that very obvious. They don't need to explicitly endorse a particular candidate -- their implicit endorsement is quite clear. And that is far more powerful and persuasive. In fact, it is absurd to conflate the power of an endorsement by this one guy, kos, to the endorsement of a global communications superpower, broadcast 24 hours a day to tens of millions of homes.

Could you wake up and think?

Posted by: Drindl | June 13, 2006 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Re: Kakuzan's comment on former Sen. Barry Goldwater

While I am unaware of what religion former Sen. Goldwater was or identified with, as someone who is Jewish (although not religious)I take offense at the implication that whether you are Jewish or not depends on what the Nazi party thinks or thought.

Posted by: Jason | June 13, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Hi, everyone. WW, I think THS answered you're point very well and I agree with him/her. Markos is not making himself out to be a non-partisan journalist. He very clearly is partisan and presents himself that way. That is different from the journalist standard you describe, WW. I, personally would have no problem with anyone at Fox News supporting a particular candidate publicly. In fact, I think it's better if they're public about it than keep any association private. Also, I have no problem with Tony Snow working for President Bush.

Now if somebody like Stuart Rothenberg came out for a particular candidate, that would be different.

Posted by: Jason | June 13, 2006 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, gkam, for the expression "Vichy Democrats"; it definitely has the punch. We Republicans, I fear, never managed anything more vivid for our trucklers to the established wisdom than "me-too-ism."

B2O: The first Jewish major-party candidate was not Lieberman in 2000 but Barry Goldwater in 1964; though raised Episcopalian, he would certainly have been Jewish enough for many a Long Island country club or Nazi concentration camp.

Posted by: Kakuzan | June 13, 2006 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong. I despise FauxNews and Bill O'Leilly. That said, I have never seen O'Leilly in a TV advertisement for a political candidate. THS didn't answer my question: How would you react if you saw O'Leilly in a TV ad for a specific candidate?

Please don't let partisanship dictate your answer, or at least please pause to give it some thought before you do. At the moment, columnists and commentators do not engage in electioneering like Moulitsas has done.

Do you really want those barriers to come down? Do you actually want media commentators to be directly active in candidate promotions? Bear in mind that if you say yes, you are saying yes not just for those who you agree with but for everyone.

Moulitsas has broken some new ground here, and in doing so is paving the way for outright electioneering throughout the media. The rules shouldn't vary according to the method of encoding a signal. A commentator whose material is available via the telecom system encoded in TCP/IP is no different than one available through the cable system encoded in some other data format.

Say yes to Moulitsas, and you're opening the doors for everyone else. Given the overwhelmingly conservative-corporate orientation of the media, combined with the approaching tolling and metering of TCP/IP streams by the owners of the pipes, I think giving Moulitsas a free pass is the very definition of penny-wise and pound foolish.

But I guess the "netroots" crowd is going to have to learn the bitter lesson for itself, while further screwing up the already dysfunctional system for everyone else.

Posted by: WW | June 13, 2006 8:13 PM | Report abuse

If it was just about the war, half of the Democrats in the Senate or so would be getting primary challenges. As for Lieberman's "independent" bid, he has shown himself repeatedly to be incompetent as a politician. Here's a simple rule: you can't win without the backing of the Democrats or the Republicans. No matter what the polls say, Joe isn't going to win as an independent. If he wants to win the primary, he should say that he absolutely will run as a Democrat and run to the left. Like what Arlen Specter did in 2004. Lieberman would be able to win the primary then. But by hedging on running as an independent, he gives Lamont ammunition to accuse him of not being a real Democrat. Lieberman also has no idea of what he's getting himself into by running as an independent. Chris Dodd's dad can tell him all about how that works. If Lieberman runs as an independent, the Democrats will yank his committee assignments and he'll be in limbo. He can join the Republicans but he couldn't beat Lamont as a Republican. The only way for Lieberman to get re-elected is to run in the Democratic primary, but judging by his record of incompetence, I'd say he'll bolt the party in a few weeks.

Posted by: Q | June 13, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't really see why anyone has a problem with Kos supporting Democratic candidates. Is there anyone in the world who doesn't think the Fox network is an appendage of the republican party? The head of Fox is Roger Ailes, a republican strategist. Kos is one guy, Fox is a huge multinational corporation, yet nobody seems to have a problem that Fox reliably supports republican candidates and positions.

Why is it okay for republicans and not for democrats?

Posted by: Drindl | June 13, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, WW.

I see your point, but I'm not sure I agree with it. A journalist gathers facts and reports them, ideally with as little bias as possible in either the fact-gathering or the reporting. But I don't think of Kos as a journalist, and, although I have no way of knowing, I don't think he thinks of himself that way either.

He is actually more like a columnist, and O'Reilly is too. There are lots of them here at the Post---Fisher, Robinson, Marcus, Mallaby, Ignatius, Levenson, Cohen, etc., etc. Their position as columnists allows them to say whatever they please, including things that are strongly partisan. I'm sure they are edited in some way, but I they're not subject to the Post's standards for objectivity and sourcing.

Of course, they have their own reputations to protect, so it's in their interest to present plausible evidence and arguments, but their explicit role is to present a point of view. I think that's what Kos is doing too. I think he's got a lot to learn about how to do it---especially about how to speak to a diverse audience---but I don't think he has the same obligations as WaPo political reporters.

Also, FWIW, Kos uses Moulitsas as his last name. In Spain, the mother's maiden name appears last, but people actually go by the father's surname, which appears second. The current president of Mexico, for instance, is actually Vicente Fox Quesada, although we refer to him as Vicente Fox.

Posted by: THS | June 13, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

"Any politician who believes that Bill Clinton was more deserving of censure than George W. Bush simply does not deserve the Democratic nomination for Senate from the great state of Connecticut."

Maura - you just brought up my #1 beef with Lieberman - that he wanted to censure Clinton for lying about a bj but he dosen't want to censure Bush for lies that have resulted in the deaths of almost 2,500 American troops, wounding of 17,000 troops, plus the deaths of 30,000+ Iraqis.

Brava, Maura, brava.

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 13, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse

The Lieberman campaign has conclusively stated today (on WSTC talk radio) that they will NOT support the winner of the Democratic primary unless the winner is Joe Lieberman.

It just goes to show that Lieberman believes he should be re-coronated every 6 years, not elected. He has absolutely no respect for the party that has supported him for more than 18 years. He's basically said, "If you won't pick me, I won't pick you! Nah, nah!"

Ned Lamont's candidacy is about far more than the war in Iraq. It's about fiscal responsibility, a sound energy policy, and standing up for core values like individual freedom (including freedom of speech) and medical privacy. Joe Lieberman has said it's unpatriotic to "undermine the President's credibility" when in fact the only credibility we have left as a nation is in publicly distancing ourselves from our President's lies. Lieberman supported government intervention in the Terri Schiavo case. He supported the Bush/Cheney energy bill. The list goes on and on.

But when it comes down to it, it's really quite simple:

Any politician who believes that Bill Clinton was more deserving of censure than George W. Bush simply does not deserve the Democratic nomination for Senate from the great state of Connecticut.

Posted by: Maura | June 13, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I should also point out that the liberal blogosphere has been largely silent about this, and in some cases has actually censored negative comments about it.

Daily Kos has an ingeneous censorship mechanism. Unlike many sites on both the left and the right, it doesn't outright censor people. Instead, a sort of internal orthodoxy squad gives so-called "troll ratings" to dissenting opinion, preventing them from appearing on the Daily Kos website unless sought out through a laborious process.

Both the left-wing and the right-wing Internet sites employ various means of inhibiting divergent expressions. Combine that with overt politicking for specific candidates by influential "new media" outlets, and you have the potential for serious mischief.

Better that this be exposed and discussed now, when it can more easily be counteracted.

Posted by: WW | June 13, 2006 6:49 PM | Report abuse


I will answer your question in two ways. One directly and another by example.

The direct answer is that, by virtue of the size and influence of his Daily Kos site, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga has become a journalist. He should be held to the same standards of conduct that other major journalists are held to, including columnists.

I'll acknowledge that journalism is a craft and not a profession, and therefore there are no codified rules but rather only a set of customs. Zuniga is free to reject them at any time, but long-established custom has been that journalists (including columnists) shouldn't work directly for political candidates are parties.

The separation exists to preserve some semblence of journalistic independence. I realize that it is increasingly honored in the breach these days, but Zuniga has cast away his independence and that of Daily Kos by affiliating with a candidate.

Now for the example. What would you, or the Daily Kos crowd, say if Bill O'Leilly of FauxNews literally joined, say, Rick Santorum's campaign, and then titled everything on his show -- from news items to viewer comments -- to support that affiliation?

Beyond, "What an idiot" and "It figures," you'd say that O'Leilly was using his influence in a heavy-handed, manipulative, inappropriate and unethical manner. And I would agree. The difference beween myself and the knee-jerk worshippers at Daily Kos's table is that I apply a set of standards across the board.

See, if Zuniga can get away with this, what's to stop O'Leilly from taking that next step? Be careful what you wish for is what I say. Those barriers between journalism and partisan affiliation are already too thin; we'd all be better off if they were strengthened rather than eliminated, as Zuniga is doing.

Posted by: WW | June 13, 2006 6:43 PM | Report abuse

"I am a littel lost on why Lamont is doing so well. I understand that alot of people are really pissed about Lieberman's support of the war, but the rest of his views are Solid democrat."

Andy - you are missing a lot. A LOT my friend. I was going to sit down and write a whole dissertation on why there is a primary challenger to Lieberman who is attracting so much attention, but then I saw that about 20 other people already filled you in on the many, many other reasons why Lieberman does not deserve to represent Connecticut (at least not as a Democrat) anymore.

The only thing I will still say is how damn annoying it is to hear over and over again in the media that THE ONLY reason Lieberman is being challenged is b/c of the Iraq War. That is simply utterly, utterly false and lazy journalism. No writer worth his ink would write those words if he/she spent more than five minutes doing research on a story about why Lieberman is being challenged.

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 13, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman? Can't say I hate him or love him, but he has,over the years, did his best for Ct. And what is the big deal over a hug with the President? SO WHAT!!
This Lamont person is nothing more than a bored business man who wants to make a name for himself. He knows that he can finance a political campaign all by himself. Lieberman may be wealthy, but not like Lamont.
So unfortunatly the "new yuckers" who have moved into my state, will vote for Lamont.
What a sad day it will be for Ct.!

Posted by: Faith | June 13, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

"Will it take hundreds of more losses before the media finally acknowledges that this whole thing is little more than a glorified Nerd Patrol?

Get a life, please"

The only thing that is nerdy and pathetic is someone who posts 20-30 times day about a group that she claims has no power or influence. If they are such losers, why do you spend your whole whining and moaning about them?

Posted by: Ohio guy | June 13, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I think we should vote out anybody holding office that disagrees with the party establishment. We certainly wouldn't want politicians who think for themselves or who vote based on principle in power. Think of the gridlock, the partisanship, the lack of any ability to would be glorious!!!

Posted by: FH | June 13, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, I forgot to mention he never stops criticizing and undercutting Democrats, and praising Bush. Chris, can you really be surprised that he is widely despised? The term "Vichy Democrat' is quite apt, becuase to most of us he is a collaborator.

Posted by: Drindl | June 13, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman is just not the same candidate he once was. He really has no Dem creds at all. He was willing to sell out social security, which he once had protected. He sucks up to Limbaugh and Hannity and Bush and Cheney. He's all for invading Iran. He doesn't want rape victims to be allowed emergency contraception. He's all for corporate criminals getting off scot-free. In other words, he is throughly corrupt.

He should leave the Democrat party, because he's now 100% republican.

Posted by: Drindl | June 13, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The "netroots" are mostly mad at Lieberman because they percieve him as sucking up to Bush and going out of his way to help him. The netroots like people like Jim Webb because they are unabashed about their views even if they don't agree with all their views. There is a big misconception that the democratic netroots only like super liberals. If you look at Howard Dean, the original netroots candidate, you'll see that he's a centrist on many issues and was even endorsed by the NRA, which is anathema to many liberals. I think Liberman will still win but will have a lot of democrats mad at him.

Posted by: John | June 13, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Elizabeth, good post about the Corporation (er, Commission) for Presidential Debates. The takeover of our debate system from the League of Women Voters by this band of corporate thugs was and remains a travesty.

I actually protested in front of their DC HQ back in 2000, but the media was so incredibly in bed with the CPD that no one ever learned about it. If people knew what they were about, control would be wrested away from them by overwhelming public opinion in very short order.

Your elections are sponsored by Annheiser Busch and the American Gambling Lobby. Come to think about it, maybe that's appropriate after all.

Posted by: B2O | June 13, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Lieberman is out of touch with the party base on much more than just the war. He stands staunchly with the American Taliban Party on ensuring that civil rights only apply to heterosexual white males.

It reminds me of the political cartoon I saw the day after Gore chose him as a running mate in 2000. The buzz all day had been about the "first-ever Jewish candidate". So the cartoon had someone leaning back in their recliner reading the newspaper and exclaiming,

"I'm all for diversity and being openminded, but why did Gore have to choose... a Republican?"

Posted by: B2O | June 13, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I like the comparison to the situation in Rhode Island and Senator Chafee. Someone said that the same thing is happening there and you don't hear anything about it. I would like to point out that the fix has had two write ups on Chafee's primary challenge already (and if you listen to republican radio up here they are all about getting Chafee gone).

Also the Netroots people are targeting this race to SHOW they have some power. They know (as some of ya'll have pointed out) that they haven't really won a high profile race yet. (They have helped to win smaller races on the state level). If they could oust Liebermann it would put them on the map for good.
Also you are completely right RMill about Joe giving Lamont another issue that should play well with the primary voters. Lamont would beat the Republican challenger as all the polls show, but I really think the orginizational power that Liebermann brings to the table will win this in the end.

Also KOZ you can keep McCain I'll trade you Snowe for Liebermann anyday of the week and twice on sundays.

Posted by: Andy R | June 13, 2006 5:12 PM | Report abuse


Why is it unethical for Kos to be in Lamont's campaign commercial? This is an honest question.


Posted by: THS | June 13, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow, who opened the door to the loony bin!?

I'm from Washington State, but I have lots of friends and family across the country. I can tell you that neither Lieberman nor Hillary have represented Main Street Democrats in years.

For example, on the following two issues about which we care dearly, Lieberman and Clinton pay only lip service at best.

- We were against the war in Iraq because our common sense told us it would be a disaster.

- We've been advocating (perhaps not strongly enough) for a reduction in carbon emissions and stronger toxic gas, water pollution, and habitat regulations for years and years.

So, I'll suggest to you and your readers that it isn't the "Net Roots" that are against Lieberman. The "Net Roots" community is, in fact, quite large; so large in fact that it constitutes a representative sampling of the type of people who actually make it to the polls to vote for Democrats.

The "Net Roots" is not the looney left. The "Net Roots" are mainstream Americans who want smart use of our military, a balanced budget, clean air and water, good schools, and a sustainable balance between land for humans and habitat for wildlife. And we want leaders who will advocate strenously for the things we value.

We are, in other words, Americans.

Posted by: Choska | June 13, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

It's long past time the Democrats purged themselves of the Vichy Democrats, too afraid to challenge the Power, too infected with political cowardice to stand up for The People.

Lieberman showed his colors in the VP debates, when Dick (Killer) Cheney stated that he got no part of his sizable fortune from the government, when it was ALL from Pentagon business, set up while he was in office previously. Lieberman had the chance right then to show the lies of the Bush/Cheney Cabal, but failed to do so.

I guess thinking is not his thing - another reason to believe he's really a Republican.

Posted by: gkam | June 13, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"Does Joe represent the people of Connecticut . . . or merely his own ambitions?"

Posted by: The Caped Composer | June 13, 2006 02:39 PM

Lets say Joe runs as an independent, if he wins...doesn't he then represent the interest of Conneticut? I mean, maybe no longer the democratic base (the primary voters) but he would still represent Conneticut as a whole (or fraction) if he wins. If he doesn't win, but steals some votes from Lamont, and a Republican takes the seat, then wouldn't that republican represent conneticut MORE so than either Lamont or Joe? Lets say Lamont even wins both the Primary and General, then he would represent the voters of Conneticut.

It doesn't matter which party you run under, it only matters if you win. If you win, you represent the state (and hopefully you can find a way to get a few more voters on the ball 6 years later so that you have more than just a third of the vote).

Posted by: Squirt | June 13, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the nuts are out today. Plain and simple, folks. Lieberman no longer represents his state. Period.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 13, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Quinnipiac Poll
CT US Senate
May 31-June 6
Lamont (D) 37%
Schlesinger (R) 20%

April 25-30
Lamont (D) 25%
Schlesinger 20%

Lamont (D) 27%
Streitz (R) 18% (no longer a candidate)

Former Governor and Independent Lowell Weiker is also flirting with an independent run, even though he has endorsed Lamont. He will ikely be prepared to file should Lieberman win.

The only head to head poll in this scenrio was done by Rasmussen back in February.

Leiberman (D)* 46%
Schlesinger (R) 25%
Weiker (I) 17%

It would be inetersting to see an update on this scenario.

Posted by: RMill | June 13, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

As a former Democrat who became unable to stomach the "everything America does is wrong" leftists I almost wish the Democrats win control of the House in November. With Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and blame America radicals chairing most committees the Democrats guarantee that they will never win another election.

Posted by: Gavin | June 13, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but it's a "surprise" that the Daily Kos crowd doesn't like Lieberman? Cillizza, where have you been? Are you aware that the owner of Daily Kos has appeared in Lamont's TV commercials?

Now, if I lived in Connecticut I'd be a Lamont voter. I'm thoroughly turned off by Lieberman for the very same reasons the Kos crowd is. But I also think it's unethical as hell for Markos what's-his-last-name to shill for a specific candidate on TV.

Someone ought to throw a spotlight on that one. The Kos people get very defensive about it, as if the rules apply to everyone but themselves. Anyone who's spent time in Washington, D.C. knows what a red flag that sort of arrogance is. Doesn't matter which side you're on.

Posted by: WW | June 13, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse


1. If it's Ned Lamont v. the Republican candidate, Lamont wins no problem.

2. The problem with Lieberman is his constant undermining of the Democratic position and the shameless plugging of himself. He accuses those who engage in criticism of the war traitors and has been very weak in any opposition to the Republicans. His statements are then used by Bush to give himself bi-partisan cover.

3. If you're a Democratic senator from Connecticut and Dick Cheney calls you a fine senator and your campaign is endorsed by Sean Hannity, you are not in touch with your constituents.

4. I believe the man you're referring to in Virginia is named Webb, don't know too much about him, but the fact that he used to be a Republican proves that this isn't about punishing those who aren't liberal enough. It's about standing up for core values and not making yourself a lap-dog to the current administration. It is also somewhat pragmatic as you cannot get the same type of senator in Virginia, Nebraska, Florida as you can in Connecticut.

5. Finally, why is it so terrible when a Democratic senator faces a primary challenge, yet no one says a peep when a moderate Republican in the bluest state in the nation (Chafee) is challenged from his right by a Club for Growth endorsed fringe candidate? And that is not the first time that has happened either. (See Specter in PA) Typical rightward spin from that liberal media.

Posted by: appalled | June 13, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

We will gladly take Joe if you promise to take McCain. We'll throw in a first round draft pick.

Posted by: king of zouk | June 13, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like "free and easy" admission of the validity of an INDEPENDENT challenge in a Presidential Campaign, when Lieberman is suggested as STRONG ENOUGH!

I voted for Ralph Nader and firmly believe he indeed WAS STRONG ENOUGH.

Meanwhile the media is ignoring the Independent Challenge as valid, in the polls and such...such being the Commission on Presidential Debates was hosted by the RNC and DNC chairs since they wrested it from the League of Women Voters which offered a proper NON PARTISAN hosting...and that is yet to be FIXED!

Also, the IMPEACHMENT situation deserves proper media presentation. The (I am NOT a Democrat, stopped voting for their nominees when Clinton ran v Bush the father...and since, found out via grapevine, not the media that Nader was running as an Independent in the 2000 race....)the offer a Teach-In site:
and another informative site about Bush and the facts:

Just making sure this audience knows and can look into it!

Moving forward toward truer Democracy and PROPER INDEPENDENCE from corruption of our politics and seeking REAL CANDIDATES!

Posted by: Elizabeth Ellis | June 13, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse


Nothing strange about it. The Democratic party feels comfortable it can stave off Republican challenge in CT with or without Lieberman. They don't feel they should have to tolerate "conservative" democrats in the homeland. However, in swing states, they not only tolerate but prop up centrist Democrats because that's what they have to do to win.

Think of the Republican party's treatment of Lincoln Chafee (which is silly because it isn't in a "conservative" bastion) with the simultaneous McCain Presidential advantage. The centrist McCain is the leading candidate and that's fine, all while another centrist is being attacked by the party insiders in Rhode Island.

It's just strategy.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 13, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Well if The Fix had been paying attention, you would know why the netroots don't support Lieberman--and it's not just his unwillingness to rule out an independent run if he loses the primary.

Lieberman is a deadweight on the Democratic party and brand and needs to be cut loose. Yesterday.

Hartford Courant columnist Paul Bass: "The Bush administration values Joe Lieberman because he has been a crucial ally in efforts to free Enron-style corporate crooks from regulation, transfer wealth to the wealthy, hound gays, trample on the rights of government critics and sacrifice the lives of thousands of Americans and Iraqis to dishonest, dangerous military adventurism.

"Lieberman understands how, in campaigns, you can make people forget all that. You can change the subject by making fun of your opponent for being rich. Then, with millions of dollars from wealthy donors, you can reinvent your record.",0,7611693.column

Lieberman said he believes hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons" shouldn't be forced to do so. "In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital," he said.

That is an insensitive and immensely cruel remark. Yet, Lieberman can be counted on to provide "bi-partisan" cover to an especially ugly brand of religious extremism.

Everything about Lieberman hurts the Democratic Party as long as he's in it.

Posted by: Corinne | June 13, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Good job Sally, the people of Conn. will not be dragging around by the liberals. First of all, the registered Democrats are more organized as a party than the nutroots.

Lieberman is strong on defending our nation, and seems to be more from the FDR wing of the Democrats than the liberal fringe. It will be interesting if Lieberman can win against a mulimillion dollar attack machine organized by the liberals.

It will also have an impact on whether Senator Christopher Dodd is going to be able to run for president. He will have to decide if he is a Neville Chamberlain or a Winston Churchill when it comes to matters of national security.

Posted by: Helen | June 13, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

It's sort of sad how the netroots is all too willing to run Joe Lieberman out on a rail for the suspicion of being a Republican (and in doing so opening up a scenario under which a Republican actually could win!) while down in Virginia the same loony leftists are embracing another conservative Democrat (who used to be a Republican and supported them!). Kos' animus is pretty much inexplicable!

Posted by: GOPRising | June 13, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse


CT is not exactly the bastion of the netroots movement. If Lieberman loses, its because Democratic voters no longer idenftify with him.

Also, it does not matter anymore what Lieberman says or does not say, he cannot turn around that many petitions in one day to qualify for an independent run, so he would have to start collecting signatures soon and that would make big news and further damage his reputation and shake confidence of supporters.

Posted by: RMill | June 13, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

It just makes me wish even more that Gore had picked Bob Graham for veep instead of Joe Lieberman. That way, Gore WOULD have won, and America would not have had to put up with the whiny, sanctimonious Lieberman. Yes, he is solidly Democratic on issues other than the war. But his blunder in threatening to run as an independent has me seriously questioning his motives. Does Joe represent the people of Connecticut . . . or merely his own ambitions?

Posted by: The Caped Composer | June 13, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Even if Lieberman loses the primary, he'll still win as an independent, because the nutroots are the only ones who'll support Lamont. RMill, he doesn't have to say so in advance. But he would be stupid to pledge his support to a candidate whose most likely accomplishment would be to lose a once-solid Democratic seat to a Republican candidate.

If there's anything the Dems should have learned from the 2004 campaign, it's that it's best to ignore Howard Dean, Kos and the rest of the nutroots.

Posted by: RC | June 13, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I am as astonished as you are Andy R.

Lamont may be a one-issue candidate but Joe just gave him another one "Please promise not to abandon the Democratic party just because you lose the primary Joe."

I can't believe this guy might have been VP (or even considered). It almost makes me glad Gore won/lost (ALMOST!)

Posted by: RMill | June 13, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse


I don't see how you can pass it off as "a politician being a politician".

It's not just progressive blogspehere types who disagree.

Name another incumbant three-term United States Senator, from either party, who even mentions that they have an opponent in public, let alone that they might lose and then jump ship from the party.

Think it, plan for it, whatever. But you don't broadcast it. Now Lamont has momentum and an issue.

If he loses the primary, it is obvious that he no longer represents the Democratic party in CT. Better to retire with some dignity and start a foundation or run for President of Yale.

Posted by: RMill | June 13, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I am a littel lost on why Lamont is doing so well. I understand that alot of people are really pissed about Lieberman's support of the war, but the rest of his views are Solid democrat. Lamont seems to be a one hit wonder to me, but maybe I'm missing something.
It probably doesn't hurt that Lamont's old friend is Howard Dean. However, I have a feeling that the Lieberman orginization and name recognition will come out on top in this race.

Posted by: Andy R | June 13, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Like I said before, even if Lieberman is worried about his challenge, he has to be the dumbest f#@&!ng pol in CT for even suggesting he would run as an Independent. That just crushes morale and confidence and gives creedence to your opponent.

Posted by: RMill | June 13, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Yes Sandy, those who have a political blog are generally silly. Having such a blog is almost as bad as compulsively posting on those same blogs.

Posted by: Anon | June 13, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Can I ask - what is this obsession with this "Daily Kos" or "Yearly Kos" goofball? And what makes him such a political powerbroker? He has won nothing despite all this talk about Busby and Paul Hackett and this "Net-Roots" Star Trek Convention garbage.

Lieberman is going to destroy this Lamont person. Will it take hundreds of more losses before the media finally acknowledges that this whole thing is little more than a glorified Nerd Patrol?

Get a life, please

Posted by: Sandy | June 13, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

It just goes to show that all the punditry and speculation in the world can't always predict actual outcomes. Or, in the great Fats Waller's parlance, "One never knows, do one?"

Posted by: The Caped Composer | June 13, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company