I’ve been asked a couple of times what I think about the whole Ned Lamont thing up in Connecticut (yes, people do ask me about politics, well, two people) and am going to take up some bandwidth opining about it.
Who Actually Got Him Elected:
The thing that strikes me the most is that this has provided the rightwingosphere the opportunity they’ve been looking for to finally go for the blogosphere’s throat. Yes, every lefty blog this side of South Dakota Watch (it’s real) was a loud voice for Lamont. Yes, every blog out there raised money for Lamont; Daily Kos alone funneled $300 million dollars to the campaign. And YES, every lefty blog was ECSTATIC that Lamont won.
BUT-----the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority of the readers of those blogs DID NOT vote in the Connecticut Democratic primary. That’s not how voting works.
The blogs didn’t install a leftwing wacko in some sort of coup; the people of Connecticut voted out a man who started thinking he was entitled to his seat, and who stopped representing the beliefs of his constituents. That’s how Democracy works.
Lots of bloggies wishing hard doesn’t get a candidate elected; for proof of this see: Paul Hackett, Ciro Rodriguez and (hello!) John Kerry!
I would wager a bet that a large majority of the voters had never read a “blogpost.”
That’s why Lieberman should just suck it up and drop out. If he loses he instantly becomes the whiniest politician ever. If he drops out (and soon) he can still become an elder statesman; hell, he can maybe run for Governor some day, or plead for a cabinet position from whoever wins in ’08 (unless it’s Ned Lamont).
The Possible Outcomes
The danger is in Lieberman winning. The GOP candidate is going to pull in about 73 votes; I don’t even know his name, and he’s not going to be a problem. This is going to be between Ned and Joe. But Joe can’t win without Republicans and Conservative Independents. He needs to bring them in to win.
But this is how he’s screwed, and why I don’t think he can win.
He has committed to caucusing with the Democrats in the next Congress if he wins. He has committed to voting for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Now he can still go back on that promise before the election and say he’ll vote once he sees all the candidates—but that’s how people really begin to see his insecurities and his inconsistencies.
Democrats are done with him. And Republicans won’t see much of a reason to vote for him if he’s just going to be a conservative Democrat. And if he goes to far to the right he’ll have to align himself with the Republicans, because once he starts attacking the party (or continues to, I should say), there’s not going to be anyway he will be on any important committees—and he’ll never chair a committee if the Dems take the Senate. (Maybe they’ll find a seat for him on the Washington DC Affairs Committee, or the Bipartisan Committee for Buying Office Supplies.)
And if he switches (or flip flops) and says he’ll caucus with the Republicans then there’s a chance he will be in the minority party while all of his old friends are having a good time being in the Majority (i.e. kicking sand in the GOP’s face, cutting to the front of the cafeteria line, getting the best tables at The Palm, etc.).
But it’s the other option that is why he will probably stay in the election. If the Republicans hold onto a one or two seat lead in the Senate then he suddenly becomes the most important Senator (maybe ever). That’s too much ego stroking goodness for just about anyone to say no to.
But all that is dependent on him going to the other side—not just voting occasionally like a Republican or saying Republicanish things, but actually making it clear that he is a Republican in all but name. Once he does that, he looks crazy, ego-maniacal, arrogant, flip-flopy and that will make him easier to beat.
Joe’s in a tough position right now (I almost feel bad for him) the only way he could win, is going to cause him to lose—whether it’s on election day or once the next Senate comes into session.
He’s got until the middle of October to drop out and salvage his reputation. No one else is going to be hurt but him.