Skip to comments.Analysis: Lieberman loss poses challenge
Posted on 08/08/2006 9:04:33 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - Sen. Joe Lieberman's primary defeat Tuesday night came at the hands of Democratic voters angry over the war in Iraq and demanding that lawmakers stand up to President Bush rather than stand with him.
It wasn't a polite message they sent their three-term senator, a former vice presidential running mate who fell to anti-war challenger Ned Lamont. It was an eviction notice, served by an electorate that has grown remarkably sour about the course their country is on.
That makes the result both an opportunity and a challenge for Democrats nationally as they head into a fall campaign with control of the House and Senate at stake.
To triumph in November, Democrats will need the same intensity, including the support of bloggers and groups such as MoveOn.org, that powered Lamont to victory in Connecticut.
"I think there is huge dissatisfaction with the way the president is handling the war," said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chairman of the party's Senate campaign committee. "People are divided over whether we should have a strong, aggressive foreign policy, but there's very little division even among those for a strong foreign policy that the president has really botched this in terms of having a plan, in terms of a direction, in terms of an endgame."
The challenge for Democrats is that Republicans already are pointing to the anti-war activists who flocked to Lamont, and their penchant for edgy political tactics, as evidence that Democrats can't be trusted with the nation's security.
"We'll soon find out just how significant this election is, but it's a problem for Democrats long-term," the Senate's second-ranking Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said after Lamont had won.
"The McGovern wing of the Democrat party seems to have forgotten that we've been on offense for the last five years and that's why we haven't been attacked here at home."
There's nothing new or surprising about the GOP rhetoric. Less than 100 days before the elections, it's become obvious to Republicans that they can hardly afford allow the midterm elections to turn on a simple referendum on Bush and his policies.
Stoking concerns, or even fears, about Democratic leadership served Republicans well in 2002 and 2004, the first two campaigns conducted in the shadow of the terror attacks of 9/11.
Their hope is it will again this fall, particularly among swing voters who will settle key House races in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and even Connecticut.
However they handle their balancing act on the war, Schumer, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada and other party leaders who sought unsuccessfully to save Lieberman intend to swing behind Lamont as early as Wednesday. Lieberman expects it, and party unity demands it.
That doesn't mean the three-term incumbent intends to go quietly. In the same breath he conceded the primary, he vowed to run as an independent. He would join Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger on the fall ballot in a race that could again have repercussions beyond Connecticut.
"Republicans are anxious to say the left wing is taking over, the antisecurity wing" of the Democratic Party, the three-term senator said recently, not exactly rebutting the claim as he repeated it.
It will be days before the polls can measure a three-way race with accuracy. A Quinnipiac survey in mid-July suggested Lieberman would head into the campaign in a strong position, finding 51 percent support for him, 27 percent for Lamont and 9 percent for the Republican.
With his primary victory, Lamont almost certainly will gain support, at least intially, in a three-way matchup. In defeat, Lieberman will lose it, and the next poll could produce far different results than the last.
In the final days of his primary campaign, Lieberman was fond of saying that in embracing Lamont's candidacy, the voters were trying to send him a message and that they would in the end return to his side. He offered them a reason to do it, stressing his many differences with the president without changing his fundamental support for the war.
It was more than that, though. In private polls, fewer than 10 percent of Democrats surveyed said they thought the country was headed in the right direction, an extraordinary level of dissatisfaction.
Lieberman, taunted as Bush's best Democratic friend in Congress, bore the brunt of it.
Soon, Democrats hope, it will be Bush's turn, or at least the Republicans who control the House and Senate.
Republicans are about 25 percent of the voters in Connecticut. There is no way a Republican can win..
If nothing else, Joe had some clout on the Hill. I am somewhat surprised the voters of CT are voting just on his support for the war in Iraq. He is socially a lefty, but conservative on foreign policy issues and a strong Israeli supporter. The Dems throw out a reasonably legitimate VP of the US candidate for a cable TV millionaire? You wanted it, you got it. You got it wrong on this one!
Dumbos scrambling for leadership when Junior Senators are not cutting it!
Almost as much fun as a Roman circus.
The rats hate for George Bush will be their undoing.
Well that and other things.
I imagine you are right.But ,this race certainly has the potential to get real ugly between Lamont and Lieberman.
Different factions of the Democrat party will be forced to choose sides which helps splinter and anger the Dem's base groups.
This could depress Dem voters in other races and keep the Dems from focusing on one message.
Stranger things have happened.
George Soros and the brain dead robots who follow him.
Exactly, not big enough to be a county :)
Proof positive, Democrats in CT are KOOKS!!
I feel the same way. A great guy...But not even close to conservative enough. He's one of the most liberal guys around, Iraq war support aside. Of course, if I lived in Conneticut, that might be enough to make me support him. If only to tweak the Democratic nutroots.
"Wrong. The moonbats of the Democrat Party aren't 'the electorate.' "
I agree. Lieberman's defeat at the hands of what is supposedly his own party, indicates just how far "moonbat" the democrats have gone - not the "electorate." It also indicates that the unhinged weirdos and radicals have, indeed, taken real control of the party. We can only hope that most Americans to see these fringe lunatics as what they are, and realize they don't represent "the people" as a whole by a long shot.
This is going to provide some great entertainment in the coming months. I bet there are lessons here for Ricky too.
I'm sorry - the vote was pretty close. It's hardly what this story makes it out to be.
Oh, let the left wackonutcases have their phun and "victory". They don't have much to celebrate lately. ;-)
anything close was a win for Joe.. too bad the gop doesn't have a dog in the hunt.. yet.
I hear the Republican candidate is pro-gambling.
What the hell is it with you two?
Condi is a hot babe, but globalist in nature and with no real conservative credentials other than being pro gun.
Joe is a soft spoken nice guy, by all accounts, but he is a hard core liberal.
Why do you want these two to be the GOP standard bearers?
Oh goodie, I can't wait to vote for a 100% pro-abortion, pro-affirmative action, illegal alien sympatherizer ticket.
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