Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Running Out Of Friends

In the wake of Hillary Clinton's statement that she would honor the decision of Connecticut Democrats and support the winner of the primary, it is becoming increasingly clear that Lieberman's pseudo-defection from the party on Monday was the last straw for a lot of his remaining supporters.

Of course, Joe has never had the support of Connecticut progressives. And during the Bush years he has completely lost the support of mainstream rank-and-file Democrats both in CT and nationwide, who booed him during the 2004 presidential primaries and helped him to a Joementous 5th place finish in New Hampshire. Aside from Republicans, his power base has been reduced to D.C. Democratic party insiders and national and local media. And that is what is now starting to crumble.

Listen closely to CNN's John King and tell me Joe's "friends" Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer aren't supremely pissed about the situation their colleague is putting them in:

KING: You say a petitioning Democratic candidate, but as you know, you would be on the ballot as unaffiliated. I want you to help me through the positions you have put some of your friends in. The leadership, Chuck Schumer, who runs the Democratic senatorial committee, Harry Reid, who of course is the Democratic leader -— they are supporting you in the primary.

Listen to Donna Brazile with King on CNN and tell me the rest of Lieberman's insider "friends" in D.C. aren't feeling the same way:

KING: ...But what if Ned Lamont wins? Should Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer go to Connecticut and campaign for the Democrat? Should they give him millions of dollars to campaign against a Joe Lieberman on the ballot? Do they have an obligation to support the Democratic candidate that way, not just with a piece of paper that says, "He's our nominee"?

BRAZILE: I believe they do have an obligation.

...Joe would have helped himself today, I believe, if he would have announced that he was going to run as a Democrat and he was going to win as a Democrat in August. This complicates situations for Mr. Reid and Mr. Schumer and others.

I am not complicated. I am a Democrat.

As for the media, listen to stories like this one from Colin McEnroe and tell me Joe's "friends" in the local CT press don't feel like he's giving them the middle finger:

Here is how [Lieberman campaign manager Sean Smith] concluded an email to a local TV reporter: "“If you distort the truth and report that we are running a negative campaign and Ned is not, I will not forget it."”

And listen to words like these from Christine Stuart at CT News Junkie and tell me he hasn't personally pissed off a lot of those same "friends" by giving scoops to his D.C. buddies instead of them:

Lieberman said he got the message about the petitions out "quickly and early"“, but for the local media who have hounded him over the issue for about two months now today'’s announcement seemed like an eternity. It also came as a slap in the face, since Lieberman told The Cook Report, a national newsletter, more than a week ago that he would run as an independent.

Then look at Hillary's statement in this context, from one of the most careful (to a fault, certainly) politicians in either party. Who put her own name on the line sending out a mailer to convention delegates touting Joe's Democratic credentials.

Joe's remaining friends are turning against him by the hour, because he's treating them like garbage. All because he's too personally weak to even withstand a little primary challenge.

Oh well. At least he'll always have Hannity.
Here's something no one has noticed that seems very strange to me. Chuck Schumer and Lieberman have a deep disagreement about campaign strategy.

Schumer says he won't speculate about whether he will support whoever wins the Democratic primary in Connecticut because even to talk about this would undermine Lieberman's candidacy. "I support Lieberman and he's going to win," he says.

But that's not how Lieberman himself sees it! He's not afraid of "undermining his candidacy" by speculating on what happens if he loses. He's out there getting signatures so he can run if he loses.

The disagreement over campaing strategy reveals the deeper disturbing point they both agree on. Both are willing to sacrifice important principles to keep Lieberman in the Senate. Loyalty to the Democratic Party and respect for the will of the party's voters in Connecticut's primary - these mean nothing to either man.

It is obvious that Schumer is trying to duck the fundamental issue. And it is clear he cares more about helping Lieberman than respecting the will of the Democratic voters of Connecticut. That's wrong for someone in his position. He needs to say he will support whoever wins, even if it is not his friend.

If he doesn't - let's Chuck Schmer!
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