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).

Monday, August 21, 2006

 

Worst Campaign Ever

Along with CTKeith and DeanFan84, I had the chance to be on RadioNation on Air America last night to talk briefly about the CT-SEN race. One of the questions Laura Flanders posed was about what Lieberman was trying to accomplish with his recent back-and-forth plays for both Democrats (calling for Rumfseld's resignation, committing to stay in the caucus) and Republicans (hiring GOP operatives, talking to Rove).

I responded as I have recently to others - that I have truly given up on trying to divine any grand strategy behind the Lieberman campaign. They don't seem to have one. Decisions like this seem to be made on the spur of the moment, probably due to Joe's mood that day as much as anything else. Their campaign did absolutely everything they could to lose the primary, and they're now pretty much doing the same in the general. It's reflective of Lieberman's own personal frantic search for any way to keep his job. People make bad decisions when they're angry, bitter, and stressed, and he has never dealt well with losing.

Matt Browner-Hamlin has some similar thoughts:

I see Lieberman’s leftward tack as yet another fundamental miscalculation by him and his advisors as to how he can best increase his chances of winning the CT for Lieberman Party’s first seat in the senate. The left is gone, we have our candidate. We’re emotionally unavailable and most Dems are only becoming more attached to Ned. Lieberman cannot win by moving to the left, only to the right. Clearly he’s under the delusion that there is a space for him within the Democratic Party. If he wants to hold on to that notion, fine by me - it will probably cost him the election (again).


The only good reason he might have for "tacking left" are the recent comments of the likes of John Edwards, John Kerry, and unnamed sources for articles that claim major figures in the national party are getting more than a little fed up with being forced to deal with Lieberman's Cheneyist rhetoric and having to overcome his GOP GOTV operation to win the three House seats. He's got to keep these national figures at least somewhat happy, because he needs them to they stay as quiet as possible.

This is still looking like a replay of his primary campaign, where he had every advantage in the world and screwed up every major strategic decision - but this time with more ego-driven entitlement, more anger-driven shunning of advice, and with the scarlet letter of being a loser now indelibly marked on him.

Update: Regarding Rumsfeld, this blogger debunks Joe's claim yesterday that he called for his resignation "three years ago":

So, for the record, the bidding looks like this. Way back in October of 2003, Lieberman said if he were the guy in the Oval Office he'd can Rummy (different than calling on Bush to do so, of course, which is more forceful, and not in keeping with the deferential war time mores we're admonished to follow). Then, after the massive debacle of Abu Ghraib, some seven months after this interview, Lieberman sees it fit to pen an op-ed in the WSJ urging Rummy not be sacked--lest we "delight foreign and domestic opponents". And now fast-forward to these heady times rife with challenges from the likes of Ned Lamont, and it's OK again, I guess, to risk delighting our foreign foes with calls for Rummy to go. Rather on the lame side, I'm afraid.

Comments:
That point about Lieberman opposing Rumsfeld's ousting after Abu Ghraib because it would "delight" our enemies - How much is spite a part of Lieberman's personality? Seems like a lot of the things that got people fed up with him originated with his own spitefulness, even his lack of interest in helping past years' Democratic Party candidates for other Connecticut races.
 
Iraq and the "War or Terror" do not fit the left-right paradigm, no matter how much Rove et al. want to frame it that way. We must argue accordingly. Demanding more reasonable policies from Lieberman, Bush, and the rest of the gang in power is not a leftist thing to do, it's a sane, reasoned approach vs. the current madness. (See today's Tom Tomorrow. Click through the ad to view it if you don't subscribe: http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2006/08/21/tomo/index1.html )
 
Perhaps the "swing left" half a degree and the garbled platitudes was an inept attempt to look "non partisan."

At this rate he will have taken every conceivable position on every issue to the point where his party name will need to change to Lieberman Vs Lieberman.

Lieberman will be in a four way race with himself, Lieberman to the right, Lieberman to the left, Lieberman self-centered, Liberman unhinged.
 
It's reflective of Lieberman's own personal frantic search for any way to keep his job. People make bad decisions when they're angry, bitter, and stressed, and he has never dealt well with losing.

very well said!

did you say that on flanders' show as well?

I might add that joe's pre and post primary campaigns have the stamp of his own (and I guess his wife's) inept micromanagement throughout, which is still our best campaign asset!

joe's appearance on "Face The Nation" yesterday showed exactly that joe is angry, bitter, and stressed, and that joe is not used to getting hardball questions from the MSM, but he better get used to it, 'cause joe no longer has even the basic aura of party legitimacy, ie, joe is now just another wanna be hustler and the MSM knows it, ie, chris matthews' comment about joe, "I see dead people".
 
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