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July 20, 2006

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And Joe's promise to run as an Indy (and not as a Republican) make for some interesting dynamics. If Lamont wins (which is still a big if), then that will give him a bunch of momentum against his "what's old is new" new opponent, Joe Lieberman.

And there's still the question of what the Republicans will do with Schlesinger? Do they try to get him to drop and leave the line open, even if Lieberman won't run as an R? Do they get a candidate who stands a small chance in hell, rather than no chance in hell?

Anyway, at this point, things really are still up in the air. But Joementum has a way of imploding...

btw, here's an interesting sidebar by mystery pollster on lieberman polling from last week (there was no push polling, but there was aggressive lieberman polling).

emptywheel, this is terrible news for the Lieberman camp. You can't demoralize his backers any more than numbers showing he'll lose. Nedheads are already psyched.

Oh, I agree, momentum is all Lamont's. For the primary. But then we're back to Joe with a huge lead in a 3-way.

And AFAIK, Joe is still outspending Ned 2-1 on TV and 5-1 on direct mail.

Call me cautious. It goes with owning an orange perfect storm hat.

I'm concerned about that huge 3 way spread.

he's still the favorite in a three-way. And Schlesinger is staying in the race.

Gotta love Republicans, from the article DemFrom linked:

Schlesinger said the publicity from last week's revelation that he tried to earn reward points from the casino under a fake name helped boost his name recognition around the state.

"All it's done is propel me dramatically in this race," Schlesinger said. "Give us some credit, for now we have darn good name recognition."

Corruption--it's the new campaign strategy.

If Lamont wins the primary by more than 2 or 3%, I think Lieberman would deflate, even in the general. Didn't Jacob Javits win like 19% after losing his primary to Al D'Amato and running as an I? Could you imagine Specter winning as an I if he'd lost to Toomey? If Lamont wins convincingly enough, and the DSCC and his Senate buddies and the unions dump Joe and support Lamont, who does Joe have? And who wants to vote for a loser?

On the other hand, Toomey and D'Amato were both veteran congresscritters who don't look nervous on TV and don't make novice mistakes. If Lamont wins the primary, I don't think his biggest enemy would be Lieberman, it would be his own self, and possibly his underprepared campaign. Basically, Dean all over again.

In fact, the Kerry-Dean arc of 2003 is not a bad analogy for the Lieberman-Lamont situation. Out-of-touch veteran pol vs in-touch amateur... the advantage for Lamont is that if he wins in August, he gets to lock in his gains by formally becoming The Only Democrat. Dean had no such option.

A couple of thoughts related to the Clinton announcement he's coming to CT to campaign for Joe.

1) The New Republic Plank today resurrects the old canard that Joe's Senate denunciation of Clinton not only wasn't betrayal, it "saved" Clinton's presidency. Nonsense. What saved Clinton was 70% of the public rejecting the Impeachment Express in January and sticking to its guns no matter how hard the press begged.

2) However, it's possible some people around Clinton, maybe even the Big Dog himself, believe this. But that's not a good thing; it's the worst aspect of Clintonism (and the party he left behind, and too much of the DC press, New Republic included): the tendency to think if we only cut off one more finger, they'll leave the rest of the body alone. (Odd, isn't it, that, when dealing with opponents of Israel, TNR's attitude is "not one inch" -- but with Republicans, they're always looking around for more land to trade for peace?)

3) MyDD has a cogent post suggesting Lieberman's speech was perhaps exactly when the party split between go-alongers and fighting Dems (they point out MoveOn was formed at about that moment). Most of DC at least half-applauded Holy Joe; we out here saw a president who'd balanced the budget, passed NAFTA and welfare reform -- and the GOP response was to bloody impeach him! The only proper response was to fight (but the DLC doesn't fight; it innoculates). And who, after all that, could have been surprised or fooled by the Bush/DeLay approach of the past five years? --Who, that is, aside from beltway Dems.

4) Most people know Bill's coming up to campaign; I'm not sure everyone heard he also echoed Hillary's pledge to support the winner of the primary. Let me be clear: if Joe survives this primary by a hair, and Clinton's support is deemed a turning point, I'll be very unhappy he stepped in. But if the atmospherics continue as they have, and Lamont wins, I think Bill could be a powerful presence in either extinguishing or diminishing Joe's attempts at an independent run. A Clinton endorsement of Lamont would say, in effect, Joe, you're my long-time friend, and I gave you my best shot...but you lost, and it's time to move on. I don't think Lieberman could easily counter that.

demtom, let me add that (local CT blogs aside), Clinton coming to campaign for Joe is not a big deal one way or another.

Iraq is a big deal.

And I'm of the camp that says this fulfils Bill obligations to DC and the DLC while Hill and Bill get to stay neutral. It's actually decent politics on their part. If Ned wins in August, no one will care. If Joe wins, and that seems less likely every day, that's who will be the focus, not the Clintons.

Sorry, correction: I meant to say "his possibly underprepared campaign", not "possibly his underprepared campaign." I have no idea if his campaign is underprepared, just a theoretical awareness that it could be.

Tex Dem,

D'Amato was not a "congresscritter" when he defeated Javits in the 1980 Republican primary for New York Senator; he was a Nassau County official.

What is interesting about the precedent that this race may have for Connecticut this year is that after Javits lost the primary, his total in the general election plummeted to 11%. Unfortunately, this was enough to enable D'Amato to win the three-way race.

It would not surprise me to see Lieberman's numbers fall significantly if Lamont wins the primary.

Two polls with Lamont ahead by three and four point, and with one having him across the bar at 51% is good news, particularly given more than two weeks before the Primary, and the dynamics all in Lamont's favor. (He is going up -- Lieberman down, what more could someone want???)

I am frankly glad that Bill Clinton is to campaign with Lieberman -- that gives him the ability, should Lamont win by say more than five points -- to be the senior statesman who convinces Lieberman to pack it in. If Hillary is going to support the winner of the primary -- Bill will follow her lead.

Lamont has a huge challenge now that he has a statistical lead. He has to stay as positive as possible, even though Lieberman and his friends may really go negative. He now needs to expand the range of issues he addresses on the stump -- I suspect he already has most of the anti-war voters in CT. In a typical voter ID system, where strength of support is rated 1-5, with a 1 being strong support, and 5, would never consider voting for the guy -- Lamont is in the position of needing to work the 3's -- those who have not yet cut the deal. The extremes of this kind of scale tend to be one or two issue voters -- the 3's are usually all over the landscape, with the vast majority concerned with pocketbook issues.

Haven't read it yet, but apparently the Hartford paper today has yet more stuff on the Republican candidate's gambling problems -- including bad debts in Atlantic City. (Hotline has an article). Will this force Schleisenger off the ticket? -- would the Republicans offer the line to Lieberman? Would the Republicans put up a stronger candidate and actually try to win the General, in the way Weicker did in the 1970 3 way race with Duffey and Tom Dodd?

It is an amazing race.

Lieberman won't take the R line, and the R's don't really have a stronger candidate. They'd likely send up Jack Orchulli, who got clobbered by Dodd.

See And the Republican Nominee from CT Is... from last week.

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