Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lieberman Driving Them Batty

Originally uploaded by girlforgirlforme

Once again, US Sen. Joe Lieberman has grievously disappointed Pharg, CGG, Anonymous, and countless other bloggers and Liebercritics.

The left side of the blogsphere is in full cry against Lieberman’s endorsement of John McCain, a Republican. The right side of the blogsphere, unlike the prescient Lieberman, has not yet settled on a candidate.

It is not known at this point if Lieberman will endorse McCain or some other forbidden Republican presidential wannabe in the general election, but the smart money says he will endorse the Democrat candidate -- provided the foreign policy of said candidate is substantially different than that of US Sen. Chris Dodd, who favors abject surrender at the earliest possible moment. Having lost a military struggle with al-Qaida props like Syria and Iran, Dodd thinks it is possible to sweet talk these puppet regimes into peace.

Lieberman, at this tender point in the rout of al-Qaida from Iran, is not yet willing to lay aside his big stick and pick up Dodd’s limp carrot.


J. Bailey said...

Although Lieberman's political views are often to the left of mine, I have to give the guy credit.

He is an astute political tactician- one who understands the dynamics of Connecticut politics at a level demonstrated by few others.

You know, its interesting-- when Lieberman lost the democratic primary to Lamont, many of my friends in Washington wrote him off. They thought that he was done and that his independent campaign didn't have a chance.

That was because they didn't really know Connecticut that well-- they thought of it only as a speck of deep blue on a map.

I told them that it would be a landslide for Lieberman and they didn't believe me.

But I think he won for a few crucial reasons:
1. To many, his "support" of Bush appeared to be driven by pragmatism, more than ideology. "The cards have been dealt- let's work with what we've got to try to win the game," was the attitude.

The alternative, separatist, approach championed by the likes of Pelosi and Lamont, has brought us the Congress that doesn't work- that despite a democratic majority can't keep the trains running on time.

That does not play well in a state that has retained the Yankee spirit and has the highest levels of worker productivity in the country.

Lieberman's desire to work together to do something about the war, instead of futilely protesting on the sidelines earned him major support in much of Eastern Connecticut, especially in the New London area and in Enfield.

2. Lieberman understood the state demographics much better than Lamont and played them to his advantage. He very successfully portrayed Ned Lamont as a limousine liberal from Greenwich, out of touch with the interests and needs of the average Nutmegger.

This tack was aided and abetted by Lamont's cadre of out of state volunteers.

In particular, my mother, a democrat, mentions once incident that put her off. She shows up to vote in the primary and finds a fleet of new-model high end cars in the parking lot with Lamont stickers on them, out of state plates, and rear windshield stickers for expensive colleges.

These students accosted her on the way into the polls talking non-stop about the war. Having enough, she finally asked, "What do you guys know about Connecticut or the needs of Enfield." When one of them brought up socialized medicine, she said replied, "So you want to get rid of all the jobs in the Hartford area that pay well? Where will all those people you've put out of business go to work?" Disgusted, she went in to cast her ballot for Lieberman.

And fundamentally, that was Lamont's problem: he didn't know his customers (constituents) nearly as well as Lieberman did. And notice that most of Lamont's support was in Fairfield County. Your average Fairfield County resident has worked his way up Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and due to the relative affluence of that region is for the most part satisfied. Lamont did not demonstrate any understanding of the sacrifice and struggle that working class and middle class people go through to hold things together.

So to tie this back to demographics, Lieberman won by holding together the old John Bailey coalition: ethnic Catholics (many of whom are Reagan democrats), business interests, veterans, and independents.

3. To also tie into this, DC analysts underestimated the number and leverage of independent voters, who heavily favored Lieberman. By tossing Lieberman from the ticket, the democrats tossed the independent votes that had previously propped up so many victories.

4. Lamont's advertising ended up being ineffective. He saturated the airwaves with some many commercials on election eve, that they became an annoyance, in much the same way that the commercials for Bob's Discount Furniture used to be annoying.

5. Lieberman very successfully secured the endorsement of McCain and others to make the argument that, "I'm the true moderate- I try to cooperate. Lamont is nothing more than an idealogue trying to ride his hobby horse to victory."

6. As the campaign progressed, it became clear to voters that Lamont was a public policy novice when pressed on issues other than the war. This was compounded by poor debate performances, in which he was easily trounced by Schlesinger as well as Lieberman.

I am not surprised by Lieberman's support of McCain. It is a return favor to a friend who helped him out when Dodd et al were jumping ship. It is also a potent reminder to the democratic power brokers of the clout he wields in the senate, lest they take him for granted.

Don Pesci said...

Pretty astute analysis. Not the sort of thing you’d likely find in any newspaper commentary in Connecticut, which is more or less a liberal backwater. Having learned to live with his eminence Lowell Weicker -- once Connecticut governor and senator, now an émigré in Virginia – we are quite used to liberal/moderates. We still live in the hope that the Conecticut Republican Party will be able to produce at least one real Republican before the planet warms and bursts like a soap bubble.

Anonymous said...

Just a fact or two. Lieberman barely got a majority of the voters of CT. Just 50%. If it had been a two way race he may have lost.

Lieberman did not keep one of his campaign promises. "Nobody wants to end the war more than I do"; he promised to focus on CT; he promised to be bi-partisan.

Since he has been elected he has tried to start another war in Iran; he has spent more time on talk radio than talking to his constituents; and he has not supported one democratic candidate while supporting 3 republicans.

He has become the tool of the Republican party. He has not held one hearing about government oversight in the Senate. You think every thing is going OK in Washington? I don't.

Instead of talking about how savvy Joe Lieberman is. I wish someone would start asking, "What has he done for Connecticut, or America, lately?

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