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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Weicker vs Lieberman Round 2?

Well, wouldn't this be interesting...

From the New Haven Independent

The statewide rumor mill is buzzing with reports that Lowell Weicker is considering an independent run for his old U.S. Senate seat next year against Democratic incumbent Joe Lieberman of New Haven (for now). Lieberman deposed former Sen. Weicker in 1988 with the help of his famous sleeping bear commercial--a commercial Weicker could now turn back on his old nemesis.

The rumors have been building since last week, when Weicker appeared at a public forum with radio talk-show host and Courant columnist Colin McEnroe. Weicker, a former liberal Republican who turned independent in 1990 when he left the Senate to run successfully for governor, dropped notice at the Sept. 20 forum that he'd consider another political run.

Weicker claimed he's "99 percent" uninterested in running. But then he went on, and on, about how he wouldn't sit by if "somebody pisses me off enough." And he went on and on about how pissed off he is about the direction of the country.

His candidacy sounded like more than a 1 percent consideration in his mind. And it looked that way when his longtime political aide Tom D'Amore showed up at the gathering.

Weicker retired from public life in 1994. He's 74. So it's hard to imagine how serious he could be about running again. Perhaps like many out-to-pasture politicians he misses the attention and enjoys being talked about again.

If he does run, he'll need the support of progressive Democrats to beat Lieberman, the way progressive Democrats catapulted him to the governor's office in 1990. And statewide progressive Dems have been scouring the state for someone to challenge the conservative-leaning Lieberman. There already had been rumblings in the southern part of the state about Weicker possibly running. A Weicker candidacy would focus on the war in Iraq. Lieberman has been a leading supporter of that war from the outset.

If Weicker does run, he'll at least have a chance for revenge on a sore point about that nasty 1988 race. Lieberman attacked Weicker then for missing votes in the Senate; he aired a TV commercial of a sleeping bear, an effective personal shot that ushered in a new era of nasty political campaigning in Connecticut. Lieberman's point was that Weicker had become too cavalier about voting and doing his job after three terms in office.

You don't mess around with a bear after it wakes up. If he does decide to challenge Lieberman, it would make for a very interesting campaign season.