Op-Ed highlights Lamont
The Hartford Courant ran an Op-Ed piece which goes into the Ned Lamont story and the trouble this poses for Joe Lieberman.
Here are some highlights from the article which includes some points I've made several times on this blog.
At 52, Lamont is tan, fit and possessed of an easy confidence that often comes with being born into a fortune and making it bigger. He understands the long odds against succeeding in a primary against an incumbent senator. His interest in making the race springs from issues, not burning personal ambition. Lamont declared in a recent interview in his cable company office that "two things really got my goat." The first was the war in Iraq, which Lamont has opposed from the start. The other was last year's transportation bill with its emblematic millions for the "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska.IRAQ, IRAQ, IRAQ.
Iraq, however, is the issue that will drive Lamont's race. He was inspired when hawkish Democratic U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., called for a withdrawal of American troops late last year.
That provided a stark contrast to Lieberman's stalwart support of the war, particularly his optimistic assessment of it in a Wall Street Journal piece in November. Lieberman's chummy relationship with President Bush has added to the "groundswell of anger" that Lamont detects.
So let there be a debate, says the earnest challenger, who will have no trouble mounting and funding a primary campaign. His sunny countenance is more that of the energetic go-getter than ambitious politician. He won't let the race degenerate into a series of bitter accusations.
The war is the more important issue in this country and anyone who supported the President's policies in terms of the handling of the conflict, will pay a heavy price in a blue state like Connecticut. For liberals, Joe Lieberman is seen as a traitor within the party and would like nothing better than to give him his walking papers.
The junior senator has angered many in the party with his arrogance and willingness to criticize his own party. His hubris and cozy relationship with conservatives has never been a problem in the past because Lieberman has never been really challenged for his seat before (Republicans always put to inferior candidates to challenge Lieberman because they knew he was unbeatable and popular with conservatives).
That all changed onced the Iraq war started.
Lieberman's approval of the President's policies including his approval of the administration's handling of the war (i.e. agreeing with goverment's policy regarding the use of torture) has seriuosly hurt his relationship with a considerable segement of the Democratic party in Connecticut. If there was any indicator of this, it would be the 2004 primary and as the Courant states, Lieberman's 2004 primary preformance should of been a wake-up call for the senator.
Lieberman's dismal showing in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries should have raised alarms about his popularity among the party troops. He never broke 10 percent in the few places he competed.As I stated in many posts, and from what I learned, Lieberman is freaking out about the possiblitiy of Lamont challenging him and knows that there is a chance that he could lose ina primary showdown.
Polls show Lieberman in a strong position to win in November. His standing among state Democrats, however, is in decline. Three-term senators with disaffected party members can be ripe targets. That's why Lieberman beat Lowell Weicker in 1988. He's also been alerted to serious discontent that is growing louder in redoubts such as the Manchester and West Hartford Democratic town committees.
Let me state this again, THERE IS REAL POSSIBILITY THAT LIEBERMAN CAN LOSE THE PRIMARY. This is not the same as losing a general election because in that senario, Lieberman would have the support of conservatives which will always put him over the top. What's different now is that for the first time, the senator will be challenged by a party that don't approve of the war and don't approve Lieberman's realtionship with the unpopular administration. He knows that if Lamont runs against him that's things can become difficult which is why you have Lieberman making quotes like this...
But he has already accomplished more. Lieberman acknowledged to a newspaper reporter this month that he will be on the ballot in November, no matter what the Democrats do. Lieberman will not be bound by the decision of Democratic primary voters if he loses. To threaten to run as an independent is an extraordinary admission that trouble approaches. Lieberman will get no help from state Republicans. They are wooing a Greenwich millionaire of their own to run.