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Lieberman Considering Running as an Independent

Updated

It's hard to believe that Senator Lieberman was the vice presidential candidate for the Democrats in 2000. In the six years since Senator Lieberman was Vice Presidential Candidate Lieberman, the Democrats have moved so far to the left that they may chase Joe Lieberman out of the Democratic Party. Apparently, he is considering running for reelection to the Senate as an independent.

Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, warily watching his primary challenger advance in the polls, must soon decide whether to start collecting signatures for a possible independent bid this November.


Lieberman's campaign contends that it's focused only on winning the Aug. 8 primary, but the Democrat has not ruled out petitioning his way onto the November ballot as part of a backup plan to secure a fourth term in the Senate.

"I am not going to close out any options," the senator recently told reporters.

Lieberman has until Aug. 9 _ the day after the Democratic primary _ to collect 7,500 signatures from registered voters to gain a spot on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate.

But any effort to gather signatures before the primary would be a sign of weakness, indicating that Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, fears that he could lose to businessman Ned Lamont. The effort also would rile Democrats who already question Lieberman's party loyalty and his perceived closeness to President Bush.

The senator has been a strong backer of the Iraq war.

Senator Lieberman's support of the Iraq war is the main problem. The Democrats have become so militantly anti-war in their feverish efforts to destroy the Bush presidency that there is no room for pro-defense, pro-national security candidates in the Democratic Party. If anyone speaks out in a way that indicates even the slightest support for the Iraq war, they are seen as a pariah among the Democratic base. Hillary Clinton was even booed by liberal activists and rebuked by John Kerry today because she refused to demand that all US troops leave Iraq immediately.

Lamont, a multimillionaire owner of a cable television company, launched an ad campaign this week asking for Lieberman's support should he win the primary, and promising to back Lieberman should the senator prevail.


"What do you say, Senator?" Lamont asks in the radio ad. "May the best Democrat win."

Lamont's campaign manager, Tom Swan, said Democrats want to know what Lieberman will do.

"If Joe Lieberman is considering abandoning the Democratic Party, the people have a right to know it," Swan said. "Ned is agreeing to abide by the process and respect the choice of the people. Will Joe?"

So, the Democratic Party is in a quandary. On the one hand, the base needs Senator Lieberman because if the senator decides to run as an independent, he could very well win. As the article states, a Quinnipiac poll said Lieberman would get 56% of the vote if he ran as an independent compared to Mr. Lamont's 32%. This would doom even the slightest chance the Democrats have in taking back the Senate. On the other hand, the party's leftist base already thinks Lieberman is a traitor to its anti-war manifesto and acts like it resents his even being a Democrat.

The modern day Democratic Party has morphed into an unrecognizable blob of leftist insanity. What does it say about the Democratic Party and its future if it has no room for its members who are reasonable and judicious? Maybe the more appropriate question is why would politicians who are reasonable and judicious want to stay in the Democratic Party?

Update: Senator Chuck Schumer sees the writing on the wall and knows that if Lieberman runs as an independent he could win, which would spell bad news for the Dems.

Schumer said that the DSCC "fully supports" Sen. Joe Lieberman in his primary bid, and he refused to rule out continuing that support if Lieberman were to run as an independent.


There were degrees of independence, Schumer said. "You can run as an independent, you can run as an independent Democrat who pledges to vote for Harry Reid as Majority Leader."

Schumer said he had neither sought nor recieved assurances from Lieberman that an independent bid would not ensue if Ned Lamont tightened the noose.

As I said, the Dems are in a quandary.


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Comments (17)

I Mr. L. announces he's goi... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

I Mr. L. announces he's going independent, I will send the man money. Yes, I know he is a liberal on many issues. But given that he is not a Kossack, and has been supporting the President on foreign affairs. And he is certainly perferable than a certain percentage of RINOS I could mention.

And one more thought. Many of us rail against the entrenched parties. Maybe Lieberman is a way to send a polite message that rational candidates do not need party affiliation to win elections. Yes we NEED to make the parties worry. It's the electorates best club

One wonders just what the D... (Below threshold)
Brad:

One wonders just what the Democrats will do with Mr. Webb.

Still, many Republicans have shown a certain distast for Sen. Snowe and Sen. Chaffe.

Lieberman may actually have... (Below threshold)

Lieberman may actually have been strengthened by the moonbat primary challenge. Schumer is rushing to hedge his bets.

Joe was first elected to the Senate with strong support from Republican conservatives and moderates against the liberal Republican Lowell Weicker. Bill Buckley raised money for Lieberman. Many of those early supporters had left his side after his abortive VP run in 2000, having seen how far he was willing to repudiate long-held principles to suck up to the various special interest groups he had to appease.

This is just the sort of thing that could get those people back. They aren't nearly so many as liberals in Connecticut, but combined with his name recognition and increased respect from the independents, it could be more than enough to balance out the lost moonbats.

Is it me or is the ONLY iss... (Below threshold)

Is it me or is the ONLY issue Lieberman has been right on is the GWOT? Other than that he's been a fairly reliable liberal vote. This has been especially true lately when it comes to judges.

I like Joe L., but even if he wins as an Independent, something tells me he'll still be a reliably liberal Senate vote.

Joe is not a bad Senator, b... (Below threshold)
Kimyl Oh!:

Joe is not a bad Senator, but he is a terrible Democrat in a lot of respects. He is like McCain, he bashes his party when it is convenient for him. If you look at the general public, they both like these guys, but their parties are often not so sure.

Sure, Joe is a reliable liberal on a lot of issues, but he is part of the problem for the Democratic Party--he thinks he is more important than the party. If he thought Connecticut's desires were more important, that would be one thing, but they do not like the war, nor his support for Alito, nor his support for the bankruptcy boondoggle, and they certainly dont like Bush, who he has been close to.

If he wins as an independent, it will only free him up to move further to the right on any number of issues, and in doing so further from a lot of people from Connecticut.

Another thing is, when you ... (Below threshold)
Kimyl Oh!:

Another thing is, when you have real bipartisan work in DC, and the kind of results that are good for a lot of people (but not necessarily what the far right or far left want), these guys really shine. When one party is in control and things are bitter and divisive, there is not any place for these middle of the road types.

Clinton once said that the worst mistake Bush made was pushing hard to win the Senate in 2002. The idea being that once you don't have an effective opposition, you have the following quandary:

half the country does not like what you want
in your own party, everyone thinks its their turn to rule, so the wingnuts think its time to kill the atheists and ban abortion, the moderates think we can finally have some restrained spending, and you cannot please these two fringes, so you get left with about 30-40% of people supporting you.

I hope the Dems win congress or the Senate, so we can get back to normal governance. This one party rule is not working out for anyone.

Kimyl Oh! -You mis... (Below threshold)

Kimyl Oh! -

You missed it when you said "Sure, Joe is a reliable liberal on a lot of issues, but he is part of the problem for the Democratic Party--he thinks he is more important than the party. "

To me, Joe seems to be more concerned with the good of the country than the good of the party - perhaps figuring that the good of the country actually would come first and judging his actions and affiliations accordingly.

It's just a thought, of course, but I don't see that automatic affilation with any party simply because they're "my party" is anything but an excellent example of sloppy thinking.

In 2004 I MIGHT have voted for Lieberman - he seemed like the only Democrat in that whole primary horse race that actually had a clue. Instead, they ended up with Kerry - and a cursory examination of his record didn't show anything at all that made me think he'd be a decent leader.

Support for the party is one thing - support for your constituency is another, support for your country is another thing still. And just remember that you've got no way of knowing just what sort of messages Joe's been getting from the people he represents. It may well be that you don't know them as well as you think you do.

Joes a santimonious neocon ... (Below threshold)
joey jojo:

Joes a santimonious neocon chicken hawk with Fascsit tendencies, what was his record of military service again?

Isn't the big question what... (Below threshold)
millco88:

Isn't the big question what party would Lieberman caucus with if he ran as an independent?? He could turn into a latter-day Wayne Morse. I wonder if he'll have his desk moved like Morse did.

Joes a santimonious neoc... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Joes a santimonious neocon chicken hawk with Fascsit tendencies, what was his record of military service again?

His military service record is entirely irrelevent.

They dont want reasonable p... (Below threshold)
jainphx:

They dont want reasonable people in the Dem party, yet McCain, Hagel,and Graham want to join,go figure

Milco88 asks the truly rele... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

Milco88 asks the truly relevant question. If Lieberman runs and wins as an independant, then what party does he caucus with? I suspect Schumer's move is an early step to get him to caucus with the democrats. The only things that would argue against him caucusing with the democrats is 1) the reason he would run as an independant is because the democrats through him out as a democrat in the primary. and 2) the GOP is likely to be the majority party so the nicer perks go with that side of the aisle. Everything but the war he aligns with the democrats.

Libby Dole had a really bad recruiting season for the GOP senate. She could go a long way to redeem herself if she could pull Lieberman into the big tent.

Schumer said that ... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
Schumer said that the DSCC "fully supports" Sen. Joe Lieberman in his primary bid, and he refused to rule out continuing that support if Lieberman were to run as an independent.

That's bad form. No party organ should support a specific candidate in a primary election. Pary members may support their preferred candidate of course, but party organs such as the DSCC, the DNC, et cetera should be neutral until the primary is over and the winner declared.

But then what do you expect from the party that wants to win at all costs.

I find it interesting that ... (Below threshold)

I find it interesting that the same people who railed against RINO Arlen Spector and supported Toomey back in 2004 are now accusing Democrats of turning into an unrecognizable blob of insanity. Without the support of Spector, Snowe, Collins, Chaffee, McCain, Hagel, et al, the Republicans couldn't control the Senate. But from time to time the Republicans primary their own, because one or more of their policies are outside the ideology of the party.

50% (+/-10%, depending on when the poll is taken) of the country is against the war in Iraq, and Bush highly politicized its build-up, execution, and continuance. So it makes perfect sense that the opposition party would be 90% against it, and that pro-war Joe Lieberman would be challenged in a primary. But without pro-war Democrats like Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton, mushy Democrats like Kerry and Edwards, and pro-life Democrats like Harry Reid, Bob Casey, and Ben Nelson, Democrats won't be able to take the Senate. So it all balances out in the end. You can have some ideology, but not too much if you want to run things. Our "first past the post" system creates a tension between party activists and the general public, and I for one think it's a good thing. Calling Democrats or Republicans names because they want to hold their elected officials accountable to their beliefs is infantile. If what party activists want are out of step with the general public, they'll lose. If they're representative of the public, they'll win. Case closed. Trust democracy.

SomeGuyI think par... (Below threshold)
scsiwuzzy:

SomeGuy

I think part of the difference is in voting records and party support. Reps can't count on Specter. He's about as reliable as a Yugo, and his saving grace is his seniority and his ability to keep the majority and therefore control of the committees.

Lieberman, on the other hand, votes with his party on the majority of issues, the WoT being the glaring exception.

I think it would be great i... (Below threshold)
Kimyl Oh!:

I think it would be great if Joe was standing up for his country, or standing up for what he believes in. The special case with Joe is different than the RINOs you dislike (and oddly enough, I think most mainstream Republicans agree with these folks more than they do the current leadership).

See, right now, the President and Congress are in the same party. They control everything. When they want a bill passed, unless the public outcry would be severe (like social security), it gets done. And what helps is when it is BIPARTISAN. You'll notice that members of this administration bring up Joe all the time as defense.

Now if Joe was as vocal about his opposition to Bush as he is about his support, that might help. But he fawns over Bush, and in a state where Bush's approval hovers in the 20s and 30s, that cannot be faithful representation.

The fact that netroots and party faithful stand behind our reps in Nebraska, Nevada, the deep south, etc. shows that we want a big tent, we just don't want that tent to include people who are helping the other side all the time.

If joe wants to support the war, fine. But supporting the Republican party is not in his job description. His new campaign literature is a big push to "remind" people that he does not agree with the POTUS, since its been hard to see lately.

This whole campaign is noth... (Below threshold)
Jim:

This whole campaign is nothing new. Democrats have steadily been losing moderates and conservatives since the 1960's. They are no longer a national party considering Dems are only competitive in less than half the states. There has been a realignment in this country except liberals haven't figured that out. I once was a Democratic activist, even president of the UConn College Democrats, and now I find my loyalty waning. I no longer feel welcome in the party whose platform is so out of step with mainstream America. Eventually the liberals will have the party to themselves and never win an election. This speaks volumes about the failure of the the two party system in this country. Good luck Joe, it seems you are a victim of the times. It appears idependence is the way to go for the good of CT and the good of this country.




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