Lamont Didn't Win, Lieberman Lost

Earlier today, the Instapundit posted this piece noting that he thinks that the Liberal netroots had arrived with Ned Lamont’s victory in Connecticut. But I must disagree. Lamont’s victory is actually Lieberman’s loss—and the two are not the same. Lieberman’s loss is a result of his stance on the war on terror, his unwillingness to accept that Connecticut Democrats think differently, and his truly stupid announcement that he would run as an independent if he lost.

While the netroots played a role in the early part of the campaign, I tend to think that most Democratic voters tired of Lieberman's positions on the war and his unwillingness to accept accept that people may have a different outlook. Granted, sometimes being a leader means that you have a different view, but as a leader, you must attempt to persuade others and LEAD them somewhere. Connecticut Democrats did not want to go there and Lieberman, to his credit and dismay, refused to budge on a principle. The war is decidedly unpopular among Democrats, a stance amplified, but not magnified, by the quite vocal netroots. But Connecticut Democrats did not support the war and the netroots did not convince them of it, but rather served as a echo chamber for the idea. So in this regard, the netroots activities did contribute to Lieberman's unpopularity on this issue. Lamont ran a focused campaign on the Iraq war, but a one-dimensional campaign rarely wins a primary, Lamont needed something else.

Lamont got it in the form of a major tactical error. Lieberman's very public notice a coule of weeks ago that he would run as an independent should he lose in the primary gave some fence sitters an excuse to vote against Lieberman. The announcement sounded a lot like a sore loser and a man resigned to his fate.

This was a dumb move!

While Connecticut law allows this and Lieberman is certainly within his rights to take the steps, he should have been far less public about plans to run as an independent. What the plan said was that he, as an elected offcial did not trust the electorate to make a wise decision. This slap in the face probably angered enough voters to vote for Lamont that Lieberman may have lost on this very issue.

My somewhat uneducated guess is that the announcement to run as an independent probably cost him two points, and maybe even the primary itself. The people on the fence about Lieberman now had reason to vote against him. This is very different than a vote for Lamont.

The netroots did raise some money for Lamont, but when you consider that Lamont spent some $3-4 million of his own money on the campaign, the money the netroots brought it amounted to a very small percentage. The netroots did public support Lamont and trounced Lieberman in their coverage, which certainly may have helped opinions nationwide, but I am not sure of the local Democrats. The fact that Lamont only won by four points indicates to me that all the internet publicity for Lamont did not make it down to the voter level in Connecticut, since if you judge by the internet coverage, Lamont should have scored a landslide victory.

The netroots does not have a particularly good record in general elections. Lamont is probably going to win in Connecticut, a solidly Blue state, but with Lieberman in the race, the Democratic vote is likely to be split in the General election.

I think the Lamont win is a combination of factors, with the netroots involved, but not a deciding factor. I still don't see the netroots as a power center, yet. Even assuming they are a power center, I am not sure that it is a good thing for the Democratic party. Moving to the left, which is the place the netroots occupies, is a prescription for disaster rather than victory.

Posted by Matt Johnston at August 9, 2006 4:31 PM
Comment #174337

I’m tempted to say, “Bush didn’t win, Gore lost!” But nah.

Nicely presented argument.

Posted by: Trent at August 9, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #174343

Talk about splitting hairs… Lamont didn’t win, Lieberman lost… WOW!

This is one race of hundreds. The tendency to extrapolate too much is running rampant on the net over this story. Each state has its own quirks. And many other issues were at play, not the least of which was a higher than normal turnout as well as new registered voters, and crossovers from Independents and Republicans.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 9, 2006 6:39 PM
Comment #174346

Republicans really don’t have a horse in the Conn. Senate race. I belive many Republicans as well as independents will vote for Joe and carry him to victory in November. Jim

Posted by: Jim at August 9, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #174353

I have some concerns with Joe Lieberman running as a Independent. First of all he is truly a Liberal and the Republicans in that State will vote for him because they think he is strong on Security. If he wins he will only vote the way of the Liberals again. Go home Joe. 2nd thing, he wants to run as a Independent because it all comes down to he does not want to lose his power. Again go home Joe. He lost and he should just walk away.

Posted by: Brian at August 9, 2006 6:57 PM
Comment #174359

W O W !

I just saw a CNN poll that said 83% of voters polled were going to vote anti-incumbent ! Yes, I said _EIGHTY-THREE Percent !

W O W !

That’s just too hard to believe. If that really happens, it will be history in the making.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 9, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #174361

d.a.n, see what a few hard working Republicans, Democrats, and third party folks at Vote Out Incumbents Democracy can accomplish when they just won’t accept anonymity or the status quo? If even 25% of those actually VOID incumbents, it will be historical because it will drop the average incumbency rate in this country’s elections down from the current 94%.

To borrow Arlo Guthrie’s words, “Folks, it could become a MoveMent”!

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 9, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #174364

David, tony,

I really hope so.
But, I’m not going to get my hopes up.
We will see what voters actually do.
Sometimes, it’s just talk.

But, whether it really happens or not, that must be sending S H I V E R S down the spines of some incumbent politicians.

Has anyone ever seen a poll with anti-incumbent numbers like that before?

Is it possible voters have finally discovered the one simple, common-sense, inexpensive, non-partisan, responsible thing incumbent politicians were hoping voters would never discover ?

Surely, CNN made a mistake? 83% ?

This ABC News/Washing Post poll yesterday (8-Aug-2006) showed 53% January, which I found to be remarkably high. But, 83% ?

The ABC News/Washington Post survey released yesterday (8-Aug-2006) evening suggests that more voters are fed up with their current members of Congress than at any time since 1994. Hmmmmmm. Do you think its just one party that should be scared? The op-ed thinks this new poll reinforces should be more frightening to Republicans.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 9, 2006 7:37 PM
Comment #174367

Oooppppss … wrong link above. Here’s the ABC link (53%)

Posted by: d.a.n at August 9, 2006 7:43 PM
Comment #174370

“The war is decidedly unpopular among Democrats, a stance amplified, but not magnified, by the quite vocal netroots.”

Actually it’s decidely unpopular among the majority of Americans, and it has been for a long time. So either we have a ton of Republicans turning Democrat, or Republicans are waking up.

Posted by: badboodah at August 9, 2006 8:04 PM
Comment #174373

“While the netroots played a role in the early part of the campaign, I tend to think that most Democratic voters tired of Lieberman’s positions on the war and his unwillingness to accept accept that people may have a different outlook.”

The war is just one element to his demise. There’s “the kiss” and the apologizing and defending Bush when many Republicans are turning on him. The support of him by Bush, Rove, Delay and many others. The saying it’s okay for hospitals to turn rape victims away because “it would only be a short bus ride to another hospital” that could give them the morning after pill. And the list goes on.

Saying this is all about the war is either misinformed or purposely misleading. So take that statement and remove “on the war,” and you’re right:

“I tend to think that most Democratic voters tired of Lieberman’s positions and his unwillingness to accept accept that people may have a different outlook.”

Posted by: badboodah at August 9, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #174381

I gotta agree with CT on this one. It’s better to have a candidate in hand than one with his head in a Bush. (Or something like that.)

Posted by: tony at August 9, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #174390

Lieberman is a Douche - This “independent qualifying” gap makes party primaries a waste of time.

Posted by: Mark Lyon at August 9, 2006 9:22 PM
Comment #174404

Don’t be surprised if Lieberman pulls out a win in November. As a lifelong New England Democrat who moved to NY four years ago, it dismayed me to see Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson prominantly displayed on stage behind Lamont last night at his victory speech. It was kind of akin to having Falwell and Robertson standing behind a Republican victor.

If I was a Ct. voter, it would lead me to have second thoughts. The next couple of months should get interesting.

Posted by: Tim in NY at August 9, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #174421

Let me state the obvious: Lieberman Lost, Lamont won. Lieberman’s bid as an independent may end up being a non-starter and here’s why: he can’t take any substantial stands.

If he takes a stand against Democrats, then they stand against him. In a blue state that’s just handing Lamont Supporters.

If he stands too much with Bush, he risks that, and potential opposition from independents and Republicans who are sick of Bush.

If he stands against Bush, he burns bridges with a behind the scenes supporter, and incurs the wrath of Bush and Rove, not known to be forgiven to those they see as betrayers. He’ll lose some independents, and he won’t gain much traction with Democrats because it will all smack of the kind of political calculation he wasn’t smart enough to employ before hand.

Campaign on Iraq, and he faces the unpopularity of that war, in a blue state, no less.

Ultimately, Lieberman leaves himself in a kind of political purgatory, all because he wasn’t willing to do what the people of his stated wanted him to do.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 10, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #174442

Stephen, that’s not why Lieberman will lose as an independent. The reason he will lose is because the Independent Voters out there are mostly opposed to the Iraq war’s continuation indefinitely. Lieberman will gain some Republican votes, but, he not in numbers to compensate for his lost Democratic votes, and the Independents by at least 60 - 40 will go to Lamont, the other 40 being split between the GOP candidate and Lieberman.

And as important, Liberman’s funding is going to dry up while Lamonts is virtually not limited. My guess is, the GOP candidate will get 18%, Lieberman will get about 24% and Lamont will get about 55%. Slam dunk. ! !

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 10, 2006 2:46 AM
Comment #174459


“Slam dunk. ! ! “

Please don’t use that phrase… it’s makes my stomach churn.

Posted by: tony at August 10, 2006 7:56 AM
Comment #174528

Those of you who think that a Connecticut Senate primary is a national referendum against the war and Bush are out of touch with reality. First of all only 11% of the registered voters voted in that primary and Connecticut is a died in the wool Liberal anti-war state. One Blue State does not a national election make.

Lieberman’s loss is simply an indication that the left wing of the Democratic party has successfully split the Democrats and that is always fatal in November national elections.

Look for the Republicans to rally together as the election gets closer and the Demcorats, split as they are, will take another beating in November as usual.

As for CNN’s polling, 83% is indicative that their polling is simply flawed to the point it is unreliable.

Red America will not give the Liberals their power back. Dream on “Vote out Incumbents” or whatever it you call yourselves. Dream on.

Posted by: Terry Evers at August 10, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #174566

Terry Evers-


“First of all only 11% of the registered voters voted in that primary”

Try more like 40% (a new record):

You may be correct about the splintering of the democratic party, but I’m curious to know why you are so adament about voting “red”? I see republicans just as split on important domestic issues (look at the governors of CA and NY and see how different they are from those in the white house. Is it your belief that no matter what the issues are and no matter how distant the platform becomes from the needs of ordinary americans, that “red” is ALWAYS better than “blue”? If this IS what you are saying, then we can all safely disregard your last post as pointless emotional partisan garbage.

Nothing worst in my opinion than a straight ticket voter. THEY are killing politics.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 10, 2006 2:41 PM
Comment #174764

Kevin23, I believe that’s 40% of registered democrats, not all registered voter’s. An important point, Matt the original poster missed, is that only the most motivated of registered democrat’s vote in the primaries, read “liberals”. Is it a surprise to anyone that liberals haven’t warmed up to Bush yet. It was no surprise to Liberman that the most fervent of anti-war voters reside on the left and, more to the point, the far left of the aisle. Liberman understood early on he could lose the primary due to these facts and not neccesarily because the majority of the state is against the war. When it comes to the Democrat party Liberman is an Indendent so now he’ll run as one. I believe, if he has the integrity he’s led me to believe he has, he should run as an Independent. With the weak candidate the Republicans are running Liberman stands a good chance of winning the general election. I’ll be voting for him.

Posted by: Cober at August 11, 2006 7:59 AM
Comment #174766

Kevin23, sorry to call you out again, but “straigt ticket voter”. Terry Ever’s suggestion that Republican voter’s will rally didn’t neccessarily mean for the Republican candidate. The single most important issue of the day is the war and Liberman couldn’t be more clear about his stance on that. So, perhaps your post is pointless.

Posted by: Cober at August 11, 2006 8:11 AM
Comment #174802

So Lieberman lost, Lamont didn’t win…that seems to coincide with the results of our last two presidential elections…Gore lost, Bush didn’t win; Kerry lost, Bush didn’t win.

So glad it’s finally out there and you agree…now the cons/Repubs/neocons can stop yelling “we won; shut up”…

Posted by: Lynne at August 11, 2006 10:51 AM
Comment #174818


So what? 40% of dems voted in the dem primary. About 40% of voters vote in the regular elections, so where do you come up with the idea that ONLY the most “liberal” people voted in this record turnout election? Sounds like you are assuming way too much and need to stick only with what I actually wrote.

Sorry to call you out again, but my comment about straight ticket voters did not refer to any one person in particular. I only said what is written. No more.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 11, 2006 11:59 AM
Comment #174831

And Cober-

You do realize that 86% of democrats oppose the war right? That would mean that you are alluding that the democratic party’s “extreme left” consists of 86% of their membership. Lieberman is simply not representating the wishes of those who previously supported him.

My take on him: His performance in the 2000 VP debates was nothing short of pathetic. It probably did more to lose Gore the election than all the Florida officials put together. In that debate, Cheney, the gloomiest looking man in America, looked like the funny uncle subtly getting everyone to point and laugh at the blithering nonsense coming from the other podium. Lieberman never comes out and says anything of substance, instead waiting to back some crappy half hearted legislation calling it a “bi-partisan” achievement. Most people now believe, in ivestment terms, that he provided them with returns of pennies on the dollar, allowing republicans to craft provisions even he doesn’t understand in return for a good soundbite to help his next campaign. People are now beginning to see that so long as people like him are in office, the best the dems can hope to achieve is watered down, aimless and incompetent or token support for issues that they truely find to be important.

Maybe some feel bad for this sad-panda of a man, but I find his tactics of trying to marginalize the majority opinion of his own (former) party and make them sound like “extremists” to be repugnent, and brutally irresponsable and detrimental to the future of the party as a whole.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 11, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #175038

Now its time for ALL the states to start cleaning house on subversive, traitorous Democrats who would rather work to promote the elite Republicans war against THE PEOPLE, here and abroad.
Come to think about it, I haven’t felt safe since the day the Republicans took over the white house. Have any of you?

Posted by: Zena V. Princess at August 12, 2006 1:32 AM
Comment #175067

Wow Kevin23, some of what you stated in your last post is true. Does anybody remember campaign finance reform. What a joke that was. The 2000 predential race was the real beginning of my political awakening. However, I thought the V.P. debates were better than the presidential ones.

My statement of the far left participating in the primary would probably make more sense to you if you were aware that the majority of registered voters in CT are registered independents. This knowledge would lead one to understand that only a record number of a minority block of voters in CT participated in this primary. In other words, to use your numbers that’s 40% of a minority political affiliation. Is it beginning to sound a little less like a referendum and repudiation to you. And the fact of the matter remains that ever since the 2000 presidential election the democratic party has moved further left. I stick by what I wrote.

Posted by: Cober at August 12, 2006 9:26 AM
Comment #175117

Republicans for Lieberman! I’m a libertarian Republican and I’m supporting Joe as an Independent. I even worked to get him on the ballot up in CT.

Look, the Lamonters are slamming him as a “closeted right-winger” for supporting Bush’s Tax Cuts, Social Security Reform, School Vouchers, and opposition to Affirmative Action.

Plus, on the Number One issue - Fighting the War on Islamo-Fascism, Lieberman is on the side of the Angels.

Republican Schlessinger can’t win. Nice guy and all, but he’s got a serious problem with the Casinos.

Let’s rally behind Lieberman!!

Posted by: Eric Dondero at August 12, 2006 1:11 PM
Comment #175222


I’m well aware of the independent majority in the state of connecticut. Nice of you to act so superior though. We’ll see if they all these Connecticut independents turn out to be pro-war “centrists” as you claim. These elections will be very telling and my guess is they lean further left than most independents around the country. And Gore was more liberal than anyone that would ever possibly win the Dem nomination today. I dont think that’s a sign of a party turning left.

Posted by: Kevin23 at August 13, 2006 12:23 AM
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