It looks like the end of the line for Holy Joe:
Ned Lamont, a Connecticut millionaire whose candidacy for the United States Senate soared from nowhere on a fierce antiwar message, won a narrow victory in the Democratic primary last night over the incumbent, Joseph I. Lieberman.
Senator Lieberman, a national party leader and the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000, conceded defeat in a phone call to Mr. Lamont shortly before 11 p.m. But then, in a combative speech to supporters in Hartford that was carried live on television news, the senator declared that he was not dropping out of the race, but would instead run for re-election as an independent this fall.
“As I see it, in this campaign, we’ve just finished the first half and the Lamont team is ahead — but in the second half, our team, Team Connecticut, is going to surge forward to victory in November,” Mr. Lieberman told cheering supporters.
A few thoughts:
1.) My gut instinct to Lieberman vowing to continue the race is that it is pretty pathetic, and he risks leaving office in disgrace, rather than dignity. At the same time, he and his supporters probably feel they were subjected to any number of grievous insults (and they have said as much in the WSJ, a rather unconvincing venue), so they are probably too personally involved to see that losing with dignity is something that never goes out of style.
2.) For much of this race, I felt like the Lieberman/Lamont race was less like a political race than it was a Cold War era proxy war. I do not think we will see another Democratic candidate recieve this much support from Republicans any time soon, and had Lieberman won, the same ‘supporters’ would have no problem trashing Lieberman.
3.) While the Bush brigade will see this loss as the ‘left-wing crazies’ taking over, true conservatives and libertarians will note that they had no horse in this fight. Lieberman may be a swell guy, and Kerry may have been branded a flip-flopper in 2004, but I remember Joe as the original flip-flopper. When he accepted the bid to be Veep in 2000, Joe did an about face on many issues he had previously held, and quite comfortably moved back to them once Al Gore had conceded. That leads me to tend to agree that the core principle that Joe Lieberman holds dear is keeping himself in office, although I will agree that Lieberman does seem to be a nice enough guy.
4.) Lieberman’s loss, coupled with McKinney’s ouster, would lead me to believe that this is going to be an anti-incumbent election in number. That should make Republicans very nervous, if for no other reason than the fact that there are more Republicans in office. I am still of the opinion that the GOP is going to lose a great number of seats in both the House and Senate, but I have felt that way for two years. They earned a big loss, IMHO. Additionally, the McKinney loss does give the Democrats some amount of defensive capital when charges that ‘left-wing lunatics’ are taking over. Mckinney put the “C” in crazy, and they got rid of her.
5.) Finally, I am sure (but I have not checked) that the right-wing of the blogosphere is grudgingly conceding a ‘first’ victory to the netroots left, and I am equally sure there will be many bruised fists from all the chest-thumping at DKOS/FIREDOGLKAE/ETC. I would like to point out that no one has really won anything yet, as the election is yet to come, and the netroots left has already won a number of primary elections. This is no first, this Lamont victory- it just seems like it because of all the hype.
And that is how I see things, basically. I guess I have one final thought- I was never a fan of Joe Lieberman. I did cheer him for ‘getting it right’ on the War on Terrah (and I have gotten so many things wrong about that I shouldn’t even be allowed to speak about it), but I was never a fan of Joe Lieberman. All the things Joe was ‘moderate’ on (translation- voted with Republicans) were generally issues that I disagreed with the GOP about, to include controlling content in television/video games, and a wide range of issues that are too broad to get into right now. I also always felt that Joe Lieberman was a wholly own subsidiary of the insurance and banking industries, and never felt comfortable with that.
So there you have it. Your thoughts?
*** Update ***
Radley Balko, as always, brings it home:
Look, Lieberman is a likeable guy (in the same way, as the lefty bloggers have noted, that Willie Tanner was). But he embodies so much of what’s wrong with Washington. He’s the prototypical David Broder candidate, a big government liberal who’s willing to engage in magnanimous gestures of bipartisanship . . . on issues where Republicans also support big government. So he’s cool with bombing and nation building, and state-sponsored health care. He’s okay with government censorship of video games and cable TV, and heavy-handed regulation of business.
Golly. What a moderate!
In other words, he’s wrong on every issue. He’s a culture warrior, a values cop, a Nanny Statist, and a big government foreign policy hawk. He favors high taxes, and a massive welfare state. He’s pro-pork, pro-status quo, and pro-business as usual.