Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Connecticut follies

I've refrained from covering the fracas enveloping the Connecticut primary race for Senator, but the issues surrounding this contest are spilling over to the national scene. For those of you unaware, Joe Lieberman is facing a challenge within the Democratic Party ranks from a relatively unknown and more progressive candidate named Ned Lamont. Lamont has become a darling of the majority of those of us a bit further to the left of insane, and Lieberman seems to dislike being challenged. Lieberman's actions and words, chronicled daily (if not more often) on the Daily Kos site linked to on my sidebar, are becoming more and more unhinged. He is clearly taking this challenge as a personal affront, as if that Senate seat is his private property, instead of the Connecticut citizens'. The important thing to note for the rest of us is that Connecticut is such a Democratic stronghold that given a two-way race between the parties there, anyone gaining the Democratic nomination is virtually a lock to win the general election. What Lieberman seems to forget is that very fact; the vast majority of Connecticut denizens are pretty reliably Democratic and fairly left of what used to be center.
The fact that Lamont is getting as much play as he is (and Lieberman is still ahead of him in all the polls that have ever been run, although his lead is rapidly shrinking) is a testament to how dissatisfied Connecticutians are with Lieberman, but Lieberman has reacted to that news not by changing his behavior but by becoming more and more defensive. He (or more accurately, his campaign advisors) has tried to smear Lamont as both a closet Republican and also adored by radical leftists. Huh? Sadly, Lieberman has become so enamored of his job that he is willing to jettison his own party affiliation in order to keep it, rather than respect the wishes of his Democratic constituents.
Of course, it is this attitude that gave rise to Lamont's campaign in the first place. If Lieberman had shunned the spotlight that the rightwing media keeps shining on him--he's a favorite of both Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, let alone the stalwart William F. Buckley (and who can forget the Smirky kiss? Yeesh.)--and refused to criticize his own party publicly (see here for a recap of Lieberman's "unusual" concept of party allegiance), there wouldn't be nearly enough of a record to launch an oppositional campaign against him. He's not a bad Democrat because of his voting record, necessarily; he'd be a "better Democrat" if he were from a red state like Utah or Nebraska. The problem with Joe is that he's from a very blue state, and we should have someone more in line with mainstream Democratic Party ideals representing them. The fact that he's such an egotistical jerk makes it all the easier to root against him. If he truly does bolt the party and run as an independent, we can only hope that that act alone causes him to be forever shunned by the good folks in Connecticut. Maybe then he'll be forced to reassess his actual goals as a politician and more importantly, his true beliefs as an American. He sure ain't doing it now . . .


Post a Comment

<< Home