As the 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee faces an unexpectedly tough challenge in his party’s August primary for another term as United States Senator from Connecticut, a former Democratic state chairman in the Nutmeg State and close ally of the Senator is urging Senator Joe Lieberman to “run for re-election as an independent and not trust his career to left-leaning Democratic primary voters in August.”
With at least one poll showing the three-term incumbent’s margin over left-wing challenger Ned Lamont to be in the single digits, some see a chance of Connecticut Democrats rejecting Al Gore’s running mate. John F. Droney, Jr., the former state chairman says it would be “total insanity” for Lieberman “to be terrorized through the summer by an extremely small group of the Democratic Party, much less the voting population.” Staffers on Lieberman’s campaign “distanced” themselves from Droney’s suggestion.
Given that many liberal activists are furious at Lieberman for his general support of the war in Iraq, they’re certain to vote in the August primary when more level-headed Democrats are focused more on summer vacations than politics. A low turnout primary clearly favors this challenger.
Eager to see the angry left repudiated, many conservatives are rooting for Lieberman to best Lamont; it would show that even Democrats understand the stakes of the war in Iraq. Or at least aren’t one-issue voters. An angry-left victory in Connecticut, however, could further imperil the Democrats’ increasingly shaky chances of taking control of either house of Congress this fall.
Maybe we should think twice before choosing sides in the Connecticut race. The good news of the past week has reenergized the GOP, with one poll showing Republican approval of the president jumping over 10% in the past month.
Meanwhile, the Democrats’ chances in November seem dependent on bad news.
Even with more bad news, the Democrats could still lose this November. If the American people see them as unfit to govern (as the Brits saw Labour in 1992), they will likely vote to keep the incumbents in power.
Which brings me back to Joe Lieberman. If Democrats in one state reject such a prominent figure as Joe Lieberman, the party’s Vice Presidential nominee just six years ago, a man who while supportive of the President on Iraq has a generally liberal voting record (he voted against the confirmation of both of the president’s picks for the U.S. Supreme Court), the American people will likely see them as beholden to the far left. A view which will only accent the prominence of the party’s left-wing leaders, Howard Dean, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
Right now, Joe Lieberman faces the dilemma of whether to make contingency plans to run as an independent or stake it all on winning the Democratic primary (which would make him a shoo-in for re-election). And I face the dilemma of whether to root for his victory as a sign the opposing party still has some sense or to hope for his defeat in order to strengthen my party’s hand in the fall elections.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com