Markos Moulitsas Zuniga rightfully gloats over last night’s victory by Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman. While it has seemed inevitable for a few weeks now, it wasn’t long ago that it seemed unthinkable. Indeed, many of us were chuckling over Kos’ appearance in a Lamont television ad and making fun of the netroots for whooping over forcing a primary when Lieberman won 1,004 of the 1,509 votes cast at the state convention, while Lamont won 505.
Kos says, “This is what people-power looks like, and it is changing the face of politics.” There can’t be much doubt about that at this point. While Lieberman’s popularity in the state is much lower than I could have fathomed until I visited last month, knocking off the guy who was the vice presidential nominee on a ticket that won the plurality of the national vote six years ago is a remarkable achievement. I continue to believe that it’s tactically stupid, but then my goals are different than Kos’.
I have similar thoughts about Kos’ response to Lieberman’s announcement he’ll now run as an independent:
Now, Lieberman wants to stab his allies and his party in the back. It won’t be the first time.
Here’s what we all need to do the next few days:
1. Push Harry Reid to strip Lieberman of all committee assignments.
2. Let people know what a sore loser Lieberman is.
3. Get all Democrats — including Bill Clinton — to publicly back Ned Lamont.
4. Get the Democratic interest groups who backed Lieberman to switch allegiances in the general.
1. Stripping Lieberman of his committee assignments would be amazingly stupid, in my view. It would simultaneously screw over the people of Connecticut for the remainder of this Congress and ensure that Lieberman would not caucus with the Democrats come 2007 should he win re-election. Given the dynamics of this election, where a single Senator could mean the difference between Democrats regaining power or the Republicans holding on, that’s a mighty big risk that has no upside other than childish revenge.
And revenge for what, pray tell? While I would have thought it more kosher for Lieberman to have withdrawn from the Democratic primary weeks ago, when his defeat seemed inevitable, it’s nonetheless the case that he gave his party a chance to prove its loyalty to him after a lifetime of service. They spurned him for a political newcomer. Why, then, does Lieberman owe them anything?
2. I think there are some vintage t-shirts, caps, and buttons available cheap. Why not?
This should be done by the netroots and the Lamont campaign, however, not the Senate Democratic leadership. See above.
3. Bill Clinton, at least, will do what seems most expedient at the moment. If the polls tell him Lamont will win, he’ll do that. If the polls tell him Lieberman will win, he’ll stick with him. Most Democrats with presidential aspirations will likely follow suit.
4. Ditto. With a handful of exceptions, there are no “Democratic interest groups,” only interest groups that typically align themselves with the Democrats because that’s where their support lies. Those who have gotten support from Lieberman in the past–which is to say, most Democrat-leaning interest groups–are not going to risk alienating him in pursuit of ideological purity.
Man, that’s a lot of blogging on one Senate primary contest!