Joltin' Joe?


Markos Moulitsas has a subscription-only poll from Rasmussen Reports that shows Joe Lieberman in serious danger of losing the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut. Two months ago, Lieberman led challenger Ned Lamont by 20 points, 51-31. Now Lieberman leads by 6, 46-40. Since political professionals will tell you that incumbents under 50 percent are in serious trouble (undecided voters, so unimpressed by the incumbent, usually break for the challenger), this means that… well, that Lieberman is in serious trouble. He's more endangered at this point in the race (the primary is in eight weeks) than Arlen "Single Bullet" Specter was against Pat "Club for Growth" Toomey.

I actually ran into Lamont at a low-key fundraiser in his hotel room at Take Back America. Picture and more below the fold.

Lamont, as the New Republic's Jason Zengerle accurately observed, looks like William H. Macy and—no coincidence—talks with an easy, low-key charisma. I'm pretty sure I confused him, though. When Lamont made the rounds I said I was a libertarian journalist and wanted to know if/why libertarians should vote for him. After all, while his key issue is the war in Iraq, Lamont supports universal health care and opposes conservative judicial nominees. Lamont thought for a moment and said, "Terri Schiavo." Lieberman had been on the side of President Bush and Tom DeLay in having the goverment intervene in the Schiavo case, which was a symptom of how Lieberman "is all right with the government intruding into our private lives." He promised to talk about that issue when he addressed the room.

A few minutes later Lamont finds a clear space and starts talking about why he's running against a fellow Democrat. The war in Iraq comes up, as does Sam Alito. And then Lamont starts discussing privacy rights. "I was just talking to a member of the Libertarian Party on the way in here," he says. There's almost no noise from the crowd, just a few "Whuhhh?"-sounding murmurs. Lamont might as well have said he was necking with Laura Ingraham on the way in.

This "Libertarian Democrat" stuff has a ways to go.