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.

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  1. 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.

    Well, one out of two’s better than nothing.

  2. There are lots of ‘Libertarian Democrats’ around. Most of the people I know that chose to vote for Democrats want the government to stay out of our lives for the most part, particularly on social issues. We also realize that there need to be some controls on individuals, businesses, corporations, and collaborating groups that have bribed, bought, and bullied congressmen and senators to write laws specifically designed so that they can accumulate vast fortunes far beyond any that would accrue from good, old-fashioned, American hard work and innovation. The primary means of control would be money. Them that’s benefitted the most pays the most – taxes.

    In short, level the monetary playing field and keep the government out of everything else.

    Unfortunately, as the mountain of the wealth gap continues to grow, the field needs a lot of leveling.

  3. Even if you don’t think Dems would “be any better”, one good reason to vote for them is that the corruption networks will have to be rebuilt.

    Another is a couple of years of gridlock, the best thing about the 90s. (Well, second best, after Radiohead.)

  4. I daresay that the Democratic corruption machine isn’t exactly turned off. Minority party doesn’t mean no power at all, after all. Though I do think the GOP is getting more of the largess, given its superior position.

    As for leveling wealth, well, I’m not even sure how to start explaining why that’s not the government’s job. Not in a free society, anyway. In any case, it seems to me that people are much wealthier now that they used to be–even us ordinary folk.

  5. rm2muv, the fact that politicians can enact “controls” is the whole reason that corporations lobby so aggressively.

    Also, would you mind explaining to me exactly how Warren Buffet’s wealth makes anybody else any poorer?

  6. I’m so disgusted with Lieberman that anything short of Ned Lamont saying “After I win, I’m going to David’s condo and shooting him in head.” gets my primary vote. If he does say that, I’ll just abstain, and maybe move.

  7. Shouldn’t the headline read ‘Jiltin’ Joe?’

  8. NathanB:

    I find it interesting that you picked Buffett as your example, seeing as he’s in favor of increasing taxes on the wealthy.

  9. “In short, level the monetary playing field and keep the government out of everything else.”

    Ah. Allowing the government to control the economy is the only way to be free.


  10. I think the accusation is that the government is already controlling the economy and passing laws that favor the already-wealthy.

  11. Here’s Lieberman’s problem: He’s going down the trail to snoozedom blazed by Jerry “Jabba the Hut” Falwell.

    Joltin’ Joe needs to be visiting Starbucks at 10, 2, and 4 (The Dr. Pepper numbers).

  12. Raising taxes on the wealthy never works. They are rich enough not to pay taxes ie buying treasuries, trusts etc. My overall tax rate is higher than Edward Kennedys. If they really wanted to take on poverty (American style “poverty” that is) they need to change the tax code, not just the tax rates. They should then do as Thomas Paine suggested; everyone could get a rebate check to do what they wish to do with it and drop all the social programs.

    Oh that’s right the dems think we’re to stupid to handle our own money and the republicans think we would spend all on drugs and porn.

  13. That description above of “Libertarian Democrat” sounds exactly like what has long been known as a Liberal Democrat.

    Since liberal has become a bad word to many, I suppose that this–calling oneself a Libertarian Democrat–is just another example of lying for the cause.

  14. I suppose that rm2muv’s prescription to “level the monetary playing field” involves government intervention. That’s anathema to libertarianism.

  15. The guy sounds pretty good for a crummy state like Conn. especially when oppossed to Leiberman who is horrible and should be sent out to the kosher pasture.

    I’ve asked multiple politicians before why libertarians should vote for them and about 85% of their answers are worse than what that schmuck said. He’d get my primary vote.

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