Campaigns/Elections

Cuddly, Wuddly Old Joe

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Democrats are eager to kiss and hug Joe Lieberman (literally) now that he holds the balance of power in the Senate. But The New York Times reports he is still "miffed, if not bitter, about what he considers the betrayal of allies who supported an unknown, untested and unfamiliar candidate."  That is, they supported their party's nominee, Ned Lamont, after Lieberman lost the primary  to him and decided to run for re-election on the newly invented Connecticut for Lieberman ticket. I confess that I find party loyalty almost as hard to understand as sports team loyalty, given how little the parties stand for. But isn't this the way it's supposed to work? When you lose the primary, aren't you supposed to graciously congratulate your opponent and then support him in the general election? And if you're such a self-aggrandizing, disloyal prick that you refuse to do so, can you you really be angry when your fellow party members do what passes for the honorable thing in politics and support a candidate about whom they may have qualms, because he's the one the voters preferred? Apparently you can, if you're Joe Lieberman.

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  1. Man, what’s with the Joe Lieberman hate-fest here at Reason nowadays? First Weigel, now this. The more people in Congress spend engaged in petty fights like this, the less time they’ll have to think up new ways to take my money!

  2. Well, there’s another way of looking at this. Lieberman believed that he was the person that the people of Connecticut really wanted in the Senate. He was right. From his perspective, some number of his own fellow travelers from out of state worked to get him tossed. That’s why he’s pissed, I’m sure.

    I’m no Lieberman fan, by the way, but I’m not sure his bucking the party is such an evil act. I agree with jkp–the animus against Lieberman on this issue doesn’t make a lot of sense. On other issues, have at it!

  3. It’s not just party loyalty, it’s respect for the voters in your party. The Democratic leadership can’t just go and tell the Democratic voters in CT that they made a bad choice by supporting Lamont over Lieberman.

    Then again, the Republican party screwed over their own candidate in order to help Lieberman win and I don’t hear any Repubs complaining.

  4. Civilized states of the union have “sore loser” laws that prevent primary losers from turning around and running as independents.

  5. If Lieberman’s loss in the primary had really come out of the blue, then maybe you’d just expect him to take his medicine, but my impression was what pissed off Lieberman was that elements of the Democratic party had backed Lamont in the primary. While we here on Hit & Run might find it amusing that candidates would be outraged at the idea of choice being introduced to a primary, it’s hardly surprising that Lieberman was pissed at suddenly being denied the unquestioned support he had grown accustomed to.

  6. ANTI-DEMOCRACY states of the union have “sore loser” laws that prevent primary losers from turning around and running as independents.

    Fixed your post for you.

  7. Surely, the Connecticut for Liebermann Party is on a role!I expect it to expand to 25 states in the next election on it’s way to a New Democratic 50 state strategy.

    /sarcasm

  8. jkp,

    Yes, because democracy is sooooo civilized.

  9. because democracy is sooooo civilized.

    States governed by The Party have such a better record.

  10. Lieberman won, so he was damm right not to step aside and let a naive leftist take his seat. Sore loser laws just give the major parties more power and disenfranchise independents. Why should the leftwing democrats or 15 or 20% of the state get to pick the Senator instead of the whole electorate and the unaffiliated voters who are the biggest block by far in the state.

  11. Man, what’s with the Joe Lieberman hate-fest here at Reason nowadays?

    It’s because Lieberman is essentially the anti-libertarian. He’s pro-war, pro-entitlement and pro-regulation.

  12. Lieberman won the general election promising he would be a democrat if elected. Would he have won as a republican? If he changed parties he would be betraying the CT voters.

  13. “Lieberman won, so he was damm right not to step aside and let a naive leftist take his seat. Sore loser laws just give the major parties more power and disenfranchise independents. Why should the leftwing democrats or 15 or 20% of the state get to pick the Senator instead of the whole electorate and the unaffiliated voters who are the biggest block by far in the state.”

    All voters get to pick the senator. That’s what a general election is for, ya fuckwit. Primaries are for a group of citizens with shared interests (in this case, presumably the interests traditionally associated with Democratic activists) to decide who they want to represent them. If you live in a state where a primary winner is the de facto winner of the general election as well, there’s nothing sinister about it–it’s just the nature of the beast when states are dark blue or dark red.

  14. So this is how I’m reading this. The so-called “individualists” here are saying it’s better to be loyal to a party, and not a man?

    Okay. Got it.

  15. It’s because Lieberman is essentially the anti-libertarian. He’s pro-war, pro-entitlement and pro-regulation.

    Exactly. Add his grandiose view of himself, I’m left wondering what the hell is supposed to be so appealing about him at all.

  16. shecky:

    What makes Lieberman appealing is that he has the tenacity to stand up against the shrill, hard-left of his former party. And win.

    If there were a Republican who openly took on the Christian right, and the drug war, he would be a hero to me, too.

  17. I’m still enjoying Lieberman’s win — tho’ I’m certainly no fan — only because H&R took such delight in savaging him before and after the primary. He was abused, beheaded, drawn and quartered and torched for good measure, and yet he rose again to torment Reasonoids. Gotta love the poetic justice, if not the man.

  18. Seems like a lot of the ‘Reasonoids” are all about the “Party” .

    To hell with the party. How often does the parety concern itself with the voters other than to lie about what they will do if elected.

  19. The voters got their say & chose Lieberman. If he can win the election, it’s his right to run.

    That being said, if you are [supposedly] loyal to your party, you play by the rules. Supposing a different scenario, where Lieberman won the primary but Lamont ran as an independent splitting the vote sufficiently for the Republican to have won, what would Lieberman’s song have been then?

  20. What makes Lieberman appealing is that he has the tenacity to stand up against the shrill, hard-left of his former party. And win.

    There is a lot of straw being burned around these parts about Ned Lamont and his supporters (I was one of them). It’s even funnier that it’s coming in support of one of the most statist, pro-regulation, anti-free speech, moralist, nanny-staters in the Senate.

    It’s amazing how much love Lieberman is getting from conservatives — a guy who had been getting a liberal rating in the 90’s.

    Joe Lieberman has all the worst traits of both parties. And libertarians are singing his praises and happy he beat a moderate businessman. Joe Lieberman is much more to the left on most issues except for the war — which is why he was primaried to begin with. He was one of the most prominent leaders of the opposition party, yet he never missed a chance to chide the his party members if / when they actually opposed the President and his failed war policies.

    This post’s comments make me think I fell into bizarro world.

  21. Franklin — glad that you’re willing to forbid all that isn’t compulsory. 😉

    And I make no argument for Uncle Joe, but I am DEFINITELY in favor of anything that keeps the Democrats off balance. No reason for them to get too cocky just because the GOP got a deserved beat-down.

  22. This spirit[of party support], unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

    The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

  23. I heard Liberman recently on the radio, and his candor was quite interesting. Instead of being “oh, well, let’s just move on”, he sounded quite pissed off at the people who turned their back on him.

    He admitted that he takes an unpopular stance on national defense (in regards to the Democrats), and that people certainly have a right to disagree with him. But he said the rhetoric went way beyond simple disagreement, and veered towards outright hatred.

    The Dems now have the power of the purse, and it’s going to be very interesting how they are going to contend with the moderates and conservatives within their own party, in regards to Iraq. I’ll predict right now that the Cindy Sheehans of our land are going to be very, very disappointed. The hard left is going to tear the party apart out of rage, and the Repubs are going to waltz right back in, maybe as soon as two years.

    That’s what you get when you put all your eggs in one basket.

  24. ChicagoTom – I checked, and you actually live in “bizzaro” world, not “bizarro” world. Go to maps.google.com and type in “bizzaro world”. You are at location D on the map – really.

  25. Lieberman chose to run against the chosen nominee of the Democratic Party in CT. Therefore, the principled thing for the Democratic Caucus to do would be to ban him from joining their caucus.

    Wouldn’t that be fun?

  26. and the Repubs are going to waltz right back in, maybe as soon as two years

    doubtful….

    You seem to be ignoring the fact that GOP is in the midst of it’s own civil war. The traditional conservatives (the small government ,lower taxes type, ) have had it up to here with the hard-right social conservatives who want to use the power of the state to enforce morals and values. And now with the whupping the GOP got, you are going to see quite a bit more repudiation of the hard right base by the more sensible members of the GOP caucus.

    I think many of the GOP moderates and traditional conservatives had to go along with the extremists because they were winning…but they over-reached and the extremism of the right was repudiated by the America. This should definately empower the moderates to try and move the party closer to the center on some of the more hot button / wedge issues.

    Personally, I think the GOP is going to rip itself apart in a much more entertaining manner.

    Winning tends to help gloss over differences, whereas losing tends to make those differences more glaring and more of a problem.

  27. Screw Lieberman. If he jumps, so what? The Democrats are better off not having him providing cover for phoney Republican “bipartisanship” – that’s when all of the Republicans march in lockstep, and Joe Lieberman joins them – the electoral map makes it almost certain the Democrats will pick up another handful of Senate seats in two years.

    I’m not saying the party should go out of their way to antagonize Lieberman, but they shouldn’t to out of their way to placate him.

  28. Chicago:

    You’re right. I’m giving the Republicans way too much credit here. They had total power for over a decade, and they fucked it all up. It wouldn’t surprise me if they failed miserably to capitalize on whatever golden opportunity may occur.

    Whatever. As hostilities intensify between the moderates of both parties, and their respective lunatic fringes, it could only be good for our country. Gridlock is grand.

  29. “I’m not saying the party should go out of their way to antagonize Lieberman, but they shouldn’t to out of their way to placate him.”

    joe, with all due respect, that horse is already way, way out of the barn. You can’t close the door because the horse kicked it down.

    Lieberman is only going to look out for himself at this point. He’s holding a lot of cards now (let’s be honest, he has the power to decide which party controls the Senate). So he gets to watch the little monkey-boys dance for him (on both sides).

  30. The lesson I took away from the whole thing is that the hard left controls the primaries but can’t win in general elections. I’d imagine the same thing applies for republicans. If anything it shows how primaries are crappy indicators of who the general populace would be interested in voting for.

    I like Liberman if only because he won a major election without either party. Perhaps a hopeful sign.

  31. I’m a little surprised to hear Libertarians disparaging Lieberman for running as a third party candidate. I mean, that’s the *ONE THING* you guys should him- being a third party yourselves and all . . .

  32. Screw Lieberman. If he jumps, so what?

    Umm, the Dems lose control of the Senate?

  33. I don’t like Lieberman. He’s in favor of what I’m against, and against what I favor. For the most part. I also thought that he discarded a few “principles” a little too easily to be the “good soldier” in the 2004 presidential campaign.

    All of that said, I’m with that George Washington fellow. Party loyalty is the bane of our existence. If you think you can win the election and are willing to screw your party over, I see nothing at all wrong with that. The parties simply do not have the interests of America at heart. They have the interests of the party there. Period. All talk otherwise is so much nonsense, which should be consigned to the flames. The simple truth is that the voters and the country are what matter–the parties can go hang.

    joe,

    Do you think Joe will actually jump? I’ve been pooh-poohing such suggestions as unlikely. Sure, he wears some Republican outfits because they feel good against his skin, but he’s not actually sexually attracted to conservatives and remains firmly demosexual 🙂

  34. Personally, I think the GOP is going to rip itself apart in a much more entertaining manner.

    I follow alot of Republican websites, and I don’t really see much evidence of this civil war you’re predicting. Arguments, yes, but the ascendancy of Nancy Pelosi to Speaker has had somewhat of a sobering effect on the GOP.

    What I do see is Speaker Pelosi vowing to push gun control next year, despite the fact that for about 60 members of her party in the House it would be the kiss of death in 2008. There will be a bloody civil war all right, but the Democrats are the ones who will be fighting it.

  35. I’d like to see both parties tear themselves to pieces. Let’s form the Schadenfreude Institute, a think tank dedicated to the proposition of encouraging a “Suicide Solution” for each major party.

  36. I’d like to see both parties tear themselves to pieces. Let’s form the Schadenfreude Institute, a think tank dedicated to the proposition of encouraging a “Suicide Solution” for each major party.

    Easily done. Get someone to propose a federal Abortions-for-guns initative.

  37. Easily done. Get someone to propose a federal Abortions-for-Guns initiative.

    We at Schadenfreude would like to welcome our first new policy director, Dr. Deus Ex-Machina. Dr. Ex-Machina will head up our Conflicts Evolution research group.

  38. I may be wrong, but I really, really do not see Nancy Pelosi deciding to take the Democratic plane into a mountain by deciding that 2007 is the Year of Gun Control. And anyone (Republican or Libertarian) who is hitching their wagons to that star is engaging in delusion. 1994 isn’t all that far in the past.

    Personally, I think the social conservatives have a death grip on the GOP at this point. I think it will take 2 to 3 election cycles before the GOP has another nationally-winning election (assuming no new major terrorist attacks, etc.). If the Libertarian Party can field good candidates in two years, we may be able to make some real progress in pulling off libertarian/moderate Republicans from the GOP.

  39. Notwithstanding my wish for bipartisan G?tterd?mmerung, I don’t think the GOP is suddenly about to collapse. It grows a little tiresome to hear such talk every time either party suffers a significant setback. If only the major parties were so weak!

    Unfortunately, we’ll continue to face this false duality for some time to come. Someday, maybe the view will come to the forefront that people, ideas, and limited government are what is important, not stupid, friggin’ parties.

  40. I agree with Fritz. It’s their certainty that Reid and Pelosi will screw up and hand Congress back to the Republicans that is keeping a lid on the civil war.

    If that doesn’t happen – if the Republicans lose even more seats in 2008 – THEN we will see the Republican civil war in full bloom.

    But it won’t be a fight between “social conservatives” and “business conservatives,” but between neo-cons and paleo-cons, a distinction which cuts across the social-business divide.

  41. Abortions for some, miniature assault weapons for others.

  42. Abortions for some, miniature assault weapons for others.

    How about an inter-fetus civil war?

  43. Joe Lieberman’s ideological suckitude is unequaled in the senate. He’s a strong supporter of government intervention, both foreign and domestic.

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