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the blog

Friday Aug 18, 2006

Use the Issues

LiberalOasis is a little loathe to write about the CT Senate race so soon after the primary.

The race already risks getting disproportionate attention, as there are several other races that will determine control of Congress.

But yesterday's Quinnipiac poll -- showing Lieberman up by 12 among likely voters and 11 among registered voters -- undercuts LiberalOasis' post-election analysis from last week.

And so, we must reassess.

LiberalOasis wasn't all wrong.

Last week's post said: "It is far from a given that Lieberman would hold on to his 48% of the primary vote."

And he hasn't. Lamont's up 63-35 among Dems.

But LiberalOasis also said:

As the winner, Lamont will be showered with media profiles, giving hesitant Dem voters -- as well as indy and moderate GOP voters that Lamont wasn't yet talking to -- a better understanding of his biography and platform. As the loser, Lieberman's stock will drop.

Well, Lamont didn't really get much of a post-primary media honeymoon.

Lamont is still far less known than Lieberman: 32% say they "haven't heard enough" to have an opinion on him, compared to 4% for Lieberman.

In turn, Lamont is trailing significantly among indy voters, 58-36, despite the fact that indies give Lieberman only a 47% favorable rating.

And independent voters make up a plurality (44%) of the CT electorate.

So LiberalOasis' analysis was only half-right: Lamont picked up fresh Dem support post-primary, but that hasn't been replicated among the unaffiliated.

At least, not yet.

Lamont has just begun speaking to the non-primary constituency.

And he has shown his ability to dramatically turn poll numbers around through disciplined campaigning and a strong grassroots operation.

So this new poll does not mean that pessimism is in order.

But it does mean that the focus needs to be on winning over independent voters, not on getting Lieberman to drop out.

It was Lieberman who risked appearing undemocratic by thumbing his nose at the Democratic primary process.

He did it anyway, but after this poll, he got away with it. So we have to get over it.

To try to hound Lieberman out of the race will now be perceived as trying to undemocratically deny CT voters a full choice of candidates.

Furthermore, there's no way Lieberman will give up after getting 53% in a poll. It's a waste of time.

Similarly, hounding Washington Democrats to either support Lamont or to criticize Lieberman more vociferously is a waste of time.

CT voters did not vote for Lieberman because Bill Clinton showed up. And they won't care about what any out-of-state Senator has to say.

Besides, who wants to put more of a spotlight on Beltway pols that have been far less politically competent than Lamont himself?

Lamont beat Lieberman in the primary on issues. That's how he can beat him again in the general.

But Lamont also needs to take those issues and go right at Lieberman's perceived strength: his love of crossing the aisle to work with conservative Republicans.

The questions to put before the voters are:

1. Did Lieberman's desire to work across the aisle get us a plan for energy independence?

Or did it give more of our taxpayer money to fossil fuel companies?

2. Did Lieberman's unwillingness to filibuster get us moderate, independent judges?

Or did it get us Sam Alito?

3. Did Lieberman's morality and principles save Terri Schiavo from government meddling in private medical decisions?

Or did he try to leave the tube in against her wishes?

4. Did Lieberman's bipartisanship look out for those in fiscal crisis due to medial emergencies?

Or did he help pass the bankruptcy bill that left them at the mercy of the credit card companies?

5. Did Lieberman's closeness to the Bush Administration bring sanity to our foreign policy?

Or did he help shepherd one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in our nation's history?

Independent voters like the idea of bipartisanship not for bipartisanship's sake, but because they want good results.

Lieberman's warped version of bipartisanship has consistently led to bad results.

The issues are on Lamont's side. Use them.

Posted by Bill Scher on Aug 18, 2006 email post email Spotlight / / You are in Democratic Party/ Elections
Posts Near Aug 18, 2006
Aug 17, 2006Editor's Note

Aug 21, 2006Sunday Talkshow Breakdown