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October 18, 2006


It sure looks to me like Lieberman is laying the groundwork for defection.

October 18, 2006 | Permalink


There's also the possibility that he's just trying to win lots of Republican votes, which he needs. I've been wondering how many of his right-wing moves are election-driven, and how many of them we should take as portents of his '07 behavior.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Oct 18, 2006 1:41:04 AM

As much as I already believe Lieberman's defection to the GOP to be inevitable, seeing Hamsher's byline on that one made it lose hope that it might be true. She's been banging on the Lie-berman/Loserman drum since the start of the campaign season and, as such, anything that comes from her gets taken after a firm taste of the salt lick.

Because frankly, between her and Duncan, I've run out of grains of salt when it comes to the CT-SEN race. And as a teetotaler, I can't take it with shots of SoCo.

Posted by: Off Colfax | Oct 18, 2006 2:06:17 AM

I think a Lieberman defection has been inevitable since he crashed and burned in the primaries in 2004. Even by Washington standards, Lieberman is a nakedly ambitious pol with a shamelessly self-aggrandizing love of the spotlight, and his humiliation in '04 demonstrated that he'll never rise any higher in the party peddling his bipartisanship fetish. But the very fact that Lieberman infuriates progressives has made him increasingly popular with conservatives, and he has to have fantasies of switching sides for some sweet committee chairmanship or cabinet post and getting to make his sorrowful "I didn't leave them, they left me" speech. When the rumors started flying about him getting Rumsfeld's job I was sure it was the match made in hell. I don't know if he'll make the switch this year, but if he sticks with the Dems in a 51-49 leadership vote I'll probably die of shock. This is actually one of the reasons I thought the primary challenge was a good idea, if not the best possible use of limited resources: better to replace the bastard when we had the chance than get backstabbed later.

Posted by: Christmas | Oct 18, 2006 3:19:40 AM

If he becomes a Republican, all his so-called non-partisanship becomes partisanship. Unless he changes his tune and starts bitching about Republicans. (That would almost make it all worth it.)

Posted by: Royko | Oct 18, 2006 4:53:57 AM

It's possible he would be a worse SecDef than Rumsfailed. I know, that is hard to believe anyone could be worse.

Posted by: merlallen | Oct 18, 2006 7:02:26 AM

If he becomes a Republican, all his so-called non-partisanship becomes partisanship. Unless he changes his tune and starts bitching about Republicans. (That would almost make it all worth it.)

I disagree. I think it's quite possible for Lieberman to remain an independent, but to caucus with the Republicans. He can play "the party left me" and remain a nominally Democratic critic of the Democratic party, he can vote with the Republicans on leadership posts, and on most of the major issues of the day.

As evidenced by John McCain, it takes an incredible, nearly superhuman degree of partisan pandering to lose the "independent" label, once bestowed. So long as Lieberman remains nominally an independent (that is, CFL rather than R), he'll be able to be take Chafee's, or even Specter's voting record and remain perceived as an independent.

As awful as it would be to see the Senate stay Republican because of Joe, man, the fallout in left blogistan would be hilarious. Not worth the price, in any way, but kinda hilarious.

Posted by: DivGuy | Oct 18, 2006 7:30:08 AM

Let's face it.

It was the activists that drove their motivated voters to the primaries. The fact that Joe, as an independent, is smacking his Democratic opponent proves that is was not the rank and file in the primary, and it certainly wasn't the (almost nonexistant) Republicans. How much more embarrassing and exposing can it get to have Joe lose the primary and then beat the annointed?

The radical left who attempted to destroy Lieberman has now, instead, destroyed the party machine in their state.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 18, 2006 8:26:57 AM

There you have it folks. A new form of mathematics invented by everyone's favorite troll, Fred Jones. According to Jonesematics, Lamont getting Democrats 5:3 on Lieb means that Lieberman actually has more Democratic support, the "rank and file" as he calls it. See, in this scheme, when Lieb loses 20% of Democratic support he had in the primaries, that actually means he has gained support among Dems, not lost it, or simply had it all along.

Yeah, it was only those crazed activists and they are killing the party. A party, mind you, that Fred professes to hate, and therefore, we should trust that he knows what he's talking about.

Posted by: Adrock | Oct 18, 2006 9:31:54 AM

Lieberman is running the campaign that pretty much every pol wishes he could run, nothing more nothing less. He gets to bash both sides and come off as an independent-thinker. As much as most bloggers may well know how partisan DC is, talking like a non-partisan makes really damn good soundbites. He's just saying what he has to to get elected, and liberals should stop acting so goshdarned shocked.

As for defection, it's funny to hear liberals worry about extremist and litmus-testy the Republican party is, and then hear them think they're going to support this environmentalist extremely pro-choice liberal (or that Lieberman would do vice versa). There's as much chance of this happening as McCain accepting the Dem VP nomination.

(The one chance of this happening would be if the war on terror and Iraq became THE only issues of the day, the issues Lieberman has actually been right-wing on. But that actually becomes less relevant every day as the war gets worse, voters dislike it, and Republicans downplay it.)

Posted by: Tony v | Oct 18, 2006 10:24:50 AM

I'm with Neil. I don't see much to indicate a switch. Lieberman has no future with the Republican party.

Posted by: Sanpete | Oct 18, 2006 10:57:41 AM

If he becomes a Republican, all his so-called non-partisanship becomes partisanship.

No. He'll still vote with the Dems on all votes that don't matter (i.e., he'll vote for cloture, or he'll vote for something to make it out of committee, but vote against the bill on the floor), thereby maintaining his bipartisan cred. But he'll vote with the republicans on all votes of actual significance.

Posted by: Seitz | Oct 18, 2006 11:33:12 AM

A party, mind you, that Fred professes to hate...

Really? Where have I ever said that? They're more like a one big group in a clown suit.

Wait until Lieberman mops up the floor with Lamont as an independent. Ha! What a great day that will be! When Jim Jeffords goes independent, Democrats called him a "free thinker", a "man of integrity", and "not beholden to the party bosses". Let's see how these same people treat Mr. Lieberman after the people choose him.

As an afterthought, Joe Lieberman has more integrity than Jeffords since he let the people know in advance of the election that he is an independent. Jeffords fucked all the voters who thought they were voting for a Republican and only after he was elected did he shed his sheep's skin.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 18, 2006 12:11:48 PM

Fred said -
Jeffords fucked all the voters who thought they were voting for a Republican and only after he was elected did he shed his sheep's skin.

I have to agree that it was a dirty trick. I really appreciate you charecterisation at the end there, republicans really are a bunch of sheep.

Posted by: DuWayne | Oct 18, 2006 12:16:18 PM

Yeah, Liebermann will switch.

The real divide in politics at this moment is between neo-cons/authoritarians and non-authoritarians. Liebermann may be liberal on a few issues, but those issues aren't as salient as they once were. Since the GOP is the home of the authoritarians, that is where Joe fits. Add to that his horror at being rejected in 2004 by the voters in Democratic primaries and his apparently vindictive nature, and I find it hard to believe that he will not switch unless the GOP either needs two defections to regain power or they don't offer him anything.

If anyone other than Bush was president, BTW, I think its more likely that Rumsfeld would step down to spend more time with his family and Libermann would get his job -- allowing the GOP governor of CT to appoint a GOP Senator. But that would mean Rumsfled, Cheney and Bush would have to do something that could be seen as bowing to criticism. Since hey appaear to be pathologically incapabale of doing so, I doubt Joe will get to be SecDef.

Posted by: kevin | Oct 18, 2006 1:27:17 PM

As an afterthought, Joe Lieberman has more integrity than Jeffords since he let the people know in advance of the election that he is an independent.

I'll give Lieberman credit for "integrity" if he makes an unambiguous statement about which side he will caucus with, or if someone can provide a link to a place about where he has already done so. I'd even consider the possibility sticking with an assessment that he has integrity if he makes such a statement and goes back on it, if that there has been significant change in the nature of one or both parties in the meantime. Until then, he's as dishonest and/or daft as any opportunistic faux-moderate Yoostabee. In other words, Fed, your assertion that Lieberman has a significant amount of integrity is, as usual, unsupported by facts.

Jeffords fucked all the voters who thought they were voting for a Republican and only after he was elected did he shed his sheep's skin.

Ah yes, here we see the "consistency" mentality of some conservatives, where any change is inherently immoral. "Iraq may be a hellhole, the Taliban may be making a resurgence in Afghanistan and the deficit might be through the roof, but dammit, at least Bush is a trustworthy guy and you know where he stands!" Bush ran as a compassionate conservative in 2000. Five months later, it was clear that the phrase didn't mean what his supporters thought it meant. For a number of reasons that affected the nation in general and Vermont in particular (full disclosure: my home state), circumstances in the Republican Party had changed from the way they appeared and/or actually were. So Jeffords changed too — that bastard!

But perhaps more importantly, I eagerly await your venomous condemnation of Ben Nighthorse-Campbell (who left the Democratic Party — sorry, "fucked all the voters" — in the middle of a term) and Richard Shelby (who switched to the Republican Party just one day after they took the majority in 1994). Yup, eagerly awaiting it.

Posted by: Cyrus | Oct 18, 2006 1:58:36 PM

They, too, disrespected the voters who pulled the party switch. Your point??

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 18, 2006 3:20:44 PM

I guess the best example of integrity I can offer you is Senator Phil Gramm of Texas who resigned his position as a Democrat, switched parties and then allowed the voters to elect him as a known Republican is they wanted to.

The voters had a say.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 18, 2006 3:42:56 PM

Well, fair enough. I can't argue with that — The way Gramm switched parties was superior to how Jeffords did it.

Posted by: Cyrus | Oct 18, 2006 4:55:50 PM

Can anyone from Connecticut enlighten us as to whether Connecticut, like California, has a recall law? Because if Joe switches to Republican after the election rather than before, he deserves recall, and a recall would be successful. Just wondering.

Posted by: Paul | Oct 18, 2006 9:12:15 PM

I think it comes down to whether one considers a representative is chosen on an individual or party basis, which differs from place to place and situation to situation. Jeffords comes from a small state with a tradition of personalised door-to-door politics; Gramm comes from a state nearly 30 times larger and over 30 times more populous, where that kind of state-wide politics doesn't really happen. Switches are different in states with open primaries and ones with closed partisan primaries; they're different in states with small and large budgetary requirements.

I could point to Winston Churchill, who crossed the floor twice, never choosing to resign his seat, but that's another different model: if your victories are considered beholden to the party organisation, then you have a greater moral obligation to seek a new mandate.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Oct 19, 2006 12:33:45 AM

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