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Learning from Lamont - By David Sirota

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Jon8503 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:05 AM
Original message
Learning from Lamont - By David Sirota
Edited on Fri Nov-10-06 09:07 AM by Jon8503
What Connecticut's Senate race says about the progressive movement and American politics

It was raining hard when I returned my rental car at Hartfords Bradley International Airport on Wednesdaythe weather was not helping to raise my spirits from the night before. I had been working as a strategist and rapid response staffer for Ned Lamonts Senate campaign against pro-war incumbent Joe Lieberman, and we had just lost the general election by 10 points. Needless to say, I wasnt happy. But my mood lifted when the middle-aged woman at the Avis counter said, I voted for him.

She was pointing at the Lamont for Senate button still pinned to my rumpled jacket lapel. During a day where I, like thousands of others in Connecticut, were looking for answers, her simple statement I voted for him was a much-needed reminder to me that we had done something very profound.

I wish he would have won, she went on. I just dont get why he lost.

A lot of people dont get why Ned Lamont lost and Sen. Joe Lieberman (CFL-Conn.) won. But over the coming weeks and months, both the right and left will try to explain Lamonts high-profile loss in ways that are advantageous to each side. Already, two major narratives on what happened have emergedboth of which conflict with each other, both of which are wrong, and both of which will be debunked right here, right now.

(article below @ link)

http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2917 /

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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. Your link sent me to my yahoo mail. Please fix it - I want to read this.
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Jon8503 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. fixed, thanks.
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
2. I can't read the rest.
But I'm curious about the self-congratulatory, "We won even though we were badly beaten" narrative to follow.
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Jon8503 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. This link should work. Thanks.
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Pithy Cherub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
3. The national Dems stabbed Lamont in the back.
Confirmation, just read it on dailykos.com. The meddler himself, DSCC's Chuck Schumer fully participated. More to come on just how Lamont was undercut and undersupported. Holy Joe "won" with Republican votes, nobody should ever forget that. :nuke:
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Precisely. (NT)
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Jon8503 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. How are we set up if Lieberman should go to the republican party which
Edited on Fri Nov-10-06 09:22 AM by Jon8503
I don't think he will but don't we have a majority without him. After all, almost all of his support was from the republicans who deserted their own party candidate which shows to me both parties wanted Lieberman back it seems.
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Pithy Cherub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #8
14. Joe lost ALL of his power on election day.
He needs money to support other Dems for 2008 and to repair his image. He can only get that from republicans. He is a lame duck without a power base. Reid has more power over Joe. IF he went to the dark side - he would not get a committee chair as an independent he would have to declare as a republican. That would be huge and Joe doesn't do anything that would pin prick his pride bubble of shame. Joementum also is effectively dead after 2008 if the Dems widen the majority in 2008.
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. 2008?
What in God's name are you talking about? Joe has his seniority and he has his chair. No one in the Senate is going to punish him at a later date. He is in the catbird's seat until 2012.
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Pithy Cherub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:06 PM
Response to Reply #18
37. Catch a clue
More actual REAL DEMOCRATS means diffusing the power of the established ones to actual Democrats. Not some lamebrain traitor Joe who sold his soul for thirty faux pieces of republican silver who has no legitimacy after 2008 because real Dems will be in charge and Joe can't change his independent status so he screwed himself royally. :rofl:

The real change is in 2008!
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. As long as the Dems maintain their majority, he is fine
No Majority Leader is going to lead that fight against to strip Joe of seniority in 2008, because they all fear the same situation happening to them. Joe will keep his seniority and his chairmanship as long as he is in Congress.

He may not be a key swing-vote after 2008, yes, but he'll have two years of fun in the meantime.
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #14
25. "If" he went to the dark side? As in Cheney supporting him? Fox putting
signs for him?
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Pithy Cherub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #25
38. Formally & publicly as the republican Joe Leiberman really is...
:evilgrin:
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. He's not going to leave
Why does this question keep coming up?
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #15
19. It's a tactic...
...employed by Lamont supporters to justify their attempt to get rid of Lieberman.
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. I think it's more an attempt at self-fulfilling prophesy
I think the anti-Lieberman crowd hates him more than they like being the majority. So, if they can throw enough garbage at him to force him into the Republican caucus, the Democrats become the minority, Lieberman becomes the bad guy, and they are finally happy.
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #15
26. No "cut and run" him. More "Stay & Blackmail"
I am waiting for the Wyoming new Dem senator to take his power away.
Why the questions you ask? Because Joementum never missed a chance to backstab, starting in 1998 with Clinton, then selling Gore/our election out etc, etc....
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Jon8503 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #15
44. As I previously stated, I don't think he will leave as well but was
only asking how the senate makeup would be if he moved to the republican party, I understand it that we would still have the majority with the other independent.

However, it is always possible he could move as has been done in the past by other senators. I really think that would be the final straw and piss off the CT voters if he did and he would only move depending on what was offered to him by the republicans. After all, most all of his support was from them from Bush on down.

Regardless, it does create an interesting scenario.
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. If he caucused with the Repubs, they have the majority
We need Joe desperately at the moment.

And he is still a Democrat.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. Actually the Netroots screwed Lamont from get-go. Their total insistence on focusing on Iraq
and touting Lamont as "anti-Iraq War" made him a single issue voter and played right into stinker Joe's hands.

While the Netroots and the crew at Firedoglake should be commended for supporting Lamont, they totally FAILED to help him win the primary with a public image that would then help in the general.
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Pithy Cherub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Rechewed over codswallop!
Edited on Fri Nov-10-06 09:58 AM by Pithy Cherub
The national Dems could have made a show of unity and they abandoned it to protect incumbency rather than the will of DEMOCRATIC voters. If you want to defend such wormy behavior continue on but let it be said you are fighting in the muck and a cesspool and not on the side of the Better Angels. Supporting Lieberman in the face of such naked power grab by Liberman is because Ned DID NOT demonize Holy sanctimonious Joe as he should have been.On edit : Because the national Dems failed in their responsibility to talk Joe out of continuing and asked lamont not to use it against Holy Joementum.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. I'd argue with you but conceed to 'Rechewed over codswallop'
that's a great response :D

Okay, maybe a little argument. I am not defending Joe in any way, shape or form.

But highlighting the crappy strategy that Netroots employed in making Lamont the "Anti-Iraq War" candidate.

He was a flat, uni-dimensional, one issue candidate before he even got into the general. Largely because of the Netroots and also with the help of the GOP and Media.

And Lamont didn't counter that. Even if establishment Dems DID go whole hog in support of Lamont, it's likely he would have lost anyway, IMO.
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. I don't think Lamont had any shot to win this thing short of Joe quitting
Joe Lieberman is an institution in Connecticut. If John Kerry and Bill Clinton had gone door to door for a month for Lamont, I'm not sure it would have been enough to end the 30-year relationship Lieberman has with the voters up there. It certainly wasn't going to drive the Republicans to vote for Lamont. Maybe it drives up Lamont's Democratic numbers some, but I don't see it closing an 11-point gap.

What Lamont supporters are really pissed about is that Joe didn't quit. That's what they wanted. And that's what they needed to happen.

But Lieberman was clearly angry about the primary and was not going to let that be his swan song. Joe was going to give up his seat when the pryed it from his cold, dead hands. He had the numbers on his side and little was going to change that.

Blaming Schumer and Emanuel and the rest of the national Dems is easy but it did not change the fundamentals on the ground.
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Pithy Cherub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #16
35. Lol!
:toast: On to the next battle! ;)
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #10
27. Yeah, war - what a silly idea!
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #27
31. point being, it wasn't the ONLY issue. And flattening Lamont into a 'single-issue'
candidate, whatever issue that was going to be... was not wise or helpful.
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #31
32. It was THE issue. What brought voters to polls.
I am not sure yet of the extent of the BFEE involvement there - I mean beyond telling GOP-ers to vote Joe, and funding him.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #3
33. They played it safe by hedging thier bets
Had they backed Lamont and Lieberman still won, Lieberman may have decided to caucus with the Republicans. They weren't afraid of Lamont doing that.
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WI_DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
7. Is there any truth to what some say that he ran a bad campaign?
for instance that right after the primary rather than building on that success he went on a two week vacation? I wasn't there, so I don't know, maybe someone who was in the state could address that. But one thing is clear he wasn't able to expand his base from the primary. Independents went overwhelmingly for Lieberman. Republicans, of course, also did. But even a quarter of Democrats also voted against Lamont.
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skiddlybop Donating Member (408 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Sirota is just a little deceptive.
He LIKED the way Schumer killed off Paul Hackett in favor of Sherrod Brown in the Ohio primary, earlier in the year, and hoped that the establishment would back Lamont the same way. But surprise, surprise, they didn't....they killed off the upstart in both cases.

That should be a lesson to Sirota...
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ProudToBeBlueInRhody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. He did run a bad campaign
I know you've got people around here who don't want to hear it, but it's the truth...he took the tact that he was the new Senator as soon as the primary was over, like a lot of folks here did too.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #7
29. That's addressed in the article
They were told not to hammer Lieberman after the primary, supposedly because other Dems would convince Lieberman to drop out of the race.

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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #7
42. Right after the primary, Clinton 'donated' her communications guru to Lamont. Coincidence?
That marks exactly when the campaign started to sputter and lost its communication high ground.

And the bigname Dems REFUSED to attack Lieberman as the opposition candidate. Only Clark and Kerry made direct statements AGAINST Lieberman.

The Clintons, Obama, all the Dem leadership and all the 'luminaries' refused to show up in Connecticut for Lamont.
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
11. He brought national attention tothe Iraq war. For that I am greatful.
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #11
23. to wit, to our opposition to it. The majority;s opposition to it.
Best kept secret was out because of him.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #11
30. I think Lamont's primary victory opened the door
for other Democrats to speak more forcefully against the war.
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Norquist Nemesis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
20. Lieberman won because he took a second bite of the apple
That's all there is to it. He refused to accept the primary process that gave him a loss. In doing so, he retained his original supporters and gain Cons who had a lame option for their Republican ticket.

We'll never know, but I have to wonder if the results would have looked like if Lieberman had ran as an Indy from the start.
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
21. WIthout Lamont's primary victory, Nov 7 wouldn't have been possible
Edited on Fri Nov-10-06 11:07 AM by The Count
Cheney, Fox and all the BFEE resources zeroed in CT for a reason: Lamont made it clear that being anti-war wins you elections.
I am heart-broken he lost, but his place in history is assured!
Several senators votes were changed by him (i.e: Joe, Hillary voting against torture)
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. I don't buy this for a second
Lamot did not make this election about the War. The voters made this election about the War.

If Ned Lamont had never been born, this election would have still been a referendum on the War.
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #24
28. Most Dem candidates didn't dare speak of it before, in spite of Murtha
it was lamont that made it "safe" for some to do so
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #28
36. So, Jim Webb started wearing his son's combat boots because of Lamont?
Come on....
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Jon8503 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #24
40. I see it that way as well. Lamont was speaking for the people.
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. I basically saw Lamont as a mouthpiece for the anti-war crowd
Back when this argument was made about Dean in 2004, I thought there was some basis to the idea that he made it safe to criticize the war. But, my God, the last two years, have been NOTHING but symphony of war criticism. Bill Kristol is criticizing the handling of the war at this point.

Lamont rode a wave. He didn't start it.
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Nikki Stone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
34. Thanks for this
Sirota makes some good points, and I might be revising my opinion on that race as a result.

To me, this is the most telling part of the article:



Abandonment of the Democratic nominee by the Democratic Party: The story of the national Democratic Partys abandonment of Lamont will likely be written more fully in the coming weeks, with explanations of both how this happened and even more importantly, why. But the broad strokes are obvious: Almost every major figure in national Democratic politics save John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Wes Clark and John Edwards refused to seriously help the Lamont campaign. We saw this coming when, right after Lieberman lost the primary, he was welcomed with a standing ovation back to the Senate club by his Democratic colleagues. Subsequently, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid indicated that Liebermans seniority would be preserved if he won reelection, despite the fact that he officially abandoned the party. To understand how much this abandonment affected the race, consider that Lieberman bragged in October to the Associated Press that he was actively using Reids promise of seniority to promote his key experience and seniority argumentand that such an argument was helping him win over voters. On Election Day, Lieberman appeared on Fox News to thank the national Democratic Party for refusing to help Lamont, the Democratic nominee.

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Strawman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
43. It's mostly the vacuum from a weak Republican with no party support
They effectively retreated from the election and conceeded all that ideological ground to Lieberman. The simple fact is that there are a good chunk of votes there, and is another significant chunk of votes among those that lean Democratic but aren't all that liberal for a candidate like Lieberman. It was a strategic retreat by the Republicans and a decision to make lemonade with Lieberman that cost us the election. In a normal race with a candidate who the Republicans really pushed, Lieberman would have lost.

I suppose it's also possible that he benefitted from being portrayed as the person in the middle between the other two candidates. People who do not attend to the issues probably figure it's safest to pick the person in the middle. Also the comfort level that comes with incumbency. People who attend to politics like the Dem primary voters were easy sells in terms of the case for change and for Lamont. People who don't, like the general election voters have all sorts of misperceptions. They were comfortable with an 18 year incumbent and they were not informed enough to critically evaluate his attempts to be all things to all people.
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Strelnikov_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #43
48. Agreed. The Other Factors Are Secondary To This.
Edited on Fri Nov-10-06 01:07 PM by loindelrio
35% in '00 vs 8% in '06.

Joementum got most of the Reich vote and enough of Lamont's 'base' to pull it out.
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Strawman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. Yep, and Lamont probably GAINED Democratic voters and some independents
Edited on Fri Nov-10-06 01:17 PM by Strawman
from the primary to the general election. It just wasn't enough. He was sucessfully triangulated.

Netroots Dems or Sirota or anyone in the Lamont campaign should not feel like failures for merely overcoming long odds to oust an incumbent in favor of an unknown in a primary and not overcoming nearly IMPOSSIBLE odds of beating him in a three way race where the Republicans did not contest and handed Lieberman their voters.

There was ground gained and progress made from the Dean campaign to the Lamont campaign to the takeover. It was marked by defeats of people like Pombo by netroots fueled candidates like McNerney. We just need to keep pushing. There are more victories to be had. Remember when the netroots was supposedly proven to not matter after Dean lost? Who was it that was grinning from ear to ear as the Chairman of the new congressional majority party on the Daily Show this Wednesday?
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
46. i think the dems in charge knew they had a safe seat, no matter WHICH one won
Edited on Fri Nov-10-06 12:49 PM by SoCalDem
and they just sat back and let republicans pay for Joementum's race.

The probably figured that every dime spent by republicans to elect JOE was a win for them..

I think they cut Ned loose when the republicans started financing Joe..

They used that money on other races..

Ned was used.

There were enough independents and republicans to win it for Joe, so the leadership, just bailed on Ned.

Had Joe NOT run , I have no doubt that ned would have, but....
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #46
47. I think you hit it perfectly; Chuck Schumer was simply doing math
The race was either going to go to Lieberman or Lamont. And that's a checkmark for Schumer. He didn't care who won or who paid for it, as long as it was not him.

Frankly, I'm glad that he didn't have to worry about CT. Maybe the attention helped in NJ or VA.
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AtomicKitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
50. The people of Connecticut selected their representative.
as I posted in GD-P:

Nobody is happy with Lieberman defying the will of voters in the Democratic primary, but running third party is legal and his prerogative. Lamont was afforded the backing of the Democratic Party; one's view of whether that was enough has more to do with and is commensurate with one's disdain for the party structure.

The current disgruntled demeanor of some disregards the real truism here and that is Lieberman gives Democrats the majority in the Senate, and it is that not particularly fine point that should resonate. Others may choose the route of sniveling and blaming, but I choose to celebrate a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress which is effin brilliant in my opinion.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 10:51 PM
Response to Original message
51. The most important sentence in the article--
As the Associated Press confirms this week, Liebermans margin was provided by a segment of voters who are strongly against the war, but who (wrongly) believed Lieberman is strongly against the war.
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