Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A left hook for Senator Lieberman

Jim Dean, brother of Howard Dean, the 2004 presidential hopeful and winner of the Best Tarzan Imitation in Iowa that year, runs a political activist group you might have heard of called Democracy For America, or DFA. DFA takes up liberal causes regularly; I get emails from them all the time. Getting on an email list costs nothing. You probably know that by now.

Jim Dean has written a letter chastising Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut.) And to be fair, what Senator Lieberman said was pretty bad. To wit, last week Lieberman said this: "It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander-in-chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril." That’s no way for anyone to talk about President Bush, much less a Democrat. Or, as Representative Jack Murtha (D-Pennsylvania) put it shortly after Lieberman made that comment: “What credibility?”

Will Jim Dean’s petition cause Senator Lieberman to do a little soul-searching? Or is this just rabble without a cause? I say it’s neither. This petition has got more to do with uniting other Democrats and heightening sentiment against Bush. Lieberman's got a few troubles right now, facing a possible general election challenge from Independent Lowell Weickert, whom he defeated... um... a long time ago in order to get his Senate seat in the first place. Weickert, a popular former governor and former Republican, could really mess things up for Lieberman next November. Another possibility is the "Draft Amy" movement, which is seeking to draft actress Amy Brenneman to challenge Lieberman in the Democratic primary. They're pushing for this because they're big fans of the actress. I also heard some talk about pushing Ted Kennedy, Jr. to run for the seat. I don't know much about him except that yes, he's the son of that Ted Kennedy, and that he's a lawyer of some sort. I'd be amused to refer to "the Ted Kennedys" of the Senate. (If you’re over the age of 45, you might not get my “Ted Kennedys” joke, so don’t worry if you don’t.)

The Republicans don't seem to have much in the way of a candidate, despite Lieberman's low approval numbers in Connecticut. Governor Jodi Rell is currently the most popular governor in the country, but she just took over last year, so it would be a bit too soon for her to pull out. Representatives Nancy Johnson and Christopher Shays might also be logical candidates, but they're too entrenched in their districts, I guess, and too powerful in the House to think about leaving right now. It's telling that neither of them is stepping forward to challenge Lieberman; I think it shows just how futile the Republicans feel that seeking this seat is right now. Things might change if Weickert enters the race, but I think Weickert's presence would be more prone to split the Republican vote than the Democratic vote.

Connecticut has plenty of Republicans, even though it leans more Democratic on the national level. Bush's unpopularity won't exactly inspire Nutmeg State Republicans. I predict that if Weickert enters, the Republican vote will be split between Weickert and staying home to watch "Judging Amy" reruns. Lieberman will keep his job, but hopefully he'll be cowed a little. Probably not, but you can only ask for so much.

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