Battle of the Big Blues

No, I’m not talking about music, in case you’re wondering. Up here in Connecticut, we have a summer battle going down. Senator Joe Lieberman, a veteran for years in Congress, has lost considerable public support in our nigh-overwhelmingly blue state because of his unwavering support of the War in Iraq. His challenger, Greenwich millionaire and cable entrepreneur Ned Lamont, is a progressive who blasts the senator for his conservatism and is calling for universal health care, an end to subsidies for big oil and an immediate pull-out from Iraq.

Lieberman won 66% of delegate votes, but since Lamont scored well-above 15% at 33%, there will now be a primary showdown. Most of Connecticut is split between the candidates, with no major Republican candidate in the race. If Lamont wins the primary, Lieberman may enter the race as an Independent Democrat. Connecticut is rapidly becoming the battleground, the site of a grand showdown between progressives and centrists within the Democratic party.

I am not a Democrat. However, I am following this race like a hawk. I still consider myself undecided as far as the candidacy goes. On the one hand, I am a war hawk and can’t even imagine an immediate pullout from Iraq. However, I’m very far left economically, so any progressive candidate is better than a centrist-conservative. On social issues, I’m pretty much split down the middle.

Most people here know that Joe knows what he is doing. He is a great veteran of the political arena and is a good friend of organized labor. He also fought successfully to keep the Groton submarine base open and save jobs there. On the other hand, he is seen as somewhat stale around here, disconnected from the people. To see a young, energetic family man challenging him is making people very excited.

What will happen in Connecticut and across the country as progressives battle centrists for the control of a divided Democratic party? Should Lamont or Lieberman win this race? In a greater scale, what are the consequences that little old Connecticut could have this election year?

The hordes of MoveOn.org, Take Back America and Daily Kos commentators pitching in on this race bear noisy testimony to a divided group of liberals. How do the Blue State Observer crowds feel about this? Your input just might sway me one way or the other. I don’t know if that means anything, but it could!

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8 Responses to Battle of the Big Blues

  1. Jay says:

    Hey Matt!! Thanks for blogging! Out of all of the Democrats in Congress, the only one I really respect is Joe Lieberman. He has the guts to stay strong on foreign policy and he has the balls to say “Stay the COURSE”. Even some REPUBLICANS in congress are more wimpish on this war than Joe. I disagree with Joe on many many issues but, on the issues of security and Iraq, he has been tough. I admire that. I respect Joe. I know that he wouldn’t make a good Republican but, I think it’s time for Joe to face the music. He’s just too TOUGH for the Democratic party (at least on foreign policy)……

  2. Matt says:

    I totally agree with you that Joe does a great job with foreign policy and the War. I also admire any politician willing to work outside of the conventions of party lines and have the spine to believe what they want. Believe me, I think he would make a fine Secretary of Defense if Bush is wise enough to take someone who might be able to sell the war again.

    I like Lamont’s views on socialized medicine and cutting corporate subsidies, though. He seems much fresher, more energetic and more connected than Lieberman does right now. I just don’t know who to side with.

    I’m not a Rep or a Dem, personally. I just don’t know which wing of the Dems would be better for us right now. The progressives would do a better job with the economy and balance out social issues vs. the conservatives, but I have a feeling they’d destroy any semblance of a rational foreign policy.

    In a greater sense, what other battles are occurring between progressive and centrist Dems around the country right now? Anyone else see a fight going on? Where do you all stand?

  3. Ben says:

    From this morning’s “Meet the Press”:

    MR. RUSSERT: Your colleague Joe Lieberman in Connecticut in a tough primary battle. If Senator Lieberman asks you to come to Connecticut to campaign for him, will you?

    SEN. FEINGOLD: I have a lot of admiration for Joe. He’s a fine guy. He helped me a great deal in campaign finance reform. I think Ned Lamont’s positions on the issues are much closer to mine on the critical issues. I think that this is going to be something decided by the people of Connecticut. I’m not going to go up there, but I’ll tell you this, Tim. I will support the Democratic nominee, whoever that is.

    MR. RUSSERT: So if Lamont beats Lieberman, you’re for Lamont.

    SEN. FEINGOLD: That’s correct.

    MR. RUSSERT: And you will not campaign for Lieberman if they ask you?

    SEN. FEINGOLD: I’m not getting involved in the primary. If Joe Lieberman wins the primary, I campaign for him. If Ned Lamont wins the primary, I campaign for him. I’ll be supporting the Democrat.

  4. Matt says:

    Another indecisive Democrat…big surprise there. That’s called givin’ ’em the old party line!

    Whatever. I don’t really care what some midwestern politician thinks about our races. I need to know what I want to think, not what they think.

    When will politicians and Americans stop blindly following their parties and start thinking?

  5. Ben Goodman says:

    Well, take Howard Dean. He said at one point that the DNC “does not get involved” with primaries. Then, the DSCC says they’ll support Lieberman if he runs as an Independent.

    I’d expect the DSCC to go with the nominee. Period.

    Feingold, politically, is making the right move. If Lieberman does win again, he HAS to take Lamont’s thoughts and ideals into consideration with his own … to best reflect the CT voters, right?? Feingold has now expressed that he agrees with Ned Lamont — however, Lieberman is a Democratic ally … endorsing an opposition candidate would be lethal for any allied legislation, etc.

    Feingold made the smart move politically, and the smart move period. He hasn’t burned any bridges.

  6. Jay says:

    The whole concept of a national political party staying out of a Primary is total BS. Bush and other Republicans openly endorsed liberal Lincoln Chaffee over a credible conservative challenger during the primary contest. McCain openly endorsed Emery in Maine’s recent primary for governor. It’s politics pure and simple. Feingold may respect Joe but this “I’ll support the Democrat” stuff is just a more polite way of saying “I’m not too keen on Joe Lieberman.” I have a question for both of you. If Lieberman were the moderate challenger to the Progressive incumbent, would Feingold openly endorse the progressive incumbent? My answer to that is Yes….

    Matt, if you are a progressive on fiscal issues and tough on the war, Joe is for you. He is fairly liberal on almost every front except for the war. This history of fiscal and social progressiveness is why I don’t agree with him on “many many issues.” Check out this address to learn more about Joe…. http://www.issues2000.org/Joseph_Lieberman.htm I respect Joe but, he is definitely not conservative enough to garner my vote when there is a more suitable Republican in the race. Is there one in this race???? One thing about Joe however, Susan Collins (R-ME) is about as liberal as Joe Lieberman. Definitely voting against Collins in the next primary…..

  7. Matt says:

    I’m not very progressive socially; I’m a centrist there. It’s economic issues where I’m well beyond progressive and into socialism. Still, Lamont has pointed to Lieberman’s willingness to offer cash incentives to the oil industry and opposition to universal access health care in ads. That’s why I give him some credit.

    There are no Republicans I know of even in the race, and I’m following this one closely. Lowell Weicker might run as an Independent, but he ticked off every Republican and every citizen of CT that elected him as governor when he reneged on his promise that there would be no state income tax. Oops.

  8. Matt says:

    Go Joe. Any man willing to stick to his guns and fight for what he feels is right, unpopular as it may be, deserves to be a leader in America.

    We don’t need another limousine liberal when we have an independent thinker like Lieberman.

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