Monday, August 07, 2006

Weekly Column #1: '06 Elections Will Be Interesting

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All across the country, candidates for Congress, Governorships, and other local positions are starting to put their campaigns into gear. Close races that are vital to each party are heating up almost everywhere. I can hardly make sense of it all. However, there are two that I have been following intently.

The first of which is the Lieberman vs. Lamont Democratic Primary in Connecticut. Ned Lamont is gaining very quickly in the polls, in fact, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll, he has taken the lead (54 - 41) over Lieberman. It's hard to believe that a 3-term, former vice-presidental candidate, former "Shoo-in" Senator is going to be beaten. Why would Lieberman lose, why is he even being challenged? “I think my opponent has tried and appears to be succeeding in making this a referendum on George Bush and the Iraq war," Lieberman said. And he's right. The answer to my question is simple. This is happening because it needs to. For too long Lieberman had held a post he doesn't deserve. He has supported George W. Bush and the Republicans since he was defeated in his vice-presidental bid (in 2003, he voted with the GOP 30% of the time). And he is an outspoken proponent of the Iraq War. These positions are very unpopular with his base. According to the same Quinnipiac poll, of the Lamont supporters, 65 percent say their vote is mainly against Lieberman.


Lieberman has tried to swing voters by having big name Democrats campaign for him. However, it is having little effect, and not many Democrats are helping him out. Bill and Hillary Clinton have each said they support him in the Primary, but they will support the Democrat in the general election. According to "The Hill" (a newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress), Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), Minority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Charles Schumer, Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Lieberman’s home-state colleague, Chris Dodd have all said they will support Lieberman in the primary, but have not answered who they will support if he loses. Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, Tom Harkin (Iowa), and Senator Barack Obama (Ill.) all have said they will support the Democrat in the general election, but will not comment on the primary. A grand total of three senators have said they will support Lieberman no matter what, even if he loses the primary and runs as an independent.

Lieberman is being pushed out by unhappy Democrats who are tired of having him vote with Bush, support Bush, and get kissed by Bush on national TV. Lieberman will most likely lose the primary and then run as an independent. Lamont should have no problem in the general election, unless Holy Joe takes votes away from him. And if Lieberman succeeds in bringing Lamont down with him, and allowing Republican candidate Alan Schlesinger to win, then there is proof that Lieberman needs to go. If Lieberman loses, he has a responsibility to step aside so that the Democratic Party can be victorious in the race. Unfortunately, it appears that Lieberman is only interested remaining in power and will stop at nothing to keep it.

Speaking of "nothing", let's look at the disaster that is the Katherine Harris Senate race. This is a dream come true for those Democrats who watched her help Bush to steal the 2000 Presidential Election. Her campaign couldn't be any worse. According to another Quinnipiac poll, she's trailing Bill Nelson by 59 percent to 26 percent and "only 35 percent of Republicans polled said they wanted her as the nominee."

Harris' campaign has been self-defeating from the start. Her initial campaign was lackluster and her very name will excite the Democratic base to get out and vote... against her. Her initial 2.5 million dollar campaign fund was nothing compared to Bill Nelson's $10 million. However, on Hannity and Colmes she announced her secret weapon, a multi-million dollar inheritance from her father who passed away a mere two months before. She continued to say, "I'm going to put everything on the line. Everything. Not just my future, and my reputation, my father's name, I'm going to take his legacy, that he gave to me, everything that I have, and I'm going to put it in this race." She then also stated that, "I'm going to win", after pausing for dramatic effect.

Wow, strong words for a near-dead campaign. However, there is more to be said about her "everything". Because one week earlier, according to the Orlando Sentinel, "Campaign spokeswoman Morgan Dobbs said that ... Harris will sell her existing assets rather than rely on money from her father, a bank executive who died in January".

Aside from this disturbing backpedaling, her campaign only seems to get worse. Campaign managers have been resigning left and right, all of them noting her odd behavior. One of them said, "It smacks of real paranoia." The state GOP does not want her as the nominee, and even Jeb Bush will not back her. Gov. Bush said this about her, "I am the party leader. I've got concerns. The campaign can't be about her. It has to be about Bill Nelson and the future of our state and so far, she asked my advice and I gave her that exact advice and it's gotten worse since." In addition to this, according to the Tampa Tribune, she:

• Had locks changed and posted a security guard at the door of her campaign headquarters in Tampa and had former staff members escorted in to retrieve their belongings. • Told a gathering of supporters in Cocoa Beach on Saturday that the Republican Party had "infiltrated" her campaign staff to put "knives in my back." • Told a reporter that a longtime, trusted political adviser had leaked a story about her staff members quitting, then called back to retract the comments. • Announced hiring her new staff without identifying them

Disaster is the only word I can think of to describe this. But after what she did in 2000, I can't say I feel bad for her.

On a side note of all of this, just recently Pat Robertson, of CBN's The 700 Club, declared that he was "a convert" on the issue of Global Warming. This has to be good news for the environmental crowd. A staunch conservative has proven to be a little more open minded than once believed.

Since I have not figured out how to use the HTML codes on this page, I will have to post the names of all my sources here. Thanks to Democratic Underground, Think Progress, Quinnipiac University, "The Hill" and the local news sources that I mentioned in this column.

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