Monday, July 10, 2006

The Will of the People

One thing that has perpetually bugged me about the Lieberhaters' arguments is the idea that If Lieberman chooses to run as an independent, he is refusing to "play by the rules" or abide by the "will of the people."

The first complaint is just plain bogus. It is perfectly legal for Lieberman to run in the Dem primary while collecting signatures for an indy run. It is also perfectly legal for him to refer to himself as a Democrat thereafter, since his voter registration would remain so, and since he says he will caucus with the Democrats even if he wins as an indy - not to mention that he won the endorsement of the CT Dem party. Lieberman would be breaking no rules by running as an independent and calling himself a Democrat, unless the Dem Party and/or the CT legislature change their existing rules.

The second complaint is not as blatantly dishonest, but it is still disingenuous, and hints at a broader problem I've noticed with many in the so-called 'netroots' movement. Many of them tend to think the only people who really matter are those who agree with them. They excuse this obvious display of political snobbery by saying that the 'netroots' movement is "people-powered," implying that only those who share its values and support its candidates can truly have the people's best interest at heart.

They don't come out and say it, but that is the obvious implication of saying that Lieberman would be disrespecting the people by running as an independent, and that candidates who would support a Lieberman indy run are disrespecting "the will of the voters." Sorry to say it, but there are voters in CT besides those who vote in the Democratic primary.

In fact, according to the National Journal's Almanac of American Politics, the voter registration for breakdown in CT is:
671,656 Democrats (34.2%)
449,727 Republicans (22.9%)
844,433 unaffiliated and minor parties (43.0%)

It is hardly dispespecting the will of the voters for Lieberman to give the 66% of voters who aren't registered Democrats a chance to vote for him. It's not even disrespecting CT Democrats, although such an argument would be much stronger if turnout in the CT Dem primary cracks 50%, which I very much doubt it will.

By running in the general election, Lieberman would actually give more voters a choice in the electoral process, while also giving more choices to those voters. The real reason that the Lieberhaters on Kos, MyDD, and elsewhere react so vehemently to the idea of a Lieberman indy run is not that they think a Lieberman indy run would be "breaking the rules" or disrespecting the will of the voters; it's that they know he is likely to win any election where the entire CT electorate is able to vote.

Of course, this would all be a moot point if Joe wins the 8/8 primary, which I'd still say is better than a 1:1 bet.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine if in 2004, one of the Democratic candidates who ended up losing the nomination fight to Kerry had run or threatened to run as an independent if he lost. You would be justifiably screaming bloody murder. How is this situation any different?

7/11/2006 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Politicgeek Pro said...

Well, I agree that some bloggers haven't explained their case very well, the problem is not a question of "playing by the rules". It is a democracy, after all.

The real problem is Lieberman willingly forcing a three-way race. At least for now, he says he is inclined to putting a safe democatic seat in real danger of flipping to the GOP, because his getting elected is more important to him than making certain the seat to be in democratic hands.

It is as simple as that. And I'm certain you understand it well, too.

7/12/2006 12:08 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Do you play poker? You ever raise?

It's about winning for the people to care for them and winning to protect the people from those who only want dominance for their own party. Lamont can't win anything for the people of Connecticut if he sticks to progressive totalitarian ideals.

When it comes down to all or nothing, you get nothing without cooperation.

Kabish? I'm sure you kabish that.

7/12/2006 2:58 PM  
Blogger Politicgeek Pro said...

OK, I'll stay within your metaphor: No, I absolutely do NOT raise in this situation, as the risks of the raise are considerable, while the odds of winning by seeing you right now are almost 100%.

Hence, it all boils down to one question: What is most important in your risk/reward-assesment, keeping the seat in democratic hands, or keeping it in Lieberman's hand? And I understand perfectly why many people think the latter position is quite ego-centric, and that the talking about "serving" and caring and protecting in this context sounds a bit hollow.

As for the claim that Lamont and his blogger backers are more totalitarian than Lieberman, it will suffice to say I don't understand it at all. Simple rethorical strawman.

7/13/2006 1:38 PM  
Blogger Ken Balbari said...

The only way a Republican wins this seat is in a 2 way with Lamont. Polls show Lieberman winning easy in a three way race.

Would I have supported a Democrat running as an Independent in the 2004 presidential race? Sure, if he had a chance to win, and deny us 4 more years of Bush!

There is no comparison here with some fringe single digit candidate like Nader here. Lamont would be the only one in danger of netting under 15% of the vote in a competitive 3 way race.

I don't blame Lamont for running. Even in a losing campaign, he helps establish himself as a potential candidate for the future, maybe for a race he has a chance to win. And I think the discussion, the debate, and the political activity are all good for Connecticut Democrats.

But the this silly whining about Lieberman actually daring to stand for re-election is contributing nothing useful to the debate.

7/13/2006 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely said, Ken!

7/14/2006 8:40 PM  

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