Monday, July 03, 2006

Connecticut Independents

There's more than a little irony in Joe Lieberman's decision to run as an idependent if he loses next month's Democrat primary. Lieberman was elected in 1988 when he defeated incumbent Republican Lowell Weicker. Weicker, like Lieberman, was much more centrist than his party and therefore, also like Lieberman, ran afoul of the party's ideological activists. Much like Kos today, William F. Buckley and the National Review launched a vicious series of attacks on Weicker for his apostasy.

And there's more. Weicker was first elected in 1970 in a three-way race similar in many ways to this year's election. The incumbent was the conservative and pro-Vietnam War Democrat Thomas Dodd (father of Connecticut's other U.S. Senator, Chris Dodd). Recognizing that he would likely lose the Democratic nomination to the liberal and anti-war Joseph Duffy (supported by a young Joe Lieberman), Dodd dropped out of the race, only to reenter as an independent after the Democratic primary. Dodd and Duffey split the Democratic vote, allowing Weicker to win with 42 percent of the vote.

Weicker went on to become famous as a member of the Senate Watergate Committee where he criticized his own party's president, Richard Nixon, much as Lieberman became famous for criticizing fellow Democrat Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal.

After losing to Lieberman, Weicker ran and won the race for governor of Connecticut as an independent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Senator Lieberman's political troubles stem from his unabashed support of both President Bush and the Iraq War.

As a majority of Americans have been shown to disapprove of both, how does that make Lieberman "more Centrist than his party"? It would seem that he has strayed into the Right Wing minority.