Aug 9 2006
09:45 am

Over at the Political Wire, there are some interesting findings from Connecticut exit polls. I'll wait while you go read. Back? Good.

It struck me that the issues which hurt Lieberman in the Blue State of Connecticut might actually help Harold Ford Jr. in the Red State of Tennessee. Despite Ford's recent moderation of his support for the war, he is pretty much in the same boat with Lieberman on the issues mentioned. Will that work to his advantage down here?

Andy Axel's picture

I'll Say This Much...

Much of my support for Ford's campaign is predicated upon the idea that the Democrats are positioned to retake a majority in the Senate, should he win.

That job just got harder, since today -- officially, anyway -- there is one fewer Democrat in the Senate.


"winkin' at my peers," quotin' Thurston.

Andy Axel's picture



Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., threw their support behind Connecticut upset winner Ned Lamont this morning.

Both senators issued a joint statement this morning on the Connecticut Senate race, saying, in part, "The Democratic voters of Connecticut have spoken and chosen Ned Lamont as their nominee. Both we and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) fully support Mr. Lamont's candidacy. Congratulations to Ned on his victory and on a race well run."


"winkin' at my peers," quotin' Thurston.

Sven's picture

I dunno

Like Josh Marshall, I think the pro-war/anti-war canard is off the mark. The real change in the zeitgeist- and the thread that may run through both red and blue states - is growing resentment against the establishment, which can be expressed through a number of seemingly unconnected issues.

Ford better have his ear to the ground.

R. Neal's picture

Yes, as I said last night I

Yes, as I said last night I don't think the war is a good single issue to run on. Which is why Republicans want to make Harold and other Dems run on it. Even though their performance is dismal, we're still in it, so you gotta be patriotic, etc.

Andy Axel's picture

A Fine Issue as Well

A Democratic majority in the Senate is a fine issue as well.

I'd dearly love to see this addressed.

And as the DSCC did HFJ the favor of spiking the primary in TN, I (a) look forward to a similar fate for Lieberman's "independent" run, and (b) look to Harold to welcome Ned Lamont to the race.

As we support the fledgling democracy in Iraq, we'd do well to support the established democratic process here at home.


"winkin' at my peers," quotin' Thurston.

Eleanor A's picture

Problem is

Any Dem running statewide in TN is going to have a hell of a time, no matter what. You need to have killer turnout in Nashville and Memphis, and do as well as you can in Knox, Chatt, and the Tri-Cities, maybe Jackson.

Problem is, you've got activist Dems in Memphis and Nashville who respond to different issues than do rural voters. Playing only to the rural areas could depress your turnout in Shelby and Davidson, two reliable Dem vote hotbeds. The GOP has no such problem, since their high-margin areas are Williamson and Blount, and east TN proper. None of these are urban areas, and you see them getting away with progressively rightward-leaning social policies.

Going to be interesting to see how Bredesen threads this needle, since he's pretty well thrown the Democratic Party identifier under the bus and given up on Memphis/Nashville, since presumably he thinks he'll attract a lot of GOP support elsewhere. Regardless of the devastating effect this will have on other Democrats who'd like to identify as such, it seems like a risky strategy - there are many Republicans who'll vote GOP on principle. He better hope Corker can't manage to rile up his base, and that money doesn't start getting funneled in here from the Frist organization.

If Ford's smart, he'll be doing a lot of behind-the-scenes coordinating to finesse his message. I'm starting to think he can pull this out if he can patch together some of the smaller counties in mid and West, which still reliably vote Dem.

Eleanor A's picture

Here it comes

Just did a little Googling, using "Bredesen Bryson," and found this from last month's Nashville City Paper...

But Bryson will soon get some help from one of the top members of the state GOP — U.S. Sen. Bill Frist.

Frist is hosting two fund-raisers later this month — one in Chattanooga on July 21 and one in Nashville July 28 — to help Bryson raise the necessary funds to compete with Bredesen.


The Bryson campaign routinely cites current Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue and his 2002 win in Georgia against then-Gov. Roy Barnes, who had about $20 million compared to Perdue’s roughly $3.5 million.

That could be code for "Frist is going to start funneling money in here out of VolPac, amongst other organizations." I don't know that I think it's a good idea to take the traditional GOP money advantage lightly.

R. Neal's picture

I don't think Bryson stands

I don't think Bryson stands a snowball's chance, no matter how much he spends. At least it will be entertaining, watching him explain how he tried to kill Cover Tennessee with tort reform and no funding, and how he killed the minimum wage. That's sure to resonate with working people in Tennessee.

Andy Axel's picture





"winkin' at my peers," quotin' Thurston.

R. Neal's picture

Gee, I wonder what kind of

Gee, I wonder what kind of rewards? Hats? T-Shirts? Free long distance medical diagnosis?

Eleanor A's picture


That is just ludicrous!!! Where'd you find it? Is it linked somewhere?

Andy Axel's picture


That is just ludicrous!!! Where'd you find it? Is it linked somewhere?

It's the splash page that comes up as you go to

I'm imagining an iPod that plays nothing but GOP propaganda. Yeeeech.


"winkin' at my peers," quotin' Thurston.

R. Neal's picture

I sat through the demo. You

I sat through the demo. You "earn rank" by getting points for doing things like adding the VolPac site to your favorites, making VolPac you home page, commenting on the blog, participating in a "campaign" (astroturf/e-mail, I guess?), making a campaign contribution (2 points per $), etc.

Depending on the rank achieved ("Volunteer", "Organizer", "Captain", "Leader"), rewards are things like screen savers, desktop backgrounds, customizable "my profile" page, invitation to monthly confernce call, a "Captain Online Pin", consult with online VolPac team, etc.

Sounds truly exciting, especially for a 30% dead ender or a Frist groupie.

The demo is here:


It looks like pretty slick software, so they've got that going for them.

Sven's picture

Yeah, but I think it's a

Yeah, but I think it's a very different dynamic than we had in 2004. In fact, it's almost the opposite.

Back then, Bush was running on the status quo, "we have to stay the course." Now voters are dissatisfied with the status quo. Notice how the GOP talking points are starting to write off Iraq and agitating for new, exciting fronts in the war on terror.

The bottom line is voters want change. I think any candidate who advocates "staying the course" or fails to take pains to disassociate themselves with the Washington esablishment may be in trouble.


Andy Axel's picture

Notice, too...

Notice how the GOP talking points are starting to write off Iraq and agitating for new, exciting fronts in the war on terror.

Notice, too, that while many in the administration are itching to push onward into Iran (Wes Clark even saying that Iran has been on the radar since before the Iraq invasion), they're desperately trying to avoid the issue of the larger war in the Middle East and the US role there.

New products in August & all that.

Still, the crisis in Lebanon gives ample opportunity to look away from the ongoing disaster elsewhere in the region.

Anyway, I don't expect that Ford will turn into Dennis Kucinich. Neither will the rest of the Democratic Party, for that matter. Ford is Ford, Lieberman is Lieberman, and Tennessee ain't Connecticut. As I read the lessons from recent events here at home, we're seeing that Tennesseeans respect moderation from both sides of the aisle. They reject Hilleary just as much as they would reject Hillary, and although Bryant tried desperately to cast himself as [William Jennings] Bryan, it didn't fly.


"winkin' at my peers," quotin' Thurston.

Sven's picture

Anyway, I don't expect that

Anyway, I don't expect that Ford will turn into Dennis Kucinich.

I don't either. But I don't think Lieberman's support of the war cost him as much as the fact that his "we're on the right track and we have to stand firm" schtick sounded like "you can believe me, or your lyin' eyes." 

I haven't followed Ford rhetoric very closely, but I think in general the Dems better be careful of being outflanked on Iraq. The GOP is gearing up to blame the whole damn mess on the A-rabs and wash their hands of it. People don't want to hear "defeatist" talk about cutting and running, but I don't think at this point people want to hear about how we have to keep our commitment to freedom and democracy in Iraq, either.

(Hey, maybe we can get Richard Nixon to run. Peace with honor, baby.) 


Sven's picture

General Wes has got the

General Wes has got the frequency.

On Tuesday, the message sent by Connecticut voters was loud and clear. They want change, and they want Ned Lamont to represent them in the U.S. Senate, voting for Ned by a 52% - 48% margin over Senator Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary.

You see, despite what Joe Lieberman believes, invading Iraq and diverting our attention away from Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden is not being strong on national security. Blind allegiance to George W. Bush and his failed "stay the course" strategy is not being strong on national security. And no, Senator Lieberman, no matter how you demonize your opponents, there is no "antisecurity wing" of the Democratic Party.


 .... I think making the war a referendum on Bush's failures is smart tactics, but I have no idea what this means:

" 'This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means,' said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the leader of the Democratic House Congressional campaign. 'This is not about the war. It's blind loyalty to Bush.' "

Eleanor A's picture

Back to Bryson, for a minute...

There are a couple extenuating factors that made me say what I did, R. Neal...

* Frist is going to try like hell to keep that Senate seat for the GOP. He's got even yet still more money than the Bredesen organization...this is important because neither the national Democrats nor the state Party has an ocean of cash lying around to hand anybody. Bredesen's on his own. Frist has got to realize some GOP faithful are less than enthused about Corker, and may stay home, even with the gay-marriage ban on the ballot. Where else has he got to spend money? He's going to be trying to fire up the GOP's rank and file, and the only way to do that is to focus on the only other red-meat statewide candidate on the ballot.

* This is even more important, given Frist's '08 aspirations: How's it going to look if Ford gets the Senate seat, handing Democrats two high-profile statewide November victories in Frist's home state? The only other place he has to go is funding for state House/Senate races, where he'll assuredly spend as well.

As someone smarter than I am once said, "Follow the money." Frist has plenty and lots of motivation to try to upend the apple cart.

Of course, there are still plenty of wild cards in play here, but I'm not sure this all will be as cut and dried as some pundits would have one believe.

Rachel's picture

I have no idea what this

I have no idea what this means:

" 'This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means,' said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the leader of the Democratic House Congressional campaign. 'This is not about the war. It's blind loyalty to Bush.' "

It's a (clumsy) reference to how much Bush just loves Joe - "my favorite Democrat", the kiss, all that stuff.  And to how much Joe seems to reciprocate.

Thag13's picture

Ford and Lieberman

A couple of comments here. I think most of you are missing the point. The thing that beat Lieberman was....Lieberman. Joe Lieberman by all accounts I could read from CT Bloggers, was out of touch and was hard to reach by his constituents. He didn't have a very good ground team and didn't take Lamont seriously until it was too late. Using a cheap Internet provider didn't help either. And, Ned Lamont ran a perfect campaign for that state. As one blogger put it, There wasn't a house party too small for Lamont to go to. Lamont avoided big mistakes, and spent his money wisely. I am not sure there are many parallels to Ford Jr's run here. But I think Ford needs to not be afraid to run as a progressive, and not a repub lite. And as for the Senate being one Dem short, sorry, When Sen Lieberman became Fox;s news favorite Dem ...we were short a Dem anyway.
Factchecker's picture

The only way Dems lose

And as for the Senate being one Dem short, sorry, When Sen Lieberman became Fox;s news favorite Dem ...we were short a Dem anyway.

Glad you emphasized that.  The only way we'd lose a net seat in the fight to control the Senate is if Lamont loses.  The prospect of Joe actually winning as an Independent raises another interesting question.  Would he stay as one, or re-declare as a Dem?  He did say he was running for the good of the party and all.  And other than Repugs, his only defenders are the Dem leaders in the Senate: Schumer, Dodd, et. al.  Shame on them for not calling for him to reconsider, but would they still support him as a fellow Senator if Joe stays an I?  (Maybe he said he'd switch back over, and I just missed it?) 

Thomas Nephew's picture

I think Lieberman would align with the '06 winners

[Warning: speculation alert!]
I think Lieberman will align with whoever has a clear majority, and will demand big concessions -- chair of a major committee -- if he's the 51st on either side.  Ie, a kind of hostile Jeffords at best for Democrats.

If he continues with the campaign and loses in CT, I'd look for him joining Zell Miller on FOX. But if he actually wins in CT, I  wonder whether he has delusions of peeling off some Democrats and some Republicans into a centrist 3rd party.  If he wins I'd look for him at least trying some moves along those lines.

He's not exactly an inspirational leader, so I'd think he'd have to play 2d fiddle again on that -- McCain/Lieberman in '08?  Stranger things have happened.  If McCain hits a snag in the GOP primaries, and Lieberman wins in November, you have the start of something interesting. 

Wouldn't vote for either one myself, but I bet a lot of people would.  What the upshot of that would be I couldn't say; at least McC/L would have to go hunting among the GOP for a lot of votes, too.


Factchecker's picture

Good to hear someone else

Good to hear someone else wouldn't vote for McCain.  I'm so tired of hearing people say they'd vote for him because he's so darn likable.  I might like him too, as they say Joe is also "likable," but vote?  Hell, NO! (To paraphrase Ted Stevens.)  Well, I suppose there's some strategic vote where I could hypothetically check his box.  After all, I do vote GOP in the primaries...  

Eleanor A's picture


The local press is already trying to box Ford into a corner on this. Earlier today, in an interview with the Tennessean, they were comparing Lieberman to Ford's brother Jake:


He claims to be trying to stay out of it, but says both Lieberman and his brother "are Democrats."

Disappointing, but not surprising...blood was, last I checked, still thicker than water.

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