Wednesday, August 09, 2006

By S. P. McKenna, Associated Press

After a grueling couple of months out of his normal Washington D.C. habitat, meeting with Connecticut residents at house parties, family picnics, high school and college graduations, and parades, Senator Lieberman eked out a victory against challenger Ned Lamont in yesterday's primary. Realizing that the war in Iraq was a huge issue and realizing that the constituents were overwhelmingly against the war, the junior senator held a series of open invitation, town hall style meetings in each of the congressional districts in the past few weeks that allowed voters and Senator Lieberman to have civil discussions about the war. Attendance at these 10 events (2 per district) was enormous; however, these interactions allowed the senator to listen to and reconnect with his voters. Campaign managers said that this strategy was extremely helpful to their win because these meetings have encouraged the senator to be more critical about the war and failed Bush policies while simultaneously allowing the senator to be more attentive to consituent concerns.

Also helpful was Senator Lieberman's apppeal to the grassroots efforts of the Democratic Party, of which he has been critical in the past. Rather than demonize the bloggers and the more traditional activists, Lieberman embraced them by admitting that he knew very little about these new waves of political activism. In that vein, he has committed himself to be a frequent contributor, like other politicians and pundits, to some blogs. Because of Senator Lieberman's outreach, many bloggers were surprisingly none-too-late to get behind his campaign.

From these past few months of campaigning emerged a more humane, less detached Senator Lieberman. And this is what seemed to carry him to victory yesterday. Albeit he did not completely denounce the war, he recognized that it was a complete disaster at this point, and went so far, like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton did last week, to call for Donald Rumsfeld's immediate resignation.

In a brillant stroke of party unity, challenger Ned Lamont, who said from the beginning that he would honor the will of the Connecticut democratic voters, urged his supporters not to recognize his loss as defeat, but to turn their energies and enthusiasm to Senator Lieberman's campaign and the campaign efforts of the Democrats who are challenging the Republican congressional incumbents: Chris Shays, Rob Simmons, and Nancy Johnson. According to Lamont, "Granted, we lost the first half of the game, but, together, with Senator Lieberman's renewed vows to Democrats and Connecitcut, we must focus on victory for all Democrats in November."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No shit. NOW he might be getting it. That this goes beyond the Iraq. That he is an ELECTED official.