Sorry Joe, but Americans hate a (sore) loser

Given that we have a Democratic political elite that seems at times to swim in bad ideas on matters of political strategy, to describe one such idea in particular as extraordinarily bad is really quite a slam: Sort of like calling someone a particularly obnoxious right-wing radio commentator — now that’s saying something!

But even when judged by such rarefied standards, Joe Lieberman’s decision to leave open the possibility of running as an independent if he loses in the Democratic senate primary in Connecticut to Ned Lamont was a truly monumental clunker. 

As Adam Nagourney wrote in The New York Times several days ago (via Mark Schmitt via Atrios):

Mr. Lieberman has said he will run as an independent if he loses to Mr. Lamont, an announcement that one associate said only further hurt his standing with Democratic voters and elected officials who already were questioning his loyalty.

Should Mr. Lieberman lose the primary, all indications are that most Democratic leaders will abandon him in the general election race against Mr. Lamont and the Republican candidate, Alan Schlesinger.

Early poll results that have (mostly) shown Lieberman winning a three-way race as an independent are next to meaningless at this point, since Lieberman losing in the primary, should that come to pass, will itself quickly become a transformative event in the race, working powerfully to Lamont’s benefit while tending to marginalize Lieberman.

It may be cruel, but the truth is that losers tend to disappear quickly in modern American politics.  If Lieberman does lose in the primary, he may well wake up the next morning to discover he’s become old hat.

How did that Eagles’ song put it again?

Everybody’s talking ’bout the new kid in town,
Everybody’s walking’ like the new kid in town
There’s a new kid in town
There’s a new kid in town
I don’t want to hear it
There’s a new kid in town
I don’t want to hear it
There’s a new kid in town
There’s a new kid in town
There’s a new kid in town

Lieberman should have made his stand as a Democrat and then accepted the results with grace; as is, he’s badly damaged his chances in the primary by “seeming” disloyal, all in an effort to keep open the option of a “third way” that was always likely to prove little more than an illusion.

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2 Responses to “Sorry Joe, but Americans hate a (sore) loser”

  1. bigdavefromqueens Says:

    Beyond the positions on issues, this race is important because many politicians in Washington of both parties have the mentality of entitlement to their positions. Many politicians of both parties become entrenched and then decide to sell out their constituents to the highest corporate bidder.

    By defeating Lieberman, voters, regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum will send a message to Washington. That message, “Voters decide and you can take your country club mentality and go Cheney yourselves.”

  2. WilSidTer Says:

    Not all who lose elections quickly disappear from politics. We’ve got a tremendously persistent local candidate here in Highland Park, NJ who ran and lost several times but has remained politically active and gained support over the years. She gets more publicity and has more name recognition than the incumbents who beat her. Her commitment to her convictions and her tenacity make it almost a certainty she’ll come back and win. There’s no reason someone should just disappear and abandon their convictions because they lose an election. Like Scarlett O’Hara said, “tomorrow is another day.”

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