Lieberman-Lamont: It Is What It Is

(Edward Anderson)
All eyes will be fixed on Connecticut today as Democratic voters in that state are poised to turn out an incumbent senator and one-time vice presidential nominee as punishment for his support of the war in Iraq. Whether Ned Lamont defeats Joe Lieberman or not, this race has already helped set some profound changes in motion for the country when it comes to the politics of war.

My two cents: This is one race where I think the media has largely gotten it right with its focus on the war as an issue. While there are a lot of people out there trying to argue that Lieberman's problems go much deeper than his strong support for the war, that is in fact what has left him on the brink of defeat today. Is he out of step with many of his constituents on other issues, as some have argued? Maybe. Perhaps he has allowed himself to grow distant from the voters of his state, maybe even neglected them. But even if his continued advocacy for the war in Iraq was just the final straw for many voters, it has been eight-tons of final straw. It is simply the reason Lieberman may end up on the fall ballot as an independent, not a Democrat. Or maybe not at all.

So, when you're listening and absorbing the results of this race tonight and tomorrow, my advice is, keep your eye on the ball. There is always a temptation for talking heads, activists and analysts to make these matters more complicated than they really are. Regardless of the results, there is going to be a lot of talk about what it really means – does it signal a divide within the Democratic party on the war or dissatisfaction with the electorate as a whole? Since only Democrats are voting in this high-profile race today, it would be hard to draw any grand conclusions but one doesn't need to look too far for evidence that this war is far more unpopular than it was during the presidential election two years ago. Sometimes, these things simply are what they are (and this seems to be a chance for voters to vent on the war) despite the best attempts to over-analyze the story. Just keep that in mind between now and November.