Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Republicans for Lieberman?!

Well, here's a howdy-do. The latest buzz around here is that the local Republicans may ignore their own duly-appointed candidate and vote for Joe Lieberman and the Me-First Party, thereby working to ensure the defeat of the duly-elected Democratic candidate in last week's primary, Ned Lamont. Not since Teddy Roosevelt bolted to form the Bull Moose Party way back in 1912 have we here in Connecticut seen the like. I mean, Greenwich Republicans voting for a Democrat?! Unheard-of.

But Lieberman's candidacy so far has refused to die. Letters and email to his senate office about doing the decent thing and supporting the party's candidate are being bounced by a robo-mailer to his "Friends of Joe Lieberman" office in Hartford, without even the civility of a reply. One supposes that the Hartford crew are already hard at work making up a blacklist of those who are urging Jojo to stand down. Meanwhile, others who are closely tied to his apron strings are also breaking from the party line to lend their support. Case in point: James Amann (D-Milford), speaker of the CT House of Representatives, who had already indicated he would back Jojo regardless of the primary result, and has now come out and said so again.

But the most interesting aspect of all of this witches' brew is the Oz-like wizard behind the scenes who is helping to stir the cauldron. And who might that be? Well, White House spokesman Tony Snow yesterday refused to say whether the President would be supporting Republican candidate Alan Schlesinger this fall. "I'm just not going to play," said Mr. Snow to the assembled reporters, leaving open the possibility that President Bush may be hoping for another opportunity to kiss Jojo after the next State of the Union message.

Now, to be fair, there appears to be a skeleton or two in Mr. Schlesinger's closet, and it may yet be that he might step down in some other Republican's favor. So that could - and would - be a reasonable and statesmanlike reason for the lack of an official endorsement at this point. But the other scenario - that the President is not-so-secretly hoping that Lieberman can get reelected - is also a distinct possibility.

And that is the one that the Lamont camp seems to buy into; Ned's campaign manager, Tom Swan, has said: "It's been very clear since Election Day that a top priority for Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and George Bush is that Joe Lieberman is re-elected." Well, if Swan's assessment is correct, I guess we may indeed see local Republicans voting for Jojo.

But there are still some twelve weeks ahead until we all go to the polls, and much can happen in the interim. Stay tuned!


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