Wednesday, November 08, 2006

hooray for the good guys; boo for Lieberman

Well, as I lay me down to sleep, it is looking like Democrats will have done better than I predicted in yesterday’s post. Fantastic news, but I am greedy.

But first, let me talk about some of the shockers. Representative Jim Ryun lost in Kansas—Nancy Boyda is the new Democrat from KS-2. Grassroots candidate Tim Walz kicked Gil Gutknecht out of MN-1. And, the biggest surprise to me, hands down: long-time Representative Jim Leach lost in Iowa—Democratic activist Dave Loebsack is the new Democrat from Iowa’s 2nd district.

I would also like to say a provisional hip-hip-hooray because it is looking like Democrat Jerry McNerney is going to knock off enemy to all things living, Richard Pombo in CA-11.

But there were some guys I really wanted to send packing, and for a variety of reasons, they’re still here. There’s Tom Reynolds in NY-26 who was helped by a Rovian intervention and an influx of FEMA money. . . and a less than impressive campaign by Democrat John Davis. Reynolds is as guilty as anyone for covering up for Mark Foley, and he deserves to be gone.

Staying in NY, I am also disappointed to see Peter King still ensconced in the 3rd. He’s an unapologetic Bush enabler from a district that should know better. And I really thought fighting Dem Eric Massa was going to toss out John Kuhl in NY-29.

(It would be wrong of me not to rejoice at the success of Kirsten Gillibrand in NY-20—defeating the corrupt wife-beater John Sweeney—and also commend Michael Arcuri for taking an open seat away from the Republicans.)

It is when I look north, however, that my blood really starts to boil. The thought of suffering another six years with the sanctimonious and self-interested Joe Lieberman is almost enough to suck all the joy out of this fantastic evening. As of this moment, it is looking like the Democrats might actually take enough Senate seats to make it worth Joe’s while to stick with the Democrats, but should Montana or Virginia surprise us come Wednesday, I will stand by my prediction of a turncoat from Connecticut. (And, it is still possible, that even though he may “caucus” with the Democrats, Lieberman will never vote their way on the issues—everything he said in his victory speech pointed to such problems.)

But beyond having to see his face and hear his voice, it is what Lieberman did to the House races that will make me hate him every time he steals a moment in the public eye. The Democrats picked up one House seat in Connecticut (Chris Murphy had a relatively easy time ousting veteran Republican Nancy Johnson in the 5th), but they should have picked up three. As I write, the Courtney-Simmons race in CT-2 is still too close to call, and the race in CT-4 has been awarded to incumbent Republican Christopher Shays.

Shays is what passes for a moderate Republican these days—hardly the worst of the worst—but he voted to support the war and helped enable the Republican majority on many, many votes. Anyone who lives in the northeast who was paying attention would know that, for the last month or so, Chris Shays was in total meltdown. He was trailing in opinion polls lately, and he seemed to have no idea what to do about it. He changed his position on the Iraq war, and started flailing at his opponent, Westport selectman Diane Farrell. In a year where the Republicans had no competitive candidate for the Senate seat, if Lieberman had stayed out of the race, that alone would have likely changed the mix at the polls and given Farrell the win.

But, it gets worse. The Lieberman for Lieberman candidate actually campaigned with Republican Shays. It is because of Joe Lieberman that the Republican beat the Democrat in CT-4, 50% to 48%.

OK, I’ve vented. Now, assuming Joe has no more surprises for us in the next few days, let’s move forward and usher in an era of real accountability, legislative oversight of the executive, and civic-minded action.

To each and every one of you that voted, or worked on a campaign, or gave money to Democrats, or helped in any way to get us back to a place where we can at least hope for a brighter tomorrow, thank you. And to each and every American, whether you realize it or not, you have taken a small step back from the precipice. Congratulations!


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