The Onion The Hill:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is not ruling out running as a Democratic candidate in his reelection race in 2012.
Lieberman said on Thursday that he has been asked by friends about the possibility of returning to the party that nominated him for vice president in 2000.
“It’s a ways away,” Lieberman told The Hill. “I’ve been asked, ‘Are you running?’ and I’ve said, ‘You have to always assume that anybody in office is running until and unless they not only announce but they actually leave the office to run for reelection.’
“I’m an independent Democrat, and that gives me options,” he added.
Maybe, but it doesn’t give him some new way of doing math. About a month ago, Quinnipiac (inexplicably, since this match-up can’t happen the way it was asked) polled Independent Joe Lieberman v. Democrat Richard Blumenthal (who, a week before, floated his interest in challenging Lieberman in 2012). Blumenthal won handily, 58-30. More interesting was the results in the subgroup of Democrats: Here, Blumenthal embarrassed Lieberman 83-9.
Three years is, admittedly, an eternity in politics. Anything can, and often does, happen. But erasing a -74, not to mention the memories of the people who vote in Democratic primaries of ignoring their will in 2006 and then suggesting that their Presidential nominee doesn’t put America first, is just not realistic. Blumenthal, or Murphy, or DeLauro, or Courtney, or Bysiewicz, would coast in a primary with Lieberman. If they ultimately take a pass, they will be missing a golden opportunity.
The outlook isn’t much better for Lieberman in a three-way general election. Lieberman, who lost the 2006 Democratic primary, had a general election win predicated on retaining roughly 1/3 of Democrats and on the Republicans forgetting that they had a nominee (Lieberman got roughly 70% of the Republican vote). Neither of those things are likely to happen again in 2012. Democrats, because they learned their lesson already (if Lieberman can’t win a Democratic primary, and I think he cannot, there is no way he can expect to hold a third of Democrats in a general), and Republicans because they can actually win the seat if they run, and support, a serious candidate.
If Democrats don’t want that possibility to come to pass, they should spend the time between November 2010 and November 2012 publicly and privately making clear to Senator Lieberman that he cannot win under any scenario.