Lieberman "Energized," Clinton Triangulating...

| Wed Aug. 16, 2006 4:25 AM EDT

So Patrick Healy and Nick Confessore report in the New York Times that Joe Lieberman is "energized" and "emboldened" and that, already, there's a "full-throated" re-enactment of the "blistering" primary taking place.

We'll leave the jokes to Wonkette, but the spiciest part of this piece comes a few paragaraphs down:

The senator appears so emboldened that in spite of the Democratic unity around Mr. Lamont, some Washington Democrats are now acknowledging that a Lieberman victory in November is a distinct possibility. According to guests at a fund-raiser for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Hamptons on Saturday, Mrs. Clinton — who is supporting Mr. Lamont — said that Mr. Lieberman had more than a 50-50 chance of winning re-election. (Clinton aides said they could not confirm or deny the remark; one of the aides said that if Mrs. Clinton had discussed the race, she might have been referring to a new poll that had Mr. Lieberman slightly ahead.)
It depends on what the definition of "chance" is?

The way you know the 2008 race has begun in earnest is how the Clintons have ramped up the triangulation. (And with both of them triangulating, it's more like hexagonation.) I don't get as white hot angry on this subject as many on the left; to my mind there's a certain tactical dexterity you just have to admire. That dexterity was the real core of the Clinton/Morris doctrine; running to the middle was only a method to reach a goal. (On this point, I disagree somewhat with MoveOn's Eli Pariser). The real goal was to give Bill as much maneuvering room as possible.

So now it is Hillary who needs the room to maneuver, and never more than now, when she's trapped between the "always anti-war" left and the (far more electorally important) "fairly recently disenchanted." Her gender makes her, more than any male candidate, vulnerable if the Republicans' "cut-and-run Defeatocrats" line gains traction. (I don't like that this is so, but it is the truth.)

Enter Bill. By pivoting around her, he can fake a play in one direction, while she moves to the other, or throw her a pass downfield. Ignoring the Dubai ports debacle, which was failed triangulation (or was it?), the Clinton's have been running these plays beautifully. There's been all the mixed messages over Lieberman and Lamont, of course, but let's also not forget that at the height of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"/"candidate again?" hoopla, the Clinton Foundation launched an anti-global warming initiative. Which is great, but also conveniently timed.

Also in the NYT piece, this little tidbit.

Yet Mr. Lamont's staffing needs are also one of several signs that his rookie bid for statewide election is still evolving: He lacks such basic political tools as an opposition research effort to ferret out the sources of Mr. Lieberman's campaign contributions and other tidbits that might embarrass the senator. Mr. Lamont's communications and advance operations also need to be expanded, said Tom Swan, the campaign manager.
"There is a need for us to adjust a lot, to adjust significant pieces of the campaign and tap our thousands of volunteers," Mr. Swan said. "Having said that, I believe we have a lot to build off of to make that easier."
Code for bloggers=oppo research?

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.