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Kaus Not Bearish on Lieberman

Mickey Kaus doubts whether the new Lieberman "bear ad" is as bad as I think it is:

It seems juvenile to me. But doesn't its effectiveness hinge on whether (and how much) Connecticut Democrats hate Lowell Weicker?

Well, I'm from Connecticut. And though I was very young when Lieberman beat Weicker, it's always seemed to me since then that Republicans in CT hate Weicker more than Democrats there do (at least, his name was cursed in my Republican household). And given that Weicker's main issue in all of this seems to be the Iraq war, it sure looks to me like he's aligned with the Democratic mainstream.

But, aside from Connecticuters' views on Weicker, I think the problems with the ad are two-fold. First off, there's the question of surface perception (or, as Mickey might have it, "visceral surface revulsion"). It simply makes Lieberman look a) foolish (especially with the "stand-by-your-ad" tag at the end) and b) desperate, for I think obvious reasons.

The second fold: The ad's questionable "truthiness."

The claim that Lamont is really a Republican in disguise is bizarre, given that this is the main knock on Lieberman. It seems to be based on Lamont's votes as a Greenwich selectman -- i.e. on town issues, that probably don't have much bearing (sorry, couldn't help it) on national politics. Meanwhile, Lieberman is standing with the president in defense of an unpopular war. (Rightly, I think, but that hardly matters.)

The other claim -- the ad's main claim -- also seems tenuous at best. Weicker did consider an independent run, since he opposes the war and wants to see Lieberman taken out. And he stopped considering it when Lamont got in the race. And now Weicker is holding a big fundraiser for Lamont. But the idea that an independently wealthy candidate riding a wave of pre-existing anti-war sentiment is a puppet, or will be overwhelmingly beholden to one prominent backer, just seems silly.

At base, it looks like Lieberman is trying to change the subject from substance to personal smears. It makes him look weak. And at a time when every other piece of news (i.e. a closing gap in the polls) is making him look weak as well, it plays into a story line that ends with him losing and/or being forced to run as an independent.