More Liebermans?

Joe Lieberman combined three factors that made Ned Lamont possible and neccessary.  Lieberman came from a Democratic state/district.  He voted poorly for a Democrat.  He has a big mouth that often supports Bush and often attacks other Democrats.

It is easy enough to replicate two of the conditions for Lamont.  Who are incumbents from Democratic districts who vote worse than Joe Lieberman.  To make this simple, I have eliminated southern Democrats although at least one should make this list (and will as an add-on).

The closest Lieberman clone received a pretty stiff primary this June.  That clone would be Jane Harman, a fixture on Fox and a foreign policy hawk whose overall voting recors gives her a Progressive Punch score of 75.07 compared to Holy Joe's 76.41. She is unlikely to step up to Committee chair from ranking member due to her mouth, even if Democrats take over.  In a district that Kerry won by nearly 20 points (59.0% to 39.6%), there is no excuse for Jane Harman.

Only one non-Southern Democratic senator had a voting record worse than Lieberman and came from a state carried by John Kerry.  That is the fellow i called "Tom Carper, corporate democrat" in a mostly unread kos diary.  Carper, alas, comes up this year and will not be primaried.  He scores 74.49 on the Progressive Punch scale, two points worse than Lieberman and about 10 points worse than Joe Biden.  Former Governor or not, this guy needs to have the fear of God put into him.

FWIW, the other non-southerners with less than a Lieberman Senate voting record include Ben Nelson (47.74) from deepest red Nebraska, Jim Jeffords the Independent who caucuses with the Democrats from Vermont (58.56), and Max Baucus of Montana (72.68).  Jeffords will be replaced by Bernie Sanders this year and Baucus might find a Jon Tester win liberating.

Using the figures from the Barry Welsh site, the Democratic House member from the most Democratic district to make this list is Michael Doyle of Pennsylvania.  Doyle's voting record of 72.13 combines with a deep blue district carried by Kerry 67.4 to 29.8.  It includes Pittsburgh and some surrounding areas including Rick Santorum's voting "residence" in Penn Hills.  Maybe he spends too much time yakking with Rick.

Doyle's district is much more Democratic than John Murtha's.  Murtha comes from a district carried by Kerry 50-48 and has stood up with Nancy Pelosi despite a 66 Progressive Punch score.  Murtha could be on the list but his group loyalty has saved him.

The worst voting record on this list belongs to the constantly endangered Leonard Boswell.  Boswell's district split almost evenly between Bush (49.7) and Kerry (49.6) in a Republican year (+2.5%).  We could do better than Boswell (67.62) and maybe spend less than this expensive and ailing half-hearted Democrat.  Iowa does elect Tom Harkin to the Senate, why not a more convincing Democrat here.

The most similar congress critter on the list to Boswell is found half a continent away in California.  Dennis Cardoza voted a little better (72.94) but his district is almost a mirror, politically, to Boswell's at Bush 49.6% to 49.4% for Kerry.

The remaining three targets have been reduced to two.  Ed Case, after all, is running for Akaka's seat in the Senate and he will no longer be in the House.  Jerry Costello (IL, 69.87) hails from a district that went to Kerry by 2 points, 50.6 to 48.7.  This is the kind of margin that bespeaks a five point Democratic district.  Get a life, Jerry.  Adam Smith's Washington seat went to Kerry by an even stronger 52.9-45.6% margin.  Smith and his 73.65 score need to be primaried in 2008 (or will the word be Liebermaned).

A number of other House members live in pro-Bush districts where Bush scored around 55%.  As incumbents, many could show a lot more spine.  These include Collin Peterson of MN-7 (57.32 Progressive Punch), John Salazar of Colorado (71.83), Melissa Bean of Illinois (74.19), and Dennis Moore of Kansas (74.55).  Salazar and Bean have been expensive disappointments to Democrats so far.

On the other hand, I have no problem with Democrats from solidly conservative districts who vote conservatively and make no attacks on their colleagues.  These northerners would include Jim Mattheson of Utah, Stephanie Herseth of South dakota, Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, and possibly Ike Skelton of Missouri.  I am not so sure that Skelton (59.09) needs to be as far right or as up front as he is.  Harry Truman Democrat?  Skelton may use that phrase but Harry was no ideologiocal or stylistic compadre to Skelton.

The southern Democrat from a strongly safe Democratic district on this list?  Who else but Harold Ford, the mouth from Memphis.  Ford's ambition may have driven his voting but his district certainly didn't.  Better than Frist?  Hell, yes!  The best that this district can produce? Hell, no!

Tags: 2006 elections, 2008 elections, House, Primaries, Senate (all tags)


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