Rick Perlstein on Joe Lieberman in The Village Voice this past October:
Then, as his star fades, he'll have only one viable strategy left, a manic, all-or-nothing strategy: trying to convince Democrats that the front-runner must be dumped altogether....
Lieberman still loses the nomination. But the successful nominee ends up, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, becoming just what the spoiler-candidate said he was: unelectable....
Senator Joe Lieberman on Meet the Press yesterday:
If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam Hussein would be in power today, not in prison.
I was skeptical when I read Perlstein's article a couple of months ago -- I didn't think the limp Lieberman campaign could pose much of a threat to a front-runner. And I found it hard to imagine that history would repeat itself so exactly, as Perlstein imagined it would -- that Holy Joe would dig up an obscure but damaging fact from the front-runner's past, hurting the leader the way then-DLCer Al Gore wounded Michael Dukakis in '88 by bringing up Willie Horton.*
Now, though, I can imagine that Lieberman really might want to destroy Dean (who, to be sure, may not remain the front-runner). If it happens, I don't think Lieberman will be acting out of centrist "principle" as much as out of anger at Gore. But it's a worry nonetheless.
*Sorry -- that's not quite accurate. Gore brought up the furlough program, but not Horton.