LIEBERMAN TAKES ONE FOR THE (GOP) TEAM?
I gather that Joe Lieberman is choosing not to run for reelection in 2012 because he knows he'd have a hard time winning -- as an acquaintance told The New York Times, "I don't think he wanted to go out feet first."
But I wonder if he was considering not only the likelihood that his candidacy would end in failure, but the fact that it would almost certainly elect a Democrat in his place. As Public Policy Polling notes, in his home state Lieberman has (barely) favorable ratings only among Republicans (unlike six years ago, when independents liked him); if he ran as an independent in 2012, he probably wouldn't take votes from across the spectrum (as he did in 2006). He'd just undermine the Republican's chances and guarantee the Democrat's win.
Now that he's out, a Republican has a chance. Yes, I know that Connecticut is a blue state, and Nate Silver certainly thinks a Democrat will win. But Republicans can win in blue states -- hello, Massachusetts. Republicans were outpolling Chris Dodd in Connecticut before he dropped out, and Linda McMahon did run well against Dick Blumenthal for a while in the 2010 race in Connecticut despite, um, being Linda McMahon.
So Lieberman's withdrawal gives the party of his Fox News pals a chance in 2012. And for all his good work on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and his friendship with Harry Reid, I think he'll be happy about opening up that possibility, because fighting for a GOP foreign policy is very, very important to him, and because he's probably still bitter about 2006.
A STRAY THOUGHT: Do you suppose Joe is thinking that now he's free to be paired up with Joe Scarborough as Mike Bloomberg's 2012 "No Labels" presidential sock puppet team?
THEN AGAIN: Maybe Attaturk's guess about Joe's next move is correct.