Liberals, Lieberman and 2012

We're going to look way into the future here, when Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is up for re-election.

Three-term attorney general Richard Blumenthal (D) said Tuesday he may challenge Lieberman and former Democratic candidate Ned Lamont said he hasn't ruled out running again. Whoever decides to run will jump right in to the middle of another violent self-examination of liberal politics, just like the four-corner slufgest that took place in the 2006, when Ned Lamont beat Lieberman in the primary and was subsequently defeated by him in the general.

But this time we'll see how power in Washington affects liberals and Democrats allegiances. The race might become a proxy for satisfaction, or lack thereof, with Obama. Obama was capable of brushing off Lieberman's political indiscretions. With the passage of four years, will liberals forgive and forget? Will there still be a great hunger by national liberal activists, special interest groups and senior Democrats to (re)change Washington by tossing out Lieberman if Obama's succeeded?

A rather dull Democratic primary and unspectacular general election campaign would signal the left's approval of the Democratic Party in the Obama era. Conversely, if the left thinks Obama has failed to change D.C., will that feeling fuel more anti-Washington sentiment that lead to another dramatic knock-down, drag-out campaign to unseat Lieberman? Would the netroots' get behind their former beau, Lamont, again or choose the more established Blumenthal? And will Obama himself make known a preference in this race?

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Justin Miller was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 to 2011. He is now the homepage editor at New York magazine. More

Justin Miller was a associate editor at The Atlantic. Previously he was an assistant editor at RealClearPolitics, a political reporter in Ohio, and a freelance journalist.

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