The Command Post
2004 US Presidential Election
January 29, 2004
| Lieberman: "pathologically optmistic"

The Hartford Courant helps us grapple with the question, “What is Joe Lieberman thinking?

He wants to ignore the so-called experts, who think his campaign has gone from quixotic to desperate. Why, the whisperers Wednesday want to know, doesn’t he drop out? He kept saying he wanted to do better than expected in New Hampshire, into which he poured his heart, soul, indeed his life, for five weeks - and wound up pretty much where the polls said he would, a dismal fifth.

Yet there are no telltale signs that Lieberman feels he’s doomed. There are no extra wrinkles, no slouched shoulders, no gossip about blowups at the staff.

“Whatever genes God gave the rest of us to take time out to process disappointment, he didn’t get,” said Sherry Brown, his campaign chief of staff and longtime adviser. …

The answer to what keeps Lieberman going is in the three characteristics that define the Connecticut senator.

He’s foremost an analyst, seeing politics as a game of strategies where moves can be calculated and countered, and he sees the seven states voting Tuesday as winnable.

He’s also deeply religious, believing that what will be, will be and his mission is to practice Tikkun Olam, or doing good. That’s how he survived the 2000 presidential election, when he polled more votes than the Bush-Cheney ticket, but lost and dove back into his Senate work with nary a public complaint.

There’s another reason this 61-year-old man, a man who has what would seem to be everything in life, not to mention a place in American history as the first Jewish-American on a major party ticket, spent Wednesday trying to woo voters in a state that barely seems to know there’s a primary.

It’s probably his last shot at the White House. …

But the odds seem insurmountable: Kerry is rolling, Edwards is mounting a strong campaign and Clark has lots of money. “There’s not so much anything wrong with Lieberman,” said Phoenix-based pollster Earl de Berge, “but the other guys are now getting attention.”

Lieberman either wins something next week and looks viable, or logic - or something in his gut - will say it’s over.

Not that he’d betray any disappointment in his face or demeanor, not today and probably not next Tuesday. Whatever happens, said Brown fondly, there’s one constant to Lieberman: “He’s pathologically optimistic.”

Posted by Brendan at January 29, 2004 07:40 AM | TrackBack
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