Despite facing a primary challenge for the Senate seat he's held since 1988, Connecticut's Joe Lieberman is in an enviable position. Sure, there's a risk he might lose his seat, but the primary challenge has also created a slew of opportunities for him if he manages to win, either as a Democrat or an Independent.

Lieberman is collecting petition signatures to get on the November ballot as an independent if he loses the primary. The Quinnipiac poll found that in a three-way race against Lamont and a Republican, Lieberman would win by 24 points, although his margin has shrunk 14 points in the last month. ...

A Lieberman primary loss might cause more heartburn for Democrats nationally than for the candidate. Democratic primary voters have different views and values than even the larger number of Democrats who vote in the November election, not to mention independents and Republicans. All of which explains the string of Republicans White House victories. ...

That independent candidacy would complicate life for Democratic big-wigs, who would likely back Lamont against Lieberman in November. Among the 2008 presidential candidates who have said they would do so are front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, and 2004 nominee John Kerry. That would almost certainly drive a wedge between Lieberman and the Democratic hierarchy if he is re-elected.

If Lieberman were to win as an independent it would give him great influence, not just in the Senate, but as the face of a new politics that transcends party labels.

Although he has pledged to caucus with the Democrats if elected as an independent, he would be a bigger player than even today as the party's former vice presidential candidate.

And he would be an awfully attractive running mate for McCain, not to mention other potential Republican White House hopefuls.

Although I disagree with many of his political positions, I have a lot of respect for Joe Lieberman, and I hope he wins as an Independent (even if just for the entertainment value).

(HT: Real Clear Politics.)



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