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It wasn’t like nobody saw this coming.  I wrote about it back on July 5 — there are three very hotly contested House seats in Connecticut that could go to the GOP if Lieberman stays in a 3-way race. There are oh so many reasons why Karl Rove is thrilled with a Lieberman candidacy, but probably highest amongst them is the opportunity it gives the Republicans to retain control of the House this fall.  

From the the Courant:

GOP Reaches For Joe’s Coattails

August 10, 2006
By DAVID LIGHTMANWashington Bureau Chief

 

Suddenly the Democrats’ nightmare scenario becomes plausible: They are a seat or two from gaining a House majority in November, but so many Connecticut Republicans go to the polls to vote for Joe Lieberman that the state’s three vulnerable GOP incumbents win re-election.

"Whether he wants to or not, Joe’s being on the ballot will juice Republican turnout," said former Democratic Rep. Toby Moffett, who is advising the party’s candidates. "Does he want to go back to Washington as the guy who helped Republicans retain their majority?"

Republicans saw a big opportunity. Less than an hour after Lieberman announced he’d run as an independent, Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, rushed out a statement praising the senator; Reps. Christopher Shays, R-4th District and Nancy L. Johnson, R-5th District, later followed suit.

All three Republican districts are on every national insider’s list of the 15 to 20 shakiest House seats in the nation. Democrats need a net gain of 16 to win control of the House for the first time since 1992, and polls and pundits see the party as having a good chance.

Connecticut is one of the party’s key targets. Though each of the three Republican incumbents is considered moderate, and routinely opposes GOP leaders on social issues, they all have to defend consistent records of support for President Bush on Iraq and economic issues.

All seemed to be grabbing for Lieberman’s coattails.

And what does Rahm Emmanuel have to say about all this, the man who should by all rights be most concerned?

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., chairman of the party’s congressional campaign committee, thought Lieberman’s presence could help Democrats, because the senator "will be talking about raising the minimum wage, energy policy – echoing the Democratic candidates’ message."

I guess it must be true that if Rahm loses the House he’ll be rewarded with Pelosi’s job after all, because I really can’t think of a single other reason why he would say anything quite that obtuse (see:  Stoller, Matt, "Talk About a Stupid Incentive System").  He’s refused to call on Joe to pull out of the race and doesn’t seem to acknowledge what everyone in Connecticut seems to be acutely aware of — the Democratic dream of November control of the House could go down in flames as a result of Joe’s selfish, shortsighted and characteristically Republican-enabling actions.

There’s a joke in there somewhere about the strange things people do when they know their jobs are secure, but I’m just not feeling very funny at the moment.