There was a lot of to-do about the "Hail Mary" that Senator Joe Lieberman threw the other day, claiming he was always critical of the Iraq war, but it's nothing to the Hail Mary being thrown out there this morning.
In multiple outlets, super-secret Lieberman leakers are telling the world that they are toast. In Political Wire and the Washington Post, among other outlets, leakers tell reporters that their ground game is so dismal that they are scrapping it. From the Post:
Facing a likely defeat, Lieberman has scrapped plans for a massive and costly get-out-the-vote operation on primary day, according to several Democratic sources.
Mmmm hmmm.... National Journal, also today, reports another notion that's bubbling up - everyone in the party is thinking about a Lieberman loss (something they wouldn't do unless they thought he was going to actually lose):
If Democratic challenger Ned Lamont beats Joe Lieberman in Connecticut"s Senate primary next Tuesday, we're told, Democrats will sigh heavily and wring their sweaty palms for the rest of 2006.
So who are these sources that are calling the time of death for Lieberman, days before a vote is even cast?
My bet is on Team Lieberman itself. This is the campaign's true Hail Mary - declare the whole thing over in hopes that Lamont volunteers and voters exhale a little before election day, and maybe jolt soft Lieberman support into gear, by painting scenarios of a Joe-less world.
In campaigns, this type of tactic happens on a much lower scale all the time; it's called lowering expectations. Whether it is predicting lower fundraising than you really have just before quarterly reports are filed, or pretending your opponent is an Oxford-level debater and yours is Howdy Doody, whispering to reporters that you're not as good as they say is a fun game.
But predicting your own political death is the "nuclear option" of campaigns. It could work, and get Lamont's network to take a little rest and pat themselves on the back prematurely, or it could backfire and completely destroy the morale of the Lieberman network of voters who lay down their arms and surrender before Tuesday.
Which will it be? Who knows. The only close-to-sure thing is that it's Fourth Down, 70 yards from the endzone, 2 seconds on the clock, and Joe Lieberman just chucked the ball as hard as he could.