WHAT DO DEMS WANT IN '06? Democrats in Connecticut may succeed today in replacing one moderate Democrat with another moderate Democrat, and if so, their chances at taking back the House will be somewhat slimmer. My thoughs: Democrats never had much of a chance in taking back the Senate, but winning the House was a distinct possibility. The most likely scenario for this would involve Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney, and Chris Murphy defeating Chris Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson, respectively. I was Murphy�s campaign manager in 2004, when he was running for re-election to state Senate, and I know what the district is like. Murphy has his work cut out for him, to say the least, and will need all the resources he can get. The attention and energy directed at the Senate race have been at Murphy�s and the others� expense. Campaign donations and volunteers that may have gone to Murphy or Farrell have instead gone to Lamont or Lieberman. And the argument that building support at the top of the ticket will help those further down doesn�t hold; voters in the second, fourth, and fifth districts voted for Kerry but reelected Shays, Simmons and Johnson in �04.

What disturbs me about this primary battle isn�t so much that some people want Joe Lieberman purged from the Democratic Party. That�s fine. What disappoints me is that this seems like a terrible waste of influence. Kos, Stoller, and Hamsher could have gone to Connecticut to help Democrats defeat actual Republicans. Instead, they�re there helping one Democrat defeat another. I understand that Lieberman sometimes serves a useful role for Republicans, but I�m afraid some bloggers and activists have lost sight of the real goal for 2006 -- retaking the House -- and in the process have made it more difficult to achieve.

--Alec Oveis