Why does anyone care about Joe LIEberman anymore?

In 1933, Quisling left the Farmers’ Party and founded the fascist party Nasjonal Samling (National Union). Although he achieved some popularity after his attacks on the political left, his party failed to win any seats in the Storting and by 1940 it was still little more than peripheral. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he attempted to seize power in the world’s first radio-broadcast coup d’état, but failed after the Germans refused to support his government. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Prime Minister of Norway, heading the Norwegian state administration jointly with the German civilian administrator Josef Terboven. His pro-Nazi puppet government, known as the Quisling regime, was dominated by ministers from Nasjonal Samling. The collaborationist government participated in Germany’s genocidal Final Solution.

Liebermans haunt Democrats in key Senate races

In the wild race for a Georgia Senate seat, Joe’s son Matt Lieberman could play spoiler and allow two Republicans to advance to a runoff. Democrats are calling on Matt to drop out in favor of the party’s preferred candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock, but he is unbowed.

About 1,000 miles north, Joe Lieberman has endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in a race that Democrats likely need to win to seize the majority. Lieberman is even showing up in pro-Collins ads touting the independent bona fides of a Republican that liberals are eager to defeat.

Taken together, the events show a political family once at the peak of Democratic politics directly undermining Democrats’ bid to win the Senate and haunting the party nearly eight years after Joe Lieberman left office.

“I don’t think the word Lieberman has a lot of pull anywhere. Even in Connecticut,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who still smarts at how his party removed the public option at Joe Lieberman’s behest.

Democrats insist both the former Connecticut senator and his son will have little effect on the party’s goals of winning back the Senate and the presidency. Two polls showed Warnock leading the race this week and getting into the runoff, evidence that Democrats’ recent shame campaign against Lieberman may pay off. Plus, Warnock’s massive fundraising edge and TV spending advantage are eroding the name ID edge that Lieberman held most of the race.

“Raphael Warnock is our best chance and it’s not even close,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). As for his opinion of the Liebermans still working at odds with Democrats, he replied: “I’ll let other people connect those dots, which are relatively obvious. Especially as Joe is endorsing a Republican in Maine.”

Still, the problem is most acute in Georgia, where every Democrat from Stacy Abrams on down is calling on Matt Lieberman to stand aside. He has refused to do so, even as polling averages show him taking more than 10 percent of the state’s vote to Warnock’s 21 percent. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) are each over 20 percent.

Only the top two advance, and it’s not hard to envision a scenario in which Lieberman blocks Warnock, and Loeffler and Collins move forward.

Joe’s effect in Maine is less certain, but he’s already playing a starring role in Collins’ campaign. In an advertisement, Joe Lieberman calls himself a “lifelong Democrat but I put my country first, always. That’s why I’m supporting Susan Collins.”

In an interview, Collins said she was unaware that Lieberman was planning the ad, which was aired by the Republican Jewish Coalition Victory Fund, but was “very touched” when she saw it. She said the endorsement “shows that among moderates of both parties, I have support and that they appreciate my attempts to bring people together.” Asked if he helped her in Democrat-leaning Maine, she replied: “Well, he was the vice-presidential candidate for the Democrats.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and prominent centrist Republican governors have also endorsed Collins. Joe Lieberman declined to comment for this story, as did Collins’ Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon.

Democrats are entirely unimpressed with him sticking his nose in the Maine race.

“Joe, in the twilight of his active political involvement, let’s just say became very bipartisan,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). As for Matt Lieberman, Durbin asked: “What party is he running in?”

Wary of giving Matt Lieberman any fuel to run as an anti-establishment outsider, Senate Democrats are declining to explicitly call on him to exit the race. But they are firmly behind his opponent.

“I’m supporting Warnock, I’m raising a lot of money for him, and I think he’s in a strong position to get the second slot,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who holds Joe Lieberman’s old seat. “I don’t generally go around calling on candidates to drop out of races. You should be able to win on your own merits, and I think Warnock should be able to.”

Local leaders have been more direct. Abrams, the popular former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, has called on Matt Lieberman to leave the race, as well as Ed Tarver, a former U.S. attorney who is also running but polling much lower.

The closer Nov. 3 comes, the more Democrats are piling on. Teresa Tomlinson, the former mayor of Columbus, Ga., said Lieberman could be a “political hero” for dropping out now; doing so might also preserve a chance at later running for office.

“It is absurd that he will not even address this in a way that is not tone deaf, which tells me it’s about privilege and entitlement,” said Britney Whaley, a senior political strategist for the Working Families Party in Georgia. “People should see what’s at stake and put pressure on this man to drop out of the race and actively throw support behind the candidate of their choice.”

Democrats’ concerns about getting locked out have lessened somewhat as Warnock has risen in the polls behind growing spending on TV and the raft of endorsements, including from Obama and Jimmy Carter. Warnock’s campaign announced he raised $13 million in the third quarter, six times what he raised the previous quarter

Warnock has spent $6.5 million on TV; Lieberman has spent just over $100,00, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

“He’s not going to drop out. The end. We know this,” said Nse Ufot of the New Georgia Project, a voter registration and turnout organization. “It’s unfortunate that ego sometimes gets in the way of doing what’s right for the good of the whole.”

Lieberman rejected such comments and said none of the polls, fundraising reports or endorsements have convinced him to leave the race.

“If I felt that I had no chance of winning and that my remaining in the race could create a meaningful chance of that two-Republican scenario occurring, I would drop out,” Lieberman said. “I would hope that if in the fourth quarter of this game, fortunes change, that Rev. Warnock would do the same.”