Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Friday, August 18, 2006

 

Gerstein Digs Deeper Hole

Joe Conason in Salon today, on Lieberman's actions during the 2000 campaign, when Dan Gerstein was his communications director:

The Lieberman campaign is trying to frighten white voters in Connecticut -- and Democrats in Washington -- by reminding them over and over again that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson support Lamont. This week, the senator's aides told the New York Times that playing the two African-American preachers off against Lamont will enhance Lieberman's appeal on an independent ballot line. "Primary night was the first time that many Connecticut voters saw Lamont on TV, and he's surrounding himself with two of the more divisive and problematic figures in the Democratic Party," said Dan Gerstein, the Lieberman campaign's communications director....

Lieberman can hope to get away with his racially inflammatory strategy only if everyone else forgets not only his habit of sucking up to Jackson and Sharpton but his history of stroking the most bigoted black leader in the world. Evidently he and Gerstein (who was also his spokesman during the 2000 presidential campaign) expect that nobody will mention the embarrassing episode when Lieberman's ambition (and opportunism) led him to praise Farrakhan. Given the laziness and amnesia that afflict the national press corps, they may be right.


Conason goes on to recount this "episode":

When [April] Ryan asked [Lieberman] about Farrakan's caustic response to his nomination on the Democratic ticket, which included questioning his "dual loyalty" to Israel and the United States, Lieberman responded with a meek appeal for mutual understanding.

"Look, Minister Farrakhan has said a few things, including earlier in the campaign, that were just not informed," he said. "But, you know, I have respect for him and I have respect for the Muslim community generally." Asked whether he would be willing to meet with the infamous preacher of hate, he said: "Of course I would be open to sitting down and talking with Minister Farrakhan. It hasn't sort of come together yet, but I look forward to it ... I'd like to do that. I think that's a great idea ... This is a time to knit the country together more and to make us, as Al Gore always says, the more perfect union that our founders dreamed of." Moreover, Lieberman added, "I have respect for him ... I admire what Minister Farrakhan is doing."


And the media backlash at the time was absolutely brutal:

Conservative Boston Herald columnist Don Feder was unsparing. "Speaking of political whores, Senator Joe Lieberman could end up having a red-light district named for him ... In a close election, the black vote is crucial to Democrats -- and, sad to say, Farrakhan has a following in the community. To become America's first Jewish vice president, Lieberman is willing to condone the sort of demagoguery that led to the Holocaust."

Comedian Jackie Mason got into the prostitution metaphor too, quipping that Lieberman "has flipped over more times than a mattress in a hotbed motel."

Liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote that Lieberman had "soiled himself with equivocation" over Farrakhan, adding, "It was an ugly sight." In an editorial headlined "Where's the Old Joe Lieberman," Cohen's newspaper regretted the changes in the senator since his nomination for vice president. "Was it an attack of amnesia -- or cowardice -- or a morally backward desire to ingratiate himself with followers of Louis Farrakhan that made Joe Lieberman embrace the leader of the Nation of Islam?" the Post asked. "Whatever the explanation, it was pitiful to watch. Senator Lieberman said, with no credible evidence, that Mr. Farrakhan 'wants to change ... He wants to be more constructive.' The only change we've seen is in Senator Lieberman. And it's been for the worse."


"Pitiful to watch."

Party affiliations may change, but some things never do.
Comments:
Just Say NO to Republican Joe!
 
They frighten me. Remember the shakedowns from the Revs. And of course who can forget Tawana Brawley!! Race baitors for hire. It should scare us all into watching our wallets
 
Just say yes, he's better than RED NED
 
Did Feder mention that this was when Joe was running with Algore, the vp for the most corrupt administration in modern times? Joe knelt before Farrakhan, while Al went to see the china to sell our state secrets.
 
I had forgotten about the ill fated love-fest with Farrakhan.

Liberman has principles. he doesn't suck up to just anyone. He sucks up to anyone he thinks he can get something from.

He's a true centrist, a self centrist. He's the only object of his attention.
 
Maybe each time Lieberman rants about Sharpton's divisiveness, the media can remind voters of how he courted Sharpton's endorsement for this campaign. But that's probably too much to ask of the media.
 
which is all fine and well as long as he is your "self centrist" but when he's not, then he's bad
 
m palmer,

That's a good slogan: the self-centrist! Maybe there's a Connecticut for Lieberman button in it!
 
I do love the "self-centrist" line.
 
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