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).

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Free Advertising

This ad is currently on the front page of Swing State Project (too bad Joe's campaign doesn't read blogs):


"Circular Firing Squad"

Nope. Can't use that metaphor to refer to this race anymore.

Any "circle" started to break up on July 3rd, when Lieberman declared he would not accept the results of the primary, and officially broke up the minute the Lieberman Party was founded on the night of August 8th. Since that night, Lieberman has run straight from the Democratic circle to the Republican circle, adopting Cheneyist messaging on security, attacking Democrats on Iraq, working to win over local GOP leaders, and hiring a Democrat-slaying pollster who is working for Republican candidates in a state which is a crucial battleground for control of the House. Lieberman has clearly left the Democratic "circle" and run straight into the Republican circle of Rove, Bush, Cheney, Gingrich, Kristol, Rell, and Mehlman.

I agree with Sid Blumenthal. This is now a battle of primary importance for Democrats and others who want to hold Bush accountable. What level of time and resources this race deserves is certainly debatable. But the question of whether it is somehow still an intra-party dispute is not.

This is now a fight between parties, not within one.

Friday, August 18, 2006


NYT on GOP Joe

Tomorrow's Times takes an in-depth look at the Republican party's apparently final decision to abandon Alan Schlesinger (Foxwoods-CT) for Joe Lieberman (R-CT).

According to the article, some in the national Republican leadership looked into recruiting a replacement in the days immediately following Ned Lamont's victory, with the three contested House races figuring prominently in their deliberations:

Initially, in the days after Mr. Lamont’s victory, Republican officials had feelers out for a stronger Republican candidate than Mr. Schlesinger, according to strategists with close ties to the party and the White House.

One strategist said the fear was that a hard-fought race between Mr. Lamont and Mr. Lieberman would spur Democratic turnout, which in turn, he said, could harm vulnerable Republicans in the state, like Representatives Christopher Shays and Rob Simmons.

While Republicans were always pessimistic about finding a replacement who could win the Senate race outright — Connecticut is a largely Democratic state — the hope had been to find someone who could excite Republican voters enough to offset a feared surge of Democratic votes in November.

But in the days since the primary, concerns about a Democratic surge have subsided; Mr. Lieberman appears to be creating enthusiasm, even only among Republicans, helped in part by the lack of institutional fervor for his Republican rival.

(An obvious typo by Kornblut... my edits in bold.)

So it's pretty much spelled out here. Once Rove et. al. were convinced that the Lieberman Party would turn out Republicans for the House races and not Democrats, they called off any institutional support for Schlesinger and any search for a possible replacement. (Could that primary-day phone call from Rove have had anything to do with this?)

And every single move Joe has made since has seen this coordinated Republican-Lieberman strategy borne out - from bashing Democrats on national security, to accepting the support of Swift-Boat-type groups, to refraining from any attack on Republicans whatsoever, to hiring a partisan Republican pollster who works for Rep. Simmons (R), one of the precious few targets of Democrats in their attempt to take back the House.

Strategically, helping Republicans hold on to the House is now the raison d'être of Lieberman's candidacy.

But ideologically, his candidacy is all about dulling the effect of Iraq on the GOP, as Lieberman campaign contributor Bill Kristol so clearly reveals in the article:

“For me, it’s an uncomplicated decision,” said William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard and a neoconservative who is helping Mr. Lieberman through an independent group called Vets for Freedom, which is helping to raise funds and providing strategic advice for the senator.

“Partisan Republicans may be ambivalent; they see a partisan advantage to Lamont,” he said. But, he said, “Foreign policy hawks and Bush doctrine believers and prowar types, we want Lieberman to win.”

Bush doctrine believers want Lieberman to win. Can't get much more straightforward than that.

After all, so does Bush himself.

Blumenthal: Why Bush Needs Lieberman

Sidney Blumenthal concisely nails it. It's short, I'm just going to quote the whole thing (my emphasis in bold):

For the Democratic Party the Lieberman problem is a serious one. After his primary loss he has become the de facto Republican candidate, virtually endorsed by Bush, Cheney and RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, who have withdrawn support from the actual Republican candidate in the race. Lieberman can only win by securing almost all the Republican votes. His campaign must pull Republican votes to the polls, courtesy of the national GOP on which his ambition has become dependent. That can have a drastically negative effect on the Democratic campaigns in the three Connecticut congressional districts where Republican representatives are at risk. Those three seats comprise 1/5 of the total number of 15 that Democrats need to gain the House. Out of necessity Lieberman has become an active obstacle to Democratic victory and one of the key bulwarks for protecting Bush's one-party rule essential for remaining unaccountable for the rest of his presidency. For Bush, that is the importance of Lieberman.

Late Update: An expanded article by Blumenthal is now up at the Guardian's blog.

On Working To Defeat Democrats

Marion Steinfels, in June, defending a Lieberman campaign mailer attacking Ned Lamont for hiring independents Tom D'Amore and Bill Hillsman (and falsely claiming that D'Amore was Lamont's campaign manager):

“Ned Lamont has signed up a team of folks who worked over the years to defeat Democratic candidates. That is the point we are trying to make, and we are making."

Today, of course, Lieberman signed up a GOP consultant who has actually worked over the years to defeat Democratic candidates (and is now doing so again).

How does Dan Gerstein explain this one?

Lieberman (R) Hires Rell's Pollster

The same day Rell says she's not campaigning for Schlesinger. Coincidence?

GOP pollster Neil Newhouse has also been employed by Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum, among others:

Neil has helped elect fifteen current members of Congress, four U.S. Senators and five Governors. His most notable clients include Gov. Jeb Bush (FL), Gov. M. Jodi Rell (CT), Gov. Mitt Romney (MA), Senator Rick Santorum (PA), Senator Pat Roberts (KS), Rep. Henry Hyde (IL) and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (WV).

DeStefano and the congressional candidates must be loving this. A Joe Lieberman (R) campaign, win or lose, will kill all chances for other Democrats in the state.

And as evidenced by his client list, Newhouse has a history of working to keep Congress in Republican hands. Here's the full list of Senate and House candidates that POS has worked for, including Rob Simmons (R-CT). Not a single Democrat to be found:

United States Senators

Senator Jim Bunning KY
Senator Richard Burr NC
Senator Lincoln Chaffee
Senator Saxby Chambliss GA
Senator Norm Coleman MN
Senator Mike Crapo ID
Senator Jim DeMint SC
Senator Pete Domenici NM
Senator John Ensign NV
Senator Bill Frist TN
Senator Chuck Hagel NE
Senator John McCain AZ
Senator Pat Roberts KS
Senator Rick Santorum PA
Senator Olympia Snowe ME
Senator Arlen Specter PA
Senator John Thune SD
Senator David Vitter LA

United States House of Representatives

Congressman Joe Barton - (Texas) TX
Congressman Jo Bonner - (Alabama) AL
Congressman Charles Boustany - (Louisiana) LA
Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito - (West Virginia) WV
Congressman Steve Chabot - (Ohio) OH
Congresswoman JoAnn Davis - (Virginia) VA
Congressman Nathan Deal - (Georgia) GA
Congressman David Dreier - (CA) CA
Congressman Jimmy Duncan - (Tennessee) TN
Congressman Phil English - (Pennsylvania) PA
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick - (Pennsylvania) PA
Congressman Randy Forbes - (Virginia) VA
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry - (Nebraska)
Congressman Vito Fossella - (NY) NY
Congressman Trent Franks - (Arizona) AZ
Congressman Scott Garrett - (New Jersey) NJ
Congressman Jim Gerlach - (Pennsylvania) PA
Congressman Paul Gillmor - (Ohio) OH
Congressman Virgil Goode - (VA) VA
Congressman Bob Goodlatte - (Virginia) VA
Congressman Mark Green - (Wisconsin) WI
Congresswoman Melissa Hart - (Pennsylvania) PA
Congressman Robin Hayes - (North Carolina) NC
Congressman J.D. Hayworth - (Arizona) AZ
Congressman Henry Hyde - (Illinois) IL
Congressman Bill Jenkins - (Tennessee) TN
Congressman Jack Kingston - (Georgia) GA
Congressman John Kline - (MN) MN
Congressman Thaddeus McCotter - (Michigan) MI
Congressman Jim McCrery - (Louisiana) LA
Congressman Jeff Miller - (Florida) FL
Congresswoman Candice Miller - (Michigan) MI
Congressman Tim Murphy - (Pennsylvania) PA
Congressman Randy Neugebauer - (TX) TX
Congressman Bob Ney - (Ohio) OH
Congressman Jon Porter - (Nevada) NV
Congressman Tom Price - (Georgia) GA
Congressman George Radanovich - (California) CA
Congressman Dave Reichert - (Washington)
Congressman Rick Renzi - (Arizona) AZ
Congressman Mike Rogers - (Michigan) MI
Congressman John Shadegg - (Arizona) AZ
Congressman John Shimkus - (Illinois) IL
Congressman Rob Simmons - (Connecticut) CT
Congressman Charles Taylor - (North Carolina) NC
Congressman Lee Terry - (Nebraska) NE
Congressman Pat Tiberi - (Ohio) OH
Congressman Mike Turner - (Ohio) OH
Congressman Jim Walsh - (New York) NY
Congressman Dave Weldon - (FL) FL
Congressman Curt Weldon - (PA)
Congressman Jerry Weller - (Illinois) IL
Congressman Lynn Westmoreland - (Georgia)
Congressman Roger Wicker - (Mississippi) MI
Congresswoman Heather Wilson - (New Mexico) NM
Congressman Frank Wolf - (Virginia) VA


Friday Afternoon Round-Up


Unfortunate Headline Of The Day

"Candidates Seek Youths At MySpace"

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.

Lieberman on Waterbury

Can we just stipulate from now on that most of the words emanating from the mouths of Joe Lieberman or Dan Gerstein are either knowing lies, psychological projection, or pure hypocritical garbage?

But if the city occupies the center of Mr. Rowland's universe, it has also long been regarded as a sort of quasar of corruption, spewing it forth into the political galaxy of this small state. This reputation is so solidified that Senator Joseph I. Lieberman once felt comfortable joking that upon his death, he hoped to be buried in Waterbury so he could remain politically active.

(from "In Connecticut, a City Familiar With Scandal," Mike McIntire, New York Times, February 3, 2004, p. B1)

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Edwards Calls On Lieberman To Drop Out

Late Update: ConnecticutBlog has video of Edwards' remarks:

I do not think Lieberman should be running. I do not believe he should be running as an Independent. I mean, if he ran as a Democrat, he asked Democratic voters to vote for him, they chose someone else, you know, we have to show respect for the people who voted in the primary. So, I would go further than just being for Lamont. I do not think that Lieberman should be running.

Just back from New Haven, where, in a pre-rally discussion with local bloggers, former Sen. Edwards specifically called on Sen. Lieberman to listen to the Democratic voters of Connecticut and drop out of the race.

Paul Bass has an early report and Spazeboy has some early video.

The official blog has a write-up and some great photos.

Lieberman (R)

It's all but official.

From The Politicker (via TPM Cafe):

This morning, a source at the National Republican Senatorial Committee confirmed in a phone interview that the party will not help Schlesinger or any other potential Republican candidate in Connecticut, and it now favors a Lieberman victory in November.

"We did a poll and there is no way any Republican we put out there can win, so we are just going to leave that one alone," said the NRSC source.

Instead, the NRSC is pulling for Lieberman over Ned Lamont, who rode an anti-war message to a victory in the Aug 8 primary.

Will national Democrats just sit back and allow the NRSC and Lieberman (R) to kill any chances of winning any of the three GOP House seats in CT, and thus any chances of Democrats winning back the House, period?

Kerry: Lieberman's Rhetoric "Intolerable"

The hits keep on coming from Sen. Kerry:

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove should know better, but it's no surprise they don't. For almost five years now, every time they've got their backs to the wall politically, they play "the fear card." The latest example: Dick Cheney claiming that Democratic candidates who dare to challenge the Bush White House on Iraq are "emboldening terrorists."

What's worse, and startling, is that in Connecticut Joe Lieberman is now echoing their intolerable rhetoric attacking the Democratic Senate nominee.

It won't work. We won't let it work.

More of this, please.

Papers to Joe: "Be Gracious and Step Aside"

Brooks Community Newspapers, comprising papers in Greenwich, Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Fairfield, and Westport, writes the latest in a ballooning number of editorials calling on Sen. Lieberman to abide by the results of the primary and gracefully exit:

"I won't walk off the field." U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman on his decision to run as an independent in the Nov. 7 election.

Senator, you just don't get it. Your constituents voted you off the field. Nearly 52 percent of the registered Democrats who voted in last week's primary 146,578 opted for a comparative unknown, Ned Lamont, over you, a three-term incumbent with a national reputation, in the Aug. 8 Democratic primary.

The people have spoken. That should tell you something.

Connecticut Democrats are unhappy with your work, senator. They are dissatisfied with the failed leadership of Congress on the war in Iraq, and with your support for the Bush administration's ongoing mismanagement of this gosh-awful war.

They wonder where you've been in recent years, too. Many voters claim they've never received even one piece of Lieberman literature, and that you become visible, on Nutmeg State turf, only when an election is at stake....

Your petitioned entry in what becomes a three-man race will siphon both campaign dollars and votes away from your party's nominee Ned Lamont, the Greenwich businessman and, yes, millionaire. Lamont was a virtual unknown outside of his hometown until early spring, and yet he was able to win support in the primary throughout Connecticut. He carried seven of the state's eight counties, New Haven being the lone exception....

We at the Brooks Community Newspapers agree. Senator, you've devoted 35 years to public service, you've served well as U.S. senator and you came within a whisker of becoming vice president, but the time has come for you step aside with grace.

Given that Joe's allies were floating "losing by 10%" as the necessary margin which might convince Joe to listen to the voters of his party on August 8th, and that the Lieberman Party is now getting only 35% of the Democratic vote to Ned Lamont's 63% (according to today's Q-Poll), do you think he might reconsider?

Q-Poll: Lieberman (LIEB) 53, Lamont (D) 41, Schlesinger (R) 4 (LV)

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Ned Lamont (D) surging post-primary, with an 11 point bounce (among RVs) in the three-way race since a month ago. Ned now has the support of 63% of Democrats, compared to the 52% he won in the primary on Tuesday.

Amazingly, Alan Schlesinger (R) gets only 4%, which must be one of the lowest numbers a major party candidate has received in any poll for any statewide office, in any state, ever.

I've been arguing on this blog for months that Joe Lieberman's base voters are right-wing Republicans. And this poll is simply astounding in the way it proves this point. Lieberman wins Republicans 75-13-10 in a three-way race. That's right. He gets 3/4 of the Republican vote, with a Republican candidate in the race. Lamont (D) even outpolls Schlesinger (R) by 3 points among Republicans.

The trends are in Lamont's favor. He's solidifying his support among Democrats. He's already proven he can energize the Democratic party to turn out and vote for him in record numbers. And he'll likely continue to make gains among Independents and Republicans, who haven't been part of this campaign yet.

Trends for Lieberman do not look good. His disapproval ratings are +5 since July, up to an all time high among RVs. His unfavorable rating is also +5 since July, also at an all time high. The number who believe he should be re-elected is -5, down to 51.

Joe Lieberman (Lieberman) needs to maintain this stratospheric level of support from Republicans in order to have any chance of winning in November. Expect more support to flow his way from GOP donors and polticians, and zero pressure on Schlesinger to leave.

The real story of this race is Lieberman (Lieberman) rapidly turning into Lieberman (R).

You'll notice there's no talk from Lieberman or Gerstein about being an "independent Democrat" or "petitioning Democrat" anymore. Lieberman is now the GOP candidate.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Today's Press Conference

"If Vice President Cheney wants to come and campaign on behalf of Senator Lieberman, I'd welcome him to the state."

Video from the official blog:


Kerry Raises Money For Lamont

Fresh off of excoriating Sen. Lieberman (Lieberman-CT) over his Rovian attack on the Democratic party policy on Iraq, Sen. Kerry today sent out a fundraising email in support of Ned Lamont (D-CT) and two incumbents facing tough races via his Keeping America's Promise PAC:

We say America needs candidates who take strong positions and have the courage of their convictions. We've got them. We're searching for leaders who understand that we can't change George Bush and Don Rumsfeld's aimless course in Iraq if we don't stand up in this fall's campaign and demand change. These leaders are standing right in front of us.

So now the question is: Can Ned Lamont, Daniel Akaka, and Bob Menendez count on us to act right now and pull them through to victory?

Each of these strong leaders has forcefully spoken out in favor of a clear timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Despite the "warnings" coming from consultants, political pundits and naysayers in Washington, each of these candidates is making the mess in Iraq a central issue in their campaigns for the Senate. They aren't afraid to talk about why the war is wrong and what must be done to change course and start doing what is best for our troops and our country. And they aren't afraid to stand up for a better way that will bring our heroes home and put Iraq in Iraqis' hands.

More from the email:

In Connecticut, Ned Lamont has caused a national stir by successfully challenging the Bush position on Iraq that ignores the utter failure of the President's policy and calls for a deeply misplaced reliance on a dangerous course of action. In the Senate, Ned Lamont will go head to head with Don Rumsfeld, and our troops will benefit from Lamont's leadership. He knows that patriotism isn't reserved for those who defend a President's position; patriotism is doing what's right for our troops and our country....

Ned, Dan, and Bob have been attacked mercilessly for acting with such conviction and are locked in close must-win races.

It's time to support candidates who are willing to tell the truth: that George W. Bush's policies have failed to make America safe and that it is time to change course in the war in Iraq....

Helping win victories for Democratic candidates who have acted with clarity on the war in Iraq is the best way to bring George W. Bush's miserable failure to an end.

But, we can't fool ourselves. None of these candidates will coast to victory -- not in the face of the brutal, unprincipled assaults on their character and patriotism that are the stock in trade of the Bush-Cheney-Rove political machine.



Joe Lieberman:

"If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England. It will strengthen them and they will strike again."


A growing number of Americans, 48 percent, think the war in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism against the U.S. - the highest number since May 2003.

Only 9 percent now think the war in Iraq has decreased the threat of terrorism.

(Hat tip DemFromCT.)

Wednesday Morning Round-Up

Update: Some late-morning additions to the round-up:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Kerry: Lieberman's Words Are "Scare-Tactic Bunk"

On The Young Turks tonight, Cenk Uygur asked John Kerry about Sen. Lieberman's comments that the Democratic party's policy on Iraq would strengthen terrorists. Sen. Kerry's response:

That's bunk. That's scare-tactic bunk. And it's an unfortunate statement from somebody of Joe's quality, and I regret it....

I'm not going to stand for those scare tactics, that's exactly what the Republicans have been doing for the last years. They avoid a real discussion by throwing out a slogan and they scare people....

It's a disgrace that people are playing to the lowest common denominator of American politics, which is fear.


The Hill: Lieberman Could Be Stripped Of Seniority

Alexander Bolton reports for The Hill on rumblings in the Democratic Senate caucus, where Democrats have apparently been taken completely aback by Sen. Lieberman's vicious attacks on Democrats during his first week as the Lieberman Party/de-facto GOP candidate.

Check out these anonymous quotes:

A group of Senate Democrats is growing increasingly angry about Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (D-Conn.) campaign tactics since he lost the Democratic primary last week.

If he continues to alienate his colleagues, Lieberman could be stripped of his seniority within the Democratic caucus should he defeat Democrat Ned Lamont in the general election this November, according to some senior Democratic aides....

Democrats are worried that Lieberman may be giving Republicans a golden opportunity to undermine their message.

“I think there’s a lot of concern,” said a senior Democratic aide who has discussed the subject with colleagues. “I think the first step is if the Lieberman thing turns into a side show and hurts our message and ability to take back the Senate, and the White House and the [National Republican Senatorial Committee] manipulate him, there are going to be a lot of unhappy people in our caucus.”...

“Lieberman’s tone and message has shocked a lot of people,” said a second senior Democratic aide who has discussed the issue with other Senate Democrats. “He’s way off message for us and right in line with the White House.”

“At this point Lieberman cannot expect to just keep his seniority,” said the aide. “He can’t run against a Democrat and expect to waltz back to the caucus with the same seniority as before. It would give the view that the Senate is a country club rather than representative of a political party and political movement.”


Jimmy Carter on Lamont's Victory

Former Preisdent Carter in an interview in this week's Der Spiegel (via reader Sven):

SPIEGEL: Was the whole country in danger of losing its core values?

Carter: For a while, yes. As you possibly know, historically, our country has had the capability of self-correcting our own mistakes. This applied to slavery in 1865, it applied to legal racial segregation a hundred years later or so. It applied to the Joe McCarthy era when anti-communism was in a fearsome phase in the country like terrorism now. So we have an ability to correct ourselves and I believe that nowadays there is a self-correction taking place. In my opinion the election results in Connecticut (Eds: The primary loss of war supporter Senator Joseph Lieberman) were an indication that Americans realized very clearly that we made a mistake in going into Iraq and staying there too long.

So here we have the last two Democratic Presidents both saying Ned Lamont's victory last Tuesday was due in large part to Sen. Lieberman's out-of-the-mainstream views on the Iraq war. Meanwhile, the current Republican President all but endorses Sen. Lieberman because of his out-of-the-mainstream views on Iraq.

Expect the next attack line from Dan Gerstein to be about Ned being beholden to the "Carter/Clinton wing" of the Democratic party.

White House: "CT GOP Asked Us To Stand Down"

From Tony Snow's press briefing this afternoon:

Q The President had avoided being involved in the Connecticut primary prior to voters going to the polls. You've avoided taking any position --

MR. SNOW: You noticed?

Q -- and the Vice President today said that "The Dean Democrats have defeated Joe Lieberman. Their choice instead is a candidate whose explicit goal is to give up the fight against the terrorists in Iraq." Why is the Vice President making such comments? And does he support Senator Lieberman's independence?

MR. SNOW: No. Number one, we are not making any endorsement in Connecticut. The Republican Party of Connecticut has suggested that we not make an endorsement in that race, and so we're not. We are certainly not going to be endorsing between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont because both of them are going to caucus as Democrats if they're elected to the United States Senate.

But as we were talking about last week, Ned Lamont ran on a campaign of getting out of Iraq, period; getting out. You have to ask yourself at a time of choosing what this does in the war on terror, what the consequences of that are going to be. Does this help the people of Iraq or does it create a power vacuum? Does it, in fact, support Osama bin Laden's comments -- and I want to thank one of your colleagues for setting me right on this; it was after Mogadishu, when we left Mogadishu -- that the Americans, you stay at them long enough, they're going to lose their will, they're going to walk away -- and he used that as inspiration to persuade people to conduct the September 11th attacks.

So it is important to understand what the consequences of an idea are. And I think the Vice President was well within his rights, and I think correct, in making that analysis and assessment. But in terms of the race, the Connecticut Republican Party has asked us to stand down on it, so we will.

Q You don't find that a little odd?

MR. SNOW: Nope.

Q Why not?

MR. SNOW: Well, there are times --

Q -- I don't recall it ever happening, when the White House has been asked to stay out of Republican race.

MR. SNOW: No, actually, there have been races in the past where candidates didn't meet the expectations of the local parties and Presidents have stayed out, Democrats and Republicans, in the past.

Q I'd like to see a list.

MR. SNOW: You know what? Perfect. We'll do the asterisk for you. (Laughter.)


Gerstein Flip-Flops on Harry Reid

Took him three whole days to completely change his tune about the Lieberman Party's official position on Sen. Reid.

Dan Gerstein to Greg Sargent on Saturday:

"Joe Lieberman has no interest in being Dick Cheney or Karl Rove's political football, just as he has no interest in being a political football for Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. In fact, he's fed up with this kind of petty partisan game playing which is stalemating Washington and blocking progress on the problems people care about. That is exactly why he is campaigning for a new politics of unity and purpose that will deliver results for the people of Connecticut. The Republicans and Democrats in Washington can spin the results any way they want, but Joe Lieberman is focused on bringing meaningful change for his constituents."

Dan Gerstein to Greg Sargent today:

"Senator Lieberman is a Democrat, will continue to be a Democrat and is committed to caucusing with the Democrats should he be reelected. If reelected, he is absolutely committed to supporting Senator Reid as leader, and he very much hopes it will be as majority leader."

But I thought Sen. Reid was part of the "petty partisan game playing which is stalemating Washington"?

"Support The Nominee Or Get Out"

Irony: a Democratic town chair resigns from his position in the party to support a "Democratic" candidate who won't resign from his (from The Politicker):

Lieberman will also get Bernie McLoughlin, Democratic Town Chairman of North Haven (which Lamont carried) who stepped down yesterday in a show of solidarity with the senator.

McLoughlin said that since he could not in good conscience support the Democratic nominee, it would be inappropriate to stay on as his town's Democratic chair.

"The Democratic apparatus is supposed to support the nominee of the party. Once that is concluded, you have an obligation as a leader of that party to support the nominee or get out," said McLoughlin, who chose to get out.

Joe Lieberman also has an obligation to either support Ned Lamont (D-CT) or "get out."

Six Years Ago

According to the Y2K version of Dan Gerstein, Sen. Lieberman's last run for senate was all about heeding the sage advice of Democratic leaders in the state and doing no harm to the party.

"Senator Lieberman and our campaign staff canvassed the Democratic leadership in the state," Mr. Gerstein said, "and the clear message back was that it was not only acceptable but the appropriate and necessary thing to do."

- Then-Lieberman Press Secretary Dan Gerstein on the importance of asking for and listening to the opinion of "Democratic leadership in the state" on the question of whether Sen. Lieberman should have continued to simultaneously run for Senate and Vice President in August 2000. (From "Lieberman Confirms Plan to Stay in Race for Senate While Seeking Vice Presidency," Paul Zeilbauer, New York Times, August 12, 2000.)

While Lieberman considered dropping out, Gerstein said, he ultimately decided it "would cause a lot of instability and potentially hurt the party if he took his name off the ballot."

- Then-Lieberman Press Secretary Dan Gerstein on the importance of not "hurt[ing] the party," arguing against Sen. Lieberman's withdrawal from the senate race in August 2000. (From "Lieberman confirms he'll stay in Senate race, too," Matthew Daly, Associated Press, August 10, 2000.)

Update: More from 2000:

"There was a concern expressed by many folks that pulling out at this time would set off a free-for-all in a very pressed time frame," says Dan Gerstein, Lieberman's spokesman. "His candidacy is a question of what's going to be in the best interest of the Democratic Party and the state."

- Then-Lieberman Press Secretary Dan Gerstein on the importance of doing what's "in the best interest of the Democratic Party" in August 2000. (From "Lieberman runs dual races," Charisse Jones, USA Today, September 1, 2000.)

President Clinton Slams Lieberman

So much for "The Hug":

(Update: ThinkProgress has video.)

Lieberman has characterized his loss - and the need for his subsequent independent run - as liberals in the party purging those with the Lieberman-Clinton position of progressiveness in domestic politics and strong national security credentials.

"Well, if I were Joe and I was running as an independent, that's what I'd say, too," Clinton said.

"But that's not quite right. That is, there were almost no Democrats who agreed with his position, which was, 'I want to attack Iraq whether or not they have weapons of mass destruction.'"

"His position is the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld position, which was, 'Does it matter if they have weapons? None of this matters. ... This is a big, important priority, and 9/11 gives us the way of attacking and deposing Saddam.'"

Clinton said that a vote for Lamont was not, as Lieberman had implied, a vote against the country's security....

Clinton said he campaigned for Lieberman because they had been friends for 35 years, and Clinton did not want the Democratic Party split over Iraq.


A "New Moral Center"

That's what Lamont's victory represents, according to a great op-ed piece from longtime progressive strategist Robert Borosage in today's Connecticut Post. I came close to excerpting the entire thing:

...Lamont represents a new moral center in American politics — a challenge to the failed status quo and a demand for a new direction that a growing majority of Americans are searching for.

Bring an end to the disastrous occupation in Iraq and bring the troops home with honor. Change priorities to invest in our schools, in universal pre-kindergarten, in modern infrastructure. Champion affordable national health care for all.

These are not issues from the "edges of our politics," as Lieberman suggests, but ideas whose time has come.

Lieberman, in a classic sore-loser posture, refuses to accept the verdict of the voters. The man who spent the last weeks of his campaign boasting that he was a good Democrat now announces he'll form his own party and denounces partisan politics. The man who last week said he had gotten the message and would go to Washington to challenge the president's policies now says he'll go to Washington to make common cause with Republicans to "get things done."

But his brand of "getting things done" is exactly what Americans are turning against.

He joined with the president in championing the war in Iraq — got that done.

He joined with Republicans and corporate lobbies in passing corporate trade deals that have destroyed American manufacturing and undermined wages in America — got that done.

He joined with conservatives in championing the privatization of Social Security — at least he was blocked there.

He joined with CEOs in defending off the books, stock options that gave CEOs a multimillion-dollar personal incentive to cook the books and raid pension funds — got that done.

Lieberman doesn't get it. The problem isn't that things aren't getting done — the problem is that the things he was helped to produce are weakening this country abroad and undermining workers and middle-class families at home.

It's the policies, stupid.

Update: Matt Browner-Hamiln has some very insightful reactions to Borosage's piece over at Emboldened:

Rather than conceding progressive values, as Lieberman has, as a precondition to bipartisanship, we must demand leaders who will play the bipartisanship game from a position of firm conviction of their beliefs and knowledge that the weight of the party stands behind them. That is, someone like Ned Lamont is better prepared to engage in bipartisan efforts than Joe Lieberman by virtue of the fact that Lamont, unlike Lieberman, stands for something before he stands for bipartisanship.

Bipartisanship is not a political belief, it’s a political method. I’m going to continue to look for morality and principle in politicians who espouse strong political beliefs first and then seek to find the methods that will best enact our shared beliefs. That’s why Ned Lamont and the voters who elected him the Democratic nominee for Senate are the new moral center in American politics.

Monday, August 14, 2006


De Facto

It really has been educational to observe Joe Lieberman over this past week. From his acceptance speech at the inaugural Lieberman Convention Tuesday night to his acceptance of financial and political support from across the right wing, he has run right into the open arms of Republicans, his ideological soulmates for the past 18 years who are suddenly free to accept him as one of their own - and vice versa - with no hesitation or worries about repercussions.

Two more examples from today:

1) Sen. Lieberman (Lieberman-CT) personally and happily accepted the support of President Bush and Gov. Rell:

But the President’s statement of neutrality, combined with Governor Rell’s lack of support for my Republican opponent, is encouraging, simply because it shows I have a strong chance to build a broad coalition of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans in Connecticut for a new politics of unity and purpose in Washington.

2) Sen. Lieberman (Lieberman-CT)'s campaign virulently attacked Rep. Sanders (I-VT) and Rev. Sharpton:

How could [Lamont] expect to convince "moderate Democrats, Republicans, and most importantly, unaffiliated voters" that he "would be anything other than a rigid partisan rubber stamp in the Senate," the Lieberman spokesman asked, "when the only proof of his independence he can show is that he is slightly to the right of socialist Bernie Sanders on fiscal policy?"

"Why should anyone outside the Sharpton/Kos wing of the Democratic Party believe Ned Lamont will represent their views in Washington?" he added.

I agree with David Sirota. Lieberman is now the De Facto GOP nominee.

And he's not even a moderate Republican, a Chris Shays Republican. This new incarnation of Sen. Lieberman is one of a full-on demonizing, moralizing, McCarthyist right-winger. Even Chris Shays should be ashamed to vote for him.

No Connecticut voter of any affiliation should stand for this particular new brand of fear-based politics.

And no Democrat from any state should stand to be affiliated with this particular politician any longer.

Worse Than Silence

Dan Froomkin has an excellent round-up of the by-and-large disgusted responses from various politicans, reporters, editorial boards, and opinionmakers to Vice President Cheney's comments last week suggesting "Al-Qaeda types" would be encouraged by Ned Lamont's victory on Tuesday night.

But what have we heard from Joe Lieberman on Cheney's comments?


No... worse than silence. He parroted Cheney by saying Ned Lamont's Iraq policy - the unified Democratic Iraq policy and the policy favored by over 60% of the American public (and more of Connecticut) - would mean a "tremendous victory" for the terrorists.

And today, even worse.

In today's Hartford Courant there is a full-page ad supporting Joe Lieberman, paid for by a Republican 527 group called "Vets for Freedom," which is being run by Dan Senor, the former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and a name floated widely as a possible White House Press Secretary after Scott McClellan resigned.

John Stauber has more about this group and the integral role it is slated to play in the Rove noise machine that was cranked up once again this past week in advance of another election:

White House strategist Karl Rove has made clear his strategy for Republican victory in November is to run on the war in Iraq. For him VFF and similar groups such as Melanie Morgan's PR creation Move America Forward, are weapons on his political chessboard. Rove phoned Lieberman on Tuesday as Democrat voters were turning thumbs down on Lieberman for his pro-Bush cheerleading on Iraq. Karl Rove denies he offered help to Lieberman, but the battlefield arrival of VFF shows that Republican troops for Lieberman are already on the ground and firing at will.

As Republican donors run to support Joe and Democratic voters and politicians run as far as they can away from him, it's clear why he has not said a word about Vice President Cheney's comments this week. These are the people and groups he needs to win over in order to remain at all financially and politically viable.

But just because this is Lieberman Party's only strategy for survival doesn't mean it will be an even remotely successful one.

Running with Bush and Cheney wouldn't work for Republicans in Connecticut, and it surely isn't going to get the Lieberman Party very far in a very blue state. As Tom Swan said today:

It is not surprising that Joe remains Bush’s favorite Senator, he is looking to run the exact same campaign that Bush did in 2004. Fortunately, the voters of Connecticut were smart enough to reject it then and we are confident they will again. It is alarming to see how far Joe will go, undermining every candidate across the country from his former party, to cling to his spot in Washington.


Bush Refuses to Endorse GOP Nominee

Like you didn't see this coming. The Lieberman Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party:

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said this morning that President Bush will not endorse Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Alan Schlesinger (R) over Sen. Joe Lieberman even though he's the Republican nominee.

Update: A thought - isn't it hilarious how every move Lieberman has made since his loss last week has served to reinforce every point made by Lamont supporters during the primary campaign about his lack of committment to the Democratic party? These were descriptions which Joe constantly whined were scurrilous, mean-spirited personal attacks, but which he now all but embraces, in not saying a thing to counter the words of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Ken Mehlman, Tony Snow, and George Bush.

George Bush's Favorite Democrat, indeed.

Update 2: Election Central has the transcript of Snow's comments:

Q: Does the President support the Republican candidate for Senate in Connecticut?

MR. SNOW: The President supports the democratic process in the state of Connecticut, and wishes them a successful election in November.


The DSCC Stirs

No matter what happens in or leading up to November, the candidacy of Ned Lamont (D-CT) has already lifted a huge burden from the shoulders of local and national Democratic candidates from Diane Farrell to Hillary Clinton. None ever again have to defend Sen. Lieberman's Cheneyist stance on Iraq, or Rovian rhetoric on the war on terror.

To take one example, the DSCC now seems gung-ho about running on national security issues against both the GOP and The Lieberman Party, something that would have been much more difficult with Sen. Lieberman as the endorsed Democratic candidate. (Check out their latest web-ad on their own site or on YouTube.)

And the Democratic candidate in the race is doing his own job combatting the right-wing neoconservative candidate:

"My God, here we have a terrorist threat against hearth and home and the very first thing that comes out of their mind is how can we turn this to partisan advantage. I find that offensive," Lamont said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press.

But the DSCC still has to answer some questions, including: (a) Will they directly go after the Lieberman Party on national security issues in the CT race, as Ned Lamont (D-CT) already has? (b) Will Schumer specifically call on Joe to drop out of the race for the good of Democratic candidates across the state and nation? (c) What type of financial support will they give to Lamont?

And I had missed the update of this page on DSCC.org, but it looks good, doesn't it?

Update: More... the official DSCC blog links to this petition that could (and should) be addressed to Joe Lieberman as well as Vice President Cheney:

Dear Vice President Cheney,

All Americans are united in our fight against terrorism. The desire to vanquish those who would harm our homeland is universal.

And yet, you and other Republicans continue to insist that only you are equipped to defend us from threats abroad. This is not only blatantly untrue, but it is also subverting the Democratic process.

Voters cannot make informed decisions when they are faced with constant fear-mongering from their government. Because of the mishandled occupation of Iraq and other diplomatic failures, the United States is undoubtedly not safer than it was five years ago.

You owe it to the country to chart a new direction and that begins by no longer playing politics with our national security.


Quote Of The Day

"Being a leader doesn’t mean you take polls every time to tell you what to believe."

- Hadassah Lieberman, in a New York Times profile that indicates she was, in fact, one of Joe's key advisers pushing him to run as an Independent.

Sen. Lieberman was widely known to have done extensive daily polling during this campaign (including polls testing possible lines of attack about Ned Lamont's personal finances).

And apparently, being a "leader" doesn't mean you have to listen to actual election results every time you run in one, either.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Kennedy: Cheney and Lieberman "Attack Democracy Itself"

No, Sen. Kennedy didn't call out Sen. Lieberman by name in his Courant column published today. But Cheney's comments this week (about Lamont's victory encouraging "Al Qaeda types") were for all intents and purposes the same as Lieberman's (about Lamont's policies being "taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England.") Read the whole thing:

The comments [the Vice President] made on the result of the Connecticut Democratic primary - that it might encourage "the al-Qaida types" who want to "break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task" - are an attack not just on Democrats, but on democracy itself.

What happened in Connecticut is in fact a model for democracies everywhere. The people of the state heard a vigorous debate between two competing visions of how to protect this country. Young citizens became deeply involved, and turnout was high. The primary reminded us of the miracle of our democracy, in which the nation is ruled by its people - not by any entrenched set of leaders. There are few better messages we could send the world in these troubled times....

Ned Lamont's victory in Connecticut scares Cheney for one simple reason: It demonstrates that a free and independent people can and do hold public officials accountable for their words and deeds.

If the terrorists are indeed paying any attention to the Connecticut primary results, they must be worried.

The people of Connecticut spoke out loud and clear in favor of change. Ned Lamont will stand strong for the people of Connecticut, and put tough and smart foreign policies ahead of the politics of fear and more "stay the course" failures. Republicans will stop at nothing to make sure that the November elections are not a referendum on their misguided policy in Iraq or on the way they have run our country for the past six years. Unfortunately, this time the facts are getting in their way.

I wonder what Sen. Kennedy thinks about Sen. Lieberman (Lieberman-CT) constantly invoking his brother's name and legacy to justify his continued support of Bush's failed policy in Iraq, and his continued undermining of the Democratic party, now from outside the party itself. And I also wonder if that played any part in this editorial appearing not in the Boston Globe, but in the Hartford Courant today.

Feingold on This Week

(Update: ThinkProgress has video.)

Atrios has some choice quotes:

Stephanopoulos: “Senator Lieberman thinks that your approach will strengthen the terrorists and it’s a victory for terrorists. What’s your response?”

Feingold: “Well, I like Joe Lieberman, but I support Ned Lamont. Because Joe is showing with that regrettable statement that he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get it. The fact is that we were attacked on 9/11 by Al Qaeda and its affiliates and its sympathizers, not by Saddam Hussein. And unfortunately Senator Lieberman has supported the Bush Administration’s disastrous strategic approach of getting us stuck in Iraq instead of focusing on those who attacked us. I mean, look at the places that have been attacked: India, Morocco, Turkey, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Somalia, Spain, Great Britain. What does this have to do with Iraq? And Senator Lieberman is stuck on that point. Ned Lamont and I believe that we should refocus on those who attacked us on 9/11 and not simply try to cover our tracks because this was such a very poor decision in terms of the overall battle against the terrorists who attacked us.

In what's becoming a pattern among Senators who are currently serving with Joe Lieberman (Lieberman-CT), Sen. Feingold harshly criticized the senator but refused to directly call on Joe to drop out of the race.

Still, the fight between the Lieberman Party and the Democratic Party on national security gains more steam.