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Tilting at Windmills

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September 9, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

MEMORIES....The most remarkable phrase in print Friday was Brigadier General Mark Scheid's recollection about Donald Rumsfeld's response when Scheid said they ought to think about doing some postwar planning in Iraq: "I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that."

Second place goes to this, from Jennifer Medina in the New York Times:

In answering repeated questions about the scandal....

Yes, that's the Monica Lewinsky scandal that the stars of the Times "repeatedly" asked Ned Lamont about at a dinner on Wednesday. The mind reels.

But there's lots of tennis on today and a pretty good football game later this evening, so that's probably about it for today's blogging. Who do you think will face Federer in tomorrow's final?

Kevin Drum 12:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (132)

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Comments

Fuck the NYT

Posted by: klyde on September 9, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck Federer.

Posted by: MNPundit on September 9, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Roddick.

Somehow I think the big mo is finally with Andy. After watching the "J-Block" annoy and disturb Federer's concentration I can imagine a whole stadium rooting for Andy and giving him a weapon that Roger does not have at the Open.

(or it could be Pong vs Federer, which may be the only machine able to match Roger)

Posted by: Mac on September 9, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

when Scheid said they ought to think about doing some postwar planning in Iraq: "I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that."

Not really surprising Scheid would say that Kevin. Liberals like Scheid have selective "memories" of what Rumsfeld said. In fact the White House has refuted Scheid's liberal biased lies.

Link

""There was significant post war planning," said spokesman David Almacy."

The problem with liberals like Scheid and Kevin Drum is they can never admit they might be wrong. As even the liberal New York Times admits, the current ABC documentary Path to 9/11 points out that "the Sept. 11 commission concluded that the sex scandal distracted the Clinton administration from the terrorist threat." Yet liberals are now lying about the fact that Clinton was the one who was to blame that 9/11 happened. It is lies like this that make liberals untrustworthy and lack credibility. That's why ABC is correct to ignore the lies of the leftwing blogosphere. They and other liberals can never tell the truth.

Posted by: Al on September 9, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Great fake Al. Quoting from the China Daily is brilliant.

Posted by: Disputo on September 9, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, just clicked on the link to the NYT article. Couldn't get beyond the paragraph that described Lemont's refusal at the dinner/interview to drink wine and what his dessert choice was.

This is the f-ing paper of record in this country?

God help us all.

Posted by: Disputo on September 9, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Yes, that's the Monica Lewinsky scandal that the stars of the Times "repeatedly" asked Ned Lamont about at a dinner on Wednesday. The mind reels."

No. The mind doesn't reel. It's a reporter doing a good job.

Of course, he's being asked about it repeatedly because L'affair Lewinsky has long been a standard part of Lamont's attack on Lieberman.

And since it's basically a false charge, I don't blame a reporter for wanting to pin the candidate down on the basis of the attacks.

Posted by: Petey on September 9, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Times story is hilarious. It reflects in part that the Clinton story is so good that even 8 years later, people find it interesting to talk about [and to read about and to help sell newspapers].

But I wonder if discussing it reflects any strategy by Lamont or simply a misstep by a rookie. Since he fled the dinner early, it sounds like a misstep. I can't figure out what his calculation would be in criticizing Leiberman for his speech about Clinton. Lamont presumably already has the votes of people who feet that way.

The Times story also includes the hilarious story of Bill Clinton switching from an ardent Leiberman supporter to someone supporting Lamont and critical of Leiberman for agreeing with Bush's rationale when "almost no democrats agreed." These politicians live in such an isolated world that they do not realize how ridiculous and phony they look to real people when they do stuff like switching from Leiberman to Lamont. I guess it was a highly unusual situation where they operated on their normal support the nominee instinct without considering how they would look in doing so, but it certainly reinforces the image of lack of credibility and principle.

It also still looks like Lamont will lose rather handily. Looking at the numbers from the beginning, I never got how peole thought he could win. At most, he gets about 75% of democrats and Leiberman gets most of everyone else. I think Lamont ultimately will be lucky to get 40%, Leiberman gets more than 50%, and then the democratic politicians again will look like phony fools in welcoming Leiberman back. Great entertainment and, for those who care, great for the GOP.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Al has already refuted the first part of your talking point, but why SHOULDn'T Lamont be asked about Lewinsky? A sitting president commited perjury, and was properly impeached. He should be asked to take a stand, either for or against perjury. Do we have two anti-perjury candidates in the Senate election, or is it a split?

Posted by: American Hawk on September 9, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

I just saw Petey's post. Lamont has been attacking Leiberman for that speech? I guess that might have made some sense in the primary, but if he had been using it, he certainly should have shut up about it once he won the primary.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

a pretty[sic] good football game later this evening

A very good game

Go Buckeyes!!

Posted by: Keith G on September 9, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

he certainly should have shut up about it once he won the primary.

That might depend on how Clinton is viewed in Conn.

Posted by: Boronx on September 9, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hook 'em Horns!

Posted by: Kriston Capps on September 9, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

"I just saw Petey's post. Lamont has been attacking Leiberman for that speech?"

Yup. And doing so while twisting the facts a bit to make Lieberman look bad.

So the fact they're discussing it 8 years out has more to do with the contours of one local race than it does with a societal trend.

"I guess that might have made some sense in the primary, but if he had been using it, he certainly should have shut up about it once he won the primary."

The post-primary strategy out of the Lamont camp seems to be obsessed with winning as high a percentage of Dems with a strong partisan identity as possible.

I understand the rationale for beating the drums for those folks in the abstract - they need to bring a very high percentage of those folks home to even have a chance of winning. But that emphasis of focus seems crazy to me given the contours of the race.

It seems to me that the Lamont camp hasn't adjusted to it being a de facto 2 man race. They seem to be playing a strategy better suited for a race where Gamblin' Man (R) is getting 25%, and Lamont can win with a pretty low total percentage.

Posted by: Petey on September 9, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Oh btw AH, stop being a moron if that is possible.

SHOULDn'T Lamont be asked about Lewinsky?

That makes as much sense as asking Lamont about Nixon being forced out of office in disgrace or about Reagan's Iran-Contra scandal or even Sen Bob Packwood's Tongue-gate.

Is being an irrelevent hack part of your genetic make up?

Posted by: Keith G on September 9, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget about the deciding game of the WNBA final. There ought to be one or two of your readers who are going to watch that.

Posted by: B on September 9, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

brian nailed it. Lamont made a huge mistake bringing up Lieberman's criticism of Clinton during Monica-gate. We have enough incompetent Senators on both sides of the aisle; it's good to know that Lamont is ulikely to add to that number.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 9, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Will the Republicans really only get 4% in CT? How fucking pitiful is that?

Posted by: B on September 9, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Damn. Washington Monthly's infested with moonbat wingnuts.

Posted by: Joey on September 9, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Just out of curiousity, has anyone on here actually READ the letter that the NY Times is characterizing as Lamont's hypocritical support for Lieberman in the wake of Lieberman's speech?

Yeah. That's what I thought.

Hint: The NY Times is being more than a little disingenuous by claiming the letter supports Lieberman. Lamont actually ripped Lieberman a new one and essentially called Lieberman a drama queen.

The actual letter is posted at Atrios, if you're willing to look at some, y'know, facts instead of your feelings.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 9, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Tennis is a good example of a sport that has both women and men playing for an appreciative audience that is also mixed sexes. Sports that were developed by both sexes, like tennis, allow both sexes to participate at the highest level of achievement and compensation.

Women's basketball, on the other hand, does not entertain like men's basketball, nor does men's figure skating entertain like women's. Neither pays as well to the lesser developed/appreciated player.

I don't know much about the historical development of sports, but it seems to me most 'sports' games came about through the spontaneous play of children. Baseball and football have a lot of elements of tag and keep away. Over time rules were developed for more organized play that allowed the participation and competition of a growing sample of players, becoming the great games we enjoy today. I think basketball's legend is it was created on purpose, but even ancient Americans had a game whose goal was to put a rubber ball through a raised circle.

That is why I think some sports just do not accommodate the opposite sex, like basketball. It is a boy's sport developed by boys for boys. Figure skating is probably the wrong analogy, since men and women probably skated equally, but it was Sonia Heine who made figure skating popular. Women's figure skating is the main draw of the Winter Olympics. Men were better at barrel jumping, but it did not translate into a popular sport. Most women are at a disadvantage in the modern sports industry because ancient girls were probably not permitted to spontaneously develop games from play, like boys, or were playing house, which was has not become part of a spectator economy. Tennis, on the other hand, was developed and played by both sexes, I think, in the aristocracy of Europe, and today the women may even be the bigger draw.

Posted by: Hostile on September 9, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno. It's fair game in the sense that Lamont was attacking Lieberman in the primary for scolding Clinton at the expense of party unity -- but now Lieberman has produced letters from Lamont supporting him at the time on the merits of the issue.

That does indeed make Lamont look hypocritical -- or at least forces him into the position of having to parse his position: well, it's not the *principle* of Joe's critique, it's that he didn't do it privately, etc. Whether a fair perception or not, that makes Lamont look like he's trying to have it both ways.

The biggest fear I have for Lamont is his clinging on to Tom Swan like a talisman. He was a great organizer for the primaries, but I think now he's in over his head.

Tom Swan's a Citizen Action organizer. I've worked for and partied with CA organizars; they're great people and fun to be around -- but they do tend to live in a righteous left-wing bubble. The more I learn about Swan, the more I get a distinctly Joe Trippi vibe.

There are definite parallels to the Dean primary campaign. Like Dean, Lamont's a well-to-do "accidental politician" in a bit over his head. In the interest of expanding their limited personas, they both hire unconventional campaign managers who are their tempremental and behavioral opposities (like Trippi, Swan's a complete coffee-stained slob with a massively unorganized workspace). Like Trippi, Swan performed early miracles; Trippi raised whopping cash, Swan won the primary. This generates a loyalty that has passed rational evaluation.

Like the Dean campaign, Lamont thinks he's going to win by inspiring a grassroots citizen movement. They watch Lieberman thrashing around for an organizational base and making Jesse Ventura noises, and they laugh. Joe *Lieberman's* gonna inspire grassroots excitement in lieu of a Party-driven GOTV operation?

Because Lieberman is so antithetical to all the things Tom Swan does well -- because Joe's the poster boy for an undeserved sense of entitlement, because people don't vote for Joe out of any real sense of enthusiasm -- he's blinded to Joe's heavy structural advantage -- not just name recognition, but pork delivery to the state.

In order to win, Lamont *has* to reach beyond the Democratic base; that's just Connecticut Politics 101. And I don't think Tom Swan's the guy who's gonna concoct a viable way to do that -- since it's completely beyond his experience as a lobbyist for left-labor causes.

I'm hoping like hell Lamont is beginning to acknowledge this ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

this is hilarious - you've got to check it out. I especially like Clinton laughing in the cockpit

http://www.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2006/09/08/090806-950x316-badreporter.gif

I am exhausted from fighting crowds - the Pope is visiting Munich.

Posted by: Michele on September 9, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Just out of curiousity, has anyone on here actually READ the letter that the NY Times is characterizing as Lamont's hypocritical support for Lieberman in the wake of Lieberman's speech?"

If you wanna get down in the weeds on this...

Yup. I've read the WHOLE letter and the NYTimes article. And Lamont said he reluctantly supported Lieberman's speech in '98, but has a far more negative characterization of it today.

------

This is a minor skirmish. You win some of those and you lose some of those. Camp Lamont doesn't have the facts on their side to win this particular skirmish.

Posted by: Petey on September 9, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

The actual letter is posted at Atrios, if you're willing to look at some, y'know, facts instead of your feelings.

They are Republicans. To them, facts are funny things. You know, like laugh at them and move on? So dont go impinging on their tiny little minds with facts. If they really wanted to read the mail, they would have. No, it was more fun to rush over here and hang their asses out in public.

They are truly stupid people, and proud of it.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on September 9, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

And Lamont said he reluctantly supported Lieberman's speech in '98, but has a far more negative characterization of it today.

Wrong idiot. Lamont blasts Leiberman for being a sanctomonious prick and a traitor. Same as today.
His complaint about his young daughters seeing all that was specifically about the Starr report.

When are you idiotic gits gonna realize nobody else live in your special place but you.

Like I said, stupid people.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on September 9, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

"The biggest fear I have for Lamont is his clinging on to Tom Swan like a talisman. He was a great organizer for the primaries, but I think now he's in over his head."

Yuperooo.

Swan ran an amazing primary race, but he doesn't seem to be making good general election decisions so far.

As I mentioned upthread, it's like the Lamont camp hasn't adjusted to it being a de facto 2 man race. They seem to be playing a strategy better suited for a race where Gamblin' Man (R) is getting 25%, and Lamont can win with a pretty low total percentage.

In a 3 way race where Lamont can win with a pretty low vote total, it makes sense to scoop up every single Dem with partisan concerns. But that's not the race we're in.

Posted by: Petey on September 9, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Something tells me that Petey is not the person Lamont should be seeking advice from. What the wingers here seem to be missing is pretty simple: the list of things that are important now is pretty long, and the Lewinsky matter is not one of them. The article says a great deal about the bankruptcy of the media, and little about Lamont.

Posted by: Marc on September 9, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I always thought the thrust of Lamonts criticism was not that no Democrat should have rebuked Clinton, but that it was hypocritical to rebuke Clinton and let far worse transgressions by others slide.

Posted by: Boronx on September 9, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Wrong idiot. Lamont blasts Leiberman for being a sanctomonious prick and a traitor."

The dark valley of the benighted dittoheads...

You must have a very special version of the letter with the traitor charge that no one else can see. Do you have to rub lemon juice on that "traitor" section to be able to see it? Or does it just come to you in visions?

Mouth-breathers often have trouble distinguishing the words on paper from the made up words, I suppose...

Posted by: Petey on September 9, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Petey:

You have the math on that precisely correct. If Shleshinger (sp?) had any institutional support from the GOP and was pulling numbers, then a Swan-organized citizen movement-style partisan campaign would make perfect sense.

The problem with the letter is that Lamont took a nuanced position. He 1) agreed with Lieberman on the *moral principle* of his chastisement (not merely over disgust at the purient content of the Starr Report like so many Democrats who otherwise thought impeachment was a crock), he 2) strongly chastised Lieberman for the *tactical* approach of making a divisive speech in the well of the Senate and 3) reluctantly concluded on balance that the speech was still worthy of support.

Not exactly a position you can sum up on a bumper sticker.

If Lamont had been simply citing 2) without giving any acknowledgement of 1) and 3), then the Lieberman camp has every business in calling attention to the broader context.

I agree with Petey: it's a minor skirmish that Lamont seems to have lost through losing his moral clarity by parsing his position.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Something tells me that Petey is not the person Lamont should be seeking advice from."

I'd be voting for him in the general, were I a Nutmegger. And as an out-of-state Dem, I'd really like to see him win. (Although I would have supported the other guy in the primary.)

Posted by: Petey on September 9, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Petey == Charlie

Posted by: Goran on September 9, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Mnem,

I read both the Lamont email and the Times article. The email actually is a pretty thoughtful assessment by a partisan democrat (i.e., cannot resist the shot at how Reagan allegedly treated his kids) and actually offers advice and a formula that probably would have been better for democrats and the country -- censure the president for bad behavior and lying, then move on. It is interesting that as a private citizen (was he an active democrat player at that time?) he would take the time and effort to write such an email to "Dear Joe."

But I also read the Times story and it is pretty accurate (especially since it apparently also posted the email for review by readers). Lamont's email certainly did not rip Leiberman a new one or call him a drama queen, as you claim. It expressed agreement with Leiberman's eloquent statement but distress at what had since happened and offered a way to bring it to a conclusion.

In any event, this is all bad for Lamont now. He should have kept his mouth shut. He needs a miracle to win. This is a distraction that will hurt him a bit and burn some time.

By the way, I heard a bit of Rush Limbaugh the other day and he is calling Lamont "Ned Lament," referring to how democrats now and in the future will lament his victory in the primary. I know Rush likely does not have many fans here, but he can be a clever and funny guy.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Petey:

Well, I disagree with you there. I surely would have supported Lamont in the primary for a whole host of reasons it's pointless to enumerate.

At this historical moment, party loyalty has to be Job One for the Democrats.

You know -- what the GOP learned in the post-Goldwater wilderness.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Goran:

Charlie isn't quite clever enough to use "Gamblin' Man" as a sorbiquet for the Republican challenger.

brian:

Experts agree: Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx nails it; Petey's an idiot.

Posted by: Disputo on September 9, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

"the list of things that are important now is pretty long, and the Lewinsky matter is not one of them. The article says a great deal about the bankruptcy of the media, and little about Lamont."

But Camp Lamont has been bringing up L'Affair Lewinsky over and over and over again this spring and summer.

If you really think it's not an important matter, take it up with Tom Swan, not the NYTimes.

The charges that have been made are arguable somewhat fact-free and/or distorted. The press is doing its job correctly when it tackles something like this.

Posted by: Petey on September 9, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Based on Scheid's statement, Rumsfeld should be fired and tried on charges of criminal negligence.

Posted by: jerry on September 9, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

For the record I don't think Petey's an idiot. I think Lamont is in serious jeopardy with Tom Swan as his campaign manager.

It took until the Iowa fiasco for the scales to fall from Howard Dean's eyes about Joe Trippi.

As a fervent Dean supporter and campaign volunteer -- I don't wish to see history repeat itself here.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

When we went into Iraq I remember clearly that Bush was very keen on the details of our advance across the desert, bridges taken, etc. It was chilling to realize how blood thirsty our Commander in Chief was. Then the memorable "mission accomplished."

27 permanent bases and no PLAN for post war rebuilding.

God Bless 'merica!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on September 9, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Who do you think will face Federer in tomorrow's final?

The eventual runner-up.

Posted by: Brian on September 9, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

"It took until the Iowa fiasco for the scales to fall from Howard Dean's eyes about Joe Trippi. As a fervent Dean supporter and campaign volunteer -- I don't wish to see history repeat itself here."

Trippi is a full-on megalomaniacal loony tunes who I wouldn't trust with anything.

Swan seems like he's a very solid guy (and good guy) who's just never tried to play at this level of ball.

Add to that the fact that Camp Lamont needs to execute some rather intricate and sophisticated moves to get on the right side of this deeply unusual race. Swan doesn't seem like he's been up to it so far, but remember that the ending matters more than the beginning (as long as Lamont doesn't fall too deep down the well in the meantime).

Posted by: Petey on September 9, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well, one thing about Rumsfeld. He advocated a timetable for withdrawal, something we all have been bitching about.

Posted by: Matt on September 9, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Shall we quote a relevant paragraph, Petey and Brian? This is paragraph three (3) of Lamont's letter:

"Unfortunately, [Lieberman's] statement was the beginning of a process that has turned more political and morally offensive. I'm the father of three and the thought that Clinton testifying about oral sex before the grand jury may be broadcast inot my living room is outrageous. The Starr report read like a tabloid, not a legal recitation, and that streamed into my home via every medium available.

Wow, yeah, that sure sounds like Lamont appreciated and supported Lieberman's statement at the time, especially if you ignore that he repeatedly uses the word "reluctantly supported" in the previous two grafs.

And why is Lamont stressing that Lieberman didn't support Clinton when he was down? Um, maybe because about 70% of the country thought that the impeachment was a partisan witchhunt at the time? Ya think?

Putzes.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 9, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Shall we quote a relevant paragraph, Petey?"

Why not quote the whole speech, Mnemosyne, rather than using exerpts to make a sophistical point?

If you do look at the whole speech, I think my one line summation from upthread still works pretty well:

Lamont said he reluctantly supported Lieberman's speech in '98

This conflicts somewhat dramatically from what Lamont has been saying on the trail. So we have a minor skirmish where Lamont loses. No big deal. As Ned said in the letter, move on.

------

What I've found the more disturbing part of this is separate from the new letter. Lamont has been repeatedly saying that Lieberman's actions in '98 were designed to hurt Clinton, when both Clinton and rest of the Dem CongressCritters thought the opposite about Lieberman's actions.

------

"Putzes."

You benighted dittoheads don't have much use for the reality-based community, do you?

Posted by: Petey on September 9, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

As a CT resident I can say I started tuning out campaign crap about 6 months ago. Lewinsky? I skimmed the news today and at this moment the only apparent lasting effect is a foreigner song that is stuck in my head.

Posted by: toast on September 9, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Petey:

I think at the beginning you could say the same about Trippi. Trippi was a Shrum acolyte who did some very counterintuitive tactical maneouvers which allowed Gephardt to win the Iowa caucuses in '88. Taking him on with such a middling resume was a gamble -- but at the time, Dean was running as a protest candidate and didn't have much to lose. It wasn't until his famous speech at a Democratic conference in January (IIRC) of '02 that Dean was even on the political radar.

What happened to Trippi is a classic tale of tragic hubris. As the campaign's internet guru, he got caught in the hot lights as Dean's fundraising took off in a major way. Since the press had no yardstick by which to judge an insurgent campaign out-fundraising the party insiders, naturally they looked to Trippi as some sort of savant -- and Trippi did nothing to disabuse them of that notion. He was a moth consumed by the flame ...

The Lamont campaign is, in its own way, just as unusual as the Dean frontrunner phenomenon. There are no convenient yardsticks. Swan may well be a good and solid guy, but his experience is entirely with left-wing grassroots lobbying campaigns (I've worked professionally for CA groups). Maybe he won't go down through a gross hunger for press attention the way Trippi did -- but his entire experience is with quixotic battles against big corporations. He's entirely too used to being the counted-out underdog -- and while that can be an under-the-radar advantage in an insurgent primary campaign, the dynamics are entirely different in an effective two-man race in the general election, where passionate partisanship simply won't gather enough votes.

I agree with you that this may not be Swan's *fault*, per se, the way it clearly was Trippi's, as he shot the whole load in Iowa. It's more like a lack of the relevant experience for a statewide campaign against an entrenched incumbent.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Don't think it makes too much difference who Federer plays given his straight sets victory over DavyD. Expect a non-nail biting 4 set victory tomorrow over....other match is tied in the 3rd set now, so not ready to make a prediction on who will come in 2nd.

Do hope that UT-OSU is a better game than the Notre Dame snooze fest. Obviously over rated at #2 - don't expect them to end up in the top 15 this year.

Posted by: tarylcabot on September 9, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

At least mnem is no longer claiming the Lamont email ripped Leiberman a new one and called him a drama queen. Progress toward truth moves in slow steps, but this thread is a good example of how intelligent people can read the samme one page document and see it through their biased eyes as meaning what they want it to mean.

Petey is correct. As stated in Lamont's own words in the email, he supported Leiberman's speech and then was distressed at what followed and was suggesting a new approach.

The whole episode is a distraction caused by rookie mistakes. It will not significantly affect an election that Lamont is likely to lose pretty decisively absent some new damaging information about Leiberman. Otherwise, I think voters are pretty well set on this one.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

I'm nowhere near as inclined as you to write off the race for Lamont. The other piece in the NYT about Lieberman's performance on the stump, makes him sound more uncertain than he's ever been. He's had to backtrack on a few things, and he's uncertain about how he should refer to fellow Democrats running for Congress who haven't endorsed him in the general.

The whole problem with a politician who's known for "stubborn committment to principle" is that he can be hoisted on that petard easily when he's put into a hopelessly ambiguous situation. A lot will depend on how motivated Republicans are, generally. Clearly hardcore conservative Reps aren't going to come out in droves for a guy who supports expanded government and is pro-choice.

Finally, there's the problem of GOTV operation. Who is Lieberman going to look for for his base? The party's dead to him; organized labor is sitting on its hands when it's not in Lamont's corner. In a race like this, with a depressed turnout from conservatives and an energized turnout from liberals -- you'll die if you don't have a ground game. Both candidates have plenty of outside support -- but Lamont's got a lock on the in-state organization. And he has no money restrictions for advertisement, being willing to self-finance.

Is Lieberman going to have to set up local committees all around the state so he can have a base for volunteers on Election Day? That's a Herculean organizational task ...

I still say it's much closer than the polls right now are indicating.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Leiberman is so well known that I don't see people changing their vote absent new information. You may be right to some extent on the ground game, but at most that might move the numbers a few points. So if Leiberman polls at 51/40, it might wind up 48/43 or so.

Regardless, I find the politicians switching from Leiberman to Lamont farcical. To any intelligent observor other than partisan democrats, they look like total phonies and it is an image that will stick. The Leiberman backers should have had the sense to sit out the election, if they did not have the principle to continue to support Leiberman.

Bill Clinton in particular should have led the way after his enthusiastic endorsement of Leiberman, but with him there is always something standing in the way of principle. In this case, his wife's desire to be president.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

What's farcical, brian, is how incredibly partisan your analysis is. Put the shoe on the other foot: Conservative challengers defeat GOP incumbents in primaries all the time -- and then the party coalesces behind the primary winner. What you're seeing isn't "flip-flopping" -- it's precisely how a well-organized and disciplined party works.

People look at this with a superficial understanding of politics and they become disgusted at "party politics." It's behind so many brain-dead registered Independents -- ever hear them interviewed and it becomes pretty quickly apparent that they really have no clue of how politics function and they're too impatient to learn.

The message of the Lamont dynamic at the end of the day is that party is more important than any given candidate. If the party stalwarts want a candidate more liberal or more conservative (or more moderate) than the incumbent -- then it behooves the party to respond to its supporters. This is taken as gospel by the GOP.

And it's a lesson the Democrats very much need to learn if they have any hope of regaining power. The whole purpose of parties is to concentrate the political power of a bunch of folks who share the same basic principles.

Unity, as they say, is strength.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

What's *also* farcical (and which betrays the fundamental either dishonesty or idiocy of your comment) is to imagine Democratic politicians throwing their party's nominating process under the bus.

What kind of message would it send to the *other* Democrats running in Connecticut if the party big guns decided it was perfectly okay for Joe Lieberman to take out an insurance policy by getting on the ballot on his own line?

What kind of message would it send to the Democratic *base* who elected Lamont that members of their own party think they're "extremists" for expressing their wills at the ballot box?

Clearly, big-gun Democrats would be self-destructive idiots to endorse anyone but the victor of their own primary election.

The Democratic Party is more important that Joe Lieberman's incumbency -- end of story.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

I've never been impressed by either Lamont or Lieberman. I'd be happy to replace an egomaniacal pro-war hack with a lightweight anti-war hack, but I'm not going to get worked up about this race.

Here's the thing... we've got a situation in CT where the Republicans have thrown their own candidate overboard to campaign for a former Democratic VP candidate in an election that's more or less a Democratic primary rematch. Meanwhile, all over the country, some of the most noxious Republican incumbents in both houses are taking a long walk off a short pier. Santorum? Toast. Katherine Harris? Crashed before take-off. Conrad Burns? Barely breathing. John Hostettler? Packing his bags. Tom DeLay? Fighting a legal battle to stay OFF the ballot.

Not to mention Rhode Island, where the GOP has been forced to spend large sums of money defending an anti-war Republican Senator who didn't even vote for President Bush, to prevent a right-wing insurgency from putting an unelectable candidate on the November ballot.

Hey, if they want to talk trash about Lamont, let them. Let them toss their own guy overboard to keep a prominent Democrat in the Senate. It's going to be a very, very hollow victory for the Republican Party.

You don't need a weather vane to know which way the wind's blowing this year. Better huddle close for warmth, wingnuts.

Posted by: ajl on September 9, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Your point is true from the narrow perspective of the party. The democratic party could never abandon Lamont after he won.

What I am talking about are the individual politicians who decided that Leiberman was the better choise for senator than Lamont and then, when Lamont wins the primary but Leiberman continues to run (something they knew he would do back when they were supporting him), they switch to Lamont.

To you and other party loyalists, as you say, the party is more important than any given candidate and you think the switchers did the right thing. Fine. But to the rest of us, the switchers are phonies and not credible. You are obviously smart and have to be able to see how the non-party loyalists see a guy like Bill Clinton enthusiatically supporting Leiberman one day and then the next week supporting the other guy WHEN LEIBERMAN IS STILL RUNNING. He, and others like him, should have gone silent out of respect for the party, but not switched sides.

You should not expect folks who do not share your commitment to the democratic party to see the switchers the same way you do. In the end, I doubt if the switchers are going to make a difference in the election results, so going silent would have allowed them to maintain their integrity.

One final point. You cite conservatives falling in line and supporting the primary winner. Of course, that is true for both democrats and republicans virtually all the time. What is different here is that Leiberman continues to run as a credible candidate. The switchers faced with such an unusual situation did not appreciate how they would look, so they applied blind party loyalty and now look very bad to non-democratic partisans. What will be funny is that as it gets closer to election day and it becomes more clear Leiberman is going to win pretty handily, you will see the switchers going quiet.

I don't think Edwards is a switcher (maybe so), but I doubt that you see him in Connecticut the last few weeks of the campaign and you certainly will not see any switchers like Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton campaigning with Lamont near the end of the campaign.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

Okay, a final set of points and then I'll stop monopolizing this thread:

First, what you're doing is propogating the exceedingly odious GOP meme that, in the guise of a thoroughly disingenuous "concern," is attempting to tell good Democrats to smack back their "extremists," lest they'll never win anymore elections, blah blah blah.

This is entirely bullshit. It's not whether a candidate is more ideologically extreme than the electorate. If that were the case, you wouldn't see so many crazy frothers in Congress. What makes for a winning candidate is a highly energized core group of supporters coupled with salient issues that can be painted to resonate with the wider electorate.

Lieberman has two issues he's hung his hat on. The first is incumbency (the reason all those big Democratic guns endorsed him in the primary). That's going to be the hardest argument for Lamont to counter. Secondly, it's Iraq and the GWoT. Now, much is going to shake out in the next few weeks, especially after the anniaversary. Do the American public have "9/11 fatigue," or do they buy all of Bush's new arguments that Islamists are Nazis, torture is good and unregulated "terrorist surveillance" is necessary. Will there be any more scary Osama videos? Will there be an October Surprise? We're not going to know about these things until they start shaking out in the final weeks. It's fair to say, though, given all past experience, that Iraq is likely to continue getting worse.

Finally, I think you vastly underestimate the significance of the ground game. Remember how in the final week before Iowa, Howard Dean was 10 points up in the polls? And he didn't just lose -- he got slaughtered. Why? In a nutshell, Kerry imported some extremely savvy veteran organizers into Iowa and ran a superb (and brutal) ground game. Many elections have seen polls collapse at the last minute. Some of Lieberman's support is doubtless soft and based more on name recognition because people haven't started paying attention yet.

Don't be so sanguine about a blowout election. It's going to be down to the wire.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

You're wrong on a couple of levels. First, the endorsements for Lieberman by the big dawgs was *also* based on party loyalty. You'd expect prominent Democrats to endorse a veteran of the Senate unless he was, I dunno, facing indictment.

Secondly, all those big dawgs who "switched" hardly contradicted themselves. They ALL said that while they endorse Lieberman in the primary, THEY WILL SUPPORT THE VICTOR.

Had they endorsed Lieberman, *then* they would have to answer for flip-flopping on their own stated committments prior to the primary.

By Lieberman running on his own line -- something only an incumbent with a ton of name recognition could have done -- he disgusted a lot of voters in Connecticut, because they see him not wanting to abide by the rules of the game.

Americans don't like mulligan-takers or little kids who insist on do-overs anymore than they liked it when Clinton did it all the time on the golf course.

Only Lieberman was craven enough to pull a stunt like running as an Independent after he lost his own primary. And people see it for exactly what it is. An entitlement-mad politician who *just can't believe* he could possibly lose.

That's profoundly offensive to traditional American ideas of fairness -- and it will start to sink in more broadly as more people start tuning into the election.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,
You've changed the subject to who will win, so I take it you agree with me that to non-democratic party partisans, the switchers look phony and lack credibility.

I think your "ground game" and "down to the wire" comments reflect mostly wishful thinking. Personally, I don't care much who wins. Lamont winning is probably best for Republicans. Leiberman winning is probably best for Connecticut and the country, so that is my preference. At this point, I don't see how either result is good for democrats -- tossing your popular VP nominee from 6 years ago will be noticed by the electorate nationally in a negative way and Leiberman winning will be a defeat of the democratic party. This is very odd since democrats are certain to keep the seat, but still will get a bad result.

I assume you and others think a Lamont win will be part of an onrushing gathering of liberal democrat political power. I doubt it, but we shall see. Thanks for the dialogue.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,
Sorry. I had not read your most recent post. You had not abandoned the switcher issue. I still think you're wrong. People don't like sore losers, but that does not seem to be adversely affecting Leiberman, and I think that baggage would be more heavy right after the primary than on election day.

Also, people don't like phonies or "Indian givers," (sorry if anyone is offended, but I could not think of a better term), like the dems who gave Leiberman support and then took it back.

All this supports my theory that this mess is bad for dems -- a lightweigh limosine liberal, a sore loser, and a bunch of phony Indian givers. I don't really mean to get anyone mad, just trying to show how it looks.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is one of the best, most reasonable Leftie bloggers. As it happens, I posted the Scheid/Rummy story myself just now.

But on the Lamont/NYT issue. It seems, if I understand Kevin and his commenters correctly, they are annoyed/outraged that the NYT has dredged up 8 year old news. ... umm ... Didn't Lamont raise this a few days ago? Isn't Lamont's dredging up Lieberman's stand on this 8 year old ancient history the ONLY reason it has made the pages of the NY Times?

Posted by: The Commissar on September 9, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Regardless, I find the politicians switching from Lieberman to Lamont farcical. To any intelligent observor other than partisan democrats, they look like total phonies and it is an image that will stick.

Brian, thats a foolish statement. You totally miss the purpose and dynamics of party politics. Party leaders will support the winner of their primary every time. To do otherwise is to self-destruct.

Note that its difficult to get anything significant done without the support of a political party. Thats one reason that there are few effective politicians who exist outside the context of one of the major political parties.

Also note that party members expect that you participate in their primaries in good faith, i.e., that you will support the winner. Of course this is not a hard and fast rule; such a rule would be arrogant like Lieberman himself. He has the right to run as an independent.

But to expect Democrats to support him is foolish when he was just defeated in their primary. Democrats are trying to succeed as a party. You sound very naive when you call Democratic Party leaders phony when all they are doing is supporting the winner of their primary. Thats normal, logical behavior.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on September 9, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

Well, in my view you're not really thinking for yourself. You're propogating so many false GOP memes it's really hard to know where to begin, and you're remaining obstinate on points which I had clearly refuted. Let's try this one more time:

1) Your "concern" is entirely disingenuous. It would be much worse for the Democrats if a thorn in the side like Lieberman remained in office. The internal divisivness would be far better for Republicans than a freshman Democratic Senator.

2) Lieberman was *not* a "popular VP nominee." Lieberman is one of the main reasons Gore lost, by propping up Nader's argument that both candidates were the same. When Gore abandoned his consultants and started running hard as a populist in the final weeks of the campaign, it bolstered his support. It was Gore's caution and studied centrism -- exemplified by the Lieberman pick -- that disenchanted so many people in that race and suppressed the turnout.

3) There's a silver lining beyond the fact that the Dems will keep the seat regardless. If Joe comes back, he may well be chastened and take his base less for granted. It isn't that Democrats opposed him for ideological reasons (there are much more conservative Democrats in the South) as he stabbed the party in the back. He's not incapable of learning and neither is the national party. If Lamont wins, it's just gravy -- but a chastened incumbent might even be a marginally better outcome for the sake of building spirit and coherence in the party.

4) Lamont isn't some sort of flaming liberal. That is just out-and-out bullshit. While he ran to the left in the primary (a good tactical decision) he isn't fundamentally that far away from Lieberman on any issue save the war. And being against the war isn't necessarily "liberal" -- as it can be done with those hoary conservative principles of isolationism and a clear-eyed prioritization of our national defense. To support the war is actually liberalism run amok.

5) You're completely obstinate about the aftermath of the primary. First off, the universe of polling is entirely different now, so you wouldn't expect the issues that had so embroiled the primary would reflect in the statewide polls until the race got down to the final two weeks. The polls are reflecting name recognition, as many likely general voters paid little attention to the primary.

6) The "Indian giver" meme (and I don't think you need to be chided for the use of that term) is something you pulled out of your butt. *Nobody's* going to get angry at a Democrat for supporting the Democratic Party nominee. Nobody. Nobody who's doing that "withdrew their support" from Lieberman. And no Democrat should be held accountable for shitting on their party's nominating process -- not to mention the other down-ballot Democrats in Connecticut who won their primaries fair and square. The idea is just ridiculous. Also, you'll notice that very few national Democrats are supporting Lieberman. Lieberman's GOP support is radioactive and they know it. Daniel Inouhe (sp?) from Hawaii actually changed his support *to* Lamont *after* backing Lieberman for the first week after the primary. He might suffer for that -- but he's the only Democrat to do so. Obviously he made that choice fully considering the downside of being perceived as an "Indian giver."

7) Finally, you are showing how this looks to the GOP, not the universe of likely general election voters. Doubtless all of your "concerns" are floating around right-wing blogs where you picked them up from.

At the end of the day, it's going to come down to the ground campaign -- and that's Advantage Lamont.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what brian will say when Laffey beats Chafee and all of the Republicans who have been backing Chafee will immediately switch their allegiance to the party's new nominee? Just as has been done in damn near every other occasion like this throughout history. Brian's point is simply nonsensical.

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and I don't think Roddick will beat Federer. I think the title is Federer's unless something extraordinary happens tomorrow. I'd like to be proved wrong, though.

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

LOL !

Definitively excellent point :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

little ole jim,
I understand perfectly why democratic party partisans would want their "leaders" to support Lamont and, for that matter, why you see nothing wrong with the switchers.

The point I was trying to make was that to everybody else, the switchers look like phonies and lose credibility, which in turn hurts the switchers and the democratic party with all but the partisans. I think the switchers instead should have just expressed respect for the voters and gone silent.

Jim, you are correct it is "normal" for democratic leaders (and even the loser) to support the primary winner even if they backed someone else. What is abnormal, and seen as phony and not credible, is for leaders to back a primary loser and then when the loser continues to run, switch their support to the primary winner. If Bill Clinton thought Leiberman was a good democrat and the better person for senate the day before the elections, he is not credible when he tells the voters the day after the election "never mind, now Lamont is the best person for the job - forget what I said about voting for Leiberman."

This was an unusual situation. I don't know if that such switching has ever happened previously and these guys when faced with a new situation made a choice that makes them look like they are phonies and cannot be believed. So you are not correct when you argue it happens all the time. Leiberman continuing to run as a credible candidate makes if different, if not unique.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see if we can clear things up a bit for brian, since he still seems to be confused.

1. Prior to the primary, a few Democratic politicians made their preference known in this race. This isn't all that common an occurrence, since most politicians prefer to stay out of local races like this, but then this wasn't exactly a common race, just as is the case with Chafee and Laffey, which is seeing similar pronouncements.

2. Once the Democratic voters in Connecticut had spoken, it behooves those same Democratic politicans to respect their wishes and to back the candidate they had chosen. To do otherwise would be to disrespect those voters -- the backbone of the party. That is precisely the same thing that will happen in Rhode Island, and that has happened everywhere else throughout the years.

3. Precisely which voters are going to care about this? Connecticut voters? They are going to somehow care that, e.g., Barbara Boxer now supports Lamont? Why on earth would this make an iota of difference to them? Barbara Boxer's voters? Why on earth would they care about an event that is completely irrelevant to them? The only voters who will care about this are those like yourself who don't like Democrats anyway and are looking for any excuse to attack them.

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

brian wrote: "The point I was trying to make was that to everybody else, the switchers look like phonies and lose credibility,"

Since you have no basis for this remark and have provided zero evidence to support it, forgive us if we treat this as the partisan nonsense that it is.

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Okay,none of you guys agree that Leiberman continuing to run makes this a different situation that affects how the swtichers are viewed. I think it is obviously different, but we can agree to disagree.

On the larger issue of Lamont/Leiberman, I think it is a negative for democrats because of all the attention it has received (and will contiue to recieve) and, at least in terms of national politics, the downside of it looking like democrats are throwing overboard or trying to throw overboard a popular VP nominee from 6 years ago. But I guess you guys don't agree with that either.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK


Is Brian one of the astro-turf commenters from the Lieberman camp?

Posted by: NeoDude on September 9, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

Once again -- completely on the money.

brian:

You're claiming this is an issue of integrity -- that somehow big guns like Clinton flip-flopped by supporting his Party's nominee rather than his preference in the primary.

Now, PaulB is entirely correct that this isn't going to amount to a hill of beans to anyone save Democrat-haters -- but how, exactly, is it a flip-flop?

Every national Democrat who made their preferences known before the primary (and, as PaulB pointed out, this is in itself quite unusual and it was based on Lieberman's long incumbency) ALSO made it entirely clear that they'd support their party's nominee.

See the point of elections, brian, is to let the voters choose. Lieberman pulled an almost unprecedented end-run around the primary process. By doing so, he's lost most of his advantages as an incumbent. He has no ground organization he can count on; he has to build his own from scratch now. He has very little institutional support. This would be career suicide for virtually any other politician -- but Lieberman thinks he can pull it off because he's been in office so long and because he has a quasi-religious belief in the rightness of the Iraq war and the GWoT.

But to other Democrats -- he looks like a suicide bomber.

Why -- unless they shared his fervent beliefs in the rightness of the war -- would any Democrat support a pol who just stripped himself of all the structural advantages of an incumbent party nominee in an election?

If you think the voters are going to hold politicians accountable for abandoning a primary loser after he jiggered the system in a way that happens about once every four election cycles and looks entirely unfair to boot -- you really understand very little about politics.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,
You look at this entirely from the party persepctive. But answer me two questions:

Wasn't Bill Clinton (and the other switchers) telling people the day before the election that Leiberman was the better person/candidate to be Senator?

Even you would say yes. So putting party issues to one side, which post elections position makes Clinton (and the others) more credible and less of a phony: (1) out of respect for the primary result, I will no longer actively campaign for Leiberman; or (2) I support Lamont as the better person/candidate for the Senate and urge you to vote for Lamont rather than Leiberman.

Look, I know politicians already have a horrible image as phonies, but for the switchers and to a certain extent for democrats, this makes the image worse.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

"this makes the image worse."

If it were the case of a Republican apostate who lost his primary because he didn't "get it," you'd have no trouble understanding why party loyalty enjoys priority.

Playing dumb doesn't fool anyone here, brian, and only makes you look disingenuous. Please spare us your dopey attempts at party politics. You are a phony.

Posted by: Joel on September 9, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

Man, oh, man you just don't get it ...

This is not from a "party perspective." This is from the perspective of Joe Submarine Sandwitch. I've worked in elections, brian. I've canvassed literally hundreds of thouseands of people in their homes (I used to do it professionally in the 80s.) I can speak a little bit about the psychology of the average, not-too-ideological, not-party-driven voter.

The main thing you're missing (or deliberately ignoring) is that the context is entirely different. Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont, like all political opponents, don't exist in some sort of contextual vaccuum of judgment. All other things being equal, you could make a damn good argument that Lieberman would have been a better choice than Lamont. Sheesh, I might have pondered a little bit in that polling booth had I voted in that primary.

And *mainly*, that's because Lieberman had all the advantages of incumbency. Not because they were all that different on the issues -- even on Iraq. Both are critics of the Administration on that score, and Lamont is no let's-bring-the-troops-home-immediately right wing straw-man caracature of a war opponent.

But then the primary happened, and the context changed. Joe Lieberman no longer has the institutional advantages of running as a Democrat. He has no union support, no base of Democratic activists to organize volunteers, no help from the DSCC. He's thrown back on his personal networks and has to spend the time and money to build an organization *from scratch* that would have been already there for him had he won the primary.

All of a sudden, the advantages don't look so strong for Lieberman. He's left with his incumbency argument -- but that cuts both ways to an electorate in a "throw the bums out" mood. You know -- incumbent = a self-obsessed Beltway insider.

So Clinton (like any thinking person) sees an entirely different context when it's between the clear Democratic Party choice and a guy who's basically winging it with his Rolodex of political insiders (including many Republicans) and close friends.

Jesus, if you were still considered by most regular folks as an important standard-bearer of the Democratic Party -- which pick would hurt *your* reputation more?

That one's really and truly a no-brainer, brian.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

brian wrote: "Okay,none of you guys agree that Leiberman continuing to run makes this a different situation that affects how the swtichers are viewed. I think it is obviously different, but we can agree to disagree."

Not really. You have made the assertions, brian. It's up to you to back them up. You have entirely failed to do so. So go ahead, brian -- describe the campaign commercial you're going to run: "Don't vote for Barbara Boxer! She supported Lieberman in the primary but now supports Ned Lamont!" "Don't vote for Ned Lamont! Barbara Box supported Lieberman in the primary but now supports Lamont!"

Do you really not see just how idiotic your assertions are? The only people who are going to pretend to care are those like yourself who have already made up their mind and are simply looking for a pretense with which to attack the candidate.

Show us the opinion polls that support your assertions, brian. Show us the historical examples that support your assertions (free clue: this isn't the first time this situation has happened). Show us the evidence. Otherwise, you're simply making shit up.

Once more, since you still don't get it: there is only one Democratic candidate on the ballot in Connecticut. One. That Democratic candidate was chosen by the Democratic voters in Connecticut. As is true of every party in these situations, the Democratic Party members are uniting behind that Democratic Party candidate. It's that simple.

This happens all the time, regardless of whether it's the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, or whatever. Once the voters have made their choice, you honor it. You have no choice. The sole exception to this rule is when the party nominee is batshit insane or has committed acts that render them no longer a viable candidate (e.g., David Duke for the former, any candidate caught committing a serious crime for the latter). This simply does not apply in this case.

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Joel,
You're tough on me. But give me an example of a comparable republican situation there were "switchers" after their guy lost and then continued to run againt the primary winner. You can't.

Part of the point I'm making here is that Leiberman is a very unusual situation where switchers did what I suppose they thought they had to do, but in the process, they look to non democratic party partisans as phony and not credible. I don't understand why you guys don't just say of course they take a hit on credibility and look like phonies to some people, but you still think they are doing the right thing because of the value of loyalty to the primary winner.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

NeoDude wrote: "Is Brian one of the astro-turf commenters from the Lieberman camp?"

Nah, just a clueless conservative.

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

You keep repeating this "they look to non-partisan voters like they're phony and non-credible ... "

Brain ... this is becoming exasperating. I have to echo PaulB here and *insist* that you source this statement.

Show us the polls that demonstrate this contention of yours.

Because otherwise, it just ain't credible.

Polls would show, however, that many people felt Lieberman's circumvention of the primary process to be, on its face, unfair and inapproprate in itself.

And you'll have just as easy a time refuting *that* contention.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't understand why you guys don't just say of course they take a hit on credibility and look like phonies to some people"

Mostly because it's a nonsensical statement that is unsupported by anything resembling logic or evidence.

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

Not to mention the fact that even if a few voters *did* feel this way, they'd be more than balanced out by other voters who felt Joe's primary "do over" is dirty pool ...

And I'll source that contention the minute brian sources his :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

While two wars are going very badly, and conclusive evidence emerges from the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Bush administration lied about Iraq's purported ties with al Qa`eda, the New York Times anf the GOP continue to obsess about a series of presidential blow jobs that happened ten years ago.

I'm going to break out the bong and get stoned.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 9, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

And, of course, by brian's "logic," if Joe Lieberman had switched to the Republican Party, which he could quite easily have done, then folks like Boxer and Clinton would have been required to continue to support him or else face the wrath of brian for being "flip-floppers."

The fact that this is essentially what has happened in this case still seems to have escaped brian, who somehow seems to think that Joe Lieberman is still running as a Democrat.

I wonder if brian has figured out yet that this isn't the first time this has happened?

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Yes, that's the Monica Lewinsky scandal that the stars of the Times "repeatedly" asked Ned Lamont about at a dinner on Wednesday. The mind reels." - Kevin


Hey I am curious how the Plame scandal turned out? Surely Rove or Cheney are on their way to trial, considering the bullet proof evidence you all had on them. What happened to Fitzmas?

I just am shocked that all of you liberals who believe in decent treatment and fair trials for all, would've jumped the gun on this and betrayed your core values.

Posted by: Jay on September 9, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

And I'm still wondering just which set of voters brian is referring to! Does he honestly believe that California voters are going to give any thought at all to Barbara Boxer's support, or lack thereof, of a Senate candidate in Connecticut? That thousands of independent voters are going to rise up against her because she's a "phony" for supporting the Democratic Party candidate in Connecticut?

The mind boggles....

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

The New York Times: racing to the bottom. They are becoming the Washington Times without the mass weddings. . .

Posted by: Sparko on September 9, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, Jay, you're on the wrong thread. Nobody is talking about Plame here except you, which makes your comment irrelevant. Don't you feel stupid? Or are you too thick to realize how irrelevant you are?

Posted by: Joel on September 9, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

No, I don't have poll or other sourcing for the proposition that an objective observor would question a politician's credibility and sincerity when on Tuesday he says "Joe is the best man for the job" and on Wednesday he says "don't vote for Joe, Ned is the best man for the job." I thought is was self evident.

You guys seem to think there has been a past comparable situation where a primary loser went on to wage a credible independent campaign and there were lots of "switchers." I don't remember one, so someone please educate me.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

If Clinton said he's endorsing Joe in the primary, but will also endorse the primary winner, how is that "switching"?

Why do you think Clinton would get props from anyone other than Democrat-haters for shitting on his party and going back on his word?

Why do you refuse to see that there has been no flip-flop here?

Clinton said he'd support his party's nominee. Clinton is supporting his party's nominee.

Just what part of this don't you understand?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Leiberman continuing to run as a credible candidate makes if different, if not unique.
Posted by: brian

It makes lieberman look like a loser unwilling to do what's best for dems ... he looks like a selfish, whiny republican bitch ... like blair, actually.

the major dems' position has been entirely consistent ... the fact that joe is being selfish doesn't obligate their continued support.

you're either being willfully obtuse or a partisan hack.

Posted by: Nads on September 9, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Nads:

Word.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

Okay, brian -- let's try this new brain-teaser on for size:

Let's say that Clinton endorses Lieberman in the primary and then said -- as would be expected of him -- that he would support his party's nominee.

And let's say that Lamont wins the primary. And Lieberman decides to go for an Independent bid. With me so far?

Let's say that Clinton now says that since he called Lieberman the best candidate on ths stump, he'd feel wrong to endorse Lamont in the general because that'd be a flip-flop. That he's sticking with his ol' friend Joe Lieberman.

How do you think people would have responded to that?

They would have called Clinton a backstabbing, flip-flopping, obfuscating, disloyal asshole -- and rightly so.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

"They would have called Clinton a backstabbing, flip-flopping, obfuscating, disloyal asshole -- and rightly so."

Only if they behaved rationally.

Posted by: Joel on September 9, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

just to toy with brian a little longer ...

the fact that lieberman is being a little bitch and continuing an independant run lacks an adequate comparison amongst repubs.

however, a parallel might be drawn to the california 2003 recall, where longtime repubs supporting issa, then McClintock, RAPIDLY switched support once arnold announced his candidacy ... even McClintock's own county withdrew their support for him in favor of arnold.

I would argue that clinton's support for lamont is a principled, reasonable, and ethical position entirely befitting a senior democratic politician ... whereas the philandering of the california repubs in 2003, swarming to suck swarzernegger cock, is typical of republican whores, who never looked more like opportunistic bitches.

Posted by: Nads on September 9, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Nads:

This is especially true if Clinton knew beforehand that Joe would try an Independent run.

Surely he'd know that if he stuck with Lieberman, he'd most likely be picking a winner.

Instead he backed the Party.

Why? Out of loyalty, both to the Party itself and its nominating process, and also to the Democratic voters who chose Lamont over Lieberman.

Much, much different than dropping loyalties to longtime politicians to suck Gropinator cock only cuz glamourpuss looked like a sure winner.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Guys, I realize the democratic politician (or at least most them) said before the primary they would support the nominee (although it had to be dragged out of some), so technically they are not switching "positions."

But they didn't go around pre-primary giving speeches saying they would support the nominee -- they gave speeches gushing over Leiberman and saying he was the best man for the job. What the public heard was Clinton (and others) telling people to vote for Leiberman and he was a great senator/democrat/public servant. All those people (except for deep democratic party partisans) are going to see the swich to Lamont as phony, as does everyone else who can look at the situation objectively. Bill and Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Harry Reid and others don't really think Lamont is a better candidate for senate than Leiberman, and it is silly to think that objective observors don't know that.

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

brian ... your head is obviously made of cement.

Dried cement. Long since dried. Look, see the pawprint? That'll never come out now ...

As patiently as I can ...

Lieberman, as a Democrat -- all other things being equal -- was felt by his primary endorsers to be the best man. I already explained this to you. Despite my rep here for logorrhea, I really *do* hate repeating myself.

Lieberman, as an Independent -- is an entirely different kettle of fish. No more seniority. An alienated relationship with the Democratic establishment. And nothing holding him back anymore from selling out Democratic values even more than he's *already done* on issues like the bankruptcy bill.

brian ... context is your *friend*.

It will stand you in good stead if you always keep that in mind.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

That's a very good point; Lieberman *did* run an extraordinarily inept campaign, starting with that inexplicable "Little Bear" commercial -- as if voters remember Lowell Wieker (sp?) from 16 years ago.

And it was very clear that Lamont had all the excitement behind him, most of the lawn signs, a clear majority of the volunteers.

Clinton might've also made the calculation that if Joe ran a good campaign and wuz robbed (came within a hair) -- maybe he might've considered changing his tune and endorsing Joe and taken the hit for dissing the Party.

But he didn't. Here's a three-term Senate incumbent losing definitively to a political neophyte whose only previous electoral experience was on the Greenwitch City Council.

That kinda loss has "loser" written all over it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Nads,
No, abandoning a candidate when a NEW candidate enters a race is not comparable to endorsing one candidate over another as teh better candidate and then switching to the other when your originally endorsed candidate is still running.

Look, all you guys feel a loyal democrat had to support Lamont after the primary. Most democratic politicians apparently agree. I guess only about five senators and a few other leading democrats disagreed and continue to back Leiberman.

Nads, I agree some people could reasonably view it as "principled" for Clinton to back the party nominee. But how many people believe that Clinton actually thinks Lamont is a better peson than Leiberman to serve as senator from Connecticut?

That is the phoniness and credibility issue that I raised at the start of this debate.

You got to at least see how an objective observor might doubt the sincerity of the switcher?

Posted by: brian on September 9, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe your head is made of lead. Lead is even denser than concrete.

Brian, first of all, the first thing an "objective observer" would wonder who just recently tuned into the election is why Lieberman is *still in the race* after *losing* the primary.

Now why don't you 'splain to us how *that's* going to look to Joe Average Connecticut Dude and his lovely wife and family, eh?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Guys, I realize the democratic politician (or at least most them) said before the primary they would support the nominee (although it had to be dragged out of some), so technically they are not switching "positions." But they didn't go around pre-primary giving speeches saying they would support the nominee -- they gave speeches gushing over Leiberman ...
Posted by: brian

which somewhat undercuts your assertion that they are "switching," doesn't it? christ, you're stupid. do you expect those backing lieberman to endorse him for the primary as if he had already LOST by giving legitimacy to his independent run? fucking idiot? you don't really practice law, do you?

You got to at least see how an objective observor might doubt the sincerity of the switcher?
Posted by: brian

no jackass ... all I can see is a partisan republican trying to convince others that his prejudice against the clinton's has some rational basis.

why would you even THINK you come close to being objective? I mean, I expect repubs to be stupid, but you're displaying a level of delusion which is comical.

Posted by: Nads on September 9, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

brian "No, I don't have poll or other sourcing"

No shit, Sherlock. You're simply pulling stuff out of your ass.

"for the proposition that an objective observor would question a politician's credibility and sincerity when on Tuesday he says 'Joe is the best man for the job'"

And when he says the next day, "The voters of Connecticut have spoken and I respect their choice. Ned Lamont is the Democratic Party candidate for Senate and I support him and the Connecticut voters 100%," his voters are going to issue a big "ho-hum."

"I thought is was self evident."

What is "self-evident" is that the voters of California are not going to give any thought at all to Barbara Boxer's support of Ned Lamont when it comes time to decide whether to vote for her or not. To pretend otherwise is just dumb.

"You guys seem to think there has been a past comparable situation where a primary loser went on to wage a credible independent campaign and there were lots of 'switchers.' I don't remember one, so someone please educate me."

Nope. You've been told that such situations exist; you go find them. I'm not here to educate you, particularly when your mind is firmly shut tight and you're not even remotely making sense anymore.

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

"the fact that lieberman is being a little bitch and continuing an independant run lacks an adequate comparison amongst repubs."

Actually, it doesn't. There is an analogous situation, but I'm going to leave it our dear little friend to figure it out for himself.

Posted by: PaulB on September 9, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

I would argue (while staying on the topic of this debate) along with Nads that Clinton in fact made a perfectly principled decision.

What brian can't see is the confluence of party and politician. He persists in judging Lieberman and Lamont in a vaccuum -- as if he's comparing their portraits and deciding who's the most handsome or something. Some kind of static comparison between the capabilities of two men that's entirely meaningless.

Nobody argues that Lamont is some kind of idiot. He built his own successful software firm; he's hardly some trust fund dilettante. The issue isn't at *all* who's the "better man" -- they're both entirely qualified to be US Senator.

Joe Lieberman *inside* the Democratic Party is a wonderful public servant, etc. etc. etc. He has seniority and the respect of his colleagues and sits on important committees.

Joe Lieberman *outside* the Democratic Party is a whiny little entitlement queen who just can't *believe* that the voters of Connecticut would have the *temerity* to reject him. If elected, he has no more seniority and is in serious jeopardy of losing his committee positions. Since his self-pity and persecution complex has convinced him that his Party "stabbed him in the back," there's no way to assure that he won't legislate vindictively and collude with Republicans purely out of spite.

Two *entirely* different Joe Liebermans.

Obviously, Joe #1 is more worthy of support than Joe #2.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 9, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

Lowell Weicker?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 10, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

brian wrote: "No, abandoning a candidate when a NEW candidate enters a race is not comparable to endorsing one candidate over another as teh better candidate and then switching to the other when your originally endorsed candidate is still running."

It does when your "originally endorsed candidate" is running on another party's ticket, moron. Jeez, will you please open that brain of yours and actually think! Joe Lieberman is NOT running as a Democrat. There have been numerous examples of politicians switching parties and nobody thinks twice when people who have formerly praised and endorsed that politician suddenly decide that his or her opponent is the better choice. And why should they? And yet using your "logic," every single one of them should be condemned! Do you really not see just how utterly stupid that is?

Moreover, you still haven't addressed the issue about why you think it makes sense that California voters will give a good goddamn about who Barbara Boxer chooses to support in Connecticut -- a race that has zero impact on their daily lives -- when it comes time to go into that voting booth and decide whether to vote for her or not!

"Look, all you guys feel a loyal democrat had to support Lamont after the primary. Most democratic politicians apparently agree."

As did Republican politicians, when they did exactly the same thing, and Green politicians, and Libertarian politicians, and any politician that is a member of a political party.

"That is the phoniness and credibility issue that I raised at the start of this debate."

And it's a false issue that is wholly unsupported by anything resembling thought, logic, or evidence.

"You got to at least see how an objective observor might doubt the sincerity of the switcher?"

Nope. You are emphatically NOT objective, nor have you been able to identify even a single objective observer who does care. An objective observer just isn't going to care since this issue simply is not important. It's politics as usual and everyone knows it, nor is there one damn thing wrong with this, regardless of whether it was the Republicans doing it years ago or the Democrats doing it today.

And as for Clinton, since he is not running for anything and since people's opinions of Clinton are by this time completely set in stone, he's nothing but a red herring. You don't like Clinton and you're trying to slime him. Well, good luck with that. Go out and spread this news to the world, brian. Let's see how many people really care.

Sheesh.... Can we get some smarter monkeys, please?

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, it doesn't. There is an analogous situation, but I'm going to leave it our dear little friend to figure it out for himself.
Posted by: PaulB

I stand corrected ... to google!

Posted by: Nads on September 10, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, that's one, although not the one I had in mind. And, of course, if you broaden this to the state level, you'll find quite a few examples. And if you broaden it again to take into account those politicians who have switched party allegiance, an entirely analogous situation, you'll find countless examples. This has happened over and over and over again. Brian is simply flatly incorrect that voters care about these issues.

It's bloody obvious that all of this is about Clinton. God, I wish these guys would just get over their obsession with that guy!

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

I think I know what's going on here, and I'm not quite sure if brian is bright enough to have figured it out, or if he's just repeating this stuff robotically.

The deep meme brian is engaged in trying to sell is that the primary election is somehow illegitimate. If you buy into that, then Lieberman's independent run looks principled, Lamont's victory looks tainted -- and of course the politicians who've changed their support to an illegitimate victor look like principle-free flip-floppers.

Why is the election illegitimate? Why, because it was driven by out-of-state MoveOn types and blogofascists whose blame-America-first values are out of the mainstream, is why.

If brian can accept that the election was entirely fair despite the voters being activist and having strong opinions -- none of this "flip-flopping" business would make any sense at all -- because politicians *always* support the nominees of their parties.

But what he's pushing is Lieberman's deep strategy -- the reason why he "had" to run as an Independent. Because the race was tainted by leftist ideologues.

And this is why Lieberman is a putz who needs not only to lose the election -- but to be tarred and feathered and chased out of town to the mocking derision of all who care about democracy.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 10, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

I had thought this was fairly widely known, since it's come up several times in Lamont-Lieberman discussions. The case I was thinking of was Jacob Javits, a fairly liberal Republican Senator from New York. He had served several terms, had built a good reputation, worked well across party lines, had strong backing from his own party's establishment, and faced a strong primary challenge from a more conservative opponent (Alfonse D'Amato, in that case). Sound familiar? He lost the primary to D'Amato and went on to run as an independent candidate. D'Amato won the fall election.

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

There are many examples of party-switchers, to be sure. But are you thinking of any examples where the candidate changed affiliation *immediately after* losing a primary in order to stay in the election?

That should narrow down the search quite a bit, I'd think ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 10, 2006 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

Thanks. I had forgotten about that one, but now that you mention it I think I saw it months ago in the paper.

I'd guess that'd be directly analogous.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 10, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

rmck1 wrote: "I think I know what's going on here, and I'm not quite sure if brian is bright enough to have figured it out, or if he's just repeating this stuff robotically."

I think you're giving brian too much credit. He's not nearly as bad as our resident trolls, but there's no question that "repeating this stuff robotically" is something he does frequently. I've seen this in operation in other threads. He'll be back again tomorrow, ignoring the counter-arguments, and simply repeating his assertions over and over and over again.

He doesn't like Clinton, is absolutely convinced that this shows something about Clinton's integrity, and is absolutely convinced that "objective observers" must share his distaste, despite a complete lack of evidence to support this.

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm ... now I'm going to have to do some research on the dynamics of that race, the issues, the broader national context and what D'Amato was appealing to that a popular incumbent Senator was somehow missing ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 10, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

Sure. All agreed, and I've of course seen that before myself.

But he's gotta learn this stuff from somewhere, and even if brian himself is unconscious of it, I think he's getting stuff from sources who are deeply convinced that the Lamont election was illegitimate because it was "infected" by hardcore antiwar activists.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 10, 2006 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

rmck1 wrote: "But are you thinking of any examples where the candidate changed affiliation *immediately after* losing a primary in order to stay in the election?"

I don't think you need to be that precise to have the analogy work. What brian is supposedly concerned about is flip-flopping -- supporting one candidate after you had previously supported another, where the only change is that the new candidate is your party's nominee. Any party affiliation change, regardless of when it occurred, meets these requirements, and there are countless examples of these.

Moreover, what brian still cannot seem to get through his head is that Joe Lieberman has done precisely that -- changed his party affiliation. Democrats are under no more obligation to support him now than they would be if he had become a Republican.

Hmm... how about a politician who changed his party affiliation immediately before a primary just so that he could run unopposed in the fall election, since it was too late to field a new candidate for the primary election? If I recall correctly, this actually happened down in Louisiana in a Congressional race.

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Hmmm ... now I'm going to have to do some research on the dynamics of that race, the issues, the broader national context and what D'Amato was appealing to that a popular incumbent Senator was somehow missing ..."

Don't waste a lot of time on it, since for the purpose of countering brian's idiocy, most of that doesn't matter. If I recall correctly, D'Amato ran a better campaign and was more conservative (hence, more appealing to primary voters). Javits was ill, too, I think, with Lou Gehrig's disease, although it had not progressed to the point where it was incapacitating him.

If I recall correctly, Javits run in the main election is widely credited with throwing the election to D'Amato, since it's believed that if he had not run, the Democratic candidate would have won.

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

And, as you have already pointed out, Bob, there are two Lieberman's. And the Lieberman that chose to run in the general election as an independent, knowing that this would likely harm the Democratic Party, and making speeches that slime the Democratic Party, is not the Lieberman they thought they knew. Once he took that step, he was no longer worthy of their respect and their support, regardless of his past history.

You don't need to have any "phoniness" or "credibility" issues to decide that such a man is not qualified to be in the U.S. Senate. The man changed (or revealed his true colors -- take your pick); the opinions changed. It's pretty much that simple.

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

rmck1 wrote: "I think he's getting stuff from sources who are deeply convinced that the Lamont election was illegitimate because it was 'infected' by hardcore antiwar activists

Maybe, but note how it's all about Clinton? That's pretty much his only example, over and over and over again. Were he talking more about the other Democrats who had switched, I'd be a little more willing to buy this. Since it's all Clinton, all the time, I tend to think that this is really nothing more than the knee-jerk anti-Clinton crap we've seen all too many times.

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB has identified a pretty comparable election scenario where Javits ran on the liberal ticket [if I recall correctly] after losing the Republican nomination. [He was sick and I don't think he had much chance, but as a sitting senator, he was credible and close enough to the Leiberman situation to declare it pretty comparable]

Now, what Paul B has not yet done, but might be able to, is show republican leaders who enthusiastically backed Javits in the primary and switched to D'Amato after the primary. If he does, those guys in my opinion must have looked just as phony and not credible as the dems this time.

By the way, my thoughts on this do not reflect any anti-Clinton feeling (he was just he best example because he was so powerful in favor of Leiberman) or any feeling that the primary was not legitimate. Or even any particular care about who wins. It was just an observation that the switchers looked phony and insincere.

To try to end this debate on a point of agreement, I think it is outrageous for the ABC movie to creat false scenes involving Berger and Albright. I'm no fan of either's work (especially Berger with whatever he was doing putting documents down his pants), although I found Albright to be very engaging at an event once. But if the movie falsely shows them stating or doing things that they never said or did and, thereby, falsely creates the impression that they thereby are responsibble for 9/11, that is very wrong.

Posted by: brian on September 10, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

brian:

Trying to change the subject won't work :)

It's never "phony" and "insincere" to support the nominee of one's party -- and most especially so if one said that's precisely what one would do before the primary.

Repeating this all night long simply doesn't make it true.

Now you've been contradicted by every single person who's commented on this issue -- and you have offered not only zero evidence for it, but not even an argument. It doesn't "stand to reason." The exact opposite stands to reason.

Is this just a "gut feeling?" Do you believe the earth is flat, too?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 10, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Okay last observation, since we are talking Clinton. It may be that Bill Clinton still winds up being the guy who got Leiberman re-elected. Clinton's great speech supporting Leiberman probably made the primary much closer than it otherwise would have been, which in turn might have made it possible (or at least easier) for Leiberman to run and win as an independent. The Clinton speech might even get Leiberman some votes in November from democrats who share my view that Clinton still thinks Leiberman is the best candidate.

Final point (I promise). You guys are not correct when you argue Leiberman effectively has left the party. He has promised to be a democrat when he returns to the Senate.

Posted by: brian on September 10, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Brian - you're grasping at straws. Javits had the support of the party apparatus going into the 1980 primary - he was the long-time incumbent, seniority, people thought he was best placed to win the general against Holtzman if he could get out of the primaries. D'Amato was the outsider and newcomer. It is extremely analagous to CT now. After Javits lost the entire party machinery swung behind D'Amato. Javits ran on ANOTHER PARTY'S line and NO prominent Republican supported him. He ended up, almost exclusively taking votes away from Holtzman who would have garnered the bulk of Liberal Party support if there'd been a head-to-head contest between Holtzman and D'Amato. As it was, D'Amato squeaked by in a very close race.

NO ONE thought the republicans backing D'Amato were "phonies" - are you paid to insert this word as often as you can into the thread in close proximity to Clinton's name? - they were acting according to party principles, which no one would begrudge them since they were...well, REPUBLICANS! The only attribution of phoniness and lack of credibility attached to Javits who triply betrayed his principles: 1) by refusing to heed his party's voters' decision; 2) by bolting his life-long party for another; and 3) by directly contributing to the election of an individual whose views contradicted everything he stood for in his career.

It is not the party leaders who should stay silent in such situations - it is the losing candidate. Respect the will of the electorate and go away. All party leaders - if they are worth anything - will work to elect their party's candidates. Otherwise they would cease to have a party.

The relative rarity of such cases only highlights the centrality of this rule in American politics, and how outrageous Lieberman's behavior is. Javits, some have said, was essentially at the end of this life - possibly somewhat demented and certainly bitter. What's Lieberman's excuse?

Oh, and for having to decide whether Lieberman is objectively a better senator than Lamont - in a democracy there is only one way to answer this question: through an election. Lieberman lost; his own party members decided Lamont would make the better senator. End of story. If he wants to stay true to his principles he can stand again and challenge Chris Dodd in the next election. That's how it works.

Posted by: Friend of Labor on September 10, 2006 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

Second place goes to this, from Jennifer Medina in the New York Times:

In answering repeated questions about the scandal....

Yes, that's the Monica Lewinsky scandal that the stars of the Times "repeatedly" asked Ned Lamont about at a dinner on Wednesday. The mind reels.

I'm not exactly sure of your point, Kevin. I say, "Good for Ned Lamont!" It's about time somebody said it, other than me:

The conventional wisdom in the Democratic Party (the DLC) is that after what Lieberman said of Clinton during his impeachment, Clinton owed Lieberman his Presidency. That had Lieberman not written the op-ed piece for the NYT (calling for censure and not removal from office) and given the speech on the floor of the Senate condemning Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Democrats in the Senate wouldn't have had a position to rally around other than removing Clinton from office. That's purely spin, and shows how once a politician is inside the beltway, on the incumbent chowline, he's less interested in reading the pulse of the people, and most interested in bending the people to his will.

Had the Democrats come out and said to the American people, "What Bill Clinton did stinks, but it's a private family matter and not a matter for the Congress of the United States," it would have been over and done with, and most Americans would have rallied behind the Democrats. The fact that not one Democratic politician had the wherewithal to step forward and just say that, straight out, explains why Democrats have lost so much ground in elections. If you need a political consultant to help you craft a position that will attract a majority and not raise any hackles (instead of using your own common sense, speak your mind, and do it extemporaneously) you're not any kind of leader capable of making people's lives better; you're out for yourself and your career.

Our big problem, we who are liberals, is that we allowed others, Republicans, to define us. We waited for our supposed liberal leaders to correct the record, and defend the most honorable of political positions, of successful public policies, but they didn't. In a vacuum, the rhetoric, the ad hominem, the insults, all stuck. 'Liberalism' became a dirty word.

We remained silent, because we kept being threatened, in whispered voice, by our own leaders, that "You're not being reasonable, you're too extreme, the other voters don't like you and the only chance we have is to move the Democratic party to the center. . . . you have no choice but to swallow it and come along, because who else are you going to vote for?"

To centrist Democrats I say, "We liberals caved to your bluff...we gave you the reins (and several election cycles) to fashion a 'rescue,' and what you did was braid the reins into a rope and hang us all."

We went along with Clinton's abandonment of liberal policies because there was no money in the kitty after Reagan's highway robbery on America. We, reluctantly, and against all better reason, accepted welfare reform without safety nets being put into place for those neediest because If his budget scheme worked, THEN we thought, Clinton would have the power (and the money) to shore up (in his last two years of office) all of the social welfare programs that Reagan, Gingrich, and friends, had decimated.

But Bill couldn't keep it in his pants.

And that put an end to any benefits that the real American people might have gotten out of having a 'Democrat' in the White House.

Bill Clinton's fiscal policies and his economy took a great toll on a great number of bedrock Democrats. Middle-aged, but years from retirement, middle- and upper- management males, were laid off as never before because of all the shiny new cheaper recent graduates entering the job market. Take a look around Home Depot - that's all the work they could find. As a Home Depot sales associate.

Democrats were told to go along, it's a "transition time" - with NAFTA, it'll all get better, the price of everything will come down. It doesn't matter how cheap a bathmat is, if you're barely able to afford the rent/mortgage, you're not buying the bathmat.

You may not want to go back and talk about these things, Kevin, but I assure you that they're not going away. And Republicans are not going to stop talking about Lewinsky.

While we're on the subject of things that, by not talking about them, they don't go away but get carved into stone and admired for centuries in S. Dakota:

Ronald Reagan. Addled. Demented while in office. 25th Amendment should have been invoked. How do we know this?

A couple of years before Reagan's second term was up, his aides thought Reagan was senile. We all heard the stories about his nodding off in meetings, but it was much more than that. The concern was so great, that his thinking was (classic dementia) "disordered," that senior aides asked Jim Baker to stop by, attend a meeting and determine what to do. Jim Baker, the Republican party fixer.

Baker attended, and as is typical of Alzheimer's patients who know that they're being tested, Reagan got it together to fake it. Baker assured the staff that Reagan was fine, "Just getting older."

Answer this for me, please: When did Jim Baker get a medical degree?

We have no mechanism to protect the American people (and the world) from a mentally and/or emotionally disturbed head of state. We leave to politics that which ought to be taken out of the political arena - determining the mental and physical fitness of a Commander-in-Chief, someone with whom we trust nuclear codes. We trust that men and women of good will, when it comes right down to it, will put aside political jockeying and do what is right when no one is watching.

These last decades has shown us that there are no such people in politics anymore.

I have listened for the last few days, about how "honorable" this one is, "a great American" that one - (Tom Kean, George Mitchell, etc.) Anybody who is defending the 9/11 Commission doesn't know the first thing about it - not how it was formed, not how it operated, or the histories of the people on it, they know nothing. And yet, "Tom Kean, Lee Hamilton, great Americans." "George Mitchell? Great American." [Can you imagine any commission investigating a catastrophic failure agreeing beforehand to report on and investigate only that which they can agree on, and everything else gets left out?]

Reagan and Republicans have been able to get away with their assault on America because of Democrats who don't want to get into it, who feel uncomfortable with confrontation. "Not getting into it" doesn't work in any relationship; not for marriages, it doesn't work in business, it doesn't work with raising children.

I've sometimes wondered over the last years if Democrats who "don't want to get into it" think that if they're considerate, if they're nice, if they don't create any problems for Bush-Cheney and the Republican-controlled Congress, if they think that Bush-Cheney and Frist and Lott and Gingrich and Delay, Santorum and Thune, Mitch McConnell, Jeff Sessions, Jon Kyl, Saxby Chambliss, LINDSAY GRAHAM, all of them, will be nicer to them and let them have a seat at the table?

How's that been working so far?

Posted by: Maeven on September 10, 2006 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK

Friend of Labor:

Excellent post.

brian:

Okay, several final nails in the coffin while I'm still coherent battling this insomnia ...

1) Bill Clinton's speech isn't likely to make any difference at all. Here's why:

He gave it to an audience of primary voters. Primary voters have already made up their minds.

He's not going to be giving any *more* speeches on Lieberman's behalf, since he endorsed Lamont in the general. Even if he sits on his hands and doesn't campaign for Lamont -- he's certainly not going to be campaigning for Lieberman.

Now Lieberman can run that speech in commercials all he wants (and doubtless he will), but it will be kinda pointless. Again, all the partisans have already made up their minds. Cinton's not all that influential a character to the Independents and Republicans it is critical he gets to win the election.

2) Clinton's speech wasn't likely influential in the polls out after the primary -- though it certainly may have helped Lieberman close the gap in the final weeks. But the general election audience is a different kettle of fish. For the most part, they haven't tuned in yet. The key factor in them is name recognition. And I'd be a lot more worried for Lamont if he didn't have a bottomless budget to do paid media. He'll get his message out and close the gap. Lords know, he was nothing in the polls when he entered the primary.

3) The key variable in the election is going to be GOTV. It always is. The polls right now are what's called "souffle polls." The factors that matter is that Lamont's base is extremely charged up and rarin' to vote. Lieberman's voters not so much; remember, the folks he'll need desperately are the sorts of folks who swing back and forth, and who are especially sensitive to an anti-incumbent mood. How is Lieberman going to organize them? Where will his volunteers meet? Where will the phone banks be? Will he have to pay a huge staff because he doesn't have a ton of Democratic volunteers the way Lamont does? And how interested is the CT GOP in electing Lieberman, anyway? They've already given a lukewarm endorsement to their candidate, so they can't really donate resorces to a Democrat.

Lamont has all the election-day advantages sewed up. He has the physical locations, the professional party organizers and the activist volunteers, the standard constituency groups doing election work. Lieberman has to at least match that -- if not best it -- to compensate for the general lack of enthusiasm among the voters he needs to get. Remember -- his hardcore "Liebermaniac" base wbo are willing to volunteer and work in the campaign is much smaller than Lamont's.

4) Finally, Lieberman "promises" to be a Democrat. This means, what, exactly? Zell Miller was a Democrat until the day he retired. Bottom line, as an Independent, even assuming there'll be no bad blood between him and the national party, he's going to be a lot less *effective* Democrat, because -- again -- he's lost all his seniority.

Once again -- Lieberman's sins weren't primarily ideological. They were sins against the entire party. They consisted mostly of speeches made which implied that dissent was disloyalty. It doesn't matter at all how the guy votes if he's going to continue to undermine the party. Republicans, of course, wouldn't stand for something like that.

And that's why we so need to teach both Lieberman a lesson -- and the national party for tolerating it.

That's the meaning of the Lamont candidacy. No matter who wins, the voters would have sent a message loud and clear: Don't fuck with your strongest supporters.

Which is precisely how the GOP keeps its supporters active and energized.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 10, 2006 at 6:07 AM | PERMALINK

brian wrote: "Now, what Paul B has not yet done, but might be able to, is show republican leaders who enthusiastically backed Javits in the primary and switched to D'Amato after the primary."

I don't have to show anything, brian. You made the claims; it's up to you to back them up. I've even given you the example you need to back up those claims, if in fact they are true (which they pretty clearly are not).

So far, you've completely ignored the counter-arguments and entirely failed to support your claims. Until you do either of these things, we're going to continue to point out that you're simply pulling things out of your ass.

"By the way, my thoughts on this do not reflect any anti-Clinton feeling (he was just he best example because he was so powerful in favor of Leiberman)"

Actually, he was a lousy example because he's neither in office or running for office, which means that opinions of him simply do not matter. For you to have a point, you have to show that this has an impact on an actual politician or election. Thus far, as repeatedly noted, you have entirely failed to do this.

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

"You guys are not correct when you argue Leiberman effectively has left the party."

Sorry, but you are simply wrong. Lieberman has not "effectively" left the party -- he has left the party. He is running in Connecticut on an independent ticket and if he is elected, it will not be as a Democrat. This is a fact, brian, and no amount of hand-waving can change this.

"He has promised to be a democrat when he returns to the Senate."

No. In fact, he cannot promise this because once elected as an independent, he will continue to be an independent, regardless of which party he regularly caucuses with. If he is elected, his party designation everywhere will be "Lieberman (I-CT)," not "Lieberman (D-CT)."

Sorry, brian, but you are once again flatly incorrect.

Posted by: PaulB on September 10, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: dd on September 10, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Who really cares about the Connecticut senatorial race any more? A Democrat is going to win, and that's a fact.

Put this one in the D column.

Even if Holy Joe wins, he caucus with the Dems.

Put your energy somewhere it really matters.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 10, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

The latest WSJ/Zogby poll shows that Lamont is still behind, but Lieberman's lead is within the margin of error for the poll. This one definitely ain't over.

Posted by: PaulB on September 11, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

RE: RUMSFELD FORBADE PLANS FOR POST WAR IRAQ
.
Complete original news report at the Daily Press Newport News, Virginia.

Paraphrased, General Scheid said that preparing a Phase 4 Plan as to handling the aftermath of defeating Saddam was not allowed, not even to be discussed on punishment of being "fired."
A Phase 4 Plan would have tipped Congress and the public that Iraq would be or could be a very murderous multi-year extended engagement. Rhummy et al apparently considered that they could only tell the voters more palatable news that we would be warmly welcomed and that it would be a short engagement if no one planned for or was even allowed to outline the obvious and known probable downside contingencies.
The message, again paraphrased, was "Shinseki's honest estimate of troop needs and all normal post occupation planning are (to use a good fascist word) verboten. The lie that the Iraq mission will be easy, complete with flowers from the liberated, will be sold to the public and we do not want any negative scenario planning documents to see the light of day."
"The book "Assassin's Gate" tells the same story, i.e. that the State Department could not get a direct charge for preparing a post invasion plan and what was prepared by way of Phase 4 by the Army, de facto, never saw the light of day.
To summarize: the leadership of the United States prevented our entire Military and each and every one of our now dead or disabled troops the benefit of a normal, complete and required invasion plan in order that their hyped story for the public would not be subject to "smoking gun" evidence that they fully knew of the issues embodied in the maelstrom of post invasion Iraq.
Thousands of our troops and tens of thousand Iraqis are now dead in the service of deliberate and malicious lies. I can not remotely imagine the searing anger and bitterness a parent might feel if their child was now dead due to this act of calculated incompetence.

DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON YOUR WAY OUT MR. RUMSFELD

Posted by: cognitorex on September 11, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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