CT-Sen: Lieberman's long history of GOoPer enabling
Sun Jun 04, 2006 at 11:50:19 AM PDT
Hartford Courant columnist Paul Bass:
The Bush administration values Joe Lieberman because he has been a crucial ally in efforts to free Enron-style corporate crooks from regulation, transfer wealth to the wealthy, hound gays, trample on the rights of government critics and sacrifice the lives of thousands of Americans and Iraqis to dishonest, dangerous military adventurism.
Lieberman understands how, in campaigns, you can make people forget all that. You can change the subject by making fun of your opponent for being rich. Then, with millions of dollars from wealthy donors, you can reinvent your record.
Watching Lieberman and Lamont these past few weeks, I had to wonder: Am I the one with amnesia?
So I went up to the attic and pulled out my Lieberman file, with clippings and documents collected from covering him during his three terms in Washington.
It was true. My memory was faulty. I had remembered that, out of the eye of voters back home, Lieberman developed working alliances with the most hypocritical and dangerous right-wingnuts like Ralph Reed and Charles Murray and Bill Bennett. But I had forgotten just how extensive a record he had accumulated.
I had forgotten how he played the leading role in 1993 to thwart Democrats who tried to close loopholes allowing companies to cook the books on millions of dollars of stock options. Thus began the regulatory abandonment that spawned Enron and its sibling rip-offs.
I had forgotten how that same year, Lieberman joined with Republican Sen. Alphonse M. D'Amato of New York and against Democrats to "work the cloakrooms" of the Senate, in the words of a news account, to "line up unanimous support so that a tax break eagerly sought by the real estate industry could be passed without senators having to vote on the record."
How many Connecticut Democrats remember that their senator was one of only two Democrats who voted with Republicans in 1995 to kill a lobbyist-gift ban? Or that he called affirmative action "un-American?" Or that in August 1994 he voted in favor of a proposal by Republican Jesse Helms to cut off all federal money from schools that offer counseling to suicidal gay teens by referring them to gay support groups or in any way suggesting it's OK to be gay?
Or that Gov. John Rowland and Lieberman had the same fundraiser, Michael Lewan, raising the same campaign cash from the same fat cats, because, as Lewan told the Courant, "they're two like-minded guys?"
Did most Connecticut Democrats even know that Lieberman helped Lynne Cheney found a McCarthy-style group called the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which hounded liberal university professors for criticizing American foreign policy, including the president of Wesleyan University?
And you know how I've been bashing the issue groups for selectively cherrypicking votes to give people like Lieberman and Lincoln Chafee high marks?
Bass has noticed this as well:
Now it's true that Lieberman earns high marks on Democratic interest group "report cards." That's because he plays a shell game in which liberal interest groups are complicit. He gets the "right" mark for voting against Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, for instance. But he gives the Bush administration the vote it needs to make Alito a judge, by voting to stop a filibuster.
Similarly, he held back on voting for Clarence Thomas's nomination until the first Bush administration saw it had the votes. Then Lieberman could safely vote against Thomas and earn the "right" grade.
This column is blistering. And completely on the mark. It's evidence that the criticisms we're leveling against Lieberman in the blogosphere aren't the fantasies of clueless radical leftists, as Lieberman and his apologists would love to believe. Our criticisms are being echoed throughout the Connecticut media because they are solid criticisms.
How about Lieberman's efforts to paint Lamont as someone trying to buy an election? The Courant wrote a news story on it:
Steen, the political scientist, said Lamont is alone among self-financed candidates in that he is attracting significant outside contributions and support without prior high-profile campaign experience.
"I can't think of another example," Steen said.
And this New Haven Register story came straight from the blogs. You'll recognize the storyline immediately:
Using obscure votes out of context [such as Lieberman has done in its anti-Lamont ads], however, was something Lieberman himself decried in his book, "In Praise of Public Life," when he ran successfully against former U.S. Sen. Lowell Weicker in 1988.
"One of those ads was technically accurate, but didn't mention that the tax votes cited were cast seventeen years earlier," Lieberman wrote at the time of the race against Weicker.
Not a good media day for Lieberman in his homestate newspapers. They're calling bullshit on his attacks on Lamont's wealth, his attempts to paint himself a loyal Democrat, and his dishonest negative campaign ads.
Of course, Holy Joe can't run an honest race and hope to win the Democratic primary. The truth won't earn him many Democratic votes outside of Zell Miller. But unfortunately for Bush's favorite Democrat, Zell lives far away in Georgia.
Also unfortunate for Bush's favorite Democrat, we've got Lamont's back:
Update: Tim Tagaris on the Lamont blog:
[The Lieberman] campaign strategy necessarily assumes that voters are idiots. They’ll continue to run their huge, misleading television ad buys (paid for by the defense industry and pharmaceutical manufacturers) during the middle of American Idol—gleefully trading the misreprentation on television for the disection sure to come in newspapers across the state. Why? Because in their minds, you’ll watch American Idol, but aren’t smart or motivated enough to analyze the content of the ads in a critical fashion. They’ve made their impression and assume with most people that’s where it’ll end. It’s an insult to the people of Connecticut and the journalists who work hard to cut through the clutter to provide context and depth. That’s just another reason their campaign is so afraid of the blogs, a medium rich with educated opinion leaders, a critical link in the two-step flow of information.