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Friday, July 07, 2006

Angry man Joe

Who is this person and why is he questioning

Iraq War Dominates Lieberman-Lamont Debate
Published: July 7, 2006

HARTFORD, July 6 — Senator Joseph I. Lieberman questioned the credibility of his challenger Ned Lamont, and Mr. Lamont called his opponent a friend of the Bush administration as the two tangled over the war in Iraq on Thursday night in their only scheduled debate.

In the one-hour debate in the Connecticut Democratic primary, Mr. Lieberman distanced himself from President Bush and criticized his opponent, saying he had wavered on the war issue and would be ill-equipped to serve in the Senate.

The sharpest exchanges came during the first 15 minutes of the debate, which was televised by C-Span, with Mr. Lieberman persistently interrupting Mr. Lamont, saying that he had changed his mind several times about American policy in Iraq over the last several weeks. And Mr. Lamont, for his part, tried to hammer the point that Mr. Lieberman was not standing up to President Bush and was trying to play down his support for the war.

"Ned, I'm not George Bush, so why don't you stop running against him and have the courage and honesty to run against me?" Mr. Lieberman, who is seeking his fourth term in the Senate, said during his opening statement.

Mr. Lamont has proven to be a surprisingly strong opponent against Mr. Lieberman, repeatedly criticizing his stance on the war and support for some of President Bush's policies. The debate came four days after Mr. Lieberman announced that he would begin to collect petitions and run as an independent in November if he loses the Democratic primary Aug. 8.
Hilliary Clinton won her Senate seat when Rick Lazio tried to bully her on stage in a debate and Tim Russert joined in. Clinton, a slight woman, didn't wilt, but the image of Lazio challenging her, crossing over to her podium, was, as one person said, like being lectured by your husband. And it set the stage for her landslide win.


Because it set a narrative for Clinton to play off of. Which was survivor.

Lieberman's hectoring, angry performance may have provided that opening for Lamont. Lieberman acted as if he owned the seat and was irritated to run for it. But the problem is that many of Lieberman's stands are unpopular in his home state, and outside support isn't going to help him.

The fact is that Lieberman's troubles come from his actions.

Chuck Schumer can be arrogant, has positions close to Lieberman's on many issues, but his seat is safe. Why? Because he does deliver for the city, he fights for New York and does so on TV. You can say a lot about Schumer, but he isn't trying to butter up Bush and ignoring the people who sent him to the Senate. Oh yeah, you know he isn't going to oppose social security or abortion.

A lot of locals resent the way Lieberman hasn't come to their towns, doesn't answer their requests for help, and is now bent on insulting the hell out of loyal Democratic voters.

The question he should have never let leave his mouth, "who is Ned Lamont", is what we call a hanging curve ball. Because Lamont should answer that question in ads and then ask "who is Joe Lieberman?" It's a brainless call, an easy move.

I think it's clear that the Lieberman campaign doesn't understand the fight they're in. The problem isn't just that Lamont comes off well, and Senatorial in the Jimmy Stewart way, but that Lieberman reminded people what they didn't like about him.

Which is that he was nastier to a part time school teacher than Prince of Darkness Cheney. People can respect honest compromise, but with Lieberman, it comes off as weakness, callow, offensive weakness.

While the right is screaming about how Lieberman is the only rational democrat, it reminds me of a saying I heard: never take advice from the opposition. Lieberman has long fancied himself a leader, always willing to be the most rational person in the room. Even when he was stabbing other people in the back to do so.

I think if he loses the primary, Lieberman should accept it and quit running. The Republican, Alan Schlessinger, is hardly known in the state, and is underfunded, so it is unlikely he's going to win. But the problem for Lieberman is that the state's papers are not going to tolerate a second shot at the seat. It also gives Lamont a great tool to turn on Lieberman with Democratic voters.

But Lamont has to explain what he would do as Senator, and it needs to be clear and detailed. He can't just say I oppose the war, that isn't enough.

Lieberman's instincts have been horrible. He's attacked Lamont's supporters, people who voted for him three times, as basically insane leftists. Which is a horrible mistake. Much of the discontent may have started with the war, but it has a lot more to do with consitutent service than people realize.

I think Senators who say they will support Lieberman over the Democratic nominee are courting trouble. Discontent with his Washington-centric ways are nationwide. Jumping in is silly.

Joe Lieberman is in trouble because people in Connecticut are sick of his antics. No one from outside the state could force them to be sick of them. Hell, you had people booing him, calling him a traitor in a parade. My bet is that those people are not Daily Kos readers. But they are newspaper readers and they don't like his closeness to Bush.

Bush's stark unpopularity in the Northeast is reflected in Lieberman's troubles.

The reason people are so surprised by Lieberman's tough campaign is that they keep ignoring poll after poll where Dems say they want pols who fight. This has been true for over a year, they oppose the war and want an opposition to Bush, poll after poll bears this out, yet people are surprised that Lieberman is in trouble?

posted by Steve @ 1:53:00 AM

1:53:00 AM

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