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Comments by YACCS
Monday, August 07, 2006

Lieberman and race

When Jane Hamsher told me that the Lamont-Lieberman race was coming down to black voters, I was skeptical.

It's Connecticut, the land of the greatest economic divide in the US. I just didn't believe that Lieberman thought he could buy some ministers and win. The issues are too complex for that.
He had basically been given the black vote for very little in return. He said nice things, and spent more time sucking up to Sally Quinn than worrying about the people of Hartford. Why would they matter now?

But lo and behold, out came the DC "urban" consultant, or the street money bag man, hiring black kids and oh, the race baiting flyers about Ned's membership in a country club.

I never thought Joe Lieberman would sink to race baiting with less of a cause, but he did. And people who haven't given a shit about black people in years, are suddenly outraged that Ned Lamont, a Harvard grad from one of Conneticut's oldest families was a member in one.

I guess the theme might have tested well, but it was unfair and undignified. And also very, very stupid. The race baiting drew Maxine Waters up twice, and sucked in Sharpton, Jackson and Danny Glover to campaign for Lamont. Lieberman ran on his civil rights record, and then does the lowest form of GOP bullshit.

He had that lobbyist asshole Goodstein running around taunting Lamont about Sharpton, who he publicly praised not two years ago.

The whole campaign among the negroes has not only been grossly insulting, but about 15 years out of date.

Then, when someone sent Jane a picture of Lieberman in blackface, he was outraged. Hell, didn't that prick Gerstein whine when people questioned Lieberman's real committment to civil rights
past the bad old days. Get rid of the bloggers, he screamed. No one's asked him to denounce
Ann Coulter, insulter of widows.

His refrain that he marched with King might have impressed some people, but to many voters, it is his stands on affirmative action and vouchers which do him no favors. Oh, and people will remember Cory Booker went out of his way to campaign for Lieberman. And I doubt it will be a good memory.

Lieberman is a typical boomer, he wants to ossify the past as some kind of character testimonial, but he doesn't want to deal with the present in any sort of intelligent way. When questioned on his go along, get along attitude, he talks in vague terms about the good he's done. He never apologized for not grilling Michael Brown on his qualifications. Like people would forget that.

But most telling about the Lieberman campaign among the negroes is that it is vastly out of date and heavy handed. He hired kids, he hired outside field workers, he didn't pay back the loyal Democratic workers who saved his ass over and over. When he humiliated that New Haven alderman without a second thought, I knew his campaign was full of shit.

Now, supposedly a political neophyte, Lamont reached out to people who had a clue. Alexis McGill is one of those people you don't hear about in DC, but is one of the people who can win elections for you. She reaches black voters and doesn't do it by handing out money. She goes to the clubs, the barber shops, the social centers of black life beyond the church, and hired local persuaders for her street teams

If you get someone who can walk into a couple of barber shops, talk to the people and get listened to, that's better than buying some minister. They put on a nice show, but people don't get their political advice from them. This isn't 1964. McGill, who ran Vote or Die, knows how to communicate in the visual language of younger voters. She also knows how to reach their parents.

Lieberman got more people, but I think Lamont got the persuaders. The community leaders who can make a pitch and get heard.

But beyond the total ignorance of the black community, what disturbed me most is the way he used black kids to go after the Lamont campaign. Dan Gerstein can call me any time and I tell him exactly how loathesome and racist that was. He sent teenagers to risk getting a beating to make a point. If he thinks Lamont is a racist because he was a member of a country club, I know the people around him are racists, because they don't give a shit about the safety of black kids.

Now, the Lamont people weren't interested in the bait, but Lieberman's people wanted Lamont's staffers to go after those kids. They can say anything they want, but that was the plan and they fucking know it. What kind of responsible adult sends kids to catch a beating? Cowards.

If for nothing else, Lieberman's disgusting use of race in this campaign, signals how desperate he is and his real lack of respect of and contempt for African Americans.

posted by Steve @ 4:07:00 AM

4:07:00 AM

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