The Hatfield's & McCoys: Lieberman V. Lamont genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

family feud

I think it’s time for a little perspective and a reality check. Perhaps the most important midterm election in modern history is little more than three months away and as I watch the Lieberman vs. Lamont race, I have to shake my head at the energy being invested by Democrats to defeat another Democrat. With the latest Jane Hamsher debacle at Huffington Post on Wednesday and covered here and by the Washington Post, I’m left to wonder how the Democratic Party will ever entice enough middle of the road independent and Republican voters to take a chance on a Democratic candidate, much less giving Democrats control of the House or the Senate come November.

Look, I have no problem with a contested primary and I fully support the people of Connecticut in freely choosing the Senator they prefer…but I don’t get why the bulk of the progressive netroots feels they need to devote the lions share of their time and effort participating in this one race…while at the same time the Democrats have the best possibility to take control of the House and Senate FROM THE REPUBLICANS in years.

I’m not a Lieberman apologist and I feel the manner in which he supported the President on the Iraq war was wrong because he undermined fellow Democrats in the process. Nonetheless, I’m at a loss to see how making the defeat of Lieberman the equivalent of a public caning (in full view of the opposition and those voters who have the potential to switch and vote Democratic this election) is going to achieve the goals of the progressive netroots. Quite frankly, other than proving that they can influence a race within the Democratic Party…and likely doing so at the expense of the Democratic Party come November…I’m fully baffled by the rationale and the intensity of this feud.

Now I’ve read the carefully worded and ample pontifications on the Lieberman betrayals…and were I a woman scorned I might even run about his neighborhood putting up posters saying he’s a liar and a cheat…but since I’m not…and neither are the progressive netroots…why the hell are they doing as much? It just doesn’t add up. If we boot Joe’s booty, and we don’t gain six Senate seats, we still can’t shut George Bush down, we still can’t force an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, we still can’t force a moderate Supreme Court appointment, and since most of us don’t live in Connecticut, we can’t even enjoy whatever pork Lamont might bring home to Connecticut (and that assumes he can bring home some pork that Lieberman couldn’t have brought).

Anyway, I’ve long believed that if you look at a situation and the effort being expended isn’t matched by the potential outcome; something else must be at play. Well it all came clear to me today with Dear Jane’s “look at me, look at me" miscalculation. Here’s the thing. Quite frankly, my inclination is to conclude that Joe Lieberman’s petulance, as annoying as it is, is simply being matched tit for tat by equally petulant individuals. This “thing" is no less than the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s.

Cranky Joe, who foolishly chose to cozy up to “W" and lecture Democrats in recent years, is apparently in the process of being taken to the woodshed by a group of equally hostile and unhinged blogomaniacs…and while they finish up their feud in Connecticut (the one they insist on airing across the whole dadgum US of A…and by God if they have to blackface “Holy Joe" to get every mom and pop to watch they will) they are doing one hell of a job of taking OUR entire Party down the “can’t take them seriously crapper".

Now the problem I have with this whole donnybrook is that no one consulted me or any of the millions of Democrats who want to kick some red-state tail this fall to see if we wanted to stake the farm on a proxy war in a little nor’easter cage match out back ‘tween the trailer parks. I for one don’t have a dog in the show and I don’t think my fellow blue-staters want to place the whole Party’s bet on one pony in one race.

No disrespect to the good people of Connecticut but I think it’s high time the rest of us visitors turn off the telly, pack up our fifth wheels and get busy finding some vulnerable Republicans to campaign against. Now I realize this here “thing" is like a big ole car wreck out on the main highway and everybody wants to slow down and take a long hard look see…but with only three months left we’re just gonna have to read about the carnage in the papers if we plan on putting some of these fat and sassy Republicans out to pasture this winter. Know what I mean?

Well, as I now see it...Jane ain’t no fat lady…and I don’t know if she can sing…but this is one game that oughta be called over and done with right here and right now…while we Democrats can still save some face and put a little distance between us and this embarrassing little dust-up that got way the hell outta hand over yonder…whatcha all thaank?

Daniel DiRito | August 3, 2006 | 1:10 AM
AddThis Social Bookmark Button


1 On August 3, 2006 at 12:50 PM, Anonymous wrote —

Given the tone of your post, I'm going to reply in a similiar tone.

Lieberman is being taken out as an object lesson. If you're a progressive or a liberal, and you like being taken for granted and are looking forward to a Democratic controlled Congress that votes for Bush on key votes like, um, going to war, and ummm, the bankruptcy, act, and ummm (insert your favourite example here) then no, it doesn't matter.

If on the other hand, you're tired of being sold out time and time again, you can support Lamont.

There are real divisions within the Democratic party and they are over important and substantive issues as well as important and substantive questions of strategy and tactics. The Lieberman challenge is part of how that disagreement is being thrashed out. It is necessary, and helpful, and removing Joe "I use Republican Talking Points" Lieberman is important to winning in 2006.

As for your assertion that bloggers are dragging your party down - there can be no polite response that can be given to that. But if you have even a shred of evidence that that's so, perhaps your next post should make the case. The fact that you disagree with other bloggers' tactics, or you find a particular post distasteful, and feel the need to smear the entire progressive blogosphere with it, is not an argument.

Your opinion wasn't asked for about whether Joe should be subject to a vigorous primary challenge, no. Why should it have been? If you don't want to be involved - don't be involved. If you want to proclaim that like Joe you believe in gentility in politics, while supporting illegal wars, no one is stopping you.

In the end the only people whose opinions matter are the voters in Connecticut - and they seem to support a vigorous challenge against Joe. And Democrats elsehwere, whom you don't speak for any more than I do, can support whichever candidate they choose and bewail what they want, but neither they nor you get a veto over legitimate primary challenges.

2 On August 3, 2006 at 1:31 PM, eric wrote —

Dear Anonymous,

From your tone, I'm guessing that you're affiliated with firedoglake. [True, it's just a guess. Forgive me if i'm wrong, if that offends you in some way.]

It may not be comfortable to accept, but the truth is this has hurt Ned Lamont. Hell, the poor guy had to basically lie and say he knows nothing about Jane Hamsher (or firedoglake) despite the fact that they've been traveling together this past week. If you really do have Ned Lamont's best interests in mind (and i believe that you do), i think you and your friends should lay low for the next week, stay out of Connecticut, and keep your mouths shut. And it would be better if you decide this on your own...and not put him in the awkward position of having to ask you to back off.

3 On August 3, 2006 at 1:42 PM, Seb wrote —

"It is necessary, and helpful, and removing Joe "I use Republican Talking Points" Lieberman is important to winning in 2006."

How is that again? I can understand if the argument is that 'purifying' the party of people who voted in favor of going to war to remove Saddam Hussein is important, or more important than winning this particular election (which the sentences above the quoted one imply). I can't see how spending precious attention time (the finite amount of time that most people will pay attention to politics) on an antiwar intraparty purge makes people in the country at large more likely to vote for Democrats.

Lieberman's "liberal" rating isn't particularly high, so if one is fairly certain that Lamont will win the election proper, it's a fairly straightforward argument: progressives believe the Democratic party is too right wing and want to move it back towards the left before the election.

4 On August 3, 2006 at 2:02 PM, Fen wrote —

Lieberman is being taken out as an object lesson.

Its an object lesson for moderates and independents too...

5 On August 3, 2006 at 2:10 PM, Daniel wrote —

Dear "Anonymous",

Thanks for your I've always stated I appreciate differing well as your right to have your chosen opinion.

Perhaps you are new to Thought Theater and haven't read any of my prior postings on this subject...I'll assume that is the case and suggest you read all I've written before concluding I haven't "a shred of evidence" as to the consequences of the effort to defeat Lieberman. Let me be clear about one thing before proceeding...I have never stated that anyone didn't have the right to challenge Lieberman...I have merely questioned whether it will turn out to be a prudent decision. Beyond that, my opinion is as valid as yours, albeit different.

Nonetheless, I'm content to see how the 2006 election plays out before I proclaim anybody's opinion to be "fact" (mine or yours or anyone else)...I believe that's why they call it an opinion.

You're absolutely right that there are differences within the Democratic Party...I've written extensively about that situation. At the same time, there is an important midterm election in 2006 that provides the Democrats with an excellent that ought not be squandered by two factions attempting to "control" the Party. The last time I checked, Democrats have to beat Republicans in order to "win".

I'll return the volley and ask you what evidence you have to suggest that if the progressives assume "control" of the Party, we will beat the Republicans? The basis of my opinion regarding that likelihood is found in numerous postings here at Thought Theater...if you enter "Political Strategy" in the search bar, it will lead you to that information.

You state that a Lieberman defeat is "important to winning in 2006" and I would be curious to hear the rationale behind that remark. It's either a Connecticut race or it isn't.

On the one hand you argue that the "only people whose opinions matter are the voters in Connecticut"...something I fully support and said as much in my posting...and yet you also infer that their opinion (meaning presumably their defeat of Lieberman) can somehow be extrapolated into a larger Democratic victory in 2006. The logic escapes me.

In fact you make my point...what the voters of Connecticut do (their opinion) will have little relevance to which candidate voters in other states choose to vote for in their own particular states. On the other hand, the highly visible feud within the Democratic Party may well influence the perceptions of the Party and therefore the overall outcome of the midterm election...and can there be any doubt that the riff will be exploited by Karl Rove come November?

As to whether my opinion was or wasn't asked for...I guess I would say three things...One, I'm entitled to my opinion just as any other blogger, commenter, or American (unless part of your agenda is to silence all opposing views...but then that wouldn't be very progressive). Two, since when did you..."Mr. or Ms. Anonymous"...become the decider on whose opinion should be "asked for" or not? Three, I wouldn't have written the post if I didn't want to be "involved"...but apparently you want to determine that as well?

Frankly, your comments, in my humble opinion, demonstrate the degree to which unbridled emotion is overcoming the ability to conduct a debate or a suggest that if I want to "believe in gentility in politics, no one is stopping you (me)"...and at the same time you infer my post has a "tone" to which you are going to "reply in a similar tone". I'm confused...either I'm full of "gentility" or I'm full of vitriol...contradictory as that is (I call it a double bind) I've concluded that whatever it is you think I'm full of, you don't seem to like it.

I appreciate your right to hold such an opinion despite the fact that it seems to me that you are really just trying to tell me that I have no right to speak...but I'm going to conclude that you actually believe in the principles behind the last thing you stated...that no one "gets a veto over legitimate" free speech.

Thank you for commenting and I hope to hear more of your thoughts in the future.


6 On August 3, 2006 at 3:10 PM, eric wrote —


I came across your site today more or less by accident. I enjoyed what you wrote in your post. But more than that, I'm kind of blown away by the tact and thoughtfulness of your response above. It's very rare I think, and extremely refreshing. I sincerely wish you the best with your endeavors here.


7 On August 3, 2006 at 8:51 PM, cosmo wrote —

If we want to defeat the Republicans and fix our busted democracy, getting rid of the deadwood in the Democratic Party is the right place to start. Because of half-ass unprincipled 'centrists' like Lieberman, voters have no reason to feel motivated and inspired to vote Democratic. Beating Lieberman is like Bunker Hill for the progressives; it is the first shot fired in the battle for the ideological soul of the Party, and puts the Democratic establishment on notice that the times are a changin' fast.

Lieberman's greatest sin is that he does not grasp that the Bush administration is the most incompetent, corrupt, and heinous in the nation's history, and we need to challenge it at every turn. On a variety of issues Lieberman has given aid and comfort to the Bush regime. He values Senate comity and camaraderie more than he values Democratic principles.

Lieberman is deeply indebted to his corporate sponsors (80% of the $10 million that he is spending on the CT primary come from out-of-state sources.) He has repeatedly voted to advance the corporate agenda in Congress over the best interests of his constituents.

What we are seeing here began with the Howard Dean campaign; we are witnessing the first stirrings of people-powered, bottoms-up democracy, and taking Lieberman down is just the beginning.

8 On August 4, 2006 at 7:42 AM, Mark wrote —

I can understand you being concerned that the Lamont-Leiberman primary will drain precious resources from the battle for Congress this fall. I want wins. After all, the thought of having the Democrats in control of one (or both) houses, and thereby chairmanships and subpoena power probably has more than a few in the Bush administration interviewing defense attorneys as I write this. But, beyond that, the hegemony of the federal government is a real danger that has taken us closer to a type of authoritarian rule than any time in the history of the US.
I am an unapologetic progressive double-"d" Democrat (with both the capital D and small d). I am not now nor have I ever been affilliated with anyone's blog, although I have written comments on occasion.
But I am a realist. I know that there are quite a few Democratic Senators and Congressmen out there who are more right-wing than some Republicans I know (Landreau, the Nelsons, etc.). We are all products of our environment. I can accept that. I'm not going to throw them out of the party. However, if there is a viable challenger to them whose views are more in line with my own, I will support the challenger. It's almost that simple. I will take in consideration as to whether that support will detract from the overarching goal of a majority in at least one of the legislative houses, but in the Lamont-Lieberman race, I fail to see how my support of Lamont will affect that goal.
If your worry is that limited financial resources will be squandered on a race between two Democrats instead of for a Democrat v. Republican, look at who is donating to Leiberman. Alot of his donors are those who would be putting their (out of state) money towards the Republican party were it not for Leiberman's pro-business stands while Lamont's (primarily in-state) donors probably would keep their money in their pockets.
This primary is unique in the country. There are few (if any) this cycle where the ideological rift is so apparent. It is bringing in people who were alienated from the process by the little difference in the two parties. It is a good thing.
Now, assuming Lamont wins and Lieberman runs his independent race, as far as I'm concerned, that will tie up more corporate donations that will go to the Lieberman camp instead of a Republican elsewhere. The national party will have to support Lamont, and will do so (I suspect) half-heartedly, so there will be little drain of resourses there.
So what, exactly, is the downside of supporting a true progressive versus a Democrat who votes for the bankruptsy bill, for cloture on Alito, and chastises Democrats for opposing a Republican President?

9 On August 6, 2006 at 9:45 AM, Brian Malloy wrote —

I really enjoyed the post by Mark and Cosmo. Mark revealed some important facts about where Lieberman funding is coming from. I loved Mark's final question and my own answer is that there is no downside to supporting a true progressive over a democrat who votes for the bankruptcy bill and for Alito. There is no downside to supporting a progressive over a democrat who opposes any attempt by Murtha or Kerry to achieve a coherent policy against the illegal war.

It will be interesting to see how Hillary adjusts her "I believe what my polls tell me to believe" positions if/when the polls tell her that the new Senator of Connecticut is Lamont! She demonstrated her talents when she concluded that Rumsfeld should resign. Can't wait to see how she responds when her polls tell her that she should oppose the illegal war, or will she simply worry that no one would believe that a woman who opposes war could be strong agains terrorism?

Thanks Mark and Cosmo.

Thought Theater at Blogged

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry

© Copyright 2022


Read about the Director and Cast

Send us an email

Select a theme:

Critic's Corner

 Subscribe in a reader


Powered by:
Movable Type 4.2-en

© Copyright 2022

site by Eagle River Partners & Carlson Design