Two usually reliable sources went way off-track this week. Yesterday the LA Times used Orwellian language, pre-scripted for them by neocons, to repeat false claims. (I reviewed the subliminal spin here.) And today Ed Schultz - who I always figured would make a great fishing buddy - swallowed Lieberman's nonsense hook, line, and sinker.
Ed can support Lieberman, and we'll still be pals. The problem is that he bought a talking point that was custom-made by Lieberman's handlers, and by the Republicans (if, in fact, the two are different). A savvy talk radio guy should know better.
While I don't have a transcript of Ed's radio show today, he kept repeating this talking point: "Joe Lieberman says he's voted with the Democrats 90% of the time. If that's true, why isn't that enough? What is enough? 95%? 98%?"
Ed, Ed, Ed. This is wrong in so many ways. First, what does the statement even mean? Is Joe saying he voted with ALL the Democrats 90% of the time? Or is he saying that when all the OTHER Democrats voted one way, he went along with them nine times out of ten? And how many times is that?
If you don't understand a spin point, don't repeat it.
Second, even if it were true - which 10% are we talking about? Joe's been wrong on almost all the key issues of the last five years. Who cares what percent it represents? The question is: How much harm did he cause?
And the "percentage" game leaves out all the rhetorical support Joe's been giving the GOP.
Lastly, to answer your question: "What's enough" is whatever Connecticut's primary voters say is enough. Period. If Ned Lamont can convince a majority of primary voters on Aug. 8 that Lieberman doesn't represent them, for any reason - then that's enough.
It's called "democracy."
Ed, buddy, I love ya - but don't buy into this nonsense. I voted for Lieberman the year I lived in Connecticut. And I want the Dems to win back the Senate. So if he wins the primary, I'll encourage people to vote for him again (although I might have to take up drinking again to do it.)
I think the people of Connecticut can do better, though. Once they get to know Ned Lamont, I'm confident they'll vote for him. It's true that Lamont has support from committed Democrats around the country, as well as in his home state. But - since when is that a bad thing?
Where you really got my goat, though, when you talked about Lieberman and Israel. Ed, you said (and I'm paraphrasing slightly) that "Lieberman's Jewish, so he's going to support Israel. Get over it."
Ed, I'm Jewish (and Southern Baptist and Catholic - but I'm Bar-Mitvah'd so I'm in the club.) I take offense, pal. This is old-fashioned ethnic stereotyping.
You're not the only one to make this mistake. Lots of people think that "supporting Israel" is the same as "supporting the Israeli hard right and its aggressive anti-Palestinian policies."
I can't blame you. There are people like Alan Dershowitz and AIPAC working full-time to make you believe it. In fact, some of them will tell you anyone that opposes Likud's policies is "anti-Semitic." But we on the sane side of the political spectrum need to think more clearly than that.
Lieberman doesn't take the positions he does on Israel, or on Iraq, because he's Jewish. He does it because he's a right-winger and a neoconservative. That's why most Connecticut Jews are supporting Lamont, according to one poll.
And what does Joe's extremist backer John Droney say about that (in the same link)? ""I find the behavior of a large segment of the Jewish community to be reprehensible and outrageous ... they all ought to rally to him."
That's the kind of person we're dealing with here. It would never occur to him that Jews might reject Lieberman because they love America and support Israel. They probably believe, as I do, that his policies are bad for both.
Ed, if you take a minute and think about it you'll come around, like you did when you stopped being a conservative. You don't really believe this is a party "purge." You're too sane for that.
So how about knocking off all this nonsense and teaching me the right way to fish? I never could bait a hook worth a damn, but I'm willing to learn. I'll even set a date: August 9. We can agree then to support the Democratic nominee together, whoever he may be.
But if it's Lieberman, keep those frosty cans of Bud well out of my reach.
UPDATE: A number of people wrote me and/or commented about my original title and one sentence of this post, which made reference to Ed being on Air America. They point out that that he's syndicated separately and doesn't appear on Air America's website. He appears on the Air America line-up in many of their markets, including mine. Their business model is designed to promote the idea that there are "Air America stations," but - although he appears on several such frequencies - he's not part of their programming.
Air America itself was tangential to my original post, but I've removed all reference to it for accuracy's sake.
UPDATE II: I've seen all the comments about Ed Schultz being paid by the DLC, the DSCC, etc. So I spoke at length with his producer tonight. I don't see any evidence for it. The Randi Rhodes face-off was for Democracy Radio, where some Democratic Party donors wanted to create a progressive talk radio voice - but it wasn't a DLC or DSCC operation. So unless someone comes up with some documentation, I can't associate myself with the speculation.
I STILL think he's talking through his hat about Lieberman, though. I'll have that argument with him anytime.