E.J. Dionne repeats a piece of conventional wisdom that irks the hell out of me every time I hear it - if Lieberman loses the primary and runs as an independent it will distract everyone from the true villain, the GOP, and therefore we should just give him a pass.
Balderdash. Lieberman has been an integral part of the GOP's bully machine for the past six years, the Democrat useful for his willingness to dicipline his own kind. Ned Lamont is running a legitimate primary contest and Joe is refusing to abide by the results of that primary. As Lowell Weicker said the other day, when he became an independent he didn't screw with the Republican primary first (my words not his) he just left. Joe is mucking up the Democratic primary and then abandoning the party to attack it from the outside. How this is the fault of Ned Lamont or his supporters I would very much like to know.
"Vote for me or I'll take the party down with me" hardly seems like an honest way to win an election.
Dionne says he personally knows and likes Lieberman. Perhaps he and all the other DC insiders who are so worried that this Lamont challenge will end up hurting Democrats in the fall should have a talk with Joe. After all, whether or not there is a "distraction" is entirely in his hands.
Joe is pulling in nearly $100,000 a day in donations; he's now raised over $10 million dollars and he's pouring it into vote buying. This money isn't coming because Joe is beloved; it's coming because toppling him is a threat to oh so many who see their gravy train coming to an end if they have to be responsible to an electorate who expect them to stand for something. I know many think Joe will be under pressure to withdraw from the race if he loses the primary, but I wonder if he will be under pressure to stay in, to fight a proxy battle on behalf of those who think they're next. They have already proven they are willing to throw gobs of cash at him to forestall that eventuality. It will certainly be interesting to see if any of those writing the big checks will be willing to stand with him and suffer political LieberCooties should that day come.
. I have to say I was surprised when Joe Lieberman accepted an invitation to be at the Wake Up WalMart press conference today. He's avoided appearing with Ned Lamont at all costs, and I was rather impressed Joe wanted to show his solidarity with those whom WalMart habitually exploits.
I guess it was just another photo op after all, because Maura of My Left Nutmeg has done some digging and it turns out Holy Joe has no problems taking WalMart money -- this election cycle.
WalMart has a political action committee to further this right wing agenda.
[O]ne of the two of these Senate candidates have accepted campaign contributions from Wal-Mart's right wing PAC. Want to guess which one?
Bingo! Joe Lieberman. And it was for this cycle, in February. When Lieberman ran for President, he also received maximum contributions from Wal-Mart family fortune heir John Walton and his wife Christy. (This is just an initial search - I may find even more.)
Once again Joe Lieberman tries to have it both ways - scold WalMart when he wants votes from people who care about good jobs and health care, but take campaign contributions to advance Wal-Mart's right wing agenda.
I'm thinking that will be me with my hand raised asking questions at the rally. WalMart isn't the only one who needs to wake up.
. Meanwhile the slavishly bovine Sue Haigh of the AP takes more dictation from Marion Slimefels about a story nobody cares about while Iraq burns. I'm starting to think maybe the AP has an agenda here. Maybe somebody should ask them?
. Lieberman's new packaging is a dud, but he's pushing it hard. His latest PR makeover? Experience! Yes, Joe's got loads of it. Eighteen years' worth. Just ask the Hartford Courant:
Seniority often matters, however. Mr. Lieberman has gained considerable influence in his 18 years in the Senate. His specialty is working with Republican moderates -- and sometimes conservatives -- to craft bills that can pass the most divided, least civil Congress in memory.
And of course the Washington Post, grateful for the respite in defending their own warmongering so they can come to the aid of proxy Joe:
But it seems that Mr. Lieberman is also being pummeled for his ability to work with Republicans and get things done in Washington...This is a talent and temperament that is helpful to the Democrats in the minority but will be needed even more if there's a change in power in one or both houses of Congress or, in 2008, in the White House. Then, more than ever, the Democratic Party, if it hopes to accomplish anything, will need people such as Mr. Lieberman who bring some civility to an increasingly uncivil capital -- who can accept the idea that opponents may disagree in good faith and who can then work to find areas of agreement and assemble working majorities of 60 senators.
What eactly has Joe's "experience" been able to achieve? Well, he approved Michael Brown in 42 minutes. He was the only northeast Democrat to sign the Cheney energy bill. He voted for NAFTA, CAFTA and cloture on both the bankruptcy bill and Alito. The Department of Homeland Security was his baby. Then there was the Gang of 14. Roberts. The Bush tax cuts. And let's not forget his signature war.
I don't know exactly how things would have been different if Joe HADN'T been around to lend his "experience" to the GOP on such key issues, but it sure would be nice to find out.
(Graphic by DarkBlack)
Jane Hamsher is in Connecticut covering the Lamont/Lieberman race and blogs about it daily at firedoglake.com