Lieberman's New Withdrawal Messaging

Lieberman has a new 'unity' commercial.

This week we had round one of the U.S. Senate race. Now round two begins. I want to thank my supporters and explain to all you why I've decided to fight on. I'm staying in this race because I want to keep working for the things that matter to you. I've led the Senate on issues like national security the creation of the 9/11 commission; efforts to stop global warming; protect social security and find cures for diseases like cancer and diabetes. And I'm staying because I want to help end the war in Iraq in a way that brings stability to the Mid-East and doesn't leave us even more vulnerable. So much needs to be done, but so little is actually getting done in Washington because our politics have become so partisan and polarized. My 30 years of experience has been about bringing people together. I'm Joe Lieberman. And I approved this message because it's time for a new politics of unity and purpose.

Lieberman seems to be calling for an end to the war in Iraq, which is a newish place for him to go.  He's already pandering to the voters by misrepresenting his position, since he wants to keep permanent military bases in Iraq. This is weak, pathetic stuff, but it worked in the final days of the primary.  I phone-banked a bunch of undecideds who in all likelihood flipped to Lieberman in the waning days of the campaign.  "I hate the war, I hate Bush, but I'm just not sure we can pull out right now" was the way they put it.

So why did it work?  Voters, while they want change, are torn between comfort and a desire for a new direction.  If you get into the specifics of new policy, voters will be much less likely to go for a new direction, since they are comparing what they know with what they don't, and what they know has the inherent comfort borne of routine.  The key point to understand is that 'against the war' does not mean 'withdraw our troops'.  Sure there's a strong correlation between the two, but there are a substantial number of Americans who want some troops out but don't want to fully leave Iraq because they are afraid of the consequences of withdrawal.  Policy-wise, I'm not sure whether this is right or not, and I respect a lot of people who have different opinions on this.

The thing is, policy differences on military strategy don't matter, since Senators do not set military strategy. If Ned Lamont is elected, and Democrats take the House and Senate, Donald Rumsfeld is still commanding our military.  George Bush will be the commander in chief for two and a half more years, and the key trait necessary in a Senator is not that the Senator have a good withdrawal plan but that the Senator be willing to hold the people in charge accountable for their consistently failed conservative policies.

Lieberman is probably lying about wanting to end the war in Iraq, and he's certainly changing his rhetoric if not his position.  But that doesn't really matter.  What matters is that Lieberman has never held the President accountable for failures in Iraq, and if reelected, will continue to give him a blank check for war profiteering, intelligence failures, incompetence, and outright dishonesty.  Whether you seek a withdrawal or not, it's better to have a Senator who will challenge George Bush and his failed conservative policies.  Republicans, Democrats, and Independents can all agree on that.

Tags: Connecticut, CT-Sen, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont (all tags)

Comments

23 Comments

It worked for Nixon to say he

...had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War.

Lieberman saying that he wants the Iraq War to end (wihout saying we should pull out our troops) may work for him, too.

by EricJaffa 2006-08-12 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's New Withdrawal Messaging

 Lieberman's lying. It's what Republicans do.

 I think Ned can effectively hammer home the hold-them-accountable point. I can't see Lieberman having any credible response to that.

 Unless he lies. Which he's very good at.

by Master Jack 2006-08-12 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's New Withdrawal Messaging

Well, he's lying about Social Security, so why not everything else in his message?

by BriVT 2006-08-12 11:55AM | 0 recs
Funding

  Who funded this ad? Is it legal to use primary funds for a post-primary commercial?
by Master Jack 2006-08-12 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's New Withdrawal Messaging

I had hoped that beating Lieberman would be a springboard for helping other good Democrats challenge bad ones in the remaining primaries. But I guess that will have to wait until 2008 or 10. All beating lieberman has turned out to be is a springboard for challenging Lieberman again.

Too bad. Reform at a snail's pace is better than none at all, but the slower it goes, the easier it will be for entrenched power and corruption to outflank and thwart it.

by Sitkah 2006-08-12 11:49AM | 0 recs
I would go even further

and say that Lieberman has, as his tenure dragged on, made more and more of a career out of finding ways to bring his positions more in sync with Bush, based on the now debunked theory that the key to political success and longevity is to 'hug' the opposition to attract the swing voters.  

Even more than a willingness to hold the people in charge accountable, Lieberman lacks the basic moral outlook that defines a Democrat:   a commitment to not intentionally morph into a Republican for political gain.

That is really a big part of the problem.  We have a Senator who has invested so much time in taking up positions that allow him to pass as a Republican, that he doesn't look like a Democrat to anyone with a moral foundation.  

And to Republicans, he doesn't look like one of them either, but is more of a door flung wide open to allow them to attack.  Like that kid at the party who is so desperate to be liked that he volunteers to take the blame for destroying the house--even though he didn't have one drink all night.

So, in Lamont we have the re-emergence of a principled leader, whereas in Lieberman we see the full decay of vulgar incumbency.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-08-12 11:50AM | 0 recs
I'll raise you one

He's not satisfied just to appease, he thinks all Democrats should. Lieberman is advocating an effectively one-party state. He doesn't mind the appearance of two parties, as long as the disagreements are petty and superficial; on anything substantive he seems to believe we should at most stage a debate for appearance's sake and then march in lock step. Nothing new here: "unity" is the siren song of totalitarianism--there is comfort in unity, power in unity, and pride. And the politician willing to betray his nation for one last easy chance at glory or riches: that's an old, old story, too.

by robert e 2006-08-12 02:15PM | 0 recs
The value of Lamont's win

 We're going to have a real debate on Iraq policy now. We've never really had one, at least publicly -- every politician who's tried to make one happen has been marginalized by the media in some way. But now Ned Lamont can come out and question Bush/Lieberman on Iraq in a direct, clear, and assertive manner. He can say that BushCo doctored the intel. He can say that Bush has no exit strategy. He can say that there are many unanswered questions regarding the buildup and conduct of the war that only a full accountability investigation will answer -- and that Lieberman, being complicit, is not the man who will launch these investigations. He can say that Democrats HAVE presented rational plans to get out of Iraq (Murtha), and that Joe has shot them down. He can bring up the body armor, the mistreatment of veterans, the civil war. He can bring up the Constitutional violations of BushCo. He can ask the obvious question nobody ever asks -- What, exactly, is the definition of "victory" in Iraq? Because he has no history in this matter, and because he has a REAL interest in getting us out of that clusterfuck, he can let it rip.

 Joe HAS to be mealymouthed about Iraq. He would have no credibility by suddenly deciding to endorse an exit plan, and no popularity if he sticks with a stay-the-course message.

 Lamont's got a huge edge on the issue. It's up to his campaign to ensure that the message goes out effectively.

by Master Jack 2006-08-12 12:03PM | 0 recs
Indefinite occupation

Look, the message from the Democrats to voters looking at the republican (and CFL) message is to say, very clearly, "Their plan is to keep American troops in Iraq forever."

Make them deny that. Make them justify the permanent bases.  Make them come clean.

by jayackroyd 2006-08-12 12:18PM | 0 recs
Any info on the next Quinnipiac CT Poll?

Is there one being done at all?

by rosebowl 2006-08-12 12:31PM | 0 recs
To Those of You in Touch with the Campaign

How is the Lamont team planning to counter these charges?  I feel like we've heard so much about their actions, and now, not that much.

Now that Lieberman has had his few days to sulk, which has only made him nastier and more self righteous, will Dodd finally get on his ass about dropping out?  Will Reid actually get tough on Lieberman and any Dem who supports him?

by wilder 2006-08-12 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those of You in Touch with the Campaign

will Dodd finally get on his ass about dropping out?  Will Reid actually get tough on Lieberman and any Dem who supports him?

Only if they can do it from atop the fence.

by Sitkah 2006-08-12 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those of You in Touch with the Campaign

That's the problem -- how do we get them down?

by wilder 2006-08-12 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those of You in Touch with the Campaign

Simple, burn the fence down.

They'll jump off...soon as their handmade shoes git a little warm.

by Pericles 2006-08-12 04:11PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those of You in Touch with the Campaign

I've still got a glimmer of hope that whipping JoMo will light a fire under them. But so far all we've got from DCDem leadership is a little lip service for Lamont.

What will the liberal blogoshere do with its new found power if Reid, Schumer, Clinton et al don't hold JoMo's feet to the fire with dire threats behind the scenes and punative measures in public?

Stay tuned.

by Sitkah 2006-08-12 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's New Withdrawal Messaging

"new politics of unity and purpose" = unify around my stated purpose, maggots.

How condescending.  I am hardly the most liberal poster on this board - probably some of you would be annoyed at the moderate economic positions of this libertarian-leaning liberal - yet I cannot look at this man as anything but a bought tramp.  Bought by a convenient combination of GOP co-opters, corporate donations and his own insufferable sense of entitlement to that Senate seat.

by Bruce Godfrey 2006-08-12 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's New Withdrawal Messaging

Lieberman will stay in the race long after it's clear to everybody else on the planet that he's toast. At the 11th hour, if he's behind by 15 or more points, he might drop out to avoid the humiliation of losing to Ned Lamont TWICE.

But, he's very weak now because he doesn't have a natural base of support. As a Democrat thousands of democrats would hold their nose and vote for him, out of party loyalty or because the alternative is worse. But, he's not a Democrat OR Republican now. The strategy NORMALLY open to politicians of securing the base early, then reaching out to uncommitted voters in the middle isn't available to Lieberman. Lamont can move more to the center and still keep the loyalty of the party left, but Lieberman can't move to the right without losing moderate support. And he can't gain Republican support without parroting their unpopular positions.

But, he'll have PLENTY of money to throw at this race. All the corporate lobbyists who have been lining his pockets in return for Congressional favors for the last 18 years will do anything to keep him in power.

All Lamont has to do is keep hammering away and the notion of "victory" in Iraq. What does that mean? Accuse Lieberman of wanting permanent military bases, accuse him supporting Bush's plan to keep troops in Iraq until Jan. 2009. "Do you want American troops to stay fighting in Iraq until 2009? If so, then vote Lieberman."

Simple message. Stay the course or change. The more Lieberman tacks right, the less chance he has of winning over a majority. His only hope is to build a coalition in the middle of both parties. But, you can't do that when the electorate is polarized between Bush loving and Bush-hatred, "stay the course" v. "change course."

It's a ZERO-SUM GAME Joe! And you've dealt yourself a losing hand!

by Cugel 2006-08-12 01:59PM | 0 recs
Lieberman's site is back up

Complete with phone number (Press #2 for Senator Lieberman)

I wanted to leave a message asking Lieberman when he'd resign his Committee posts, now that he was running against a Democrat, but the mailbox was full.

And there's a typo in the thank you mail that you get when you register for his email list. Still trying to do things on the cheap, I guess.

by lambert 2006-08-12 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's New Withdrawal Messaging

    Lieberman is a lickspittle for the corporatocracy that runs America.  As America's population blasted towards 300 million, democracy has been supplanted by corporatocracy.  Democracy proved an inadequate means for regulating such a huge mass of people and the commerce they create.  

    Corporatocracy emerged as a means to manage the lives and business of an overpopulated America.  The corporatocracy comprises all three branches of government; the governmental bureaucracy at local,county, state, and federal levels; the major political parties; all the corporations including big pharm, big ag, the media, and big banking; and the military and the corporations that serve them.  

   In the corporatocratic world, individual people do not matter.  Diebold can strip away the citizens' power to elect a president, and the Supreme Court will support the corporation against the citizen, because the Supreme Court is committed to maintaining the corporatocracy.  

  In the corporatocratic world, the corporations can poison individual citizens with lead or mercury or dioxin with the support of the Supreme Court and the EPA and the encouoragement of the Executive Branch, because the lives of individual citizens are meaningless to the corporations and because the corporations are not susceptible to mercury or lead or dioxin poisoning.  

    I encourage all readers to stop focusing on the Liebermans or the Clintons on the political playing field.  We need a new vision for America in which the power of the corporatocracy is curtailed and we citizens take our country back.  We need politicians who are unaffiliated with either party or with any component of the corporatocracy.  This is the message I want to hear from persons running for office.    
   

by Shaman Omaha 2006-08-12 03:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's New Withdrawal Messaging

This is perhaps the best post I have read from Matt on the political dynamics of voting for change and just how earth-shattering the Lamont win really was.

The post could have been shorter, but it's brilliant:  Stoller hit the nail on the head regarding the paradox of running challenger campaigns.  If only the Kerry people understood this.  I have a feeling that more undecideds than people think broke for Bush at the end because of comfort.  This is the opposite of what people like Dick Morris cite as the conventional wisdom of campaigns 101:  that undecideds (if they vote at all) tend to break AWAY from the incumbent.  Sometimes, that's not the case.  It wasn't the case with Lamont/Lieberman, and I don't think it was the case in 2004.

by jgarcia 2006-08-12 04:33PM | 0 recs
It's a tournament, not a game.

Where the hell did Lieberman get this game analogy?  

"We just finished the first half, and the Lamont team is ahead . . ."

and now this stuff about round two.

Doesn't he understand that it's not a game?  It's a tournament and he lost in the first round.

by Reece 2006-08-12 04:44PM | 0 recs
Here's another new Lieberman ad

by ignu 2006-08-12 11:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's New Withdrawal Messaging

I am new to your site. After reading this new article  Lieberman just put out. I have a question. Is this the same Lieberman that I have been watching on FOX news and reading about in the WASHINGTON POST. Could there be two Lieberman. This Lieberman is  a very different person I have never read or seen before.

by blackjack 2006-08-13 01:46AM | 0 recs

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