Joe Should Go!-- Ned Lamont's First Fund-raiser

I just got back from meeting Ned Lamont. I went because I dislike everything about Lieberman and have since I first heard about him as a sleazy, right wing local pol in Connecticut, long before he became part of a national or international nightmare. I was so sure I was going to be unimpressed with Lamont that I didn't even bother to bring my checkbook to this-- his very first-- fund-raiser. I was so completely impressed that the first thing I did when I got home was rush to the computer to add him to the fledgling DWTACT BLUE page. (Alas he's not even on with them yet but I'll get one going as soon as Act Blue gets him in their system.)

The last minute e-vite came a few days ago from friends with impeccable progressive cred-- some early (pre-cover of ROLLING STONE) activists in Howard Dean's California state campaign. It was for a hastily put-together fund-raiser for Lamont, who has been planning on being in L.A. months ago on non-political matters. Lamont is an entrepreneurial guy from Greenwich and all most people know about him is that he's taking on the odious Bush-Democrat from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman.

Yesterday Lamont created a "candidate committee," which isn't the same as declaring but does allow him to start collecting contributions. Liberal activist/Executive Director of Connecticut Citizen Action Group Tom Swan is heading it-- a good sign.

There's more...

McCain-Obama: How Will Lieberman Respond?

Josh Marshall makes an excellent point on the McCain-Obama tiff:

But the key here to note is what's behind this dust-up. Obama is a rising star among the Democrats. Republicans want to lay a backstory for feature criticisms and character attacks against him. So, for instance, if Obama is the vice presidential candidate in 2008, they want to have a history of attacks on him banked, ones that allege he's a liar, or too partisan, or untrustworthy, whatever. It doesn't even really matter. What matters is that there already be an established history of them. Point being, that in early 2008, they want to be able to simply refer back to Obama's 'character issue', the questions about his honesty, etc. rather than have to make the case on its merits.

That's not surprising. One only needs to think back to the Gore story, etc.

What shouldn't be missed here, though, is that Sen. McCain is quite consciously and deliberately making himself a part of this. Why? Simple. Because he needs to get right with the GOP establishment in DC. (Indeed, he probably also wants to be the future beneficiary of the sliming.) Being loved by moderates and progressives doesn't cut it for getting the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Don't miss why he's doing this. It's the roll-out of the slime Obama campaign. And he's leading the charge.

We'll learn a lot from how Obama responds.

This is worth expanding on a bit.  There were two other people at the meeting - Susan Collins, moderate Republican from Maine and Democrat Joe Lieberman, the moderate Democrat from Connecticut.  Lieberman can and will weigh in on this conflict, and were he a reasonable man I would imagine he would take one look at the series of letters and realize that John McCain was way out of line.  Now, this is the critical point to keep in mind - Lieberman is the only Democratic Senator who was in the room at the time, so the press will pay special attention to what he says.  Lieberman can call out McCain on his partisan slash-and-burn strategy, and buttress Obama's claim to bipartisanship.  Or he can participate in the smear and ask both sides to calm down, even though this attack is entirely one-sided and it is very clear that Obama is seeking a bipartisan good ethics bill.  

That's what I'm watching.  Will Lieberman support his fellow Democratic Senate colleague in pursuit of a well-structured bipartisan approach to ethics reform?  Or will he support John McCain's (who he quasi-endorsed for President) attempt to derail the whole process?

And Ned Lamont should be watching this too.  If Obama gets sandbagged by his colleague, it'll test a lot of insiders' patience with Lieberman.  The netroots can't beat Lieberman alone, but with enough enemies, we can help Lieberman beat himself.

Stay tuned...

UPDATE: I'm told Pryor attended part of the meeting as well.

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Lieberman has a challenger, so what, he'll lose too.

It loos like Ned Lamont is going to be the Democrats sacrificial lamb, and challenge Joe Lieberman for his Senate seat this year. Lamont, a Greenwich businessman thinks he has what it takes to unseat Lieberman I say go ahead and try, you'll lose just like everyone else who has tried this. While Lieberman has lost some support with the Democrats, he is still very popular with Independents and Republicans. Lieberman has a 64% approval rating in the last Quinnipiac poll, with 55% support from Democrats, 62% from Independents, and an overwhelming 75% of Republicans saying he should be reelected. It is pretty hard to see where Lamont gets any support here. Yes, Democrats are pretty angry that Joe is in favor of the war, but not enough so that it gets him in any kind of trouble. Lieberman has the support of Hartford mayor Eddie Perez and only 3 of the 200 Democratic town committee chairs have spoken out against Lieberman.

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Reflections on Joe Lieberman

Senator Joe Lieberman has recently announced his resignation, pending expectations that he will probably lose his next Senate race. For many on the far left, Mr. Lieberman was a hated figure; a traitor on issues beginning from his loud support of the Iraq War.

Mr. Lieberman, on the other hand, came to dislike the far left in equal measure. After they defeated him in the 2006 Democratic primary, he ran for Senator as an independent. He went on to win that race by the high single-digits and never forgave the netroots or the Democratic Party for what he thought they had done to him.

Mr. Lieberman has spent the rest of his life attempting to block all that the netroots hold dear. He was the only Democratic senator to support Republican candidate John McCain, even going as far as to speak at the Republican National Convention. During that time Mr. McCain seriously considered the Jewish senator as his running mate.

Then, during the health care debate, it was Mr. Lieberman who put the death blow onto the public option. This was probably the dearest provision in the bill to online activists, hoping to use it to create a single-payer, universal, government-run health care system (what conservatives call socialist health care, an accurate description in this case). Mr. Lieberman’s role in the defeat of this dream further enraged the netroots community.

All this does little to speak well of neither the netroots community nor Mr. Lieberman. The former overestimated their power in attempting to defeat the senator; their influence over the Democratic primary electorate turned out not to extend to the general electorate, where Mr. Lieberman won as an independent. Since that election, the senator has made the far left pay far more than it would have if the netroots had just stayed quiet.

But Mr. Lieberman comes out the worst. A high government official should never let his or her emotions drive him to make decisions. Doing so can be dangerous for the country’s health. Yet since 2006 Mr. Lieberman’s entire career seems to have been dedicated to anger-fueled retaliation.

Perhaps the senator deserves to be angry, perhaps not. But public servants should not behave in the manner Mr. Lieberman been doing. Things such as the public option are serious matters, not tools to get petty personal revenge. They affect hundreds of millions of Americans. They are part of a very important debate over what policies the United States must take. Deciding to oppose something like the public option as retribution for a personal matter is not responsible.

It is probably a good thing that Mr. Lieberman has declared his resignation.





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