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August 04, 2006

Four Things the Connecticut Primary Won't Change
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

Is The Godfather  about Italy?

Is The Sopranos about New Jersey?

The Lieberman-Lamont primary next week is a fascinating moment in American politics.  It's about the Democratic Party's self-image; it's about George W. Bush's America; it's about kissing; and, like many great works of literature, it's about a hero with the tragic flaw of arrogance in the face of impending doom.  It is even about how one small subset of the body politic deals with the wound of Iraq.

But folks, it's not about Iraq.  So discussion of it has little place on this progressive but non-partisan blog -- and gosh, I'm glad I don't live in Connecticut.  The foreign policy community, like everybody else, is getting a little over-excited.  Let me remind you why, as I indulge my inner curmudgeon on a Friday afternoon:

1.  The problem is down the street at 1600.  One Senator more in the "out now" column doesn't change a darn thing.  In fact, the only possible result here is if current polls change and a Lieberman run as an independent by some freak chance ends up electing a Republican.  For that matter, if Lieberman holds the seat either way he still votes for Harry Reid as majority leader.

2.  The solution is going to have to be a unity one.  Neither Ned Lamont nor Joe Lieberman has the credibility to come forward with a brilliant plan that Dems and concerned Republicans could coalesce around and force on the White House in 2007.  For that you'd have to look to the small group of Ds and Rs who work seriously on military issues -- and leave aside, I fear, the ones who are running for President in 08 -- not because they won't have good ideas but because it will be too hard for the others to unite around them.  My hat is off to Reid et al for the growing unity they have built in recent weeks.  The policy there will get pushed forward by people like Murtha on the one hand and Jack Reed on the other.

3.  There's not enough oxygen in the room.  Yes, Gallup said this week that Americans named Iraq as their most important issue in thinking about whom to vote for in November.  But Americans are still firmly split about how long to stay in Iraq.  The way I read the polls (and I think both parties are being advised this) the public overall still wants its leaders to make sense of Iraq, and our involvement there, more than it wants any particular solution pushed at it.  The realities of politics are what they are -- loud and short-term.  People who care about the US role in the world beyond this November shouldn't be the ones forcing ugly, caricatured policy choices on the public.  They will get what they ask for -- the public will make an ugly choice, and then turn away in disgust.

4.  Overtaken by Events.  It looks to me as if just two things matter now; whether Baghdad's descent into hell can be slowed or stopped, and who controls both houses of Congress in January.  So enjoy the spectacle in Connecticut.  But it is a sideshow, and not the main event.


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I respectfully disagree.

The American view of Iraq is tipping over. Tom Friedman's change of heart ("We are babysitting a civil war") is one sign. Senator Hagel's call to begin withdrawing troops in six months is another. The testimony of our leading generals is another. Senator Warner's stunning comment that Congress may have to reconsider its authorization of U.S. forces in Iraq if the civil war grows is yet another. Lamont's victory will be seen as a the first political manifestation of this change. Candidates in both parties will take notice.

This all plays on the background of Bush's staggering 58% disapproval rating (even during the Middle East crisis), the unpopularity of his secretary of defense, and the growing unity of the opposition party on the issue.

There's something happening here.

I have nothing in particular against Sen. Lieberman, but we need to be aware of something more fundamental than Mr. Cirincione's concerns about Iraq.

Incumbent Senators and Congressmen hardly ever lose races for reelection. Yet Congress is widely and rightly believed to have done a lousy job -- Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, right across the board. A functioning democracy cannot survive indefinitely living with this kind of contradiction. A public that does not respect Congress will be increasingly tolerant of executive and judicial usurpations of its authority, and a Congress as preoccupied as ours is with the mechanics of staying in office will be less able to resist them.

I'm going to find it difficult this year to argue against throwing out any incumbent Senator or Congressman (in cases where an incumbent Senator is being challenged by an incumbent Congressman I suppose I'd make exceptions). Lieberman isn't the worst of them, by any means; there are less productive Senators and God knows how many Congressmen who don't even have opponents. But because he is an incumbent he is part of the problem. Never mind what he has to say about Iraq. Out he goes.

I think you're very probably wrong Heather. Obviously, the addition or loss of a single vote in the Senate isn't that important in itself. But I believe a Lieberman defeat will send a powerful concussion through our political system, and may be the catalyst for profound change.

A Lamont victory will send a sharp political signal to Washington officialdom, and cause Senators and Representatives from both parties to recalibrate their political measurements. It's effect on the Democrats in particular will be profound. The day after Lieberman's defeat, watch as Hillary, Bayh, Vilsack, Biden and others all begin jostling each other on their way to the left door, and begin the painful process of accommodating themselves to the new political reality. But I think a Lamont victory will free up inwardly dissenting Republicans as well, and increase the national momentum toward a fundamental change of course.

Whenever major political shifts occur, they tend at first to occur gradually, exerting increasing pressure on the vested interests and established positions of those in power. But then there is the moment when the ice breaks, when the houses of cards collapse, when something happens that signifies the change is not merely coming - it's here.

It has been clear for some time that the bipartisan colition of political forces that brought us this war, and our disastrous foreign policy of the past few years, is increasingly scorned and rejected by the public. But public attitudes and official policy have tended to move in separate spheres. I suspect a Lamont victory will be the final slap of political reality necesary to create some real movement.

Joe Lieberman has, for many reasons, and for a long time, appeared untouchable to both his friends and opponents. He has many powerful friends in government, business and the media, and has been a preeminent insider. That his opponents can succeed in throwing him out means that they are no longer just a noisy, angry and impotent minority rabble, but a potent political force. No professional politician will miss that message.

So my sense is that the primary won't just be a fascinating moment in American politics. It has the potential to be a defining moment in American politics.

Lieberman's symbolic link with Bush and the campaign's focus on Iraq does make this contest a litmus test of sorts. But the thing that sticks in my craw the most is that there is still no consensus among progressives on a sensible Iraq policy (or any Middle East policy for that matter) and no clear articulation that will sway voters.

The Democrats need a policy that is a clear break from discussion of timetables and other efforts that simply avoid the "cut and run" label. Someone must acknowledge that Iraq is so over. The Shi'ite uprising, now propelled by Hezbullah, and Iran's corresponding strengthening, should convince someone to remove US troops from an increasingly hopeless position. Hell, if Tom Friedman can figure it out... Some brave Dem (why not Feingold, who didn't vote for this turd in the first place?) should call for immediate redeployment of US troops to Kurdistan (with assurances to Turkey) and turnover security duties to Iraqis by end of 2006. Kiss the Shi'ite South and the Sunni Heartland goodbye and encourage Muslim and international peacekeeping forces to minimize ethnic cleansing.

So while a Lamont victory will signal frustration with Lieberman's "stay the course" on Iraq, and perhaps dissuade other candidates from tonguing Bush, I'd still like to see Dems unite behind a sensible, clearly articulated, and moral policy.

Thanks, Heather, for some very apt comments.

I would say further: we need candidates who can point the way towards a credible path to take in our policies everywhere in the Middle East. If, for electoral purposes, Dems focus on Iraq, that does not bode well at all. We need some bold and courageous thinking that encompasses the entire situation. I'm not hearing such from anyone.

Lieberman, Israel, Part D, Dem Shadow Party

Democratic “heavyweights” came sprinting this week to Connecticut to endorse Ned Lamont were ultra-liberals Al Sharpton and Rep. Maxine Waters D-Ca.). Lamont welcomed them with open arms. I noticed another strange thing, while perusing the ultra-left wing website: Lamont lists no endorsements. Why do endorsements mean something? They are a vote of confidence in the recipient.

Joe Lieberman has been endorsed by both Connecticut newspapers, nine Democratic women Senators, including Senator Hillary Clinton and her husband former-President Bill Clinton . Also giving Joe the thumbs-up are NARAL, Defenders of Wildlife, Planned Parenthood, veteran civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga), fellow Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, League of Conservation Voters, Human Rights Campaign, and millions of hardworking labor union members of the AFL -CIO, Food and Commercial Workers, Teamsters, Letters Carriers, Firefighters, Carpenters, Communications and Postal Workers.

Why do these representatives of Connecticut ’s working men and women support Joe Lieberman could it be because he has brought thousands of jobs to Connecticut . What will a ultra-liberal freshman Senator do for Connecticut in a moderate to conservative U .S. Senate? What has as a 18-year veteran of the U.S. Senate accomplished for Connecticut ? Joe has worked for every piece of progressive legislation for nearly two decades. The truth is Ned Lamont will be a backbencher.

Now, more than ever, in this era of chaos who should we trust to make foreign policy decisions for our country Joe Lieberman or Ned Lamont? Who should continue to be Israel ’s voice in the United States Senate? Who should utilize the advise and consent power with regard to the actions of this president and the next? Who, according to Al Gore, had the steadiness and temperament to be President of the United States ? These are the questions Connecticut voters must asked before they cast their vote for trust-fund baby Ned Lamont.

Let’s hope the Quinnipiac poll showing Senator Lieberman 13 points down, and a New London poll showing Joe 10 points behind his ultra-left challenger are wrong. If it isn’t and Democrats true-to-form once again eat their own, let’s look to a Fall campaign where Democrats leaders absent themselves from Connecticut . If elected as an Independent who is Joe going to vote with to organize the Senate the Dems or Repubs?

While Joe’s a strong adherent of Democratic values fighting off an entourage of Democratic heavyweights campaigning for Lamont just might p..s Lieberman off. A Senate with a swing vote, if socialist Bernie Sanders is elected to the Senate from Vermont and organizes with the Democrats, would leave each party in a bid of a pickle.


Today, agreement on possible resolution may be approved by the UN Security Council to end hostilities in the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict. The agreement calls on a cease fire and permanent disarmament of Hezbollah. The latter, particularly if disarmament is left to the Lebanese Army, is ill-conceived.

A UN peacekeeping force on the Syrian border will also spark hostilities. We are facing a widespread war in the Middle East involving both client terrorist groups, national armies, and a spillover of the civil war in Iraq . We can not forget that last week Iran ’s president called for a Final Solution regarding the existence of Israel . A regional war in the Middle East threatens the security of the United States and our European Allies.

Unfortunately, a wider war will include conscription to enlarge troop strength. I consider myself a dove, however, surrogate armies as Hezbollah, Hamos, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups organizing in Iraq and being funded by Iran and Syria must be liquidated before they kill American lives and those of our Allies.

Flacking Part D

On July 27, the Chamber of Commerce kicked-off its 2006 election efforts with a $10 million media campaign touting the benefits of the Medicare Part D plan which provides seniors with prescription drug coverage.

The campaign included nearly identical ads in twenty congressional districts thanking incumbents for having "supported the Medicare Part D law" and listing the number of seniors from that state who benefit from drug coverage.

However, as the Associated Press initially reported, the group changed the ad for two members who were first elected in 2004, and not yet members of Congress when the bill became law in 2003. On August 3rd, the Seattle Times reported that a similar mistake had been made in ads featuring freshman Rep. Dave Reichert.

Medicare Part D is so confusing even the Chamber of Commerce can’t figure it out.

Below is a link to an Open Letter by Ibrahim Ebeid a US citizen and a veteran of the Vietnam era. I could not disagree more with Mr. Ebeid but thought it offers a good summary of fundamentalist-Arab sentiment.

Cash & Sleaze From Ohio

Ohio Governor’s race, the almost Blue state in ’04 Dem Gov. candidate Strickland raised $2.5 million in June and July. Republicans are trying to gain traction on a story involving the husband of their Auditor General candidate who took a $5000 illegal campaign contribution. Barbara Skyes’ husband is running for her former state house seat.


It took the DNC 3-days to come up with a number of participants in last Saturday’s so-called “Democratic Reunion”. I like such round numbers. The DNC press office said 20,000. Was this number polled before it was released, maybe focused grouped. Why does my old cynical flack genes tell me the numbers were abysmal? The old chicken shit into chicken salad.

Remember the Right Wing Conspiracy

Now a member of that conspiracy is telling us of another, the Shadow Party. Read all about it:

Apparently this group is trying to sabotage Joe Lieberman too:

“It's odd that the book "The Shadow Party" is coming out the same day of the Connecticut primary. The mere fact that Joe Lieberman, who is a three-term senator, an incumbent, and who was on the presidential ticket of the Democratic Party in 2000, should be fighting for his political life against these forces shows how powerful the people in the Shadow Party are.”

This speaks for it self and is why all Americans must unite together to elect “True Progressive Democrats” Now is the time not next year or next month. We must stand together and demand real change. We must be strong, bold and not be afraid to speak up. Say what is on your mind don’t go along with others just because it is the right thing to say politically.

When Americans look back they will see that B$SH was the worst “President” ever elected in our countries history. We can say one thing in defense though and that is we the people did not elect this corrupt, lying, miss leading criminal that we have to call President. He stole the election, which is why he is stealing our future, our children’s future and their children’s future.

This say’s it all images/billboard1.jpg

NOW is the time to unite, stand proud, speak up, and vote. Vote for “True Progressive Candidates” support all the candidates any way you can. Money is not the only way to support candidates who will fight for us and take back our country. We can encourage our family, friends and coworkers to make sure they vote in the primaries as well as the general election. We can make phone calls, email, and nock on doors or simply send $20 to help support our candidates who will truly represent the people.

Carl Sheeler is such a candidate from RI He has the vision, passion, integrity, and is not afraid to speak up for the people. Carl will defend our constitution and fight for all Americans.

If you have a candidate like Carl please send me their link so I may add it to my blogging for “True Progressive Candidates”

Hello Connecticut voters,
I guess when it all comes down to it, you will probably be voting for the pork Sen. Lieberman has infused into your state, more than what he has done to our country. He has no solution for the war that he and President Bush keep telling us is a win for freedom. In reality, it is just another monument in the making for all the dead soldiers who died for an insane set of presumptions. Keep your pork and build a rock for those who died. And live with it. I pray you can.
John Magnusson

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