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Sunday, May 28, 2006

CT-Sen: Pundits Realize Joe Lieberman is in Serious Trouble

From Ron Brownstein in the LA Times:

The liberal challenge to Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) escalated Friday when the political arm of, an influential online advocacy group, endorsed the political newcomer opposing his bid for renomination.

Gaining the support of MoveOn's political action committee was Ned Lamont, a businessman who wants to unseat Lieberman largely because of the veteran lawmaker's staunch support for the war in Iraq. [...]

"Lamont's message resonated with members who want a senator who will stand up to President Bush on key issues and represent the views of most people in Connecticut," said Eli Pariser, executive director of the MoveOn PAC.
What does this mean for Ned Lamont?
With the endorsement, the group will seek to raise money and generate volunteers for Lamont among MoveOn's 3.2 million members nationwide.

Lamont earlier this week gained an endorsement from Democracy for America, a liberal grass-roots group that Howard Dean established as his campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination foundered. Dean gave up his leadership role when he became chairman of the Democratic National Committee last year, but the group is headed by his brother, Jim Dean.

Lamont's candidacy also has become a priority for many liberal websites, such as Daily Kos — whose founder, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, recently appeared in one of Lamont's television advertisements.
The online triple crown: MoveOn, DFA, and a united progressive blogosphere:
MoveOn's PAC has proved capable of raising substantial sums from its members — it collected about $800,000 last year for Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), a strong critic of the Iraq war, in just a few days.

Lamont's credibility as a candidate also should benefit from MoveOn's stamp of approval, said Scott McLean, chairman of the political science department at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

"Getting 33% at the convention is really impressive, but [Friday's endorsement] is even bigger because it shows the grass-roots and money [donors] … that there is something behind Ned Lamont," McLean said. "It's big. It's huge."
Lieberman helped earn this endorsement for Lamont:
But McLean said Lieberman has been hurt by having "a tin ear" for the opinions of liberal Connecticut Democrats deeply disaffected with Bush and the Iraq war.

Thursday night may have been a case in point.

While the online poll was being conducted, Lieberman was at a Washington dinner receiving an award from the Committee on the Present Danger, a hawkish foreign policy group whose membership includes prominent conservatives and leading supporters in both parties of the Iraq war.
The piece includes some whining from the DLC (of course). Tim Tagaris points out the difference in authority between the Marshall Whitman quotes and those from McLean:

The difference between the two sources in the piece is striking. One, a respected professor from Quinnipiac University, here in Connecticut. The other, a member of the aforementioned chattering class of beltway insiders, the insufferable Marshall Whittman. But Whittman and Lieberman are kindered spirits of sorts. Whittman is the guy the press turns to when looking for a source to defame progressives. Senator Lieberman, when the Republicans look for a Democrat to provide "bipartisan" cover on an issue (like Iraq, Alito, President Bush’s energy policy, etc.).

1.) Whittman's DLC has a long history attacking Democratic grassroots organizations, like MoveOn. In fact, DLC attacks on MoveOn are part of the RNC press release template.

2.) Marshall Whittman worked for John McCain in 2000 and has also spent time at the Christian Coalition (Link). The Christian coalition was, of course, founded by Pat Robertson. The very former fundamentalist-Republican presidential candidate, Pat Robertson.

3.) Marshall Whittman, author of the DLC's Bull Moose Blog, who occassionally opines on the site, "If the Moose was a Democrat…"

For the life of me, I can't understand why the press quotes Whittman -- he isn't even a Democrat. Some of his resume highlights:

  • Prior to joining the DLC staff Wittman was Director of Communications for John McCain.
  • Wittman was a Senior Fellow at the far right-wing Hudson Institute. (sharing letterhead with Robert Bork)
  • Wittman was Director of Congressional Relations for the Heritage Foundation.
  • Wittman was Director of Legislative Affairs for the Christian Coalition.
  • Wittman was Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services in the first Bush administration.
You would think Democrats in the DLC would be appalled that they would allow Whittman to go on the record on behalf of New Democrats, but sadly they put up with it.

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