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Friday, June 16, 2006

Joe Lieberman Attacks Ned Lamont

joe lieberman george bush kissGeorge Bush's favorate Democrat is taking a page out of Karl Rove's playbook with his new attack ad against Democrat Ned Lamont.

For his latest Karl Rove-ian personal attack ad, Joe Lieberman has retrieved an 18 year-old cartoon bear. This bear is no Yogi.

Lieberman's new ad attacking his challenger in an Aug. 8 Democratic primary for his U.S. Senate seat, Ned Lamont, has shown up on his campaign web site. Click here to view the commercial (as long as it remains there; the last personal attack ad never made it onto the site). [...]

The new ad brings another modern Beltway campaign attack mode to Connecticut: Bush adviser Karl Rove's strategy of taking your own weakness and turning it into your opponent's weakness instead, through relentless misrepresentation of facts.
And the facts are being misrepresented:

In this case, Lieberman, who has raised more than twice Lamont's money because of his ties to corporate special interests, has used a similar strategy in addressing his chief weakness in a Democratic primary: that he sides with right-wing Republicans on the issues most important to Connecticut Democrats these days, such as the Iraq war, civil liberties, the right to dissent, appointees like Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, gay marriage, and the Bush-Cheney energy bill. On all those issues, as well as universal health care and tax policy toward the wealthy, Lamont is squarely in the camp of the Democratic opposition.

So the Lieberman team has pursued a strategy of relentlessly labeling Lamont the Republican. Why? Because 12 years ago, as a Greenwich selectman, he and other Democrats voted alongside Republicans on some non-ideological town issues. The Lieberman has further portrayed Lamont as anti-schoolchildren and anti-health care. The basis for that: He voted for a final budget that cut a requested health department budget increase from 12 to 6 percent. He voted against a $35 million school renovation project that included an asbestos clean-up because he wanted an independent audit. And he joined a unanimous vote to require top-level school administrators to pay the same increase in health care expenses as unionized town employees.

Lieberman himself called for an end to such old-record-twisting character-assassination ads in his book In Praise of Public Life. He wrote that in 2000, when he didn't have a serious challenger to his Senate seat.

As has been pointed out all over the internets, this is a sign of Joe Lieberman's utter desperation to be projecting in such a dishonest manner.

joe lieberman dick cheney kissThe fact is that Joe Lieberman is facing this primary because he is more Republican than Democrat. Since Lieberman seems to be living in 1988, let's remember that back then Lieberman kicked off his campaign with a kiss for his wife.

Yet since the 2000 election, Lieberman's lips have been all over the failed Republican Administration -- when he isn't kissing their lips in public he is kissing their asses on the Sunday talk shows.

Ned Lamont is a viable candidate because he rejects the Joe Lieberman and Democratic Leadership Council triangulation and GOP-lite approach that has allowed George Bush to do pretty much whatever he wants. The Bush Administration has been allowed to screw up America because DLC'ers like Joe Lieberman would rather kiss up to the Republicans than stand up for what is right.

The great irony is that the first sleeping bear ad attacked Lowell Weicker for missing votes, something Joe Lieberman has done a great deal of as he has tried to further his own career while neglecting to represent Connecticut:
The commercial evokes one that helped Lieberman first win his seat in 1988. That 1988 ad depicted the then-incumbent, Lowell Weicker, as a fat lazy bear who never showed up for votes in his third term in office. The ad was significant for two reasons: It inaugurated a new era in Connecticut of low-grade personal TV attack ads that belittle opponents, make fun of their appearance or magnify minor or out-of-context portions of their record. And, once he too was firmly ensconced in his third term in the Senate, Lieberman himself repeated Weicker's absentee record. Lieberman spent much of 2003 running for president--and away from his job as senator. He skipped 54 percent of all Senate votes that year. He was absent for every vote on 63 of the 115 days in which the Senate cast votes. According to one estimate, that meant the taxpayers overpaid Lieberman $38,828.79 in salary that year.
Not only should Connecticut Democrats throw Lieberman out of office, they should ask for a refund.

Political Implications

The desperation in the Lieberman campaign is like a gambler who has lost almost everything and thinks going double-or-nothing is the smart way to dig himself out of the whole. Lieberman is losing everything, maybe even his mind if you look at how he is projecting. Worst of all, Lieberman is losing the little respect of the few people who still like him:
About Lieberman's ads, the Manchester Journal-Inquirer (a conservative newspaper more aligned with Lieberman's than Lamont's views) recently editorialized: "The whole point of being Joe Lieberman used to be decency, dignity, and thoughtfulness. Lieberman's attack ads look like the appeals of just another sleazy, desperate pol, grasping madly to hold on to office."
It is clear to everyone that Joe Lieberman is losing, and Lieberman Campaign Manager Sean Smith is doing an awful job, which is apparent by reading today's Courant:
"Lowell Weicker has never gotten over the loss to Lieberman," Smith said. "He is pulling the strings of Ned Lamont right now and getting him to do his dirty work."

Weicker, who bounced back from his Senate loss to be elected governor as an independent in 1990, said picking a fight with someone other than your opponent always is a sign of a campaign in trouble.

"I think all of us that have been in politics know that the minute you go after somebody other than your opponent, that's not a very good tactic," Weicker said. "I'm not running against Joe Lieberman, right?"
Utter desperation from a losing campaign.

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