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Monday, October 16, 2006

Analysis: The Debate About the Debate

Much like a candidate who is polling at 4%, Schlesinger held nothing back from the paranoid safe room he'd like the rest of the state of Connecticut to be in. Or maybe he took lessons from the Cheney school of quail hunting. Schlesinger would have you ignore that the reckless spending in DC comes from the GOP majority in Congress. He screeches about Ostrich's burying their heads in the sand when it comes to the Social Security Trust Fund, warns loudly that there are people who are actively plotting to kill everyone in the debate audience and that there is no wall high enough that he wouldn't build around America. And almost proudly, he proclaimed that if he were to head across the Mexican border, he'd probably be shot. Perhaps he was confusing his reception amongst fiscal conservatives and moderate yankee republicans.

Ned Lamont had an opportunity to project himself as something else other than the one issue anti-war candidate his campaign has spent millions on. At this, he stumbled a bit out of the gate, but grew better as the debate wore on. But when it comes to projecting a capable statesman ready to assemble with the DC legislators, Lamont missed like the Yankees lineup against the Tigers. Between Lieberman and Schlesinger, Lamont got painted into the Liberal sand box with a bunch of empty ideas, and no palpable grasp of avoiding repeating every talking point he's ever uttered. He would have done well to watch Ross Perot take an honest businessman's approach to what he sees is wrong with Washington and why he's the man to fix it. For some reason, Lamont thinks that going after Lieberman's attendance on votes is a good idea. Except that Lieberman has a pretty good answer for that one, he was out campaigning as the Democratic nominee for Vice President. Whoops, according to Lamont's campaign Lieberman is supposed to be a Republican.

Joe Lieberman had to dance in the center and defend himself from the both Lamont and Schlesinger. He did so by evoking the Clinton administration and deftly reminding people that, under Clinton, things were better, much better. We had balanced budgets, fiscal restraints on spending, negotiations with allies and foes. The world was a better place, and that is what he wants to keep working at. In fact, if most Democrats stopped to think about it, they would gladly vote for Joe Lieberman if it meant that the Clinton years of good government were brought back. Clinton's legacy was the very same pragmatism that some wish to expel Joe Lieberman from the Democratic party for. (Remember welfare reform?) But pragmatism is a good thing in politics, as Joe says, it's the way to get things done and get results. And in the end isn't that what marks the measure of a man?

30 Comments:

Anonymous brickbat said...

No, it depends what the "pragmatism" is.

In Joe Lieberman's case it means cheerleading for a war that's a fiasco, and one that's cost the US $200 billion and 130,000 soldiers that both could be used elsewhere.

It means excusing the torture-supporting Alberto Gonzalez for Attorney General.

It means sending the Terry Schiavo case to federal court, for no reason other than politics.

It means sticking your finger in the wind to decide when and whether to vote on the Clarence Thomas nomination.

It means "opposing" the Alito nomination but also opposing the filibuster that was the only real means of blocking him.

Sometimes cutting deals with the powerful isn't "pragmatism", it's "opportunism".

I'm not equating the Bushites with dictators, but it's also "pragmatic" and a way to get "results" when someone cooperates with nazis or commies when they're the ones in power.

The point is: if you're willing to sell out what you supposedly believe for some sort of "result" on something else where do you stop? What's the difference?

10/16/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that Republican Senators John Warner and Chuck Hagel, with war credentials in their youth, have called for change in Iraq in recent days? Has anyone noticed that the Iraq Study Group formed by Republican dominated Congress, with James Baker and Lee Hamilton at the helm as co-chairs and sanctioned by the Bush Administration as well, is signalling somethings got to change in Iraq and they will likely give some recommendations to that effect after the election?

10/16/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that Republican Senators John Warner and Chuck Hagel, with war credentials in their youth, have called for change in Iraq in recent days? Has anyone noticed that the Iraq Study Group formed by Republican dominated Congress, with James Baker and Lee Hamilton at the helm as co-chairs and sanctioned by the Bush Administration as well, is signalling something got to change in Iraq and they will likely give some recommendations to that effect after the election?

10/16/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger bluestater said...

Yeah but...

Lieberman supports the War in Iraq.

10/16/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

"a capable statesman ready to assemble with the DC legislators, Lamont missed like the Yankees lineup against the Tigers"

This was how long it took me to figure out this post was by "Turfgrl".

I couldn't watch the debate myself, but I understand that the questions of torture and habeus corpus, one of which the Capable Statesman Lieberman is for and one of which the CFL CSL is against, didn't even come up.

10/16/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leiberman is further to the right on Irag than Warner, Hagel, Spector, Graham, Coburn.... and even McCain. He's a bullshit artist - always has been and always will be. Amazing that Rowland/Rell hacks, Chris Shays who roomed with Rowland in DC, Jodi Rell and George Gallo, and Rob Simmons back the guy on most days or maybe not so amazing when one understands Republican politicians in CT are all out for themselves and screw the team on most days.

10/16/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Deftly"??? Oh Please. So now he gets credit for Clinton's presidency, some of the major attempted advancements of which he opposed. Mmmm, not so much. LIEberman LOSES, any way you slice this.

J

10/16/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some reason, Lamont thinks that going after Lieberman's attendance on votes is a good idea. Except that Lieberman has a pretty good answer for that one, he was out campaigning as the Democratic nominee for Vice President.

Even a better reason for him missing so many votes, was he was out campaigning for President four years latter.....I'm sure his record is better this year. He is just trying to keep the job he asked us to elect him to do in the first place.

10/16/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

"He did so by evoking the Clinton administration and deftly reminding people that, under Clinton, things were better, much better"

Why didn't he brag about his unflinching support for the Bush administration? Because he's a liar, a coward and a hypocrite? Yes, that's why.

And isn't that the true measure of the man, Turfy?

You start out trying to channel MoDo, and finish by out-purpleprosing Peggy Noonan. Not many could pull that off. And even fewer would want to.

10/16/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turfgirl, thanks for the unbiased analysis. Only problem was that in the debate I watched, Lieberman didn't invoke the Clinton administration.

But don't let facts get in the way of your storyline.

10/16/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Shadow said...

turfgrrl: Are you blind? Lieberman TANKED at this debate. Despite running as the supposed independent in the race, it was abundantly clear to everyone in the audience that Lieberman was the only one of the three who was NOT independent. He was rambling, condescending, establishment, which will hurt him among moderates and the minority of Democrats still supporting him.

Schlesinger, to his credit, did outstanding... except for two AWFUL mistakes (at least in terms of moderate voters). First the way he singled out Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson looked awful; to most average moderate voters watching this who don't keep up with all the partisan scapegoating, picking two black examples sounded like he was singling out black people and not liberals, despite the fact that that was certainly not his intention. The second gaffe was much worse, when he described Iranian President Ahmedinejad of having "DESIGNS on killing everyone in the room", and shook ferociously as he cried the word "DESIIIGGGGGNNNSS!!!", in a far more insane display than anything I have ever seen Ahmadinejad himself do. Furthermore, despite his MANY faults, the President of Iran is not Osama Bin Laden, and Schlesinger's overreaction makes it sound like he can't tell the difference between the puppet figurehead of a theocracy that has no interest in ever going to war with us, and a terrorist determined to Americans who has already had some success.

Having said that, Schlesinger did nothing to hurt himself among Republicans; in fact, aside from the above two exceptions, he came off smart, independent, and conservative, and will definitely poach enough of Republican Lieberman voters to unseat him from the Senate, even completely ignoring Joe's bad performance today.

Lamont in particular did well among moderates and progressives, but Lieberman made it too easy for him, constantly talking about being attacked when he was clearly the aggressive one, while Lamont never said anything attack-oriented unless it was in response to an attack. Then when Ned apologized to Joe about something, Lieberman accepted it and then immediately demanded more apologies, ending the debate talking well past his time on three or four occasions, with no respect for the moderators or the format.

In summary, Lamont just made major headway with independents, and Schlesinger just made major headway with Republicans. This is a political disaster for Lieberman, and if I was a supporter of his, I would be very concerned.

I have to say on another note that this open debate format was great; everyone had some good points and it was interesting to find out just where each candidate agreed and disagreed. They should have enforced equal time a little better, but there's always next time.

10/16/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger CaptCT said...

This debate helped make the choices very clear. Alan and Ned both showed that:
1. Lieberman is part of the problem.
2. Schlesinger represents the Republican way of doing things (unfortunately the Republican way has failed us these past 6 years).
3. Ned represents a vote for change, a new and better direction where big ideas can help solve the problems of heath care, the dependence on foreign oil, and the damage done to our country by the war in Iraq.

10/16/2006 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger ctblogger said...

Turfgrrl+Lynn Fusco+Richard A. Moccia=Republican Lieberman hitwoman.

I (and the entire Norwalk DTC) are still waiting on that full disclosure.

10/16/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Furthermore, despite his MANY faults, the President of Iran is not Osama Bin Laden, and Schlesinger's overreaction makes it sound like he can't tell the difference between the puppet figurehead of a theocracy that has no interest in ever going to war with us, and a terrorist determined to Americans who has already had some success."

State sponsor of terrorists worldwide? CHECK

Building Nukes? CHECK

No interest my behind, he has stated that the West is to be destroyed or taken over.

2006- If you want to have good relations with the Iranian people in the future, you should acknowledge the right and the might of the Iranian people, and you should bow and surrender to the might of the Iranian people. If you do not accept this, the Iranian people will force you to bow and surrender.

10/16/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Shadow said...

Anonymous 5:47 pm: He meant on their right to pursue nuclear technology. For you to characterize the quote as some sort of invasion threat is single digit IQ reasoning. First of all, Iran has no intention of "invading" or "destroying" the US; they don't want to go to war with us, and although their government is clearly full of crap when pretending that their nuclear development is strictly civilian, they only want nuclear weapons as a preventative measure, as recent US foreign policy has shown that countries without nuclear weapons (like Iraq) are in more danger of being invaded that those with nuclear weapons (like North Korea).

Yes, Iran's government are religious extremists, yes they have no business running that government, but those billionaire mullahs have one interest: building and protecting their massive wealth, which requires stability, and initiating an attack on the United States is antithetical to that goal.

And let me repeat for those who missed it the first time: the mullahs are totally in charge of Iran, and Ahmedinejad is a powerless figurehead; at least get your facts straight before you make a threat assessment of the man. The sad thing is I hear this all the time; neo-cons seem opposed to getting their facts straight before making threat assessments about our national security, which is why they are fundamentally incompetent on that issue and should never be entrusted with public office.

10/16/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger turfgrrl said...

ctblogger-- You don't speak for nor have ever spoken for the Norwalk DTC.

10/16/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger turfgrrl said...

anonymous 4:29-- You must have missed it when Lieberman said so during his response re Social Security.

10/16/2006 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger turfgrrl said...

shadow -- I disagree with your assessment that Lieberman tanked, but even more that Schlesinger came off as smart. Entertaining, sure, but his screeching and unfailing support for Social Security privatization may play well in Peoria but not in CT. That being said, I don't think with the entrenchment of voters recorded thus far, that any supporter of any of the 3 candidates will change. If you were a Lamont supporter tuning in, you came away a Lamont supporter. Likewise Lieberman supporters. Schlesinger still isn't taken seriously by his party, which is what is hurting him. Unfortunately the people who might sway based on this debate, may not tune in at all.

10/16/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never bben a Lieberman fan. However I must admit being so uncomfortable with Lamont I was actually considering voting for Lieberman in this election. After todays debate, no way..

10/16/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lamont needs to break free of his handlers. The guy needs to speak from his heart, not the crap that he repeats over and over and over. Arianna Huffington is right. Ned stop using Democratic hacks, do us proud!

10/16/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes, Iran's government are religious extremists, yes they have no business running that government, but those billionaire mullahs have one interest: building and protecting their massive wealth, which requires stability, and initiating an attack on the United States is antithetical to that goal."

Which is it- Are they Billionaires or religious extremists?

They have been sponsoring attacks on western nations for years, wake up!

10/16/2006 09:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The president of Iran is not OBL? My goodness, what is there, some kind of threshold for insane theocratic dictators who want the Western Way destroyed here in the West? Amazing that anyone would deny that the Iranian gov't would not rejoice if NYC or DC or LA were nuked. Probably the same folks who see Hezbollah as a just entity in the Middle East. Please, check in with reality. Otherwise, we will face a future such as that which is consuming Europe. You know, American culture is a great thing, we don't have to hate ourselves and think that everyone else in the world is a victim of US imperialism.

Anyway...

Debate: Alan won, Ned weakly second, Uncle Joe tanked. Ned did not come off as statesman-bound at all ... he looked pretty weak, actually. Alan showed grand emotion behind his clear, well-thought-out ideas .. that's a good thing for any candidate to radiate (as a general behavior). Believe it or not, his Sharpton/Jackson and immigration comments are very much right on among the non-urban voters in Connecticut... I hear about it all of the time in my work across 15 rural towns in the state. It's not racist to want secure borders, protection of American jobs, and to not want to be equated with fools like Jackson and Sharpton who are hypocritical and tailor their words to any given audience. Call it right or wrong, it's your opinion but it's not the opinion in this landscape. Ned's gotta face that reality because it's a top-ranker here. Joe wants to let all of the illegals in the door ... embrace them, I believe he said. You'd be hard pressed to find ANYONE in rural CT who would believe that such a decision is the right one to make. It means job loss in the middle and lower economic strata ... that is simply the truth ... we live it.

Want to win the hearts and minds of Americans? Build a platform that represents the average American and stop with the embrace-the-fringes nonsense. Alan spoke to this group in many, but not all, ways. Ned seemed somewhat intimidated, parroted a lot of the Nancy Pelosi platforms, and Joe was too busy counting the challenges to his supremecy to deal with nonsense like his record past and professions for the future. If Ned really is using DC dem consultants, then that explains it all. God save us from such mediocrity and vote-cultivation-driven decisionmaking.

All in all, a disappointing debate. We so very much want Ned to take this election, but I'm feeling like Arianna and Bill Curry are right ... we're heading for a Ned concession speech.

Dammit.

10/16/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was I the only one who thought that this debate was bad? 50% the time they stopped answering the questions!

10/16/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Turned Red said...

It's obvious at this point that Lamont and his supporters believe the only chance he has of winning is if Schlesinger can siphon enough votes away from Joe. That will be the strategy from now until election day. Forget about broadening appeal for his left wing agenda, Lamont has no real plan to do that. It's pathetic to see such a desperate man with a desperate strategy trying to become a US senator.

10/16/2006 10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Blue Turned Red-
It's "pathetic" that the avowed Republican should get more Republican votes than the self-proclaimed (if utterly phony) "Independent Democrat"? Ned Lamont is running against two Republicans, one of them an opportunistic liar, the other with a gambling and name-recognition problem.

10/16/2006 10:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blue-to-Red (yeah, right)--

It's obvious at this point that Lamont and his supporters believe the only chance he has of winning is if Schlesinger can siphon enough votes away from Joe.

You've got that entirely backwards. Those Republicans were Schlesinger's to begin with. After all, he is the Republican nominee. What you've should have said is the only way Lieberman wins is if he dupes Republicans into voting for him over the real Republican in the race.

After all, Joe is the same guy who bragged throught the Dem primary about how he voted with Dem leadership 90% of the time.

10/16/2006 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Turned Red said...

Between Schlesinger's comments in the debate proclaiming that he is the only "real conservative" in the race, and Lamont's continuous assertion that Lieberman is a "Bush Republican", voters are left to conclude that Joe is the common sense moderate that he proclaims to be.

anon 10:34 - why would Lieberman have to dupe Republicans in to voting for him when all they've heard (from Ned) since June is that Joe is really a Republican masquerading as a Democrat? Remember the commercial showing Joe's face morph into Bush? Well, one unintended outcome of that was to convince every CT Republican that Joe is one of them. Great job Ned! Too bad you didn't see that it would come back to bite you in the ass!

10/16/2006 10:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Shadow said...

> Anonymous: Which is it- Are they Billionaires or religious extremists?

They're both, why would those two things be mutually exclusive?

Listen carefully, the people who control Iran are billionaire religious extremist mullahs, not mouthpiece Beardy Uglinejad. They all support their fellow Shias Hezbollah in their fight against Israel, but they have no ties to Al Qaeda, which is comprised of Sunnis.


> My goodness, what is there, some kind of threshold for insane theocratic
> dictators who want the Western Way destroyed here in the West?

No, there's just a difference in threat assessment by any rational person who doesn't want to see more American civilians killed by terrorists. The President of Iran is a figurehead of a government that wants to protect itself; they may put up their pitbull (Hezbollah) against ours (Israel), but they have no interest in causing attacks on US soil. Al Qaeda, and more importantly, these imitation splinter cells that are spreading like wildfire, should be our focus. They are the ones who will actually use nuclear weapons against us, and if you've been listening to national security experts from all political points of view lately, that's been the unanimously resonant theme.


> Amazing that anyone would deny that the Iranian gov't would not rejoice
> if NYC or DC or LA were nuked.

Oh they'd rejoice, but who are you more afraid of, the guy whose going to shoot you, or the person who's going to rejoice about it? Talk about needing a reality check.

The inability to tell how much greater a threat terrorists are than nation states is a pre-9/11 mentality, and one that was first echoed in our total commitment of resources in Iraq at the expense of anti-terrorism. In these dangerous times for our nation, how much longer are we going to allow people who are too self-righteous to make legitimate differentiations in threat assessment be considered serious candidates for public office?

10/16/2006 10:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Listen carefully, the people who control Iran are billionaire religious extremist mullahs, not mouthpiece Beardy Uglinejad."

There is nothing so sad as those who will not see.

10/17/2006 09:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Shadow said...

Yes, such as people like yourself.

Any idiot who spends five seconds researching the modern Iranian governmental structure knows that The Supreme Leader (currently a mullah named Ayatollah Khameni) and his branch of goverment call all of the shots, and the President's branch is just a powerless feign at democratic reform.

When you elevate Ahmadinejad by acting like HE'S in charge, you are in effect bringing legitimacy to that fraudulent illusion of democratic reform. Shame on you.

10/23/2006 09:09:00 AM  

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