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?