There were crowds of people outside the Garde mostly supporting world peace and anti-war issues. The only surprise was that PETA was not somehow protesting along with the rest of them. No Larouche supporters were visible prior to the debate.
The debate itself was more of the same show that we’ve seen previously except that Schlesinger avoided his more “colorful” commentary and Lamont recycled his primary campaign slipping back and forth between the promise to stand up to the Bush administration and that Lieberman was in the senate too long, repeating the 18 years and we still don’t have universal healthcare. The only interesting aspect of that was when one of the questioners asked Lamont about Dodd’s 25 years in the Senate. Lamont couldn’t finesse his way out of that question, because his whole campaign would fall apart. How can he be against everything that Joe Lieberman is for, if Joe Lieberman is for everything that Chris Dodd is for, not to mention, as Schlesinger gleefully points out, Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy as well.
The Lamont campaign has always had an uneasy relationship dancing with the liberals who propelled him to great heights during the summer, and making the leap into the mainstream democratic party. Every criticism other than Lieberman’s early support for the war represents the same set of issues that every other democrat has struggled with following the 1994 republican majority in congress. Attacking Lieberman for failing to deliver universal healthcare either shows a lack of understanding on Lamont’s part about the role of the Senate, or foreshadows his next run against the next established Democrat whose office he aspires to.
Ned Lamont stood on a stage and proclaimed that he was the candidate to stand against the Bush administration. But his false bravado was apparent when hecklers began their idiotic protest against Lieberman. Lamont spoke once, barely heard above the noise and sat down. It was Schlesinger who leaped into action and demanded that they be stopped, reminding people to respect the office and the candidates.
Lamont supporters were quick to disassociate the campaign from the supporters, but questions remain about which campaign provided the tickets to the hecklers to gain admittance. With the circus usually accompanying the Lamont campaign it was not a leap to conclude that they deserved the blame.
Post debate, Lieberman spoke to reporters about how he would have preferred more debate about the issues, and less repetition of talking points. While he said he was against much of Schelsinger’s proposals re: health care and social security he appreciated the opportunity to talk about and debate them.
And that is perhap’s Connecticut’s greatest loss post debate. The issues that will have more impact on our daily lives were swept aside . The republican majority does believe in health savings accounts over providing basic health care to all citizens. The republican majority does believe that privatizing social security is the only way to deal with the projected aging baby boomers. The republican majority believes that illegal immigration is the greatest threat to homeland security. These are the issues that should have been debated in more depth. Instead we are left to react to empty theatrics.