Friday, January 05, 2007

A Connecticut Blogger in King Joe's Court

CGG contributed to the creation of this post. All pictures were taken by CGG, except for the Party Shot which was taken by Chris Bowers.

CGG and I spent yesterday in DC enjoying the pageantry of the celebrations surrounding the incoming 110th Congress (which CGG will post on extensively later). We were sitting in the Union Pub at the Connecticut Democratic Delegation's Welcome Party for their new members when we were informed that we were just across the street from Senator Lieberman's party. What's an intrepid Connecticut blogger to do? Crash, of course (especially since we had seen every Connecticut Democrat at the party, but didn't see anyone elected on the Connecticut for Lieberman line)!

So we walked across the street to Union Station and thought that we could walk right in if we looked confident. No dice, the doormen informed us that we would have to check in to enter. Anticipating the need to perform a song and dance about why we were not on the list, I launched into a story about why we had not RSVP'd only to be cut off about two words in by a "we don't care who you are" look and the handwriting of our names on name tags. We were in.

Upon entering, there was a sign welcoming us to the Stuck with Joe Sticking with Joe Victory Celebration honoring supporters of the Senator for sticking with Joe, followed by a list of corporate sponsors (Aetna was the only one I saw) and what I can only assume was either nuclear secrets or damaging photographs - I suggested that CGG take a picture of the sign so people would believe that we actually got inside, when an aide, overhearing me, whisked the sign away! So here is our picture - use your imagination to see the sign:

With the sign gone we felt silly standing by the empty stand, so we went in search of someone we knew to talk to and immediately happened upon Dan Gerstein. After introducing ourselves (I had spoken with him in the past but only via phone), Dan gave us a nice compliment regarding Connecticut Local Politics (but managed to also take some shots at Connecticut's other blogs - not everyone who disagrees with you is crazy), gave me some helpful tips on how to snag a future debate for the Law School, and just generally proved that, when no one is paying him to do otherwise, he can be a really nice guy.

He even consented to having a picture taken (bookmark this if you anticipate being in a scavenger hunt where one of the items is a picture of Dan Gerstein and a blogger smiling together - this is probably one of a kind):

If you look really closely over our shoulders you can see a sunrise sunset.

Finally, we had to go in search of the Senator. We found him, surrounded by well wishers and waited our turn to say hi. While we were waiting, we witnessed the following exchange:

Town DTC Chair: Hi Senator, I'm Town DTC Chair from Town and -

Joe Lieberman: [sour look] We got killed in Town. All is forgiven.

DTC: [semi-sarcastically] I forgive you too, Senator.

The sight of Senator Lieberman forgiving a town chair for working to elect the Democratic nominee (you know, doing his job) warmed my heart, so I was glad to see the town chair give it back to him a little and "forgive" him for running as a petitioning candidate.

We also witnessed the Senator visibly recognizing CGG, motioning an aide over, and the aide trying to stay between us and the handshakes. While the aide was a lovely dance partner (call me!), after a few persistent minutes of the handshake soft-shoe, I was finally face to face with the Senator.

I greeted him with "Hi Senator, my name is Gabe and I am with the Law School Democrats. I just wanted to let you know that, while we don't agree on everything, I really appreciate your decision to continue to caucus with the Democrats." The moment the words "Law School Democrats" was out of my mouth (or was it the word "Gabe"?), he gave me a withering look and turned his back to me to greet other well wishers (we hosted an event for a certain Mr. Lamont of Greenwich), pausing only to turn back around for more dagger looks when I said that I didn't agree with him on everything.

Deciding to go for broke, I reminded him of the letter that the Law School sent him inviting him to speak, and asked him if we could host him next semester. Half smirk solidly in place he shook his head no, turned his back again and maneuvered an aide between us. Senator Lieberman (D ID PCotCfLl - CT), gracious in victory.

With no one else to talk to and 15 minutes late to the netroots celebration, CGG and I took that opportunity to leave for more welcoming environs:

When we walked in, we were greeted by Lamont Internet Guru Tim Tagris who let us know that he had already had a call asking him if he was one of the bloggers who crashed the Lieberman Celebration!

Update: Sorry about the formatting, but it should be fixed!

Update II: Here is a scanned invitation to the event. The sign mentioned above was substantially similar - The only differences that I remember from my brief glimpse before it was hermetically sealed away in an undisclosed location are that the sign had the corporate sponsors listed one on top of the other and that there were more sponsors on the sign.

Update III: tparty over at MLN points out the lobbying/sponsorship connection.


meteskyjr said...

That's a pretty good summation of the status bloggers enjoy in the real world.

disgruntled_republican said...

Great story. Too bad Mr. Lieberman is still a stubborn shrill. And don't feel bad Gabe - it was esentially my party who elected him and he doesn't even have the decency to recognize us. I think we got dissed worse than you. So glad I voted for Schlesinger.

Anonymous said...

Congressma Courtney live on CSPAN now

cgg said...

Not so. We were greeted warmly at every other party, or event by every elected official,staffer, or supporter we met. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how many people on the Hill read CTLP.

I'd also point out that Dan Gerstein and Tammy Sun were courteous, and Gerstein was happy to let us take his picture for the site.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's a pretty good summation of the status human beings enjoy with Joe Lieberman.

Anonymous said...

What gall. You are unvited to his event. You backed a loser. And you want Smokin' Joe to be gracious and accept your invitation to speak before your group? Get real.

Genghis Conn said...

So glad I voted for Schlesinger.

Me, too. This experience seems to have made Sen. Lieberman even more arrogant. Not good.

bluecoat said...

disgruntled: Your party should live to regret electing Lieberman. In my town the RTC Chair basically backed him and the RTC cheered at their HQ on election night when Joe won. And, of course, Shays backed him too. Dummies and defeatists that wonder why the Republican Party has become irrelevant in Ct and the town!!!.

Anonymous said...

any pic galleries of the inaugarations in hartford/parade/ball?

Maura said...

Great post, Gabe and CGG.

I wouldn't have had the stomach to do this, but it's interesting to have a sense of the flavor of the occasion.

It's perfectly fitting that the event was bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists, just like Joe Lieberman himself at this point.

Maura said...

I'd love to hear more about the CT Democratic Delegation party!!! We haven't had this kind of happy news in a long time, so more of the home team and less of the Joe team would be fun to read, too. :-)

CC said...

Maura: FYI, "corporate lobbyists" also bought and paid for the coronation party held in honor of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

cgg said...

I'm working up a post on the other events right now Maura.

Anonymous said...

Well it really doesn't suprise me that Joe is not thrilled with bloggers. I just heard you on Colin's show, well. Let's see you expect him to act all nice and forgiving to people who slamed him during the election (of course that's election politics and is expected) and are still slaming him after he was elected. I'm not sure if this blog has done it, but I still see blogs that call him LIEberman and say here he goes again. Makes me wonder who really is over who. Tell me, are we going to have six years of this and if it was you getting slamed all the time, would you feel that forgiving?

MikeCT said...


Thanks for the most interesting and entertaining DC vignette in recent memory! I don't know why, but I'm still amazed at just how arrogant, fearful and stupid Lieberman can be.

Arrogant: self-evident
Fearful: Why is a U.S. senator so afraid of running into people he might disagree with that he has to have staff intervene to keep them away? He's afraid of a law student, for God's sake!
Stupid: When asked if they can come to speak to a local group, any other pol with a brain would smile and say "Talk to my staff and we'll see what we can do." (Then the staff person could say "no" eventually.) Joe says "no" immediately and turns his back on you. Is he intent on alienating people?

On the issue of his corporate event sponsors - they've been good to him, and I'm sure he'll be good to them. Three of them are among his top contributors: United Technologies ($137,650), Aetna ($75,950), St Paul Travelers ($43,319). No wonder Joe is so hostile to universal health care coverage or anything that encroaches on insurance industry profits.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, another sponsor, is an industry organization that is planning a "multiyear advertising campaign to build public support for a generation of new plants." The ad campaign is run by PR firm Hill and Knowlton, employer of .... Hadassah Lieberman. Hmmm. That's Joe "Environment Committee" Lieberman for ya.

cgg said...

I don't think CTLP has ever referred to Lieberman as LIEberman, but I could be wrong.

Also, I can't speak for Gabe but we didn't expect anything from Joe. I figured that we wouldn't even be allowed in

Mostly I was surprised that Lieberman recognized me and had an aid attempt to keep us from approaching him. I'm only 5'2, not much of a threat. I didn't even plan to talk to him. I only would have taken a picture of him and Gabe, had he obliged a request.

MikeCT said...

Spazeboy has Colin's interview with Gabe. Here's the mp3.

Gabe said...

Anon - I've disagreed with Joe on just about everything over the last 12 months, but I'd be interested in seeing where you thought I was being disrespectful in any of that time.

Did I slam him when I said this:

"Hi Senator, my name is Gabe and I am with the Law School Democrats. I just wanted to let you know that, while we don't agree on everything, I really appreciate your decision to continue to caucus with the Democrats."?

Wow, Zing, I'm surprised he didn't cry.

Nirmal said...

LOL!!!! Great reporting.

Anonymous said...

Smoking Joe is in trouble. When he went AWOL it looked like the Dems had no chance. Unfortunatly for Joe, the Dems cleaned up. Now Joe has a problem. The Dems do not need him and will treat him like the traitor he is.

Anonymous said...

Joe has a problem. He played it cute by switching to the GOP to get re elected thinking he could hide and become a semi Repub. The plan went sour when the Dems swept big in the last election. So what is he now? Who needs him?

Anonymous said...

I don't think Joe has a problem and the Dems do need him. Their majority is not that big and as stated by Reid that on many things they are going to need a 60 count vote. So without Joe on somethings your are looking at a 59 not go on it. Unless you think they will get 10 Republicians to vote, but I think they will ask Joe first, since he said he will go with the Dems caucus and it might be easier then crossing the aisle.

Christopher said...

I apoligize, I wasn't trying to say you were disrespectful of him. I tried to communcate that with the line, not knowing this blog, but I have seen on other blogs. I guess I was trying to communicate how people don't like bloggers on all sides, but I guess I failed at that. I didn't say, I believe that I thought Joe's reaction wasn't correct either.

Gabe said...

Christopher - thanks for responding.

One thing about politicians reactions to bloggers, as CGG mentioned above, I was surprised by the positive reaction we got from everyone (else) that we met on the Hill and frankly shocked by how many people (elected officials and staffers) claimed to read the blog. So, some people do like bloggers!