08/10/2006 06:51 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Time Plays (Really) Dumb About Lamont


Did you know Ned Lamont's win in Tuesday's Connecticut Democratic primary has energized "gleeful Republicans" because it will allow them to portray Democrats as anti-war? It's true, I read it in Time. What I didn't read in Time though, was the fact that a clear majority of Americans now label themselves anti-war as well, which might complicate the GOP strategy Time seems so enthralled by. Then again, we've seen this lapdog act before, as the MSM willfully ignore public sentiment in order to cast Republicans as out-maneuvering hapless Democrats

In the wake of the Connecticut primary returns, Time's Mike Allen, with the breathless excitement of the Dartmouth Review staffer, dutifully regurgitates RNC spin about how Lieberman's loss was actually a huge boost for Republicans who are "loving the Lieberman loss." How did Allen know Democrats were suddenly "on the defensive" about Lamont? Because Republican officials--lots of them--said it was so. And really, what more proof do Beltway bubble reporters need?

The spin, which Time typed up as fact, is that Lamont's win over Lieberman, "a sensible, moralistic centrist...a well-liked Senator" (that's Time's description of Tuesday's loser), will allow Republicans to "portray the oppposition [sic] as the party of weakness and isolation on national security and liberal leanings on domestic policy." Time then quotes a GOP memo, as well as quoting RNC chief Ken Mehlman at length about the Lamont win: "It reflects an unfortunate embrace of isolationism, defeatism, and a 'blame America first' attitude by national Democratic leaders."

Okay, that's certainly the GOP game plan. And Time would be wise to include portions in a story analyzing the Lamont win. The problem is, Time makes the GOP-friendly spin the entire story without bothering to inform readers that the spin gets dismantled by the facts on the ground. Namely, that a majority of Americans support Lamont's position on national security and Iraq, and reject the position of Lieberman and the Republicans. Nowhere in the article does Time mention that fact. Or these:

• 62 percent of Americans don't approve of the way Bush is handling the war in Iraq. (ABC/Washington Post.)

• More Americans trust Democrats to do a better job managing the situation in Iraq. (ABC/Washington Post)

• More Americans trust Democrats to do a better job fighting the war on terror. (ABC/Washington Post)

• 59 percent of Americans do not think the war in Iraq was worth fighting. (ABC/Washington Post)

• 57 percent of Americans want to set a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troop from Iraq. (CNN)

• 60 percent of Americans oppose the war in Iraq. (CNN)

Framed another way, the plain fact is public opinion is moving hard and fast against the war in Iraq; a war synonymous with a Republican administration and a war that enjoyed virtual unanimous support among the GOP. Come November, Republicans across the country are going to have answer for that support of the war. On Tuesday, Democrats in Connecticut chose a critic of the war to be their nominee, yet according to Time--and its Republican sources--its' the Democrats who are in a bind because....well, because they chose an anti-war candidate who speaks for a majority of Americans.

That's how far around the bend the MSM have gone; when Democrats are in perfect sync with the electorate, it's Democrats who are on the defensive.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall thinks Time's notion of Lieberman saving the day for Republicans is "a joke" and writes, "If Republicans think the Martyrdom of Joe is going to be their killer issue, let them have at it."

UPDATE II: The Wall Street Journal joins in the silliness with a page one piece today that pivots off the Lamont win. Examining how the deteriorating situation in Iraq "is complicating Washington's management of the conflict," the paper goes into detail about the abvious signs of chaos flaring inside Iraq as well as the growing American disdain for the invasion. But when the paper turns towards the mid-term elections it announces Iraq will pose a problem for both parties.

UPDATE III: (Do you see a trend here?) Slate's Jacob Weisberg expertly types up the Beltway CW, that the Lamont win will mean Democrats won't be taken seriously in the warr on terror. Naturally, Weisberg expertly avoids any mention of the fact that the latest ABC/Washington Post poll shows more Americans now trust Democrats to do a better job fighting the war on terror.

Question: Are pundits taught to ignore polling results that undermine their anti-Democratic CW's, or does it just come natural?