07/17/2006 11:26 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

On the Ground With Lamont/Lieberman (21 Days and Counting)

Outsourcing Smear:  Rep. John Larson convened a secret meeting on Saturday attended by CT-AFL/CIO's John Olsen (not-so-affectionately known locally as "Jimmy Olsen, Cub Labor Leader" for his diminutive stature) to go really, really sleazy and desperate on Ned Lamont.  Lieberman has evidently tapped local Democrats to come together on behalf of his "Kiss My Ring" party so the smear won't look like it's coming from him.  Spazeboy does an elegant, effortless deconstruction of the lies in Lieberman's latest Bush imitation ads (which look like they were lifted from CTBob"s YouTube, above).  As the Hotline Blogometer asks, "Are negative ads really what Lieberman needs right now? Aren't voters looking for a reason to come back to Lieberman?"

Don't They Know He Marched in '63:  Ned Lamont was greeted with warmth and enthusiasm when he spoke last week at an African-American church, and Maxine Waters is coming to town to campaign for him. Joe tried to compete by visiting the Mt. Aery Baptist Church last night with a huge entourage and a cameraman.  "He was told he could worship with the congregation, but not speak, and the camera could not come in," according to a member of the church. 

Maybe they're still stinging from this Lieberman quote, from the floor of the US Senate in 1995:

Affirmative action is dividing us in ways its creators could never have intended because most Americans who do support equal opportunity and are not biased and don't think it is fair to discriminate against some Americans as a way to make up for historic discrimination against other Americans.

I'm sure Lieberman would rather they remember this quote, from a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus in 2000:

I have supported affirmative action, I do support affirmative action, and I will support affirmative action because history and current reality make it necessary.

Why African Americans are not lining up to touch the hem of Joe's robes is beyond me .

BREAKING --  Hell Freezes Over: Yes, I'll say it -- oh the pain, make it stop!! -- Robert Novak has a very good column up on Joey Earmarks.  In his debate against Lamont, Joe was very proud of all the pork he's brought home for Connecticut.  It was one of Ned's best moments. 

Says Novak:

Lieberman's exasperation peaked when Lamont called the 6,241 earmarks in last year's transportation program "wrong" and suggested the senator was "part of the problem." While praising "good" earmarks for Connecticut, Lieberman added: "Of course, we were all against the bridge to nowhere." In fact, Lieberman last Oct. 20 voted against Republican Sen. Tom Coburn's amendment to defund the infamous Alaska bridge.


The choice for Connecticut Democrats is no less clear on government spending than it is about intervention in Iraq. The issue was put more succinctly than is usual for politicians near the end of the July 7 debate. Asserting that spending should be authorized through the regular congressional process, Lamont confronted Lieberman: "You support the earmarks, you work with the lobbyists, and that's what needs to be changed." Lieberman replied: "The earmarks are great for Connecticut."

Novak does not, however, bring up one very salient fact -- despite the reach across the aisle he is so proud of giving to Republicans, Lieberman has been piss-poor in bringing home dollars to the state.  Connecticut rates 49th out of 50 for Federal spending received per dollar of taxes paid by state.  He's gotten  plenty personally for his willingness to kiss up to the GOP, but relatively little for his constituents.  I keep expecting this to turn up on Porkbusters, but alas, to no avail. 

.   The Connecticut Problem:   Colin McEnroe rebuts the NYT"s shallow assertion that poor, frail old Holy Joe is simply a victim of a blogger conspiracy:

One could easly add his long-running alliance with Bill Bennett to curtail the protections of the First Amendment (and his bizarro trumpeting of decency during appearances on the vulgarity-laced "Imus in the Morning" show), his stance on Terri Schiavo, his speech denouncing Bill Clinton coupled with his deafening silence on John Rowland, his praising of President Bush's Israel policies and hammering of John Kerry on same after John Kerry became the party's 2004 nominee, and most recently and quite ruinously, his flip take on Plan B emergency contraception for rape victims: "in Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital."

I live in Connecticut. I report here and talk to politicians here. Let me assure the New York Times that this sentiment has been building for years. What was always sad was the timidity and fatalism of more mainstream polticians who would speak quietly about the desirability of challenging Lieberman and then -- like mice who want to hang a bell around the neck of the housecat -- admit they could not imagine pulling off such a thing.

Let's Talk About It:  Ned Lamont would love to debate Lieberman over the war, but Joe says no. Small wonder. How long will he be able to refuse if locals keep calling for it?

.  Taking Heat:  Meanwhile, Barbara Boxer's decision to come to Connecticut and rubber stamp Lieberman's phony progressive credentials is bringing down the ire of her constituents.  It's an odd decision, particularly when so many seats are up for grabs this fall -- wouldn't that time be better spent in, say, Montana, stumping for Jon Tester instead?  Why campaign for someone who has announced their intention to disrespect Democratic voters on August 9th if their decision doesn't suit his views and leave the party?  Maybe she'll get her hands on Joe Biden's train schedule.

Jane Hamsher blogs about the Lamont/Lieberman race daily at