Sunday, August 6, 2006

Lieberman-Lamont: Rock & Roll, Baby!!

A Date with Destiny?

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week showed Lamont leading Lieberman 54% to 41% among Democrats likely to vote Tuesday. Lamont had trailed Lieberman 40% to 55% in the survey released June 8. Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia commented:
A Lamont victory will embolden Democratic candidates elsewhere to become even more stridently antiwar in the fall campaign. A Lamont victory will make the Iraq war the only cutting issue in the midterm elections -- and probably the 2008 presidential campaign as well.
A Lamont victory also would deal a setback to President George W. Bush because Lieberman has been his most prominent crossover Democratic ally on the war issue. And Lamont's victory would accelerate Progressives' growing efforts to cast the Nov. 7 midterm congressional elections as a national referendum on the war, rather than as a patchwork of local races about local issues favored by Republican strategists.

The Lieberman-Lamont contest is a classic intraparty clash with echoes of the titanic 1968 Democratic primary. Hubert Horatio Humphrey was wrapped in the cloak of Democratic entitlement and liberal orthodoxy. But his dirty underwear represented the epitome of fawning obsequious, and sycophantic servility to LBJ's Vietnam war. Humphrey then, as with Lieberman today, represented the cork in the bottleneck of democracy which prevented our form of government from rescuing our nation from further self-mutilation.

By my reckoning, we are now crossing the same cusp or tipping point we crossed when Robert Kennedy won the California primary in 1968. All the arguments pro and con the war have been settled and the national consensus - as we circle our wagons in Baghdad - is that the un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI) has been an unmitigable bust.

Not that some bitter-enders (Rumsfeld's misapplied term) don't want to engage in mitigation, damage control and historical alibis. You can identify them because they all want to blame Rumsfeld.

Blaming Rumsfeld for Iraq is as lame as blaming Vietnam on McNamara. Secretaries of Defense are what the word says they are: Secretaries. Secretaries are not responsible to us. They're responsible to their boss the POTUS, the CIC, the guy who sits at the desk where Harry Truman had his plaque that said the "Buck Stops Here". (Admittedly, a long time ago.)

The demand for Rumsfeld's head represents the last desperate bastion of scoundrels seeking to cover their complicit asses from the unmistakably deepest debacle in American foreign policy in history. These scoundrels range all the way from Hillary Clinton to David Brooks. They are also identifiable as the people who are whispering the old Vietnam War refrain,
'Send more troops.
Send more troops!'
That's why getting Momentum Joe's head on the platter is more important than Rumsfeld's. And more appropriate because Joe's scalp represents all of the compliant enablers of Bush and Cheney's UULUIUOI. If Joe gets buried in this Connecticut Primary, the war party and its fellow travelers will be served a notice written on the wall. They're all going to be wondering, 'Who's next'?

Lieberman-Lamont is comparable to the moment Robert Kennedy gave us by winning the California Primary. This is the moment when our once great country most needs to rock. And to roll out a robust opposition to the disaster that is the Bush Presidency. And to offer a party and candidates capable of blowing the cork out of the bottle neck of obfuscations and stagnation.

In 1968 the voters of California responded to their challenge and offered an electable nominee to demobilize their generation's unnecessary and unwinnable war. Next Tuesday, Democrats in Connecticut have a comparable date with destiny.


  1. Vigil,

    Mmmmm, pure caviar is what you laid out on front of me and, I certainly keep licking my lips in antisippation for more goodies dropping from election tables. You are absolutely right that this cork in the bottle neck of democracy has to be popped out especially when it is musty and spoiled and even if the vine has turned into vinegar.

  2. Pekka, let's hope it's just the wine that's lost its flavor and that the vine itself can be healed and restored.

    Speaking of vinegar, HHH was once the liberal hero. What became of him is the subject of Tom Lehrer's song "Whatever Became of Hubert?"

    "Whatever became of Hubert?
    Has anyone heard a thing?
    Once he shone alone,
    now he sits home alone
    and waits for the phone to ring.
    Once a fiery liberal spirit, ah,
    but now when he speaks he must clear it. ...

    I forget the rest.....

  3. Tom Lehrer is a riot. I found the song for you, messenger:

    Whatever became of Hubert?
    Has anyone heard a thing?
    Once he shone on his own,
    Now he sits home alone,
    And waits for the phone to ring.

    Once a fiery liberal spirit,
    Ah, but now when he speaks he must clear it.
    Second fiddle's a hard part, I know,
    When they don't even give you a bow.

    "We must protest his treatment," Hubert,
    Says each newspaper reader.
    As someone remarked to Schubert,
    "Take us to your Lieder."

    (Sorry about that)

    Whatever became of Hubert?
    We miss you, so tell us please.
    Are you sad? Are you cross? Are you gathering moss
    While you wait for the boss to sneeze?

    Does Lyndon, recalling when he was VP,
    Say, "I'll do unto you like they did unto me?"
    Do you dream about staging a coup?
    Hubert, what happened to you?

  4. Messenger,

    I am convinced that the wine can be restored by moving it from the present sources of hot air.


    Why don't officials of the Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, Army and Navy etc. hire you to do information mining for them? I bet you'd find Osama Benladin in less than a week and, with a bit of a luck, even Amelia Earhart wouldn't be mission impossible to you. :)

  5. Great Stella!

    But can you tell us who will write Lieberman's lament and how it will go?

  6. If Lamont wins, I hope he becomes the scourge of K Street.

    Is the light finally beginning to peek through the foul and dank Republicon miasma that has enveloped the country? I hope so. I really, really hope so.

  7. Thanks to Al122, I can offer you Jonathan Tasini to reinforce my points made above:

    ...and Sen. Clinton is trying to obscure her record by shifting the focus to Rumsfeld. Most people want a timetable for withdrawal. She does not and has repeatedly voted for prolonging the war, and the many deaths the war continues to cause. All the verbal acrobatics about Rumsfeld's failures should not obscure the fact that Sen. Clinton has been wrong on the war all along, especially in her undermining of fellow Democrats who want to reverse course. She remains wrong today...

  8. ". . . as we circle our wagons in Baghdad. . ."

    All we lack right now is a general named Custer.

  9. Brigadeer General any good?

    "Army Col. John M. Custer III has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. "

    Rumsfeld's really going for that "Ye Olde" style.

  10. Excellent Cal! As to Joe L. he made his bed. I am nervous about Lamont but JL has to pay. Great lyrics guys :-)

  11. Tom Leher is an amazing satirical talent. A Harvard educated mathematician, Leher found his calling as a pianist, singer and songwriter.

    HIs greatest fame came as part of a weekly television series called "That Was The Week That Was," often referred to be fans as TW3.

    TW3 was truly ahead of it's time. It was a scathing liberal precursor of John Stewart and The Colbert Report. And they did it on a network (NBC, I believe)!

    To put "Whatever Bacame of Hubert" in context, it was more of a lament of the postion on Vice President. Historically, the VP has been largely a ceremonial postion, with no real power or access to the President.

    I'm certain many here wish that Dick Cheney had found himself locked in the same broom closet that Humphrey had occupied.

    In this sense Vigilante's points comparing Lieberman with Humphrey fall apart. Hubert Humphrey held back his true opinions and feelings on Viet Nam, in deference to his boss, President Johnson.

    Lieberman, in contrast, is holding nothing back. He stands behind his position with reason, eloquence and courage. Today he is facing defeat with honor.

    Contrast that with his opponent, Lamont, who is bright enough to read the tea leaves and poll numbers and get on the "anti-war" bandwagon just to get elected.

    Lieberman may be dead wrong on the war, but he is still the better man.

    I wouldn't trade you a single Lieberman for a hundred Lamonts (or Humphrey's either).

    BTW, [shamelss plug alert], we play ALL the music of Tom Leher on WiZARD RADIO, a FREEFORM extreme variety Internet Radio Station, playing everything from classic rock to classical music [/end shameless plug].

    the Wizard......

  12. A happy thought about Lieberman's probably defeat from The Nation on 08/08/06:

    "If anti-Iraq War challenger Ned Lamont defeats pro-war incumbent Joe Lieberman in today's contest for the Democratic Senate nod in Connecticut, and if Democrats in Washington finally figure our that no message energizes their base so much as the "Bring the Troops Home" signal that Lamont has sent, then the 2006 election could yet be the referendum on George W. Bush's misguided policies that Democrats denied voters in 2002 and 2004.
    "The prospect that the Connecticut primary could be about more than one state's Senate nomination is what will make tonight a rare moment in American politics. It has been a long time since a Democratic Senate primary shifted the direction of national politics. If this one does, and if it pushes the party in the direction of the anti-war position embraced by most Americans at this point, then this will be a historic day – the day when, after far too long, our politics again became meaningful."

    Indeed, messenger, let us hope. BTW, I located "Lieberman Bites the Dust". Nice parody.

  13. It's not that Wizard out nuanced me on Tom Lehrer; he's just walking on my musical illiteracy.

    But when Wiz says:

    "In this sense Vigilante's points comparing Lieberman with Humphrey fall apart. Hubert Humphrey held back his true opinions and feelings on Viet Nam, in deference to his boss, President Johnson.

    Lieberman, in contrast, is holding nothing back. He stands behind his position with reason, eloquence and courage. Today he is facing defeat with honor.

    My comparison does not fall apart, though the Wizard has picked off a technical flaw. Everyone suspected Humphrey knew better and earlier than LBJ that the Vietnam was a quagmire, but I don't ever remember him actually admitting to it. So that, there's that difference, I guess. But Lieberman is Republican on the war, which is just another way to say he's wrong. Humphrey, by sucking up to LBJ and his debacle was the historical equivalent of all of the current GOP-ers who currently cling-on to GWB's stay-the-course program on Iraquagmire.

    Humphrey and Lieberman have tragic biographies as Democrats; both were caught on the wrong side of two different but comparably pivotal fulcrums of history.

    If Lamont (or, for that matter, John Doe or Joe Smoe) is an opportunist "bright enough to read the tea leaves", I'll take him in a heartbeat. If the Wizard possesses the wizardry to pull off trades like he poses, I accept and I'll be on Ebay tonight, looking him up.

  14. Hey Vigil...This has nothing to do with the topic at hand but I have to know: How do you put those red boxes around parts of your text. I want to do that! Thanks :-) :-)

  15. I listened to both Connecticut speeches and I gotta say that it's a clear choice. Night and Day.

    Lieberman's candidacy is all about entitlement, all about resume, all about six more years. It's all about his right to keep his Senate seat.

    It's depressing and disappointing to learn he's going to scuttle the state Democratic party by running as a wild cat. But it's not surprising, based upon what he's said about doing it, and based upon his warmongering behavior for the last four years.

    The real surprise is what a great speaker Lamont is! He's the underdog, because the Republican loyalists will be repaying loyality, supporting their man Joe.

  16. Lieberman is going to run on plank he has cobbled together that sounds something like 'bipartisan centrism'. Paul Krugman says Centrism Is for Suckers and that the argument against Lieberman is the same argument against Republican Chris Shays:

    . . . . compare this with the behavior of advocacy groups like the Sierra Club, the environmental organization, and Naral, the abortion-rights group, both of which have endorsed Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island, for re-election. . . .

    “We choose people, not parties.”

    But while this principle might once have made sense, it’s just naïve today. Given both the radicalism of the majority party’s leadership and the ruthlessness with which it exercises its control of the Senate, Mr. Chafee’s personal environmentalism is nearly irrelevant when it comes to actual policy outcomes; the only thing that really matters for the issues the Sierra Club cares about is the “R” after his name.

    Put it this way: If the Democrats gain only five rather than six Senate seats this November, Senator James Inhofe, who says that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” will remain in his current position as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. And if that happens, the Sierra Club may well bear some of the responsibility.

    . . . . The point is that those who cling to the belief that politics can be conducted in terms of people rather than parties — a group that also includes would-be centrist Democrats like Joe Lieberman and many members of the punditocracy — are kidding themselves.

    . . . . And those who refuse to recognize this reality end up being useful idiots for those, like President Bush, who have been consistently ruthless in their partisanship.

  17. Congratulations to Vigilante and all the bloggers who turned the Ned Lamont challenge of Joe Lieberman into a national referendum on George Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

    You won and Bush clearly lost (big time). I have great faith in democracy and the will of the voters. In tonight's election I believe the voters of Vermont (at least the registered Democrats) have spoken clearly and I bow to their wisdom.

    the Wizard.......

  18. "Vermont"?

    Did I miss another memo?

  19. WHOA!!!! Connecticut!!!!

    I can't believe I said Vermont..... That's what I get for posting in the middle of the night while watching Larry King Live.....

    My congratulations still stands. The blogosphere finally has the victory they've sought since Howard Dean imploded.

    the Wizard........

  20. Before we start chilling the champagne in preparation for the November elections it is important to remember that Jumpin' Joe will probably win in a three way race.......

    You can all call me the party pooper if you wish :-) :-)

  21. You're not pooping my party, Mick, and I am drinking champaign. What happens in Connecticut in November (Let's work and hope for the best!) is less important than what happened yesterday: Conn voters put the war issue on the front burner nationally, established that momentum was with Progressivism, and served that notice on the Clintonistas.

    Now let the national campaign begin.

  22. It's good to know that fkap, even though he's a wizard, is still human!

  23. Nice comments, everyone! I really enjoy y'all stopping by!

  24. Jonah Goldberg: The Last Hawkish Democrat Leaves the Building issues a warning:

    Today, the Democratic Party is, simply, a McGovernite party. That is where the passion and the money are. But, nedrenaline addicts beware: That is not necessarily where the voters are. . . .

    . . . . Lamont, a multimillionaire limousine liberal, represents the modern McGovernite rank-and-file of the Democratic Party. His most ardent supporters are more likely to carry a laptop than a lunch bucket, and they are still inclined to blame America first. . . .

  25. Em, I don't see why you post Republican advice to Democrats. Especially Jonah, who has made a not very distinguished career out of cheap, snarky, sniping attacks on leading progressives. Take for example his shot at Clinton (I followed your link):

    For many liberals, when white Christian politicians talk about God, it's scary. . . . President Clinton came the closest, but liberals could overlook it because they suspected that he really didn't mean it.

    That's a totally baseless gibe. And when it comes to professions and confessions of faith, no one tops the scale in hypocrisy more than the bible-thumping Republicans.

    Goldberg is so full of CRAP! So obvious when he says Lamont's "ardent supporters are ... still inclined to blame America first."

    CRAP: No one I knows blames America first. Everyone I know blames BUSH! First. Last. and Forever. The worse president in history.