Hello, this is a letter for all people who are on the ground in Conneticut. What I want is an honest response; no rhetoric, no assumptions, just what you honestly believe. This is not meant to be negative, only as a way for me to get some basic idea of what is happening in Connecticut.

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Dick Cheney, Joe Lieberman, and the Big Hustle (Again)

And Joe Lieberman's big hustle continues.  Watch his press conference from yesterday, a 'major speech on Iraq' which is actually just an attack on Ned Lamont for saying that a vote for Joe means more war.  And on cue, here's Dick Cheney, campaigning for Joe in his own 'you are unpatriotic' name-calling style, signaling to Republicans to vote for Joe Lieberman.

"I think when they (militant groups) see something happen such as happened in Connecticut this year with the Democratic party in effect (having) purged Joe Lieberman, primarily over his support for the president and the war, that says to them that their strategy is working," Cheney said on ABC's "This Week."

Lamont demanded that Joe repudiate Cheney calling Connecticut voters terrorist-sympathizers, and Lieberman's blogger used this episode to once again slander Ned and deny that Lieberman agreed with Cheney.  

And yet, Joe 'I read the polls and I now want to end the war' Lieberman said this on August 10 in the New York Times..

"If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England," Mr. Lieberman said at a campaign event at lunchtime in Waterbury, Conn. "It will strengthen them and they will strike again."

Once again, this is Richard Nixon reborn.  Anyone who doesn't support the war is unAmerican.  I want to bring the troops home.  My opponent's plan will help the terrorists.  I never said my opponent was unpatriotic.  I'm against the war.  I've been very critical of the Bush administration.  Democrats need to realize that they undermine the President's credibility at our nation's peril.  Our troops must stay.

Make no mistake, Dick Cheney is planning to repudiate the antiwar and anti-Bush electorate, no matter the outcome on November 7.  He's said as much.  And Lieberman is saying anything he needs to in order to confuse voters about the war and his opponent.  He's setting himself to be the swing voter in the Senate, and to push his colleagues into a hyperhawkish pro-war position.

Please volunteer for Lamont.  We have to help Connecticut see through the con.  If we don't, no one else will:

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Lieberman, Lamont, and More on the Big Hustle

So it's down to the final weekend; please volunteer if you can, the Lamont people have set up a nice page where you can find lots of fun stuff to do. This matters.  Lamont volunteers are powering the entire Connecticut Democratic Party GOTV operation, including three very competitive House races which Joe decided to throw under the bus.

This is no longer a primary, and we're down to the voters who don't like anyone and don't trust anyone and don't like TV commercials and get all their information from the TV commercials they don't like.  I talked to one young guy today who didn't like the war, but thought both candidates were the same on all the issues.  I mentioned that Lieberman wants regime change in Iran and would probably push for military force over there and he said 'oh well it's so violent over there'.  He didn't know that Lieberman pushed for the original authorization for war, and when told he didn't care.  He knew that Lamont wanted to withdraw troops, but he didn't know if that was a good or a bad idea.  He's going to study both websites before he votes, which will basically mean a coinflip.  He doesn't like Ned's negative campaign, and he doesn't like that Lieberman never says anything.  In fact I have no idea what he cares about, and he probably doesn't either.  

Joe is still acting like a thug, threatening Dodd on Imus and hiring protesters to disrupt Lamont events.  Ho hum.  They are featured in this local news broadcast.

Also, Lieberman got an endorsement from a virulently anti-gay group, and put it on his blog.  Paul Bass has the details at the New Haven Independent; Lieberman got the endorsement because of his opposition to gay marriage and his vote "for a measure proposed by Republican then-Sen. Jesse Helms (Senate Amendment no. 2434 to bill number 1513) to deny federal funding to schools that counsel students, even suicidal gay students, that it's OK to be gay."

Way to go Human Rights Campaign with that Joe endorsement!  Solid!

And here's Chris Dodd getting a quasi-death threat from Joe Lieberman and chuckling.  Oh ha ha ha.

This is really quite pathetic.  Here we have a vindictive extremist sabotaging Dodd's main accomplishment (Bolton) and cozying up to bigots, and Dodd is playing nice and gay rights group Human Rights Campaign has endorsed Joe.  Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Reid is reportedly discussing which Committee Chair Lieberman is going to get. That's not to mention the Democracy 21 or Common Cause, both of which decided to let overt campaign finance lawbreaking by Lieberman go unremarked.

This has been a big hustle.  The DC Democratic establishment, the Republican establishment nationally and in Connecticut, the single-issue groups and the lobbyists are all supporting Joe with huge amounts of money and institutional support.  Meanwhile, Lamont is left alone to point out that Lieberman is misrepresenting his positions on everything from the war to energy to civil rights.

Again, we may win, but it would be a whole lot easier without that knife stuck in our back.  Seeing what's arrayed against us, it's really quite remarkable Ned won the primary.  When a candidate can just call in around $20M, as Joe has done, break laws with impunity, hire protesters to sabotage his opponents' events and harrass his opponent, brag about liberal single issue group endorsements while also getting backed by Bush and right-wing bigots, it's pretty hard to make a run of it.  But Ned is making a run of it.

And this is why there was no debate before the Iraq war.  This country's political elites do not want real debates, and will fight tooth and nail to keep debates from happening.

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The Final Push

Antiwar Joe supporters:

"Yeah, it gives me pause," says Jean Michaud, a member of a local carpenters' union, which has stuck with Lieberman.  "He is for it, but he's against it, too. He wants to bring the troops home. But it's not his fault; it's the top levels of the government."

Why are the polls so stable for Joe, showing him basically in the high forties and Ned in the high thirties?  Why did this country elect and reelect Richard Nixon?  They are pretty much the same character, both incredibly smart and incredibly narcissistic politicians who manipulate the press and make you feel good about the way they are lying to you.  Rick Green at the Hartford Courant and historian Rick Perlstein both point out that Joe is using what is in effect a really, really good hustle.  The war isn't a small issue in Connecticut.  It's a major issue, but in a sense, the reason Joe is able to sustain his lead is because he's successfully neutralized his extremist position on the war.  The Democratic Party refused to get involved, the Republican Party is backing Joe, and the press is accepting the pat narrative that Lieberman is a moderate.  That means punching through the con is incredibly hard; if Bill Clinton and Harry Reid won't say that Joe is hustling people on the war, then why should anyone else?  

Here's the sad reality, from neoconservative Joshua Muravchik:

Prepare to Bomb Iran. Make no mistake, President Bush will need to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities before leaving office. It is all but inconceivable that Iran will accept any peaceful inducements to abandon its drive for the bomb. Its rulers are religio-ideological fanatics who will not trade what they believe is their birthright to great power status for a mess of pottage. Even if things in Iraq get better, a nuclear-armed Iran will negate any progress there. Nothing will embolden terrorists and jihadists more than a nuclear-armed Iran.

The global thunder against Bush when he pulls the trigger will be deafening, and it will have many echoes at home. It will be an injection of steroids for organizations such as

As for vice presidential candidates, how about Condoleezza Rice or even Joe Lieberman? Lieberman says he's still a Democrat. But there is no place for him in that party. Like every one of us, he is a refugee. He's already endured the rigors of running for the White House. In 2008, he deserves another chance--this time with a worthier running mate than Al Gore.

I know it seems crazy, and this is what makes the hustle so good.  Joe Lieberman, if reelected, will push to bomb Iran, possibly with nuclear weapons.  That's why neoconservatives are trying to put him on their slate for VP, because he's one of them (that he's on the board of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is a key sign.

And the courtship with the Republicans isn't over. Joe continues to threaten Chris Dodd (even as Dodd undercuts Ned with talk of Joe's friendship) and promises to vote 'very independent.'

Republicans peeling off checks for Joe Lieberman at Mayor Bloomberg's house Wednesday night were abuzz with the possibility that the Connecticut senator will join their party if reelected Tuesday....

"His Democratic buddies [Sens.] Chris Dodd and Ted Kennedy screwed him," a Republican guest told us. "People are hoping he'll switch parties. He votes with the Republicans a lot. He's one of the last few statesmen."

One Democrat observed, "It could happen. The Republicans could offer him some big carrots, like chairmanship of the Budget Committee. I think he's up for grabs." President Bush praised Lieberman for his pro-Iraq War stance earlier this week.

Joe Lieberman is going to hold a press conference today on Iraq, in which he'll probably outline some plan or statement discussing how the troops need to be brought home.  Meanwhile, he'll work against doing just that while egging on a conflict with Iran.  The political dialogue in the race though will reflect only what journalists reprint in terms of press releases and poll numbers, so the people of Connecticut will have to see through this hustle on their own.  So far, they haven't.  And I'm not just saying this as a partisan.  If you asked regular voters here whether they think bombing Iran is a good idea, they would say no.  If you asked whether they would vote for Lieberman if they knew he would push aggressively for that course of action, they would say no.  But no one is asking these questions.  And if you want to know why I'm so angry at the party, it's because Bill Clinton and Harry Reid and Barack Obama know that this is what Joe will do, and none of them will lift a finger to stop it. None of them will try to stop the deaths that will result, when it's possible to stop this freight train now, in Connecticut, with a few well positioned statements about Joe's extremism.

There are signs that the people are ignoring this craven universe of political cowards and working through the issues on their own.  For instance, voter registration, which is sky-high.

More than 86,000 residents registered to vote between May 1 and Tuesday, the deadline. Of those new voters, 38 percent are Democrats, 15 percent are Republicans and 47 percent are unaffiliated, state officials said.

Democrats have long outnumbered Republicans in Connecticut, but the new voters are even more skewed in their favor. Democrats traditionally make up about 33 percent of the state's voters, while Republicans account for about 22 percent, officials said.

The new registrations bring the total number of voters in Connecticut to 1.9 million, a record for a statewide election in a non-presidential year, officials said.

In addition, the Lamont campaign volunteers are driving GOTV for Democrats all over Connecticut, and there's a general sense that the field operation for Lamont is much better than that for Lieberman.  As to the polls, there's frustration that Ned went silent after the primary, and that was a mistake.  A big mistake.  And the party has been terrible, just awful.  They haven't provided the necessary outside artillery to point out that Joe wants us to continue the war in Iraq and is basically dishonest about his entire record.  At the end of the day, though, I'm not going to be silent while this country meanders towards another war, and I'm not in politics so Democrats can get better parking spots on Capitol Hill.  And neither are you, which is why you're reading this.  

No one knows who's going to turn out.  If the registration numbers are any indication, energy for Democrat is fairly high, and that for Republians is low to middling.  There are other turnout mind-games that I can play, and everyone expects the race to tighten in the last few days as the war continues to rage front and center.  But politics at the end of the day is a gut call.  On August 8th, progressives forced this election to be front and center about Iraq.  That's the only reason Democrats are in a position to take the House and the Senate.  

Will we beat Joe Lieberman?  I don't know.  We didn't beat Nixon, and in many ways, this is the same fight.  I do know that regardless of what happens on November 7th, it's a fight we're ultimately going to win.

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BREAKING: Lieberman Thugs Threaten Lamont, Again

I'm hearing that Lieberman had a bunch of his people cause a near-riot outside of a Lamont event this morning at a senior center.  Apparently, they blocked the door to the Lamont bus, screaming at Lamont with Joe signs and not letting anyone out of the vehicle.

More soon as I get details.  I wonder if these were more 'paid volunteers'.  And by the way, this is exactly what Joe did in the primary.

TRex was there.

They started out at the street, holding signs and chanting, a clot of 25 to 30 thick-necked Young Republican types. Then they moved up the driveway to the Senior Center and blocked the bus. They formed a noisy, chanting mob around the bus door and blocked anyone from getting out. Eventually Ned and some others managed to push out through the crowd, but the noise only increased and the LieberYouth pressed tighter, chanting so that the news cameras and microphones couldn't pick up a word Ned was saying.

It was an ugly and intense little scene. The few seniors who had come outside were rushed back in by the Percival Smith staff. I did manage to ask one bright-eyed little senior lady what she thought of all this, but she just pointed at her temple and twirled her finger in the universal sign for "crazy" and then she was whisked away by a staffer.

So this is what it has come down to, Mr. Lieberman? Sending your thugs out to physically intimidate old people? Nice. Classy.

Update: Even New York Times hack Nick Confessore figured it out, in his own intellectually brain-dead style.

They’re baaaaaaaaaack.

The pro-Joe Lieberman, anti-Ned Lamont protestors that Mr. Lamont’s supporters dubbed the “LieberKidz.”

We last saw them dogging Mr. Lamont during the heated Senate primary, and today they showed up in force at the morning kickoff of Mr. Lamont’s “Stand Up For Change” bus tour, day two, mobbing the parking lot of a Hartford residence for the elderly, and cheering “Vote for Joe” as Mr. Lamont tried to speak with some of the residents.

Mr. Lamont’s staff, somewhat outnumbered by the three dozen or so Lieberman supporters, looked annoyed.

“This is what you can do with $387,000 in petty cash,” fumed Mr. Lamont’s spokeswoman, Liz Dupont-Diehl, referring to the as-yet-unexplained, unusually large petty cash fund Mr. Lieberman maintained during the closing days of the primary.

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