Edwards was an opportunistic fair weather 'friend' of Lamont

This a response to an Obama hit piece titled "Did Obama Cheer For Lieberman?" by poster "Team Edwards", which paints a one-sided version of the events in the CT-Sen race last year. That diary is presently on the Recommended list.

I brought to the poster's attention Tim Tagaris' account: CT-Sen: So You Wanna Know What Really Happened?, by ttagaris, Tue Nov 14, 2006

Tim was the internet coordinator for the Lamont campaign, and his diary provided an inside look into the campaign.

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Ah!!! A Lamont-Style Purge!!

I'll just follow up on my earlier post on Chuck Hagel's right-wing primary challenge by pointing you to a bunch of quotes assembled by Ned Lamont blogger tparty on how the establishment reacted to Lieberman.  Just Google 'Lieberman purge' and you'll find 201,000 entries.  Googling 'Lieberman purge Stalinist' alone brings up 33,400 entries.

I happen like this one, by Al From. titled 'The Return of Liberal Fundamentalism'.  Or this one, from the Bull Moose Blog.

It is not the goal of the left to prevail, but rather to purify. That is what the Lieberman Purge Attempt is all about. Actually, this is very much an ideological movement that is driven by a neo-isolationist, MoveOn.org, Pat Buchanan-lite imperative to rid the Democratic Party of the centrist hawks.

If you want a fun little research project, do some searching and reread some of the coverage of Lamont's challenge.  It's pretty easy to find quotes talking about the left's Stalinist purge of Lieberman.  

The point is simple - if the establishment went crazy over the use of a democratic primary campaign against Lieberman, with us being called 'Hezbocrats', then a genuinely centrist establishment would be equally panicky about a challenge from the right against a Republican like Hagel.

But right now, the establishment is silent.  Remember, it wasn't just the DLC speaking out over Lamont.  Dick Cheney, George Bush, and William F. Buckley were consistent advocates of Lieberman.  They helped keep the notion of liberal extremism into the pundit class.  

Liberals should do the same thing, and point out that the Republicans are split on Iraq between extremists and moderates like Chuck Hagel.  I mean, there's a primary going on for the soul of the Republican Party, just like there was last cycle in Connecticut in 2006.  

Chris Matthews, David Broder, Chuck Schumer, and Rahm Emanuel ought to be pointing this out.  That they aren't speaks volumes.

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Ned Lamont Liveblog at My Left Nutmeg

Update: Thanks to everyone who stopped by... it was a great conversation. Here's the full post.

Please feel free to join us!

Last week, the Stamford Advocate editorial page praised Ned Lamont for his continued engagement and political activism since the election.  Ned has stayed incredibly busy with a teaching gig at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, numerous appearances in support of Democratic candidates and local DTC's, speaking engagements around the country, and efforts to support more progressive legislation at the state level and progressive challengers to Republicans in the Senate.

Hope you can grab a sandwich to eat at your desk and enjoy a great lunchtime conversation with our favorite courageous Connecticut Democrat here at MLN at 12:30 PM on Friday, June 1.  We can discuss Ned's thoughts on the recent Iraq-related votes in Congress, recent Congressional trips to Iraq, and other timely topics of interest....

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Lieberman's Republican Support

During the final weeks of the primary campaign, Lieberman was fond of attacking Lamont for his "out of state donors," despite waves of evidence compiled by MyDD and other sources that he was collecting out of state donations hand over fist. He was also often defensive, claiming that he was not George Bush. However, unsurprisingly, like everything else Lieberman says, that turns out to be basically untrue as well. From the Hartford Courant:
In the general election, in which Lieberman ran as an "independent Democrat," his take from Republicans soared 80 percent. He collected more money from Republicans than from Democrats. And of major donors - giving $200 and more - Republicans exceeded Democrats.

Officially, the White House stayed out of Lieberman's 2006 race, and Lieberman, who today caucuses with Senate Democrats, did not actively seek its support. But the signs from the White House were unmistakable.

"A lot of people would call and ask, `What's our position?"' Charles R. Black Jr. said last week. The former Bush adviser, who remains close to the president, said, "And I'd say, `There's no official position, but if I were you, I'd help Joe Lieberman.'"

There were other signals. On primary day, White House political guru Karl Rove called the senator. "He's a personal friend," Rove said later. "I called him. It was a personal call."

That call, leaked to media organizations at the time, "sent a message to Republicans across the country to embrace this guy. When Karl Rove calls, most Republicans ask how high they should jump," veteran GOP strategist Scott Reed said last week.

Throughout the campaign, the White House and Republican Party sent other veiled, and less veiled, messages. Vice President Dick Cheney, for instance, would mention at rallies how the Democratic Party had moved away from Lieberman. Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, campaigned with Lieberman two weeks before the election. Melvin Sembler, a former Bush administration ambassador to Italy and former GOP finance chairman, held a fundraiser at his Florida home.(...)

Other Republican donors included brewery chairman Peter Coors, former New York Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, Wall Street financier Henry Kravis, real estate magnates Trammell and Harlan Crow, and John C. Whitehead, a deputy secretary of state in the Reagan administration.

After Lieberman's victory, exit polls found he received the support of 70 percent of Connecticut Republicans, 34 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents.
70% support from Republicans, eh? With Republicans making up 26% of the electorate in Connecticut, that means Ned Lamont would currently be the junior Senator from Connecticut had Lieberman received less than 35% of Republican support. Overwhelming Republican support was crucial to his campaign, and the constant pro-Lieberman messaging, donations, and signals of Republican support were crucial to making that happen (that, and Alan Schlesinger was a complete joke). Among only Democrats and Independents, Lamont defeated Lieberman by 7%-twice the size of his victory in the primary when only Democrats were voting.

When conducted by players in the DLC-nexus, bipartisanship has always actually meant "joint attacks on the left." There are cases when bipartisanship is not like that, such as when Russ Feingold is able to scrape together a majority coalition. However, it is clear that for Lieberman, Republicans were always his main base of support. Had he not always been so willing to criticize the left, he would never have been so loved in a Republican town like the political industry in Washington, D.C., and by establishment media that was slowly being dominated by the Republican Noise Machine. At the very least, now that he was forced to win an election via overt Republican support, his ability to speak on behalf of Democrats has been annihilated. Everyone knows in the last election that Joe Lieberman was basically the Republican nominee. This is just the latest evidence supporting that claim.

Update: Dan Gerstein back in September:
A top aide to U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman adamantly is denying a thinly sourced report that the White House used big Republican donors to secretly funnel "millions of dollars" to the three-term senator's campaign committee before the Democratic primary last month.

But while Lieberman's campaign spokes-man, Dan Gerstein, insists there is "not a shred of truth" to the story now being widely circulated on the Internet, he also promised readers of the senator's new campaign "blog" that he would "look into whether or not serious Republican contributions have been made to Joe's campaign."
I wonder how Gerstein's investigation went. Probably about as well as the FBI's investigation into the supposed "hack" on Lieberman's website. Yet more lies from Lieberman's camp.

Sharpton-Obama: What does Lieberman mean?

Here's Al Sharpton expressing genuine concerns about Barack Obama's candidaacy.

"Why shouldn't the black community ask questions? Are we now being told, 'You all just shut up?'" Sharpton told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer Monday. "Senator Obama and I agree that the war is wrong, but then I want to know why he went to Connecticut and helped [Sen. Joseph] Lieberman, the biggest supporter of the war."

Sharpton also questioned why Obama supports "tort reform, which hurts police brutality victims."

What set Sharpton off was a published report that he is trying to hurt Obama's campaign because he's jealous. Sharpton says that claim is untrue, charging the story came from the Obama camp to pressure him into an early endorsement.

"I'm not going to be cajoled or intimidated by any candidate not for my support," Sharpton said.

Political pundits say Obama is anxious for Sharpton's support because it could hurt Hillary Clinton and help Obama raise money. "At this stage of the game, it's all about the money and I think you're going to see the candidates with the biggest fund raising making it through the end of the year," Political Consultant Joseph Mercurio said.

Does Sharpton's endorsement matter? CBS 2 polled some New Yorkers and the results were mixed, but the majority appeared to lean toward the side that believes Sharpton's endorsement will make a difference.

It's easy to get into the back-and-forth about Sharpton and Obama, the horse race aspects, and miss the larger picture.  Al Sharpton is expressing very legitimate questions about Barack Obama's candidacy.  Why, in 2006, did he support a candidate like Lieberman who, whatever his personal qualities, represents a dramatic right-wing extremist ideology on America's place in the world?  I can imagine any number of answers, many of which are legitimate.  But it's important to know why Obama chose a 'go along get along' attitude in a key race, and why he displays this tendency in his political instincts (Tammy Duckworth was another questionable anti-progressive choice).

Obama's campaign is impressive, and his personal charisma is remarkable.  He's certainly progressive in his policy sympathies, and he's definitely brilliant.  The question is whether he is able to follow through on a progressive politics that actually changes the rules of the game.  That's the question that Sharpton is asking - why, if you are progressive and are running on your opposition to the war, did you support the biggest warmonger in 2006?  That question, or some variant, deserves an answer, and to more than just Al Sharpton.

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