Lamont Defeats Lieberman–Aristocracy Defeats Incumbency

I never thought I’d see the day I’d feel compelled to travel back into CT to vote for a primary, but I did tonight with a handful of other politicos who are celebrating that Lamont defeated Lieberman. (An interesting piece on Jewish views on Lieberman here)
I must admit, while it felt great to vote out Lieberman, it was eery to vote for a Greenwich aristocrat of exhorbitant wealth in order to defeat a long time incumbent whose politics are so grossly out of line that Lieberman falls to the right of many Republicans in office–and I’m not saying this as a Democrat (because I’m not) nor am I only looking at his stance on the war or his support for Bush. Lieberman has long been in cahouts with Republican powers and staunch supporter in passing a number of repressive social policies during not only the Bush eras, but also the Clinton administration’s legacy of Welfare “Reform”, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), and the list goes on and on.
Not surprisingly yet poignantly, all it takes is a multi-millionaire to vote out an incumbent–Lamont, who has little to no political background or experience, is rich. Period. With that then, his wealth means he is not tied to the same corporate holdings and strings that many other political candidates are–he can call for universal health care without worrying about whether the insurance companies are backing his campaign. He isn’t touched in the same way by gerrymandering politics and campaign finance. Complex is it not? So apparently we should be at ease with the idea that all we need is to be insanely wealthy to change the nation?! Well, I have to say, not surprisingly I’m sure to some, that it’s questionable to call this change. Historic indeed, but celebratory in its entirety is still questionable in my eye.
crossposted to jspot

39 thoughts on “Lamont Defeats Lieberman–Aristocracy Defeats Incumbency

  1. Lieberman “falls to the right of many Republicans in office.”
    If that’s so, name a few. Bet you can’t. But I guess it’s a nice thing to say if nobody calls you on it.

  2. Glad that my party is putting all the truly unelectable candidates out there. If it weren’t so funny, it would be tragic (particularly considering the chance to take over both the House and the Senate this winter). For all that people rail about Joementum (tee-hee, couldn’t resist) being such a rightist (and certainly his views on “morality” issues is a bit nauseating) he does vote against Bush-sponsored legislation 90% of the time, and has an impeccable record on labor, civil rights and the like. Sad days for the Dems…I think I am going to become an Independent.

  3. Daniel: As a staunch liberal, I’m much prouder to be represented by Arlen Specter than I would be by Lieberman. (And Specter’s far from perfect.)
    Adam: What do you mean unelectable? He just got elected. (Well, nominated. But honestly, what do you think the odds are of Lamont losing to the Republican nominee in November?) And besides, even if you think Lieberman’s okay, you’re still allowed to try to do better.

  4. Adam, an impeccable record on civil rights? Please! This is the man who had to sit down with the Congressional Black Caucus to ensure that they’d support the Dem ticket after Gore picked him because of his past opposition to affirmative action. I’m glad he votes with the AFL-CIO, but that’s not exactly a sign of great progressivism (and they certainly don’t find him “impeccable” on international trade).
    As for your comment about nominating unelectable candidates, I have to ask how much you’ve been paying attention to the dynamics of the CT race. Alan Schlesinger, the Republican candidate, ahs no chance. In a one-to-one match-up,Lamont and Lieberman would easily beat him. Heck, even with Lieberman now splitting the vote as an independent, Schlesinger’s likely to lose. Your comment about unelectability might apply if this was a national race, but it’s was off topic here.

  5. Adam I have to agree. Cole seems to put it right there in her post– Ned Lamont is a political waif with no clout. He has not been up-and-coming, he has done nothing of note except deliver cable TV to a bunch of college campuses (oh and I think he read that he went to Exeter, so I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Daddy helped him set up his little company).
    Lieberman, despite some issues, is committed and responsible. He, despite the foam-at-the-mouth Left’s claims, has stood with the dems consistently on major issues. His views on the Iraq war have been completely misconstrued and unfairly so . He is pro-Choice unlike McCain (come on). Frankly, I find the whole thing disgusting, and I think it spells bad things for the party. Democrats need to recapture the soul of America, not contribute to its further polarization.
    Connecticut voters would do well to screw their heads on straight and vote for Joe Lieberman in November. I understand that this was more of an anti-Lieberman vote than a pro-Lamont vote. They’ve made their point. But now they should ask themselves if they really want this most unsenatorial person representing them in Washington– honestly I think Lamont is an embarassment to the party. And I hope for the party’s sake that CT voters wake the hell up.

  6. Matt,
    All great points…a few things:
    . Joementum (damnit, I can’t resist!) vis-a-vis Civil Rights…he personally went to Mississippi to help register Afr-Americans to vote. Not the safest thing to do, for one thing, and at the time a fairly brave and important act.
    . The electability issue that you bring up is a totally fair one (I was being somewhat unclear). Honestly, I think Lieberman will still win as an Independent, anti-war candidates have rarely fared well when it comes down to it. And Schlesinger is a wacko on the otherside of things so.,..in a way it probably makes Lieb. seem that much more Centrist. I think more what I am worried about as a Dem. and Progressive is that the Lamont victory will motivate Centrists to move to the irrational, destructive (not literally, but in the sense of yelling about Bush rather than proposing alternatives and solutions) Left. And that is really a recipe for electoral failure if we can learn anything from the last Pres. election.

  7. I can’t stand it when a candidate, voted out by his own party, storms off in a huff and declares himself an Independent. It’s the height of immaturity, and lends even more credence to the often repeated argument that politicians aren’t interested in representation, but in continuing to hold on to power for as long as possible. If I recall correctly, this is how Reagan got elected, beginning this whole downward spiral – Anderson lost the primary, ran as an Independent and split the Democratic party. I’d hate to see this happen in CT, when we need every seat in Congress that we can get.

  8. And Cole is right – when a New England WASP from a privileged background is perceived by Jews as being more to the left than a Jewish Democrat – something is deeply f**cked up.

  9. “And Cole is right – when a New England WASP from a privileged background is perceived by Jews as being more to the left than a Jewish Democrat – something is deeply f**cked up.”
    Yes, but the issue is what is “deeply f**cked up”? The perception of these single-issue peacenik Jewish voters or Lieberman’s voting record? I would say the former.

  10. You can count votes all you want – but the underlying reality – and what led to this outcome is thaat Lieberman was a unique political animal – a Democrat neo-Conservative.
    Lieberman wasn’t a Democrat who reluctantly voted to support the war. He wasn’t one who was convinced by bad intelligence that it was the right thing at the time.
    Lieberman was a kool-aid drinker. To this day – he agrees not with the Bush position – but the Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz position.
    THIS is the key reason he has had such passionate opposition by liberals. You can add up votes and claim he “Supports the party 90 percent of the time”. You can talk about what he did 30 years ago in the civil rights movment – but all of that is irrelevent when it comes to this fact.
    The neo-cons have led America and the World into one of the greatest blunders in our history. The consequences are something we’ll have to deal with for generations. Lieberman was a key player – and he has to answer for this. And he did in yesterday’s election,

  11. Umm…last time I checked 29 Dems in the Senate and 81 in the House voted in favor of the war resolution. Those people haven’t been characterized as part of some sort of neo-con conspiracy.
    Why aren’t people holding Hillary responsible the same way as Lieberman? People bought into a propaganda machine. Totally shot themselves in the foot. Sure, vote against the guy if you don’t want him in office. But also understand that the irrational anger makes it difficult to rationally look at things.

  12. To build on Adam’s point, I would say that the dems interests would be BEST served by trying to get problematic GOP lawmakers out of office rather than jeopardizing seats they already control. This was a bad strategy for the party. The GOP will now be able to promote “divide and rule” campaigns all over the country.
    If people want a VIABLE (uh, VIABLE) way out of the mess Bush has created, than elect dems that will reach a broad base of supporters in America. The far left simply blind to pragmatism, and pragmatism is the only way out. Sad.

  13. Mobius andd Cole: The fact is there are plenty of Democrats to the RIGHT of Lieberman, but not many — if any — Republican officeholders to his left. Americans for Democratic Action, a venerable liberal group, assigns lifetime scores to members of Congress based upon their voting records. The scores are often used as shorthand by journalistss for describing how liberal/conservative a member of Congress is. The higher the score, the more often the member votes with ADA and for the liberal position. Let’s see how those people named in the above comments as more liberal than — or otherwise prefereable to — Lieberman fare:
    Ron Paul — 20
    John McCain — 9
    Arlen Specter — 59
    And then there’s Joseph Lieberman — 76
    Try to find a Republican who falls to his left. I don’t think you will.
    I think some folks have to ask themselves why it is that they hate Lieberrman so much that they’ll make baseless statements that a pro-life conservative like John McCain and a libertarian like Ron Paul are more liberal than Lieberman.
    There are legitimate reasons to dislike Lieberman, and I understand why he’d drive foes of the Iraq war up the wall. But at the same time there’s something strange about the degree of hate Lieberman draws from some on the Jewish left. (I recall attending a Heeb party in Williamsburg once where outside they had a poster of Lieberman with a Hitler moustache daubed on his upper lip.)

  14. It is important to remember that this was not a referendum on Lieberman’s appropriate resistance to reverse discrimination (affirmitive action) nor about his contributions to welfare reform.
    This was almost solely about his support for the Iraq War.
    There is every reason to suspect there is still a place for moderate democrats who are committed to fiscally liberal positions but are moderate on social issues.

  15. “You can count votes all you want – but the underlying reality – and what led to this outcome is thaat Lieberman was a unique political animal – a Democrat neo-Conservative.”
    Um, no. I agree that he is a unique political animal in the context of contemporary U.S. politics but he’s no neocon. He’s a centrist. The term “neocon”–like the term “Zionist”–has turned into a simplistic pejorative levelled against anyone the far left disagrees with.

  16. I totally agree WEVS1. And DK, if this was solely about the Iraq war wouldn’t Hilary have a difficult foe to overcome in her re-election campaign? The other Dem. senators who voted for/still support the Iraq War?
    As a liberal, progressive, Democrat who did support the war ideologically (great..am I a neo-con now? Is Hitchens? Is Vaclav Havel?), I have to say it is just the level of irrational anger/conspiracy theory type thinking that is going to sabotage Dems if they continue down the Lamont/Cindy Sheehan loving road. Now for the Dems nationally, I do understand why they had to show support for Lamont now that he is their candidate. I do, however, think they will breath a big sigh of relief if Joementum takes over again as an independent.

  17. … there’s something strange about the degree of hate Lieberman draws from some on the Jewish left.
    Could the fact that he’s Orthodox be part of it? Coupled with the fact that he hangs out with condescending moralizers like Bill Bennett? Could this latest turn of events be, in part, the surfacing of long-repressed resentment on the part of secular Jews?
    I’m not being sarcastic – I’m really wondering.

  18. David,
    Your racism shows up time and time again. One with the immigrant bashing and now this?
    “reverse discrimination (affirmitive action)”-wtf? I know you will get on your soapbox and tell me how I cannot shut you up and besmirch your good name, that you are not a racist and that you are brave and simply keeping the tradition of your socialist ancestors alive but I find your comments to be terribly racist. I am not saying you are a racist but your comments are racist.

  19. Cipher, you remind me of an interesting story. I was working out at the JCC on a Saturday a few weeks ago, and the woman who walked into an elevator before me pressed the “Lobby” button before I did (I happened not to re-press it).
    Soon she was peppering me with questions like “Do you really think that God cares if you press an elevator button on Shabbat?”. I played devil’s advocate, and told her that if I could understand that someone who believes in rest as an absolute concept would certainly prefer not to press the button.
    I assumed that she would understand that I’m not really shomer Shabbat (afterall, I was working out, not having Shabbes lunch). Nevertheless, she said “You probably believe in God too” and accused me of “such hubris.”
    It was a little ridiculous, but yes, there is a lot of pent up resentment apparently. Many orthodox Jews make a claim of authenticity that, to the secular among us, feels like hubris. I don’t really think it is 99% of the time. Maybe misguided faith and poor communication skills though.
    I’m not really sure if this applies, but it’s an interesting tangential thread.

  20. No, I think it is applicable, and I think that you’re correct:
    Many orthodox Jews make a claim of authenticity that, to the secular among us, feels like hubris. I don’t really think it is 99% of the time. Maybe misguided faith and poor communication skills though.
    I think that, within Modern Orthodoxy, there is a certain amount of condescencion toward the non-Orthodox. There certainly is within the Haredi world; that’s an old story. And I think that non-Orthodox Jews often manifest a fair amount of resentment as a response, even when it isn’t deserved. Also, many secular Jews dislike the Haredim, and, due to unfamiliarity and their (the secular Jews) inabilty to distinguish, the MO get caught in the crossfire.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if that is at least part of what’s going on in CT. And I want to qualify this by saying that I’m not at all frum.

  21. I agree that there is (fucked-up, in my opinion) resentment among some ssecular Jews toward the orthodox, but I don’t think that was necessarily a big factor in this race. Orthodoxy does not imply hanging out with moralizing hypocites like Bill Bennett.
    I also have to disagree with David Kelsey that this was solely a referendum on Iraq. That was primarily it, but as someone who lived in CT in 1988, when Lieberman was first elected (and whose parents’ still live there), he has never been all that popular!he got in running against a centrist Republican (Lowell Weicker) whose Senatorial attendance record was lousy. I remember my father (I was too young ot vote then) saying that he seriously considered voting for the Republican for the first time in his life, because Lieberman seemed too conservative, but he couldn’t do that (and no, my Dad is not part of the “loony left,” he’s a classic Jewish liberal Dem from Chicago). After that, he had the power and inertia of incumbency, but that doesn’t mean he was hugely popular. Then in 2000, when Gore picked him, I remember talking with many people about our enthusiasm for a Jewish veep, but disappointment that it was him.
    My point? There’s been resentment of Lieberman for a long time. The Iraq war crystallized it, but to portray it as something new that suddenly threw out a much-beloved politician is simply inaccurate and ahistorical.

  22. Orthodoxy does not imply hanging out with moralizing hypocites like Bill Bennett.
    I probably wasn’t clear in my earlier comment. I didn’t mean that an Orthodox person would naturally hang out with someone like Bill Bennett; I meant that his being Orthodox, in addition to his hanging out with people like Bill Bennett, might have caused secular Jews to see him as condescending. I know that his coziness with conservative Republicans has made me feel uneasy. I felt the same way that your friends did; I was enthusiastic about a Jewish VP candidate, but disappointed that it was him.
    And, as I said, I’m now disgusted that he’s declaring himself an Independent candidate. It’s selfish and immature, and if he causes the Democrats to lose a congressional seat because of this, he should be hounded out of politics.

  23. I read Mr. Greenwald’s article but did not find it very convincing. Essentially he’s arguing that anyone who favors a robust military policy, esp. regarding the Middle East is a neocon. That seems far too broad to me. In this schema everyone from the authors at the New Republic to National Review Online are “neocons” as are Hitchens, Paul Berman, the signatories to the Euston Manifesto, etc. etc. etc. As I mentioned above this is simply intellectual shorthand to slight one’s political opponents. Droll, very droll.
    I did not bother reading the piece from The Huffington Post. To do do would be insulting to my intellegence.

  24. “To do do would be insulting to my intellegence.”
    should read
    To do do would be insulting to my intelligence.
    Feel free to clown me on that slip…

  25. For a poetic reason that Lieberman lost the primary, google “Scarce: Kiss Me” and click on the ‘you tube’ url.
    Watching what transpired between idiot-boy, and Joe, was truly a WTF?! moment.

  26. reverse discrimination (affirmative action)? Sometimes the racism on this site really forces us folks of color to wonder how “progressive” it really is…

  27. Chris (Chaim),
    The idea that prefering to elminate racial weight in any form on admissions or employment is itself racist is Orwellian to the core.
    The majority Jews have always been and remain against affirmitive action, where they lurch to the “right” despite continued liberalism: http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=11671
    This is proper. Jews were openly subjected to quotas in Europe, and were less openly subjected to bias in the U.S.
    Jews fought against being included in affirmitive action programs, and only wanted to be given a far shot.
    There is a collusion between Republicans and minorities on theis issue, and the deal is that government funded schools get to keep legacy if they have affiirmitive action.
    It is a dirty deal. Both should be srapped.

  28. Adam’s point about Lieberman’s voting record is a good one. The question is then why was he left out to dry by the Dems? You may say that both Clintons and Dodd, etc… campaigned for him but it’s during the primaries when the roots organizers hold the power (which seems to dissipate during the general elections). But Lieberman never had a chance. And one reason, a by-product of the war issue, is because of where he’s running. It’s important to put party politics, endorsement conventions and primaries, in context of their geographical constituency. In Minnesota you have Dem. representative Colin Peterson, who in his numerous terms under Republican Presidents hasn’t cast more than a few votes against them. On the flipside is Republican rep. Jim Ramstad, maybe the most moderate Republican in the House, and who has a closer relationship with Bill Clinton than George Bush. That’s Minnesota, where until recently, the two parties were called “Independent-Republican” and “Democratic-Farmer-Labor” so as to distance themselves from national party platforms and politics. And they voted in taht independent pro wrestler as governer. It’s not like that anymore, unfortunately, but it’s still a constituency where the likes of pro-war Dem. Peterson and moderate Ramstad can thrive. The Dems see this election as their last hope for awhile and they feel like, no matter how hard they try to screw it up, the war issue will pull them through. They’ve been slowing becoming myopic single-issue liberal zombies and – as evidenced by Lieberman’s defeat (and that beautiful sight of Sharpton and Jackson standing behind Lamont) – they will eat their own. Would the RNC do that to Ramstad and Specter? And now Conn. has Ned Lamont, multi-millionaire hero of countless wine bar patrons nationwide. Does anyone think Lieberman was surprised? It almost seem like he was hoping for it so he could realize his bizarre fantasy of a McCain/Lieberman ticket. Unfortunately for Joe this is McCain’s time and he’s stopped pretending to be a moderate.

  29. David,
    I understand that Jews have been the victims of quotas. I know this history very weel since I had family members who were not allowed into certain professions because of that. I am also Latino have had many family members benefit from AA.
    The policy of affirmative action in the US is DIFFERENT. Simply because Jews experienced quotas against them and certain political leaders label AA a quota system does not make it is so. As I stated in an earlier post, I have used affirmative action for years and still have plenty of white folks and men on my staff. AA forces me to think of ways to get diverse pools. It is NOT about quotas. Have some corporations used them? Probably but that is the lazy way out. And the use of quotas has been illegal for some time.
    I am really trying to understand your reaction but I ask that you be more sensitive. You can differentiate between quotas and AA every time you mention them. Fine. But I support affirmative action wholeheartedly and it frustrates me to come to a purportedly progressive site and see these comments.
    Honestly, given you comments about immigration and AA, I do seriously wonder if you might want to examine your beliefs about people of color. I am not saying you are bad or racist. We ALL got stuff around diversity and justice. But please examine yours. I like your work and apprecite some of your writings. I do not want to come here and feel like I have to avoid your posts.

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