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What You Talkin’ About?


In what may the world’s most pathetic attempt at a last minute campaign smear that just reeks of desperation and smarm, Joe Lieberman has sent supporters out to put flyers on the windshields of churchgoers…calling Ned Lamont a racist.  (See, also, here.)

Um, hello…Lieberman campaign?!?  The people of Connecticut are not rubes.  And black people are not rubes either

In a speech on the Senate floor in 1995, Mr. Lieberman said: "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 don’t think it is fair to discriminate against some Americans as a way to make up for historic discrimination against other Americans…."

You were probably hoping, Senator Lieberman, that folks had forgotten about that quote from you on the floor of the United States Senate.  Nope.  But is affirmative action the only issue for black voters?  Hell, no! 

Here’s a tip:  African-American voters worry about the same stuff the rest of us do because..and keep this hush hush, because clearly it is mysterious in some quarters…they are people just like the rest of us who pay bills, want their kids to get good educations, worry about their friends and relatives fighting in the FUBAR mess that is Iraq, wonder why your BFF George Bush won’t own up to any mistakes — and whether you, Joe Lieberman, have been taking lessons from him on that score…and they do not like being taken for granted until just before election day

Have you seen the ad that the Lamont campaign put out with Ned’s students from one of the urban high schools in Bridgeport — full of kids of all colors — who love Ned Lamont for what he teaches them and because he treats them, ALL of them, with the dignity and respect they deserve?  I’m sure you have seen it, but just in case, let me make it easy for you:

Do those kids and Mr. Lamont look like there is disrespect among them?  I dunno about you, Joe, but Ned Lamont looks like a decent guy who loves his job and really loves the kids he taught.  And those kids sure as hell look like they love him right back.  It’s called mutual respect.  And it’s a much more positive way to campaign than using crap out of the Lee Attwater and Karl Rove "ends justifies the means" playbook. 

Ned Lamont not only talked the talk, he walked it, day in and day out — teaching as a volunteer teacher in an urban school where they had difficulty filling teaching positions.  THAT is the definition of a stand up guy.  And his commitment to a better education for ALL of Connecticut’s kids?  Solid.

Your attempted smear job?  Not factual, completely smarmy, and as despicable as it is disgusting.  Sinking to a new low right before the vote?  Pathetic and desperate, and beneath you and your publicly proclaimed high moral standards.  (Who’d you hire as a political consultant to roll out this dreck?  You ought to be ashamed.)

Have you contemplated why it is, Sen. Lieberman, that real people in real neighborhoods who deal with real problems every day, don’t flock to you in droves these daysTry watching this.  Real leaders actually lead, they don’t stand in front of people, wagging a finger and lecturing them on their lack of morals, all the while stabbing their own party in the back…over and over again.  Loyalty is a virtue as well and, sadly, Democrats in Connecticut are finding yours lacking.

Let’s talk about morals for a moment — and being there for your constituents when they need you:

Ned agreed to come to Waterbury on Memorial Day and to place a wreath in memory of our local soldiers and sailors. I also planned to place a wreath that day in memory of my good buddy Dave.

When the wreaths were delivered, I was standing in the cemetery with Ned and I saw the wreath with Dave’s name on it and I lost it. Tears for Dave’s senseless death in a war fought for nothing suddenly appeared. Then it all came back – that hot humid day north of Sai Gon that was the end of my best friend’s life.

Ned was so good – he comforted me and together we made it thru the ceremony. Trust me, Ned Lamont is not just some candidate out for himself. Ned’s compassion was outstanding that day in the cemetery as I fought back the tears that have been stored so long – ever since November 22, 1968.

My parents always taught me to watch what people say and do, but to pay attention to what people do when they think no one is watching them. The fact that you, Sen. Lieberman, couldn’t even be bothered to send this man a note saying you couldn’t make it to the Memorial Day services every single year that you have been invited — but only show up this year, unannounced, when you are in a tight primary race — speaks volumes to me. And to lots of other folks as well, I’m sure.

No one likes a preachy busybody who doesn’t follow his own advice.  Not the NYTimes yesterday.  Not an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times today.

When Play-It-Again-Sam crooned, "A kiss is just a kiss …" in that smoky Moroccan saloon so long ago, the celluloid, star-crossed lovers played by Bogie and Bergman knew better. As time goes by, so does Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman. The big smooch that President Bush appeared to lay on Lieberman after last year’s State of the Union speech has become so much more than a kiss. It may indeed be the smack of political death for the longtime senator from Connecticut….

Bush appeared to dole out the infamous peck on the floor of Congress after the 2005 State of the Union speech. Lamont and other Lieberman critics opine that it was a sign that the Democrat had sold out to conservative Republicans on the wrong side of the most important political divide of a generation — the Iraq war. Lieberman denies that he was the beneficiary of a kiss — it was just a hug, he says. (Maybe it was only their first date. After all, Lieberman is a notorious prude).

Still, there’s no doubt that Bush’s affection for his once-bitter opponent is rooted in Lieberman’s early and abiding support for the war. Strange bedfellows indeed, considering that the senator was half of the Democratic presidential ticket in the bitter (perhaps swindled) loss to Bush/Cheney in 2000.

Lieberman’s war stance has put the 18-year veteran senator in the unlikely predicament of being perched on the cusp of losing his seat to a no-name opponent. Things are looking so bad that he has vowed to mount an independent bid in November if he loses to Lamont.

Doesn’t that sound oh-so-statesmanlike? Maybe Lieberman can join Ralph Nader in the pantheon of Independent Party Heroes.

Oh yeah, feel the love.

You want to talk about issues that folks in black neighborhoods…and hispanic neighborhoods…and white neighborhoods…and Asian neighborhoods…and mocha neighborhoods…and everything in between, all mixed together in this jumble we call America are talking about? Paying their ever-rising energy bills. (But you voted for President Bush’s energy package.) The war in Iraq. (But you led off the debate for the Republicans last time it was up for discussion in the Senate, and lectured Democrats to keep their mouths shut and opinions to themselves just last year, didn’t you?)  And so it goes…on and on and on.

Here’s your mistake:  voters are no longer sitting around with blinders on, and none of us will tolerate being called unpatriotic any longer.  Not by you or anyone else.  What we want is honesty and results and someone who will care about the things that WE think are important. 

What we don’t want?  A concern troll who uses Rove tactics and machinations with a win-at-all-costs mentality and an ego the size of Hartford.  And we certainly don’t want one who cannot look his own mistakes square in the face and realize that he can do better — your BFF in the White House, George Bush, is already the King of that Domain, and we don’t need you trailing along in his deliberate oblivion wake any longer. 

Men and women, mothers and fathers, kids barely out of high school, are dying, every day, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and losing limbs and sustaining injuries, both physical and mental…and you, Joe Lieberman, are worried that a Democrat would dare to challenge you in a lawful primary.  Get your priorities straight!

Feel the Joe-Nertia.

PS — Here’s a piece of advice, free of charge.  If your campaign cronies are going to pass out a flyer in a Democratic primary — even one as asinine as falsely trying to smear a decent guy like Ned Lamont with the racist label (Is Rove taking your urgent campaign phone calls these days?) — you should make sure it gets printed up in a union shop.  Especially when Little Jimmy Olson’s union has endorsed you. (Even if Jimmy Olson was too much of a moron to realize that you clearly could give a rat’s ass about the actual union members and honoring their work and their leadership on workers’ rights.  Or maybe he did…and all those union members were played for suckers getting stuck with Joey Short Ride as their endorsed candidate.)  Because this flyer thing is the second time in a week you’ve given union members the back of your hand.  Where I come from, those union members would be giving you a choice finger right back…on primary day and beyond.

PPS — Why is it that only Democrats raise your hardball campaigning style, but Dick Cheney gets handshakes and niceness and George Bush gets a smooch?  I’m just asking…because I’ll bet that Al Gore’s family would love to give you a piece of their mind right about now.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com