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Too Little, Much Too Late

CTBob took the above video at a volunteer firefighters’ carnival in Orange — in it, Candy Crowley of CNN asks Ned Lamont some questions about his stance versus Joe Lieberman’s on Iraq, on foreign policy, and on a whole host of other issues.  I think Ned does a fantastic job of patiently trying to explain his stance on a number of issues in the face of the typical DC media "gotcha" attempt questions that Crowley is throwing out at him.

The national media seems a bit flummoxed these days, trying to come up with an explanation of Lamont’s popularity among Connecticut voters.  And his popularity stretching beyond CT to the rest of the nation.  It stems from the fact that what Lamont is saying — what his supporters are saying — what we have been talking about for months here and elsewhere in the blogosphere — intrudes on the unreality bubble that the media has created for itself.  And that has to be difficult and painful for a number of journalists who, I believe, want to do their jobs well but somehow, somewhere along the line, lost that skeptical edge that you have to maintain in order to be effective inside the beltway.

The reality is this:  the American public is fundamentally unhappy with how their government is being run into the ground by a bunch of schmucks who’d rather spend time figuring out more ways to dip into the pork barrel to reward their cronies than solve America’s growing list of problems.  We are very unhappy with the lack of work that we are seeing from the Do Nothing Rubber Stamp Republican Congress and the perpetually-on-vacation President.

And at the top of that list is some serious unease and disgust over the mishandling of our occupation in Iraq, and the implications that these poor decisions will have on the rest of the nation for generations to come.

Joe Lieberman tried to brush aside criticisms of his record on supporting the Bush Administration’s failed policy decisions yesterday — but it is far too little, and much, much too late, for a whole lot of folks — in Connecticut and around the country.  What I am hearing from nutmeggers is that they are disgusted by this craven ploy, and disturbed that Lieberman would think that they are too stupid to see through this last-ditch ass-saving maneuver. 

In the end, as usual, it was all about Joe Lieberman.  And that has been his problem for the last few years in Connecticut, hasn’t it?

Here’s the reality on the ground for our men and women in uniform in Iraq:  (via Atrios)

…For infantrymen, the sweat rarely stops flowing in the summer, leaving many with heat rash. Troops complain that they sweat through their clothing, their wallets, and even their boots. Some remember awful mornings where they awake with polyester panchos stuck to their bodies.

In some outposts where washing machines are not available, troops hang their soaked uniforms in the sun _ leaving them stiff and marked with large salt stains from dried sweat. Some find clumps of salt inside their pockets.

On sprawling logistics bases, support troops in offices are mostly immune to the heat. "Hey, it’s only 106 today," cheerfully said one Marine as he walked to a dining hall on the Taqqadum air base in western Iraq.

Though most U.S. infantrymen now have air conditioned Humvees, the insurgent threat has also added to the array of clothing they must wear. Many Marines are now required to wear flame retardant suits, gloves and goggles to protect themselves from roadside bombs.

To some troops, the outside danger is less grating than the temperature.

"Everything else doesn’t bother me. It’s the heat threat gets to me," said Lance Cpl. John Ursery of Raleigh, N.C., as he stood in the shade of a sand barrier in Ramadi, one of Iraq’s most dangerous cities.

Some Marines claim to have seen the rubber on their Humvee tires start to melt. But the heat also helps create barracks lore that stretches the boundaries of reality….

And that is without discussing the IEDs, the rocket launchers, the separation from families, the fourth or fifth tour for some of these folks in country in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lack of needed equipment and supplies…the list goes on and on.   You do not ask men and women to endure the fear, the exhaustion, the day in and day out struggle to stay alive in our nation’s uniform, you do not put them in harm’s way ever without ascertaining the viability and the goals of the mission, and ensuring that you have done everything possible to prevent the conflict before the shooting starts. 

George Bush failed that test, and continues to fail it.  And Joe Lieberman has been at his side, making excuse after excuse — propping up piss poor decisions that have made America less safe, Israel less safe, the Middle East less safe, and our allies and the rest of the world less safe as a result.  That is the bottom line.

Standing up to say "enough!" when no one else is saying it, but when it needs to be said because what is being done is not working — that’s being a statesman.  Saying it when you are behind in the polls and you know that your constituents have been at that position for months now…well, that’s just being a politician who wants to keep his job, now isn’t it?  But does Joe Lieberman actually mean it?  Who the hell knows…I’m not even certain he does after his "Iraq is better and worse" performance from Sunday.  (Thanks C&L.)

John Zogby has some thoughts along these lines up on HuffPo, but he’s much more optimistic than I am about where the polls are for Lamont.  I think this race is going down to the wire.  But I have to say, in all honesty, that Ned Lamont is up at all in the polls is akin to a miracle the way our system generally favors incumbents.

That has to scare the bejeebers out of politicians around the country.  And it should.  Grassroots support from everyday Americans — small business owners, disaffected union members, teachers, grandparents, long-time friends of Joe Lieberman even — all are standing up and saying enough.

If you can get to Connecticut at all to volunteer for the Lamont campaign, please do so.  I don’t ask this lightly.  I know you have jobs and family responsibilities and all of those things that we all have to do.  I can’t make it — my joint issues have flared up and travel is impossible for me at the moment, and it is heartbreaking.  But if you can get to CT to help out, do it for me, because I desperately want to be there to help push things to the end.

GOTV is going to be the crucial means for winning this election for Ned Lamont.  And to do GOTV, you have to have boots on the ground.  Period.  Joe Lieberman has a whole lot of lobbyist and crony money on his side and a hired army of door knockers — Ned Lamont has volunteers with a whole lot of heart.  Won’t you join them?  Please, if you can get to Connecticut, they could sure use your set of hands…and if you live in Connecticut, even a couple of hours could mean the vote that pushes Ned over the top. 

Please volunteer!

UPDATE:  Mwahahaha…just go read TBogg.

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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