If you blog long enough you wind up writing posts you never thought you’d write. This is one of those posts.
I read about Lieberman sacking Marion Steinfels and Sean Smith today, and blaming them for their failure to counter Ned Lamont’s distortions regarding his record. You might want to sit down here, or pour yourself a good stiff drink, because I am going to defend them.
Now, there isn’t much you can say in defense of Sean Smith — he’s a cynical bastard whose specialty in "low information voters" is emblematic of just about everything that’s wrong with modern politics. He didn’t do his job well, the events were run like crap and he was always ten steps behind the Lamont folks.
Marion, on the other hand, did her job extremely well in my opinion. From the first time I saw her handiwork — the day Joe gave his Cut’n’Run press conference — she hit all her marks. It was well organized, her presentation was excellent and she was superb throughout at getting rather lazy members of the press to stay on stories of little interest to their readership and virtually ignore the enormous elephant in the middle of the room — people were turning away from Joe because of his position on the war, and he adamantly refused to address it.
It was because of Marion’s effectiveness that I had to hit her hard, but it wasn’t personal. She hit back hard too, and I didn’t take that personally, either. Now, none of this excuses the fact that either she or Smith accepted jobs peddling smear and bullshit — they are entirely morally culpable on that front and everything I ever saw of Marion demonstrated that she was a true believer in the Cult of Joe. But that’s not why they were fired.
Early on Colin McEnroe mentioned to me that the Lieberman campaign was run by a party of two, Joe and Hadassah Lieberman, and I never saw anything coming out of that campaign that did not confirm it 100%. Take a look at that bear ad. I’m convinced the only focus group it ever had was that party of two — Joe and Hadassah — and it was virtually incomprehensible to anyone else. As Matt Stoller said, it was designed to make Joe Lieberman vote for Joe Lieberman.
They ran Joe’s campaign based on an extremely distorted self-image and with complete blindness to the actual problems Joe was facing. To now lay the defeat at Smith and Steinfels’ feet is just such a piece cowardly, churlish scapegoating it is arrogant and ungrateful beyond words. I may not like what Smith and Steinfels were saying or who they chose to defend, but they did with a zeal that was everything Lieberman could’ve asked for. They were saddled with an oblivious candidate and they did more than could be expected with what he handed them. How very Republican of Joe.