NYT Endorses Lamont
If I thought for a minute that the editorial department at the NYT had anything to do with the news divison I might declare a moratorium on beating them up for a while but they don't so I can still call the reporters (and the editors they blame) who fawn all over Lieberman and distort the truth on his behalf a bunch of wankers even as I think this rocks :
The Senate Race in Connecticut
The Congressional elections are very much about America’s problems in Iraq. But the campaigns have shed little light on exactly what should happen next. Nowhere is that more true than in Connecticut. The two leading candidates, Ned Lamont and Joseph Lieberman, have clear disagreements over whether invading Iraq was a good idea in the first place, but grow much fuzzier when the question of future strategy comes up.
Mr. Lieberman, a three-term Democratic senator now running as an independent, talks about the threat of Islamic terrorism. Mr. Lamont, who beat Mr. Lieberman in the Democratic primary, reminds voters what a mess the invasion created. When it comes to the next step, Mr. Lieberman seems to mimic the Bush administration’s proposal to stay the course (while no longer mentioning that toxic phrase) with new tactics. Mr. Lamont is close to the Senate Democrats (minus Mr. Lieberman) who demanded a timetable for withdrawal without being too firm on what that ought to entail.
No one expects legislators to dictate military tactics. But what we need from the next crop of elected officials in Washington is a willingness to face reality, to choose from among difficult options and have the courage to be honest with the public about the consequences. On those points, Mr. Lamont is by far the better candidate.
Two months ago, Connecticut’s Democratic voters sent Mr. Lieberman what should have been a jarring wake-up call when they rejected him for Mr. Lamont, a relative newcomer. We have been waiting to see what lessons the state’s best-known politician took from his defeat, and from the daily evidence of the deterioration of the situation in Iraq.
We wanted to see a capacity for growth and change in Mr. Lieberman. The country is full of Republicans who now realize the Iraq invasion was a disaster, either in its basic concept or in its execution. The most honorable of them are in agony over what has happened. Mr. Lieberman, who had not only continually defended the administration’s Iraq policy but also attacked Democrats who criticized the president, had more cause for soul-searching than most.
But instead of re-evaluating his own positions, Mr. Lieberman blamed his constituents for failing to notice that he had offered some negative comments about the conduct of the war, too, mainly when he was running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. He did not protest when Dick Cheney said that people who voted for Mr. Lamont were giving comfort to “Al Qaeda types.” His only reflection seemed devoted to a re-examination of the rules for getting back on the ballot.
Since his primary defeat, Mr. Lieberman has run a well-packaged campaign built around his self-assigned bipartisan image — “It’s not about politics,” say his ads. But it is very much about politics — from the flood of special interest campaign donations that has been running Mr. Lieberman’s way to the old Karl Rove lesson that political winners never admit to error.
We are living in perilous times. Being able to work with the opposition party — Mr. Lieberman’s claim to fame — is hardly a sign of moral courage when the opposition party controls the White House, Senate and House of Representatives. President Bush did not need Mr. Lieberman’s persistent support on Iraq when he had the deference of his own party members in Congress. What the country needed — and what Connecticut had the right to expect — was for Mr. Lieberman to risk some of his bipartisan clout to call attention to the way Iraq was spiraling out of control.
The fatal problem with Mr. Lieberman’s candidacy is not that he was wrong about the invasion, but that he has not shown any capacity to grow and change. Suggesting that getting rid of Donald Rumsfeld might be a good idea is hardly a breakthrough at a time when the secretary of defense’s supporters are pretty much limited to the president and members of the Rumsfeld family.
Mr. Lieberman has changed his tone but not his underlying conviction that he has been right all along. He and Mr. Bush are still on the very same page, encouraging the American people to believe that there is a happy ending for American involvement in Iraq, and that all it takes is the perseverance to keep marching toward the end of the rainbow.
Ned Lamont has run a far less polished campaign than Mr. Lieberman, but the more we see of him, the more impressed we are by his intelligence and his growing sophistication about the issues facing the nation. He is very much in the Connecticut mold of basically moderate, principled politicians, and his willingness to take on Mr. Lieberman when no one else dared to do it showed real courage and conviction. He would make a good senator. More important, he has the capacity to continually become a better one. We endorse Ned Lamont for Senate.