Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lieberman Wins Endorsements from Hartford Courant, Connecticut Post, and Washington Post

Today brings four major newspaper endorsements in the Lieberman-Lamont race -- -- the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Hartford Courant (the state's largest and most influential newspaper), and the Connecticut Post (one of the state's largest dailies, covering the Bridgeport area).

[NOTE: The Connecticut Post endorsement was not findable online, but the AP reported on it and quoted excerpts today.]

Most of the attention, particularly in the blogosphere, will focus on the Times' editorial backing Lamont. The Lieberman-haters will undoubtedly trumpet this validation from the bellwether of elite conventional wisdom, despite the fact that it was far more a kneejerk attack on the incumbent than a convincing brief for the challenger (more on that in a moment). They will also probably neglect to mention that the Washington Post took the diametrically opposite tack in endorsing Lieberman (more on that too).

But in terms of actual electoral influence, limited as newspaper endorsements may be, the editorials from the Courant and Connecticut Post are far more significant. That is especially true if you apply the "Connecticut knows best" standard that the out-of-state Lieberman-haters keep touting to deflect attention from their primary role in fueling the campaign to purge Joe Lieberman from the party.

These local editorial boards are most familiar with Lieberman's record/character and the dynamics of the race. They are most likely to make a choice not based on their own ideological agendas and pet peeves, but on the needs and interests of the people of Connecticut. And both papers embraced Joe Lieberman as clearly the best choice to serve the state in the Senate.

What was most notable about The Courant's endorsement was its explicit rejection of the politics of purity that is driving the Lamont campaign. This is an editorial board that is often to the left of Lieberman and has had several disagreements with him on the issues over the years. But that did not stop the Courant's editors from seeing and reaffirming one of Lieberman's greatest strengths -- his ability to rise above the excessive partisanship that is corroding Washington and get things done for his constituents and his country.

Mr. Lieberman has gained considerable influence in his 18 years in the Senate. His specialty is working with Republican moderates - and sometimes conservatives - to craft bills that can pass the most divided, least civil Congress in memory.

As head of the Governmental Affairs Committee in 2002, he wrote the Senate's version of the homeland security bill. With Republican Sen. John McCain and the 9/11 families, he forced President Bush to accept a bipartisan commission to investigate the intelligence failures leading to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. The commission's riveting report sold more than a million copies, and some of its most important recommendations were embraced. The list goes on. . .

From his seat on the Armed Services Committee, he helped save the Groton sub base and its thousands of jobs. He brought home a lot more bacon than Connecticut had any reason to expect from the 2005 federal transportation bill.


But the most compelling passage of the editorial is The Courant's reasoned take on Iraq:

[Lieberman] is now called a renegade by many in his party for standing with President Bush on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We have not often agreed with Mr. Lieberman on the conduct of the war but admire his sticking to his beliefs in the face of withering criticism. Not enough members of Congress have such character.

He was not alone among Democrats in giving Mr. Bush authority in 2002 to attack Iraq: 81 House and 28 other Senate Democrats joined him. But Mr. Lieberman crossed the party line last November when he argued in the conservative Wall Street Journal that "our troops must stay" -- although few Democrats in Congress would disagree that they must, for now -- and later scolded that "in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril." Partly for this regrettable phrase that he contends was taken out of context, antiwar partisans would remove him from office.

Mr. Lieberman's history of enthusiasm for military interventions overseas is an anomaly in a man famous for mediating among warring factions in Washington. But to dismiss this moderate -- a vanishing breed in a Congress sundered by extremism on both sides -- for dissenting on a single issue would be a terrible waste. And a mistake.

It would show an intolerance unworthy of any political party.


The Connecticut Post's endorsement strikes a similarly pointed blow against the Lieberman-haters' purge campaign and the myth that Lieberman is not a good Democrat.

Democrats like to pride themselves on being the political party of the "Big Tent" under which a diversity of views co-exist in the interest of larger social welfare goals. Is there not room now under that tent for Connecticut's junior senator?

We trust that's not the case and, therefore, the Connecticut Post endorses Joseph I. Lieberman to be the Democratic Party's candidate for U.S. Senate. Look at the Lieberman record. It spans more than 35 years of elected public service starting in 1970 when he was first elected to the state Senate, continuing in 1982 with his election as state attorney general, one of the first "activist" attorney generals in the nation and then moving on to three terms in the U.S. Senate.

There have been many times when we've disagreed with the senator, but his overall record is commendable and the record of a fighter who has been there for Connecticut in the areas of defense contracts, the environment, education, health care, civil rights, and transportation.


The Washington Post's endorsement also hinged on Lieberman's exceptional ability to find common ground for the good of the country without compromising core Democratic ideals. In particular, the Post underscored the value of Lieberman's thoughtful, hateless approach to the Democratic Party going forward.

Noting that Lieberman is being pummeled for working with Republicans as much as for his position on Iraq, the Post argued "that's a criticism that strikes us as shortsighted even from a partisan Democratic point of view." The editorial went on:

Throughout his Senate career, Mr. Lieberman has been faithful to the fundamental values that most Democrats associate with their party: care for the environment; dedication to a progressive tax code and other ways to help the poor and middle classes; and support for Israel and other democracies around the world. But he's managed to hold on to those values while also working with Republicans to move legislation forward: with Susan Collins (R-Maine), for example, on homeland security; or with John McCain (R-Ariz.) on climate change.

This is a talent and temperament that is helpful to the Democrats in the minority but will be needed even more if there's a change in power in one or both houses of Congress or, in 2008, in the White House. Then, more than ever, the Democratic Party, if it hopes to accomplish anything, will need people such as Mr. Lieberman who bring some civility to an increasingly uncivil capital -- who can accept the idea that opponents may disagree in good faith and who can then work to find areas of agreement and assemble working majorities of 60 senators. His ability to do so is a strength, not a weakness, for the party as well as the nation.


Now compare these arguments with those in the New York Times editorial. The Times makes no mention of the Lieberman's many major policy contributions, though there are few predictable words of faint praise for opposing the Bush tax cuts and supporting a woman's right to choice and environmental protection. Nor, more significantly for a paper that purports to cover Connecticut, is there any mention of Lieberman's many accomplishments on behalf of the state.

Instead, the bulk of the editorial -- which claims Lieberman has "forfeited" the Times' support -- is devoted to excoriating the Senator for not despising George Bush enough. The Times' chief complaint is not about Lieberman's position on Iraq, but that Lieberman has not obstructed the President's conduct of the war on terror at every turn, calling him one the Bush Administration's "most useful allies as the president tries to turn the war on terror into an excuse for radical changes in how this country operates. . . There is no use having a senator famous for getting along with Republicans if he never challenges them on issues of profound importance.

Beyond being clearly inaccurate -- "never challenges them"? -- these statements are quite telling. The fact is, Lieberman has been critical of the President and the Republican Congress on many occasions related to Iraq and the war on terror, just not in the bitter, apocalyptic tones that some on the left (and now the New York Times) demand.

And that really is the crux of the matter here. All of Lieberman's good works and his great character are rendered meaningless, not even worth a passing reference, simply because he is more outraged by the deaths of 3,000 Americans on 9/11 than the torture of foreign enemy combatants and potential terrorists in Iraq.

Let's be clear: Lieberman spoke out against the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and he supported John McCain's amendment banning torture. He just tried to introduce some perspective and proportionality to the issue, which we now know is an unforgivable sin to those who actually believe that George Bush is a greater threat to America than Osama Bin Laden.

What was equally telling was the Times' minimalist appraisal of Ned Lamont. In endorsing a candidate for U.S. Senate in a time of war, the nation's preeminent newspaper could only muster two sentences on the challenger's qualifications -- one of which highlighted his inexperience.

Mr. Lamont, a wealthy businessman from Greenwich, seems smart and moderate, and he showed spine in challenging the senator while other Democrats groused privately. He does not have his opponent’s grasp of policy yet. But this primary is not about Mr. Lieberman’s legislative record. Instead it has become a referendum on his warped version of bipartisanship, in which the never-ending war on terror becomes an excuse for silence and inaction. We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut.

What really jumped out to me there is the use of the word "moderate" to describe Lamont. Lamont seemingly was a moderate before deciding to jump on the anti-Lieberman bandwagon, voting with Republicans on his town council 80 percent of the time. Now during this campaign he is embracing the hard-line, anti-Clinton wing of the party that wants to resurrect protectionist trade policies, government-run health care, and unaccountable public schools.

The truth is we don't know what Ned Lamont is, though by all appearances he seems to be more of a dilettante and an opportunist than a liberal or a moderate. And for the Times to blithely overlook that troubling fact, and tout the candidacy of a cypher who is clearly unqualified to be a U.S. Senator out of pique with Joe Lieberman's civility, suggests that Grey Lady has sadly been seduced by the Kossacks and blinded by the same anger that animates them. Indeed, if anyone has forfeited anything here, it is the Times kissing away its credibility as a fair-minded arbiter of America's national interest.

Fortunately, the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Post know who Joe Lieberman is, and they have given their readers more than good reason to entrust their junior senator with another term serving them in the Senate.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Vote4Joe said...

Another great post! This blog rocks!

It's funny how DailyKos will attack the NYTimes for inaccurate reporting, but then cheer when they endorse Lamont. Not surprisingly, I disagree with their endorsement. I can't help but notice that it reads like a DailyKos posting: it argues why Lieberman is bad, rather than why Lamont is good.

Glad to see, however, that so many other papers got it right and are supporting Joe.

7/30/2006 12:16 PM  
Blogger Gary Sartori said...

Nothing about these endorsements from the left wing blogs. Typical of their cowardly, one-sided moronic view.

7/30/2006 12:17 PM  
Anonymous rachelrachel said...

Something else I noticed from the NY Times endorsement:

He once denounced Democrats who were “more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq” than on supporting the war’s progress.

This is a direct quote, but it't out of context, just like the "at your peril" quote that the Lieberhaters like to fling around.

Joe's article

I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November's elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead.

Funny how the NYT forgets that the Senator was scolding members of both parties for putting partisanship over the national interest.

7/30/2006 12:31 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Here is the text from the Connecticut Post--I read it online this AM:

Democrats like to pride themselves on being the political

party of the "Big Tent" under which a diversity of views co-exist

in the interest of larger social welfare goals. Is there not room

now under that tent for Connecticut's junior senator?

"We trust that's not the case and, therefore, the Connecticut

Post endorses Joseph I. Lieberman to be the Democratic Party's

candidate for U.S. Senate. Look at the Lieberman record. It spans

more than 35 years of elected public service starting in 1970 when

he was first elected to the state Senate, continuing in 1982 with

his election as state attorney general, one of the first

"activist" attorney generals in the nation and then moving on to

three terms in the U.S. Senate.

"There have been many times when we've disagreed with the

senator, but his overall record is commendable and the record of a

fighter who has been there for Connecticut in the areas of defense

contracts, the environment, education, health care, civil rights,

and transportation."


You may read this endorsement at:
http://www.norwalkadvocate.com/news/local/state/hc-29211236.apds.m0790.bc-ct-eln--jul29,0,2128101.story?page=2&track=rss

-----

7/30/2006 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Nan said...

"They will also probably neglect to mention that the Washington Post took the diametrically opposite tack in endorsing Lieberman (more on that too)."

Nothing surprising about the Washington Post endorsement.

Washington Post editorial page is neoconservative. They were not just cheerleaders for the Iraq war but demonized opponents of the war as pro Saddam. They were cheerleader for Kenneth Starr and his witchunt. They endorsed Roberts. They endorsed Alito. They endorsed Ted Olson. So it is not surprising that they have endorsed neocon Lieberman.

7/30/2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Hubs, the eternal liberal, but thankfully not an extremist uber-leftist, said that there is a difference between the main writing of the NYT and it's editorial board. The main staff of writers is overall Democratic but that the Editorial Staff is staunchly(!) liberal. At any rate, we are both dissapointed that the Times is endorsing an inexperienced man, for in today's post 9/11 and Katrina world, inexperience only complicates disaster in exponential ways.

Fortunately, The Courant, with it's feet cemented into ancient political soil, is giving the nod to the experienced man, acknowledging expertise and connection over partisanship and the insecurity of a political neophyte.

7/30/2006 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lieberman is the Dean Scream of 2006

7/30/2006 1:10 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Which of these Nan's are you?
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=%22ned+lamont%22+%2B+nan&btnG=Search

At any rate, some of don't pull our punches here. Vague generalisms will get scoffed.

7/30/2006 1:13 PM  
Anonymous rachelrachel said...

For president, the "neocon" Washington Post endorsed Clinton (twice), Gore, and Kerry. I suppose that, by Nan's definition, these three presidential contenders are all neocons.

7/30/2006 1:26 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

Nan Dear,

You're confusing the Washington Post with the Washington Times

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Times

Nan, if you're at Lamont HQ ,you've got to tell you're supervisors to get their facts straight before they have you embarass yourself again.

Lamont has his bloggers post lies and falsehoods, don't fall on your face for them. You have a mind of your own, don't let them steal yours.

7/30/2006 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ned Lamont: "Smart and moderate" - according to the NYT. Sounds good to me.

7/30/2006 1:52 PM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

The poster "nan" does have a point, freak. The Washington Post has been scratching its neoconservative itch rather unabashedly these past few years. That they would endorse the Kissin' Cousin is hardly a surprise.

7/30/2006 1:58 PM  
Blogger LiebermanForLieberman said...

seedfreak: As you are a large-scale propagator of "vague generalisms" yourself, you are hereby being scoffed.

You are, as you would say, laughable.

7/30/2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger SeedFreak said...

I told you days ago to come up with Kos point of view on Brown's FEMA appointment.

Where is it? GO get it.

Have you been instructed to not do so? Where is your mind? It is yours?

Are you permitted to post outside your script?

Do they let you think for yourself at all?

Tsk.

7/30/2006 2:06 PM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

Talk to any conservative and ask them if they think the Post is on their side.

The Post is a wonderfully moderate publication, which is why they are loathed by the hardliners on both sides.

7/30/2006 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Lieberman is the Dean Scream of 2006

7/30/2006 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan Gerstein fails to note that the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Post endorsed Bush in the last 2 elections. I also note that the New York Time has a wee bit more of readership in Connecticut than the Washington Post. As a Michigan Democrat we know that when the Detroit News endorses someone, that is not a good sign. I'm guessing Connecticut Dems have the same attitude towards the Courant and Post. When I was a student at Yale we knew the New Haven Register would always endorse the conservative as well (saw they endorsed Bush in 2004 as well), so we can expect them to endorse Joe Lieberman because of his conservative record. -

7/30/2006 6:53 PM  
Anonymous CentristDem said...

Didn't know that being more liberal than 2/3 of the Senate qualified someone as conservative.

7/30/2006 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fortunately, the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Post know who Joe Lieberman is...

But the Courant ain't so upbeat about Joe. In fact, the article on the race refers to how out of touch Lieberman is and the lack of any excitement around the bus tour. Here is the most telling quote:

the challenger has taken on rock-star aura.

Obviously, it is not just bloggers and the New York Times editorial board, there are lots and lots of CT voters flocking to Lamont.

7/31/2006 1:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops. I forgot the URL for the article I mentioned in the previous post.

http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-senate0730.artjul30,0,2579093.story?page=1&coll=hc-headlines-politics-state

7/31/2006 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The paid hacks doth protest too much, methinks.

You can write thousands and thousands of words, but that doesn't change the simple fact that, when push came to shove, Joe Lieberman once again rolled over for the Bush Administration, and Alito will be on the Supreme Court for the rest of my lifetime.

Shame on you, Joe Lieberman!

7/31/2006 6:50 AM  
Anonymous moderation said...

The problem is that your "simple fact" is actually a bald-faced lie. Sucks for you.

7/31/2006 6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I'm convinced. There is just too much damned partisanship in Washington, with fillibusters and all.

Joe Lieberman is right, we need more hugs and kisses. Bush is a uniter, not a divider, after all. The Republicans control all three branches of government, so it would be much better if the Democrats would just be more cooperative, like Joe. Look at all Joe has accomplished!

7/31/2006 7:36 AM  
Anonymous moderation said...

I never said any of those things. I just pointed out that Lieberman did not roll over on Alito (he voted against him) and that filibustering him would have served no purpose. Maybe you'd rather see the Democrats fight to death without changing a damn thing, but I'd rather see them aim before firing.

You offer more straw men and more lies, but no substance. It's like you don't know how to respond to what someone actually says - all you can do is repeat the same mantras you already know, even if they have nothing to do with the actual argument that was made.

7/31/2006 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Let's be clear: Lieberman spoke out against the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and he supported John McCain's amendment banning torture. He just tried to introduce some perspective and proportionality to the issue, which we now know is an unforgivable sin to those who actually believe that George Bush is a greater threat to America than Osama Bin Laden."

Excuse me, Dan, but this is horseshit. What good is Lieberman's support for the McCain Amendment if Lieberman suggests that our troops can be held to the same standard as our enemies? That's exactly what his glib, Hannityesque remark implied. Make no mistake. Joe Lieberman's not a talk radio host, he's a goddamned U.S. Senator, and he ought to act like it. By the way, when you argue that those who are outraged by torture find George Bush to be more menacing than Osama bin Laden, you employ a rhetorical silencer. No less a hawk than Andrew Sullivan knows the torture matter inside out. Use your zero-sum language on him, and you'll be out of your depth quicker than you can imagine.

I'm pro-Iraq War, but I'm voting for Lamont. Why? Contra President Clinton, Democrats DID have a role to play following the fall of Saddam Hussein, and Joe did not live up to his own billing as a foreign-policy leader. Has he not noticed the parallell universe Donald Rumsfeld's living in? How would calling for Rummy's firing (as Lieberman fan The Bull Moose has) be speaking in "apocalyptic terms?" And why did Joe vote for the apolitical hack Condi Rice, who sent her flunkie Karen Hughes to mutter relativist mishmash while buildings burned over Dutch cartoons? It's great that Saddam's gone, and it's great that we've gradually brought about free elections in Iraq; I needn't shout this from the rooftops everyday to prove my patriotism. What Americans are seeing now, I think, is that Team Bush has lost sight of what is next. Where do we go now? What do "standing up" and "standing down" mean in terms of troop levels, lengths of our troops' tours of duty, etc. Will our commitment to Iraq rule out the possibility of at least a small military campaign to dent the killing in Darfur? Give me statistics, Mr. President, Senator Lieberman.

I disagree with Lamont emphatically about the War, and I'm not clear what kind of senator he'd make, but my vote for him is a statement about how a good cause has been jeopardized by a President who screwed a once-great senator while that same senator took it lying down.

7/31/2006 10:07 PM  

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