CT-Sen FAQ

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This is a list of frequently asked questions about Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont, and Connecticut U.S. Senate election, 2006 with answers taken from Daily Kos. The positions here are supported by front page stories on Daily Kos, or "recommended" diaries which have broad support in the Daily Kos community. (note: recommended diaries and front page stories are in bold, outside links and non recommended diaries are not).

Contents

Why shouldn't Lieberman be in the Senate?

There are lots of reasons, many of which are described as answers to other questions. However, it really boils down to two key points that should be considered by all voters (not just Democratic party loyalists):

  • Lieberman has enabled the disastrous Republican agenda
    • Support for the disastrous war in Iraq
      • See the Right Web profile on Joe Lieberman for the list of neoconservative and conservative pro-war groups to which he belongs [1]
    • Failure to support censure for Bush in spite of Bush's lawless behavior
    • Frequently appears on news shows actively supporting Bush administration policies
  • Lieberman is a craven opportunist who flip-flops as politically convenient
    • Criticizes Lamont for befriending Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, while himself calling Sharpton a "dear friend" and "brother" and generally speaking quite fondly of Jackson
    • Waffled on other key issues, such as school vouchers and Social Security privatization
    • Won't support any criticism of Bush, while previously supporting Clinton impeachment
    • Was against Rumsfeld before he was for him, which now he's against him

Lieberman says he's a loyal Democrat. Is he?

You may have seen reports of Lieberman insisting he's a loyal Democrat. If that's the case, no one here is sure what he'd call disloyal. He is running a vicious campaign against the party's chosen candidate. His efforts will harm the chances for Democratic nominees for congressional seats. One of the key members of Lieberman's campaign (his pollster) also is working for Republican Rick Santorum's campaign. Most importantly, his position on the Iraq War (the centerpiece of Bush's foreign policy) is entirely incompatible with the Democratic position on it. Not only does he hold a contrarian view, but he attacks Democrats who hold opposing views.

If Lieberman were a loyal Democrat, he would at least endorse other Democrats downticket of him (such as in the 2006 Connecticut U.S. House election). However, when asked by the New Haven Independent whether he endorses Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy, the Democratic Party challengers running in tight races for the U.S. House this year, he said "I’m a non-combatant [...] I am not going to be involved in other campaigns. I think it’s better if I just focus on my own race."

Lieberman's staff is now debating whether or not Lieberman should continue to caucus with Democrats this fall.

Key posts:

Is Lieberman an "Independent candidate"?

No, Connecticut has very strict rules for what candidates call themselves. There's already a candidate using the "Independent" label. That candidate is John Mertens.

Joe Lieberman has instead started his own party called the Connecticut For Lieberman Party.

Is the opposition to Lieberman just about his Iraq war support?

Lieberman is on the wrong side of the PATRIOT act and waffles on many issues, such as school vouchers and Social Security privatization. He undercut efforts to oppose the confirmation of Justice Alito.

Lieberman also sided with Republicans in interfering in the Terri Schiavo affair. To quote Terri Schiavo's husband Michael: "Not only did Joe Lieberman support the illegal political intervention in the private and legally protected decisions of my family, he went out of his way to defend it. On national television."

His overight of Homeland Security has been awful. He was central in putting FEMA under the Department of Homeland Security, leading to budget cuts and mismanagement that hurt us when Hurricane Katrina hit. He rubberstamped Michael Brown's approval as Deputy Director of FEMA, and supported Brown even after his dismal performance in managing the Katrina response.

Stepping back and taking an overall view, Democrats are "finding their spine" in Lamont and aren't cowed any longer by group think to be 'patriots' and centrists.

Diaries and other references:

Great, so what is Ned Lamont about (besides getting out of Iraq)?

Here's a quote from Ned Lamont's website on a page titled "Why am I running?":

I am running for the US Senate because we deserve a Senator who will stand up for Connecticut and stand up for our progressive democratic values. Rather than spending hundreds of millions of dollars a day in Iraq, it is time for America to refocus on issues back home: fixing our healthcare system, upgrading our schools, and rebuilding our aging infrastructure. We will start winning in Iraq as the Iraqis take control of their own destiny, just as America has to start investing again in our own future.
I would have led the opposition to Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, which may soon be considering the South Dakota law which outlaws a woman’s right to choose even in the case of rape and incest. I will push for energy conservation and efficiency standards as the best means to energy independence and a cleaner environment.

Lamont differs from Lieberman on several issues. In addition to Lamont's opposition to the war, he is against the the PATRIOT Act, supports gay marriage and universal health care, opposes the recent creditor-friendly changes to U.S. bankruptcy law, opposes federal intervention in cases such as Terri Schiavo's, opposes the federal earmark system (i.e. pork barrel projects). Although Lieberman was one of 41 Democrats who voted against the Alito confirmation, he was one of 18 Democrats to vote for cloture.[2] [3] If cloture did not pass, a vote on the confirmation would have been blocked (unless Republicans had taken the controversial step of invoking the so-called "nuclear option").

In an interview with Firedoglake titled Ned Lamont Deserves Enthusiastic GLBT Support, Lamont said this:

I strongly believe that rather than us having a federal government that tries to take rights away from people, we need a federal government that guarantees rights for people. Guarantees them a right to privacy; guarantees them a right to live their lives without federal interference. I think the Bush administration has been wrong on this. I think Senator Lieberman is too likely to mix religion and politics, and I believe that, when it comes to gay rights, that’s the next civil rights struggle, and rather than take away people’s rights, we should be fighting to guarantee rights.

In short, Lamont stands for much more than getting out of Iraq. Learn more in these Daily Kos recommended diaries:

Is Lamont way too far to the left?

Not at all. His positions are similar to Lieberman in a lot of respects. Here's what conservative Larry Kudlow had to say:

Looks to me like the big difference on war between Lieberman and Lamont is that Lamont favors a one year deadline troop withdrawal (as he said on Kudlow & Company last week) whereas Lieberman does not favor a deadline.
So, pro-war hawks like myself would favor Lieberman. But of course the big problem I have is that the U.S. is not winning the war. Staying the course doesn't sound like a solution to the massive sectarian violence going on in Iraq.
On domestic policies, they're both liberal Democrats opposing tax cuts, ANWR, and offshore drilling, and opposing the ban on partial-birth abortion.
Lamont however may be slightly to the right of Lieberman on budget spending. In the CNBC interview with me, Lamont said he wanted to eliminate budget earmarks like the abusive transportation bill. Lieberman is a defender of earmarks.

Why are people at Daily Kos so fixated on this race?

This answer from Sidney Blumenthal at TPM Cafe, "Why Bush Needs Lieberman":

Lieberman can only win by securing almost all the Republican votes. His campaign must pull Republican votes to the polls, courtesy of the national GOP on which his ambition has become dependent. That can have a drastically negative effect on the Democratic campaigns in the three Connecticut congressional districts where Republican representatives are at risk. Those three seats comprise 1/5 of the total number of 15 that Democrats need to gain the House. Out of necessity Lieberman has become an active obstacle to Democratic victory and one of the key bulwarks for protecting Bush's one-party rule essential for remaining unaccountable for the rest of his presidency. For Bush, that is the importance of Lieberman.

Another extremely dangerous thing about Lieberman is that he's trying to redefine "the center" to be his muddled, opportunistic and just plain incorrect platform. The mainstream media seems to be eating this up, and that's what makes it dangerous.

Lamont needs to win to ensure that the Democrats at least have a say in defining what "the center" is. If Lieberman loses, he'll be quickly ignored and forgotten. If Lieberman wins, he'll be the go-to guy for rubberstamping the right-wing agenda as "centrist"

Diaries that address this question:

What happens if Lieberman is nominated as Secretary of Defense?

If he was confirmed by the Senate, then his replacement would be named by Connecticut's Republican Governor Jodi Rell, and this Republican would serve out the rest of Joe's term.

Does Ned Lamont support immediate withdrawal from Iraq?

No. Lamont supports a phased withdrawal. Details can be found on Think Progress in FACT CHECK: Ned Lamont Does Not Support ‘Immediate Withdrawal’ From Iraq, which exposes the Republican establishment as lying on this subject.


Isn't Lieberman's experience and influence worth a lot to CT voters?

Lieberman made a big deal out of the support that he got before the primary, especially the endorsement by Bill Clinton. However, Lieberman is stabbing the party in the back, and it hasn't gone unnoticed by the most influential members of the party. For example, Clinton has this to say about Lieberman:

"There were almost no Democrats who agreed with his position, which was, 'I want to attack Iraq whether or not they have weapons of mass destruction,' " Clinton said. "His position was the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld position."

Senator John Kerry posted this on Daily Kos:

[I believe] that once a primary is decided, we've got to stand up and be counted. In Connecticut, Democrats chose Ned Lamont, and we need to stand with Ned as he challenges the broken policy in Iraq. I mean really stand with him - put our money where our mouths are. No half hearted endorsements. It's gut check time for Democrats. Connecticut chose a Democrat who will go head to head with Don Rumsfeld and fight for a policy that makes Iraqis stand up for Iraq.

It'll be clear in the coming weeks that Lieberman's eroding support is going to diminish what little influence he has left. There's talk of stripping him of his key assignments (even though that's not really possible). He's having to build a new staff from the ground up, and he's having problems even finding people to take his money to run his website. Meanwhile, it's Lamont that is starting to really enjoy the benefits of working within the system.

References:

Why don't the Senate Democrats strip Lieberman's committee assignments now?

Because they can't.

Portions of this document were copied from Wikipedia, from the entry titled "Ned Lamont" on August 22, 2006. See the edit history of that article for a complete list of contributors.

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