Connecticut Politics Watch

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Moment of Silence

Don't forget to take a moment of silence on Monday morning in honor of all our fellow citizens that were lost. No matter our political persuasion, or our feelings about the war, it is the proper thing to do. Also, be sure to thank, and shake the hand, of your local emergency response people.

Life comes at us fast
And we know it does not last.
But we must remember
That day in September
When so many of us were lost....

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Wishing Well

Over the next few articles I am going to examine some of Ned Lamont’s television commercials. What we need to look at is what the commercials seem to be implying, and attempt to analyze what Ned’s position on the “issue” is. In essence, we need to determine what he plans to do to change the “problem” he sees. As we do this analysis, we need to remember that we have been duped many times by politicians promising things that they have no chance at changing.

In this article we will be taking a look at Neddy’s commercial called Wishing Well. The ad, which you can see here (the last one of the TV ads as you scroll down), starts off with Ned narrating about wishes as various costumed people march by a wishing well and drop in money.

His first statement is:

“In America, no one should have to wish for medicine…

On the face of it, this is true. Nobody should have to wish for medicine. Leaving aside the fact that we are probably the most over-medicated country on the face of the earth, there are people in need of medicine that can’t get it. And Ned is correct that something needs to be done. But what Ned doesn’t mention that there are many, many programs already in place – both government and private – that provide support for pharmaceutical needs. Take for example, the Husky program for children in Connecticut (soon to be replaced by a newer program as I understand it), the programs for indigenous/homeless/shelter, the new Medicare drug program, etc. And before you start, almost everyone understands that due to the bureaucratic nature of governments, administration of these programs is unwieldy, but it does not mean that people can’t take advantage of them.

In essence, what Lamont is referring to here is his “plan” (read as “pipe dream”) for Universal Health Care. Of course Ned has no real plan for how to implement something like this. But it sure makes good “buzz talk” for the masses. And doesn’t that sound like the typical democratic talking point? I mean, it sounds good, but what are the real world implications of Universal Health Care? How much would it cost? How would the government, in all it’s lack-of-efficiency, going to handle this? Would we need another new, huge bureaucracy to handle the program? Where would the money come from? And probably the most important question of all, does anyone trust the government to make good decisions about an individual’s health? Add to that, do you really trust the government to protect your personal data?

Ned continues:

…or decent classrooms…

I don’t think that anyone would argue about this. Quite honestly I feel that the federal government does not belong in our classrooms to begin with.

Depending on the measure you use, NCLB is either a minimal success, or a failure. What is unfortunate is that our entire public school system is an over-funded, under-achieving, government monopoly. Picture it this way – schools are now regulated so tightly on what has to be taught each year, that teachers have no way to help children in trouble, or children who are gifted (although more emphasis is placed there). Federal mandates and requirements. State mandates and requirements. And when you add in the fact that unions protect under-performing teachers, you end up with the mess we are in today.

With all that said, just what is Ned’s plan for making it better? In all of the rhetoric he has put out, he has not articulated any plans whatsoever. What is the solution? Is it to throw more money at the wall and hope that it sticks? Is it that he wants vouchers? What? Ned’s word seems to be, like that of John Kerry during the 2004 election, “Trust me. I will fix everything. Bush is bad.” That is the sum and substance of the campaign.

What did Lamont say next? Let’s review:

…or secure retirement.

This is interesting, especially coming from a leftist-elitist worth over $90 million. I suspect it is a reference to the Social Security system. And again, on the face of things, Ned is correct. People should not have to worry about their retirements. However, we know that for all the people who are depending solely on Social Security for their retirement, they are in serious trouble. With Baby-Boomers retiring in droves, and people living longer, it is not a question of if Social Security will become bankrupt, but when.

There have been several attempts to fix the problem. But due to partisan wrangling (on both sides), all we ever get is band-aids to the problem. We have a series of patches that may extend the fund, but do nothing to fix the problem.

The real issue is should the government be responsible for people’s retirement? My opinion is that they should not be. Give me my money and let me invest it the way I want. If my spouse and I had been allowed to invest the money we have put into the system we would in all probability have a retirement fund that would provide at least twice what Social Security will give us – and that using “safe” investments. However, just because many of us can be disciplined in investing and preparing, many aren’t. So what do we do?

Now, the question that has to be asked with regard to Ned Lamont is, what is his plan to fix retirement for all of us? As with everything else in the commercial, he has no plan, just words. Is that what we really want from a Senator? No ideas what to do, just “trust me.”

Ned continues:

No one should have to wish that their mom and dad won’t be shipped off to war…

I agree with that too. Nobody would wish to see a loved one go off to war. But to think that Lamont can provide us with options where nobody ever gets shipped off to war is very, very unrealistic. Try to name one administration over the last few that did not have to commit troops to a foreign soil.

I think that what Neddy is trying to get at here is the anti-Iraq war movement. Well and good. We know his stance on this issue. In fact, it is the only issue in Ned’s entire campaign where he has advocated a plan, even if not fully-formed. And that is “cut and run.” And while many people are disappointed in the progress of the war, there have been major results there. We could debate the issues involved all day, but suffice it to say that this claim is the heart of Ned’s campaign.

Finally Ned says:

Still, every day we spend billions of dollars, and nothing changes….

Yes. Our government does spend billions of dollars every day. To pay for those billions, we are taxed beyond belief – not only in formal taxes, but in hidden ones also. And the GWOT has added to that, and has added to our deficit. So did all of our natural disasters, Katrina being the biggest. And yet, the deficit has been cut in half in shorter time than expected (not the debt, the deficit). The economy has shown incredible resiliency. Things are not as bad as they have been painted.

But does Ned Lamont really expect to reduce the amount of money the country is spending? With programs like Universal Health Care, more band-aids for Social Security, and more government intervention in our schools, does he really expect that we will not be spending more money than we are now? What are his plans for doing that? How will it be accomplished?

Quite honestly, I think that Ned has been spending to much of his time at the Wishing Well. Too many quarters wishing for solutions and votes, and not enough time in the real world.

Friday, September 01, 2006

An Immature Camp(aign)

As more and more comes out of the Lamont camp, and I call it a camp as opposed to a campaign, one begins to get the feel of just how much Ned represents the far, far left in his efforts to be elected. Here is the latest kerfuffle:

Picture this. You have a candidate running for a United States Senator. The Upper House of our federal legislative system, the chambers of which are full of men and women to whom decorum and appearance tends to be paramount (legislating/debating aside). This is the place where weighty decisions are made. This is the place that looks down upon the “brawling mass” of the House of Representatives (at least from their perspective). This is the “great deliberative” body!

Now picture this. Jane Hamsher, closely tied to the Lamont campaign, puts up a photo-shopped picture of Joe Lieberman on her site – one where Lieberman is in blackface (see here for the picture). Ned immediately denies knowing anything about blogs. He actually told the WaPo:

Lamont brushed past reporters Wednesday night in Bridgeport, saying: "I don't know anything about the blogs. I'm not responsible for those. I have no comment on them."

Yeah right – as will soon be shown, Ned’s camp (portrayed as a bunch of sulking teens with nasty mouths) mimics the far left blogs to a tee. BTW – Hamsher claimed that she was not officially a part of the Lamont camp. This in spite of the fact that she moved to Connecticut to blog for Lamont, travels as part of his group, drives his people to important engagements (like his Comedy Central appearance with Colbert), and even admits (with pictures to show it) that she helped direct at least one television commercial for the primary. According to the WaPo article:

While noting that Hamsher is not a paid staffer, Gerstein argued that she has been an integral part of the Lamont operation. "She's been an active part of their campaign," he said. "She travels with him, she's raised money for them and has become the primary mouthpiece for him in the blogosphere."

But Ned doesn’t know who she is.

Ned has appeared in video with the founder of DailyKos, Jane Hamsher, and others. But he doesn’t know who or what bloggers are.

His own campaign site has a tribute to the blogosphere: Happy Blogosphere Day. But Ned doesn’t know anything about blogs.

But it is apparent that the Lamont camp is sinking to the level of commenters and posters at the likes of DailyKos – to the level of vulgarity and coarse behavior that is unbecoming for someone running for the United States Senate. Ned’s campaign manager, Tony Swan, compares the city of Waterbury as a place:

“where the forces of slime meet the forces of evil.”

That was in response to the fact that Lieberman won more votes in that city than Neddy did. Seems a bit over-the-top to me. But also reflects the immaturity of Lamont’s staff. Why in the world would a camp go out of the way to alienate a part of the electorate? Of course, the after-the-slip-of-the-tongue rationalization is that Swan was simply referring to the fact that a former mayor was jailed on corruption and child abuse convictions. Again, even with this explanation in hand, it is obvious that the people of the city of Waterbury were offended. Now we are getting close to the normal rhetoric used by the far left. What else can we find?

Here is the kicker. According to an article published in the Hartford Advocate, Lamont’s camp has finally come up to Kos standards (or as most people believe – sunk to Kos standards):

Or, to put it more simply: “Woah, are these professionals that are going to Washington?”

Those are the words of Kevin Brookman, vice president of the Connecticut Pride Center, a Hartford organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. Brookman said when he recently tried to secure a promised donation from Lamont’s campaign, he was stunned by the cursing and disrespect he received from a campaign staffer.

Brookman is organizing the Connecticut Pride Festival, which is expected to draw at least 10,000 people to downtown Hartford on Sept. 9. (He’s also a neighborhood activist and a member of Hartford’s Republican Town Committee.) Festival organizers solicited potential donors to buy advertisements in the festival guide, and Brookman said both the Lamont and Lieberman campaigns pledged to contribute.

Lieberman’s campaign paid for its ad, but Brookman said Lamont’s people subsequently decided not to contribute. Brookman said he tried again, leaving a message with the campaign. Sitting in his office with other Pride Festival organizers a couple weeks ago, he received a call back and put it on his speaker phone. It was top Lamont staffer John Murphy, who was Swan’s deputy at CCAG and joined the campaign along with him.

According to Brookman’s account, Murphy tore into him, saying, “Who the fuck do you think you are?” and continuing in a similarly off-color vein. When he mentioned he had personally given an information packet to Lamont, who promised to buy an ad, Murphy said, “Why the fuck would you give it to the candidate?” Finally, Murphy said, “We’ll take the fucking ad,” according to Brookman.

“He was using the F-word as every other word,” said Daniel Halle, a festival coordinator who was in the room. Worse than the cursing, however, was the campaign’s broken promise to support the festival, he said. “Do we want someone as a senator who can’t even stick with getting an ad?” Brookman said, “This is the biggest single event in the gay community, and they’re blowing it off.” The organizers have yet to receive a check from the Lamont campaign, they said.

Wow. Lamont staffers swearing at voters. That says it all. It almost sounds as if a bunch of High School kids got together to run this campaign.

And of course, Neddy has not apologized for his staff. What does that mean? Does he support their attitude? Remember, this is a spoon-fed, rich, elitist who did not ever have to work a day in his life, although one of his TV ads (coincidentally using High School kids) implies that he is a self-made man. He quit his country club recently, where he was a member for almost two decades, because it was pointed out to him that the club might be viewed as not integrated enough. Why now?

What a double standard. Bush gets lambasted for using a swear word, but Ned apparently likes his staff doing the same thing……

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Lamont Spinning Again

Well, I must admit that I was surprised when I heard that Chris Shays had pulled an about take on his position on getting the troops out of Iraq. I should have known better – after all, the reports came from MSM and we all know that at times (what the heck – all the time) the MSM shapes what is reported around what fits their POV; what fits their view of how the world should be. As I read more, I found that the “headlines” were a bit misleading. Let’s dig a little further.

Chris Shays has not been my favorite Connecticut legislator, but he has always seemed to stick to his guns with respect to his stances. Take, for example, his continuing stance on campaign finance reform. While his position on this is not extremely popular with his own party, he still keeps trying. So his reported “about face” with regard to Iraq really seemed quite odd – even in respect to his tight election campaign this year.

According to the AP Wire report in the Waterbury Republican-American, Shays said:

"Our troops cannot be there indefinitely," Shays, R-Conn., said Thursday from
London during a telephone conference call with reporters after visiting Iraq for
the 14th time since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. "We need to have a sense of when
our troops can withdraw."


"We should be able to tell the
American people what kind of timeline we can have to begin to draw down our
troops," he said. "It may be a timeline the American people don't want to hear.
It may not be something that brings them out quickly."

From this report it would seem pretty clear what Shays position is. Well….maybe not, but we will get to that in a few minutes.

To her credit, Diane Farrell – Shays Democratic opponent in this election –bucks the Democratic party trend by believing that no exact timetable should be set for the withdrawal of troops. She does believe that Congress should develop an exit strategy. According to the same article:

Farrell, who opposes troop pullback timetables proposed by some in her party, has called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation in favor of a successor who can develop an Iraq exit plan that Congress supports.

"Congress ought to demand an exit plan," she said.

There has been some fall-out from the original articles and it is somewhat humorous if you are following the antics of Ned Lamont’s campaign. They (under the leadership of George Jepsen – who has been around CT politics forever) quickly jumped on the Shay’s headlines to claim that it shows how wrong Joe Lieberman is. According to an article published in the Hartford Courant by Mark Pazniokas:

Ned Lamont's Senate campaign Friday seized on the statement by Shays, a supporter of the war in Iraq, as a dramatic shift that places Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in a dwindling minority opposed to considering deadlines.

CNN, MSNBC and other news networks gave prominent play Friday to the ramifications of Shays' new position, which he first announced Thursday on a conference call during a London stopover on the way home from his 14th trip to Iraq.

(Quick side note: Mr. Pazniokas, the writer of the Courant article, has shown a clearly biased attitude in a series of articles on this campaign. Even though his paper officially endorsed Lieberman during the primary, Mr. Pazniokas consistently writes articles that favor Lamont over Lieberman. It is obvious what his bias is, whether he ever admits to it or not.)

"It is a pretty dramatic shift in course," said George Jepsen, the chairman of Lamont's campaign to unseat Lieberman. "[Shays] is buying into the rationale that the Iraqi army, political leadership and security folks won't step up to the plate."

Shays' new position further isolates Lieberman politically in Washington and Connecticut and undercuts Lieberman's claim that Lamont is reckless for suggesting that Iraqis need to prepare for a reduced U.S. presence, Jepsen said.

First off, as with any good spin, Jepsen makes a valid point about what Shays believes. It is probably true that some Iraqi government officials would move more quickly if they knew our troops were leaving. But as far as I know, Lamont has never claimed that “Iraqis need to prepare for a reduced U.S. presence.” Lamont has stated on numerous occasions that the US must pull out and do it now. And there’s the spin. Jepsen tries to make Lamont’s position sound more like what Shays said, while in reality they are completely different POVs. In fact, before this latest kerfuffle, Shays’ and Farrell’s positions were more closely aligned.

I find it interesting though that while Jepsen and Lamont are clearly castigating Lieberman; intimating that he is out of the mainstream for his view that we need to stay in Iraq until the mission is complete, but they make no mention of a similar stance by Farrell. The logic does not make sense. If Lieberman’s position is wrong, then so is Farrell’s. And is the Lamont camp now supporting Shays? Or was this simply that they tried to jump the headlines for more advantage. Sounds more like inept campaigning to me.

But let’s explore further, because there is more to this MSM spin. If you read further into the Pazniokas article, you find:

Lieberman, who is continuing as a petitioning candidate after losing the Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Lamont, told reporters during a campaign stop in New Haven that he remains opposed to Congress' setting a deadline for withdrawal.

"As I've said to you over and over again, the sooner we get out of Iraq, the better it's going to be for the Iraqis and for us, but if we leave too soon for reasons of American politics, it's going to be a disaster for the Iraqis and for us," Lieberman said.

The article continues:

As he flew home Friday, Shays said in a telephone interview from the plane that he remains in agreement with Lieberman that a premature withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would be a disaster. A timetable cannot be arbitrary, he said.

"I believe if we left Iraq immediately or prematurely, it would result in just what Joe Lieberman sees: an all-out civil war, fuel prices off the scale," Shays said. "Of greatest concern, ultimately, would be that Islamist terrorists would have won. It would make Iran the new power in the gulf. That can't be allowed to happen."


His plan is to establish goals and realistic deadlines that will prod the Iraqis to establish internal security forces and open talks to end sectarian violence - and also reassure the Iraqis that the U.S. will not leave prematurely, he said.

Now wait a minute….this doesn’t sound the way that MSM first portrayed Shays’ stance. They made it sound like Shays decided to “cut and run”, just like Ned Lamont’s position. Instead we see that what he really wants is a better plan for forcing the Iraqi’s to take over security in their country, and allow us to leave when the country is stabilized. Shays’ statements don’t seem much different from what his stance has been all along – to not leave immediately or prematurely.

As for internal security in Iraq – we know several facts that you will never see from the Lamont camp or on MSM. First off, we are over 50% complete with our goal of training and deploying the Iraqi Army. They have taken over large portions of the country and are now firmly in control. This has freed up our troops to help out in the Baghdad area – practically the last bad area in the country. Not only that, but the news from Baghdad is good:

From this article:

Via the Multi-National Force weekly press briefing on Tuesday, August 22, 2006, Major General William Caldwell shared some of the good security news from the past week including the big news that Coalition and Iraqi forced captured "well over" 100 known Al Qaeda terrorists and associates in the last week!

And more here:

Also, just this week- "Coalition and Iraqi forced captured "well over" 100 known Al Qaeda terrorists and associates in the last week!"The official spokesman for the Iraqi department of defense, Mr. Muhamed Alaskari said, "Armed attacks have substantial decline, about a 70% decline compared to the last few weeks." And... The BBC is even reporting the joint operation to improve security in Baghdad is bringing results.

And here:

"God willing, the Americans will stay until the situation gets better."Baghdad businessmanLawk Salih is reporting this good news tonight:
Business has been so good, that business owners like Taha are having a tough time keeping up with the growing demand. He sells everything from dime-a-dozen Nokia’s to high-end camera phones.

The list goes on…….

Bottom line, MSM and their supporters have tried to spin what Shays said into something he did not. Lamont jumped all over it, but no forethought or logic, which goes right along with the Democratic brain trust of Nancy “Can You Read Upside Down” Pelosi and Howard “AIIIIIIIYEEEEEE” Dean.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wrong Track?

I have been verbally attacked by a left-leaning hack named appalled that I used quote from Fox News in my last article. Even though this person had no proof of any sort that what Fox presented was not true, simply because it came from Fox caused appalled to ignore the facts – the Rick Santorum had announced the information about the WMDs, and that the information came from an US intelligence document. I suspect that appalled got no further than reading the headline, as that is what I expect from certain people.

Nevertheless, I will move on. Today’s news is from the Washington Post. It seems that those democrats who wish to set even loose timetables for the withdrawal from Iraq, including those who are against the war, were stomped in the Senate today. And the funny thing is, they were stomped with the help of their own party. According to an article by William Branigin at WaPo:

Senators first voted 86-13 to defeat a proposal , offered by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.), to "require a redeployment" from Iraq starting immediately and to be substantially completed by July 1, 2007.

A second measure , advanced by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), drew support from more Democrats but still went down, 60-39. The nonbinding "sense of Congress" proposal urged President Bush to start pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq this year but did not set a withdrawal deadline.

The article goes on to attempt to cast blame solely on Republicans for defeating these measures, and in some sense that is true. But if you look at the numbers for the votes, it is abundantly clear that many, many centrist democrats agree with the Republicans.

The question that has to be asked in relation to these humiliating defeats is, why do so many Senators, on both sides of the aisle, feel that the troops must not be withdrawn according to a specific timetable? Could it be that they realize the US needs to stay until the job is done, and not leave the Iraqi’s before things have stabilized? Could it also be that fewer democrats actually subscribe to the current democratic leadership model that the war was not worth it? That it was based on a lie? Time will tell.

What does this say about Ned Lamont and his single-issue campaign? It seems that, the majority, or at least the plurality, of democratic Senators, agree with Joe Lieberman’s position. Lieberman’s vote today seems to reflect the way most Americans feel – at least as based on how their representatives voted. Seems simple enough.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

False Premise?

NewsFlash: According to Newly Declassified Documents WMDs have been found in Iraq.

According to breaking reports from Fox News:

The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more
weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers
said Wednesday.

"We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons," Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said in a quickly called press conference late Wednesday afternoon.

Reading from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, Santorum said: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."
Imagine that. You should read the whole article and you can do so here. But what does it say about our politicians who have made such a big deal out of continuing the popular left democratic theme of “Bush Lied”? What does it say about political hopefuls that base their entire campaign on the now-proven incorrect theory that the Iraq war is unjust; that there were no WMD in Iraq; that Iraq is not part of the GWOT; that they should be voted for simply because they are against the war? You know who I am talking about – none other than Ned Lamont. Ta Da.

Take a moment to consider this. Joe Lieberman was, and is correct, in his stance on the war. In his stance that Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. In his stance that the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein should be toppled. That a sub-human such as Hussein, who murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people; who killed his own people and enemies using WMDs should not be allowed to continue in power.

Here are some of the Key Points of the declassified document:

--Since 2003 Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent.
--Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still
--Pre-Gulf War Iraqi chemical weapons could be sold on the black
market. Use of these weapons by terrorists or insurgent groups would have
implications for Coalition forces in Iraq. The possibility of use outside Iraq
cannot be ruled out.
--The most likely munitions remaining are sarin and mustard-filled projectiles.
--The purity of the agent inside the munitions depends on many factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives, and environmental storage conditions. While agents degrade over time, chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal.
--It has been reported in open press that insurgents and Iraqi groups desire to acquire and use chemical weapons.
OK…Ok…I know. All of the conspiracy theorists will unite. Ned will probably claim that Senator Lieberman made this up in some kind of “Rovian” plot (see for the origin of the reference).

Lets add more drama from the Fox news report:
"This says weapons have been discovered, more weapons exist and they state that
Iraq was not a WMD-free zone, that there are continuing threats from the materials that are or may still be in Iraq," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

The weapons are thought to be manufactured before 1991 so they would not be proof of an ongoing WMD program in the 1990s. But they do show that Saddam Hussein was lying when he said all weapons had been destroyed, and it shows that years of on-again, off-again weapons inspections did not uncover these munitions.
Wow. Hussein was lying? Who would have believed that? To think that he was actually hiding WMDs. Add to that the fact that Project Harmony is uncovering documents captured in Iraq after the war that show that the Hussein dictatorship was actively involved with Al Queada and other terrorist organizations and you start to see that very few Democrats have been presenting the truth over the last few years.

What does that say about the Democrats chances in the Fall? They have been trumped by yet another Bush and Republican strategy. And that brings us back full circle to the questions of the day: How can Ned Lamont win by running a single issue campaign based on a false premise? Would it not be better to stay with a candidate that actually took a stance based on truth, and stood by it? Can Ned win based on his lack of other positions?