Connecticut Politics Watch

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to these humiliating defeats is, why do so many Senators, on both sides of the aisle, feel that the troops must not be withdrawn according to a specific timetable?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?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What To Think Of Ned?

This is a strange position for me to be in. I am a fairly conservative Republican and so I normally do not take too much interest in the infighting between Democratic candidates. However, I have been watching the race between Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut election for U.S. Senate. And the more I watch, the more perplexed I become. I will admit that I voted for Senator Lieberman, and that I think he is a very good representative for Connecticut.

Connecticut residents know the record of Joe Lieberman. Most things they agree with and support Senator Lieberman in. Some things they do not. But, since there is a “new face” on the block, I am really curious. What exactly does Ned Lamont stand for? What are his specific plans for Connecticut? What exactly is he going to do if elected? It seems to me that these are extremely important questions that need to be answered before a rational, reasonable person can make an informed decision. I set out to find more information.

I began my journey for enlightenment at the most logical place, none other than Ned Lamont’s web site. If there is anywhere I would expect to find the information on what Mr. Lamont stands for, I would have thought that would be the place. Here is what I found (here and in all quotes the emphasis is mine):
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.

In other words, I am running to be your Democratic Senator.
OK. Now I get it. Ned Lamont thinks that the money we are spending to protect our country from the Global War on Terror (GWOT), and especially our role in Iraq, could be better spent on “healthcare system, upgrading our schools, and rebuilding our aging infrastructure.” I think I understand that. But still, the big question for Mr. Lamont becomes: What is your plan to accomplish all of that? That doesn’t seem like to complicated a question does it? Well the answer must be somewhere on Mr. Lamont’s web site right? Yeah…that’s got to be it. So I found this:

I will say that Mr. Lamont made a token effort to say that he would have “led” the issue of not confirming Alito to the Supreme Court. Of course he does not mention that Mr. Lieberman was vocal in not supporting Alito, nor does he mention that Mr. Lieberman voted against Alito’s confirmation. So, in essence, they had the exact same stance on that issue.

The curious thing here is that Mr. Lamont is trying to link Joe Lieberman to the fact that the Supreme Court may review a case from South Dakota on abortion rights. The fact that the case may be heard has nothing to do with Joe Lieberman. He voted against Alito. It seems a bit disingenuous of Mr. Lamont say, “We won’t crawl through the political gutter down-the-stretch, airing misleading personal attack ads, we don’t have to.” That seems true – he puts innuendo and smear right there on his web site for all to read.
Standing Strong ... Together

With less than two months to go until election day, things are really heating up. The polls show Ned closing the gap from 43 points to as little as six in a recent Rasmussen poll. In response, Senator Lieberman is spending his corporate interest campaign contributions on ugly attack ads the New Haven Independent calls “Rovian.” In addition, the senator still refuses to support the winner of the primary, while his high-profile supporters label us “weirdos” and “radicals.”

By contrast, our effort centers on people-power and positivity, packing rallies with dozens and even hundreds of supporters at almost every campaign stop. We won’t crawl through the political gutter down-the-stretch, airing misleading personal attack ads, we don’t have to. We have each other, and that’s why we are going to win on August 8. But now is the time to re-double your effort and add your voice to the thousands thirsting for change in Washington, D.C. This is what democracy looks like.
Well that is much more enlightening on Mr. Lamont’s position, right? I mean if you can get past the fact that there is no such word as “positivity” in the English language, we can see that Mr. Lamont is running specifically to…well….I don’t think it says. I mean, it talks about Joe Lieberman running “attack ads” and being “Rovian” in nature, but I don’t see where Mr. Lamont says just what he stands for; what specifically he will do for Connecticut. It must be there on the site somewhere.

At the bottom of the last quote there is a link that says “read more.” Ahhhh…obviously that is where the meat of Ned’s positions must reside. So I clicked on it and to my surprise I found this:

Since I said I was willing to challenge Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary, we've been overwhelmed with notes of encouragement and people signing up on I've been traveling around the state too, listening to voters, and finding an outpouring of intense frustration with many of Senator Lieberman's votes. Democrats, Independents and even many Republicans desperately want a Senator who will stand up to the President's wrong-headed fiscal, judicial and foreign policy choices.

But, it will take an unprecedented grassroots movement in Connecticut, and unprecedented support from Americans everywhere, to beat an entrenched and well-funded incumbent like Joe Lieberman.

Our campaign cannot succeed without your financial support!
- Ned
What a surprise! Nothing on his stances at all, but a general statement that he is running because….ummmmm….he thinks people want a Senator that will stand up to “the President’s wrong-headed fiscal, judicial and foreign policy choices.” Isn’t that the same platform John Kerry ran on? That Bush is wrong on everything and therefore we should vote for him because he said it? Is that the only reason to vote for a candidate? I thought that we voted for someone based on their stand on the issues – not because they believe somebody else is doing something wrong. Of course, maybe I just don’t understand Mr. Lamont’s message. Maybe he has different, secret, news on the economy – which according to every report I have read is booming. Or maybe Mr. Lamont believes the deficit, in the wake of Iraq, Katrina, and out of control spending by all congresscritters combined isn’t being addressed; that the deficit projections now show that the deficit problem will be solved three years earlier than expected. Or could it be that Lamont has different, high level, Fairfield only, sources on the GWOT? Maybe his stance is like that of Larry Johnson, infamous ex-CIA analyst/journalist, who the day before 9/11 published an article that we, the United States of America, did not have to worry about terrorism.

The rest of that particular page was a form to fill out to send donations to Lamont’s campaign. I still haven’t found any reason to support Lamont – I’m a “give me the facts” kind of voter, as I hope that others are – as I hope that others realize they should be; that they have a duty to be.

Well, the information must be there on Lamont’s site somewhere. I looked further and saw a section entitled “Where I Stand on the Issues.” That must be it. Here is what I found:
I am seeking your support in the race for the United States Senate because of my profound disappointment at what George Bush and his allies are doing to America. I will not be reluctant to challenge the Bush administration whose policies have been so harmful to the long term interests of our state and our country.

I believe:
  1. That the war in Iraq has diverted far too many of our dollars, and too much of our attention, from our needs back home. The crisis in health care, lack of progress towards energy independence, and struggling public schools are examples of how our government is not leading, but allowing lobbyists and special interests to write the rules.
  2. Washington needs creative solutions to old problems. I am an entrepreneur who has built a successful business from scratch. More than 20 years ago, I founded a company that competes successfully against cable conglomerates. I am running with the support of Connecticut citizens, not corporate or special interests – and I bring real business experience that government needs.
  3. Government has a role in ensuring fundamental rights and equal opportunity for all Americans. Senator Barack Obama reminded Connecticut Democrats recently what a difference good, progressive government can make in people’s lives—from social security and Medicare to the national highway system and the Civil Rights acts. Rather than replacing the hard-earned social safety net with partially funded savings accounts, Democrats should be ready again to defend and build upon all that we have accomplished—equal rights and equal opportunity for all.
We will continue to update our Issues Page and appreciate your feedback.
AHHHHHH…..but still no answers to the initial answers I set out to find. What are the answers Ned? How do you plan to bring about this utopia for Connecticut residents? What specifically are your plans? There are lots of words on Mr. Lamont’s site; a tremendous amount of rhetoric. But the site lacks substance. In fact, I suspect that a high school student, running for Student Class President, could do as well.

Having been thwarted by trying to rely on Ned Lamont’s own web site to gather substantive information, I turned to other sources to see what I could find about Mr. Lamont’s actual stance on the issues – well any issue other than Iraq. I tried the newspaper, but as usual, the left-leaning Hartford Courant, in the voice of DAVID LIGHTMAN, “Washington Bureau Chief” (pretty lofty sounding, huh?) and othews, has already started their not-to-subtle support of Ned Lamont. However, to be fair, here is what a recent article by Mr. Lightman said:
More recently, the conflict has centered on Iraq. Liberals want troops out of Iraq quickly and according to a clear timetable; moderates say they also want an end to the war, but with a careful and gradual troop withdrawal.

Since 2000, the progressives have been ascendant, largely because of the insurgent 2004 presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. His anti-war message energized the progressives and got him elected party chairman last year - much to the dismay of Lieberman and his followers.

Lamont could fit nicely into the progressives' re-emergence. Many at last week's progressive convention in Washington seemed to know little about Lamont, the Greenwich businessman making his first bid for a statewide office.

But they know he's a fervent Iraq war critic, a stark contrast to Lieberman.
Well that caps it – according to the Courant, the platform that Lamont is running on is – well – the fact that Senator Lieberman supported the war in Iraq. Nothing about medicare, social security, infrastructure, defense contracts, or any other issue. Simply the idea that we should vote for Ned Lamont because he is against the war. Even Mr. Lamont’s television commercials reflect the same thing.

At this point I have concluded my research into Mr. Lamont’s position on the issues. I think I get it. His single stance is “vote for me because I am not Lieberman and he voted for the war in Iraq.” Period. Single issue campaign and a pretty weak one at that.