Archive

  • CEDAR REVOLUTION DOWN THE DRAIN.

    CEDAR REVOLUTION DOWN THE DRAIN. Don't miss Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora 's Washington Post op-ed. Keep in mind that Israel's initial objective here seems to have been to give the Lebanese government a swift kick in the ass in hopes of convincing them that letting Hezbollah run free in the south was a danger to all of Lebanon and that they ought to try and clamp down. As you'll see from Siniora's article, the military strikes have accomplished the reverse, pushing Siniora -- and, indeed, Lebanese opinion in all religious groups -- into alignment with Hezbollah's views. Fred Kaplan asks the good question of whether Bush understands his own policies. For over a year now, what he keeps saying about Lebanon is that we need to be supporting its democratically (sort of) elected government and that the Hezbollah issue should be understood in those terms. And he keeps saying it, as if Siniora is an enthusiastic supporter of current Israeli and American policies. --Matthew Yglesias
  • CH-CH-CHANGES. I didn't...

    CH-CH-CHANGES. I didn't follow the ins and outs of the Lamont - Lieberman contest as closely as some on this site, since I've been off blog and in an intensive reporting project for the past few weeks, but permit me a few observations. Lamont won not just because of the netroots, or his deft use of house parties and other community-based organizing techniques in Connecticut, but because he was a damn good candidate. I watched both Lamont and Lieberman out of the corner of my eye on ABC's This Week over the weekend, and while Lieberman appeared much more affable than I'd expected, he still turned in a tepid, milquetoast, forgettable performance. Lamont, on the other hand, was clear about exactly what he stood for and against, and made a strong and compelling case for himself. It was like watching a Republican take on a Democrat, except in this instance Lamont was playing the role of clear-spoken Republican to Lieberman's Democratic wuss. Which brings me to my second point. Noam...
  • LAMONT-LIEBERMAN POSTGAME.

    LAMONT-LIEBERMAN POSTGAME. The voting is done -- let the post-game spin begin! Most outside-the-box spin here . Best postgame spin here . Now, of course, the world faces the question of whether Lieberman pursues and independent bid. Tragically, this seems caught up in the meta-analysis of the expectations factor. Relative to, say, six weeks ago, Lamont far exceeded expectations -- he won, which looked very unlikely quite recently. But relative to expectations set about a week ago, he underperformed; winning narrowly when some polls had shown him winning big. Over the past couple of days, Lamont supporters tried to lower expectations, but one of the difficulties with having a campaign do so much communication unofficially through high-profile blogs is that your strategic gambits get very transparent. For the broader future of progressive politics, I think a narrow Lamont win is a good result, for roughly Chait -ian reasons -- it establishes that there are some limits to the behavior...
  • MORE ON DEMS IN '06.

    MORE ON DEMS IN '06. I agree with Ezra that donor cash is an unfixed variable dependent on the enthusiasm of the base. That's certainly true for online donors who contribute small sums. The problem though is that small donors haven't played a large role in the Connecticut primary and still probably won't in the general election. Lamont has been a self-funded candidate, and Lieberman for the most part has relied on funding from large donors and PACs. And this is what I'm talking about: the corporate PACs, special interests PACs, individual PACs, unions, and the town, county, and state parties that form the bedrock of a campaign donor base, on top of which sit the dynamic small donors. For the most part, these institutions set out at the beginning of the year with a fixed budget, saying they'll spend such-and-such amount on the contested races in Connecticut. They dish out a token amount to begin with, and then wait and see where things become heated. With a three-way contested Senate...
  • WHAT DOES JOE WANT IN '06?

    WHAT DOES JOE WANT IN '06? No surprise that Alec raised hackles with yesterday's post . In light of the primary's outcome and Lieberman 's oddly-phrased determination that he will "not let these results stand" -- that is, as we now look to a general election wherein Democratic resources do have to continually be expended in Connecticut on account of Lieberman's independent bid -- surely it's worth flipping Alec's analysis around and putting the onus back on the senator. The real threat to a full-bore Democratic offensive to take back Congress this fall is posed by the guy who lost his primary and won't accept defeat. Lieberman struck a nicely rancid and defiant tone this morning and claims there's no phone call that could be made by anyone to dissuade him from running as an independent, but the The New York Times 's reporting this morning (some of it done by Tapped alumnus Nick Confessore ) makes, I think, a good case that he could be swimming up hill stream against Lamont's momentum...
  • WHAT DO DEMS WANT IN '06?

    WHAT DO DEMS WANT IN '06? Democrats in Connecticut may succeed today in replacing one moderate Democrat with another moderate Democrat, and if so, their chances at taking back the House will be somewhat slimmer. My thoughs: Democrats never had much of a chance in taking back the Senate, but winning the House was a distinct possibility. The most likely scenario for this would involve Diane Farrell , Joe Courtney , and Chris Murphy defeating Chris Shays , Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson , respectively. I was Murphy�s campaign manager in 2004, when he was running for re-election to state Senate, and I know what the district is like. Murphy has his work cut out for him, to say the least, and will need all the resources he can get. The attention and energy directed at the Senate race have been at Murphy�s and the others� expense. Campaign donations and volunteers that may have gone to Murphy or Farrell have instead gone to Lamont or Lieberman . And the argument that building support at the...
  • UNITY EVENT PLANNED FOR WEDNESDAY.

    UNITY EVENT PLANNED FOR WEDNESDAY. A person involved in Connecticut politics who, so far as I can tell, would be in a position to know, noted that Democratic state party leaders are planning a �unity event� on Wednesday to rally behind the winner of today�s primaries for governor and Senate. His implication was that the state party was prepared to begin pressuring Lieberman to abandon his independent candidacy if he loses today. (Obviously, the point is moot if Lamont loses, because Lamont has no such plans and has pledged to back Lieberman as the party�s choice.) I asked Lieberman directly last night if, following such a show of state party unity, he would reconsider his third-party plans. �But I�m going to win the primary,� he said, before jumping on his bus. Lieberman campaign manager Sean Smith , who is not a lifelong Lieberman guy, told me that he doesn�t see Lieberman dropping, even if the margin is in the high single digits or even double-digits. Maybe I�m just the most...
  • MORE FROM CONNECTICUT.

    MORE FROM CONNECTICUT. At Stratford�s Frank Scott Bunnell High School this morning, those who stopped to share their views spoke with plain, if surprisingly unsentimental, conviction about their choice. �I�ve lived through too many wars, and I want my two young grandsons to have the same opportunity to vote that I�m exercising today,� said Susan Delbene , a professor of nursing at New York�s Pace University who wearily returned to her Connecticut condo at ten o�clock last night so she could vote against incumbent Joe Lieberman this morning. Apart from his stubborn support for the Iraq War, Lieberman has �greatly taken Connecticut voters for granted,� underestimating their intelligence and exploiting their good will for too long, she believes. As if on cue, voter Bob David stepped from Bunnell�s lobby into the sparkling midday sun, quickly separating his feuding sons, aged 3 and 5. �Enough,� he scolded. �We�re not warring Republicans, you guys!� David, a fiber-optics executive and...
  • ELECTION DAY PARANOIA -- PART XIV.

    ELECTION DAY PARANOIA -- PART XIV. If somebody in the extended Lamont campaign family had anything to do with crashing Weepin' Joe Lieberman 's website today, then they are dumber than a box of rocks. Period. However...If I were running behind, and my entire campaign over the past three weeks had been based on the theme "Crazy Bloggers Are Eating My Leg!," and if I had been fairly successful in getting the media Bigfoot class to repeat my theme, and if I'd made a big deal out of a tasteless piece of Internet art, and if one of my most prominent Establishment spokescritters this very morning had published a piece in The Wall Street Journal that meretriciously conflated bloggers with their anonymous commenters, then, I dunno, creating an Election Day feeding frenzy over an arcane Internet issue that not half the campaign press corps could be expected fully to understand on the fly might be just the kind of thing I'd try. Just sayin'. Sometimes, I think growing up around Massachusetts...
  • EQUIVALENCE AND PRAGMATICS.

    EQUIVALENCE AND PRAGMATICS. Noam Scheiber responds to my post on Israel's attack on Lebanon as a preventive war, and offers up two observations that I think are red herrings. One is that -- as I'll happily agree -- it made perfect sense for Israel to deploy some level of retaliatory force to try and discourage Hezbollah from a repeat of the cross-border raid that launched the current round of fighting. Another -- as I'll also concede -- is that "I don't think you can regard all preventive wars as morally equivalent." Clearly not. Different situations are different. That said, the core notion that Israel's preventive war is, in this case, essentially the same as one aimed at preempting an imminent attack seems bizarre. Sure, Hezbollah has expressed an intention to destroy Israel. That and a pony will get Hezbollah a pony. The group was hardly on the verge of obtaining parity with the IDF. Which is where we get back to the enormous practical problems with preventive war. By shifting the...

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