Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lieberman's Words in 1988-Karma?

Last night, I left an exciting and beneficial Webb for Senate volunteer coordination meeting.  I was happy to be there to see old friends and meet new faces of the campaign's rag tag group of rebels, but I will admit; I was anxious to get home to watch the media "coverage" of the CT Senatorial race, and ATTEMPT to blog here on Daily Kos.  As most of you experienced, things were a bit, well...slow.  I guess that is what happens when Ned Lamont breaks your website in a fit of furious "I just won the primary" rage.  ;)But I digress.

I arrived home, and started flipping.  Of course, within seconds I realized that a) I was not going to get any substance out of the MSM, b) what coverage they WERE providing was always well behind the reports coming in from the web (at one point, I heard Larry King reporting 55% of the votes in, while I was staring at my computer screen and seeing 79.6% reported in) and pretty useless.  So, I decided to check out the Span.

Much to my surprise and excitement, Steve Scully was wide eyed (well, that's not all that surprising, I guess) and taking calls, and he was keeping up with the internet reports as opposed to milking the results for all they were worth.  I turned up the volume, and went back into the office to get some blogger love.

A listener phone call came in, a call from a self described "true conservative Republican" from CT.  He sounded upset, almost on the verge of letting his voice break.  He was adamant in his support for Ned Lamont, and he was open and eager to share his reasoning.  The caller reminded viewers of a time in 1988 when Lieberman was a fresh faced young man debating his opponent with ferocity.  According to the caller, Lieberman was very fond of reminding his opponent and the voters in the state of CT that an 18 year term is longer than long enough.  The caller went on to say that if he had only one reason to vote for Lamont, it would be because "Lieberman was asked after attacking his opponent on the length of his incumbency whether or not he would ever run campaigns to last longer than 18 years in the Senate.  Lieberman replied adamantly that no, he would not."

The caller felt that this response from Lieberman back in the day was enough to cast a vote for Ned Lamont.  He felt that Lieberman not only went back on his promise he made 18 years ago, but that he had also fallen into the same tired routine that Lieberman's opponent Lowell Weicker had back when he was earnestly trying to hold on to his own 18 year incumbency.  He was not happy with Senator Lieberman's seemingly selfish change of tune.

This call really got me thinking, and after a long night and little sleep, I arrived to work today with a mission-to find the Lieberman admission and promise to leave the Senate no later than 18 years after he was first elected.

Unfortunately, I cannot find the exact quote.  I HAVE found many old articles of interest (gotta love having University privileges to use their library system) and some make quite a good case for the caller's words last night.  I am unsure whether actual links will work since I have to log in to use this electronic system, but I will try to give you all the juiciest bits.

Copyright 1988
The New York Times Company
The New York Times
February 23, 1988, Tuesday, Late City Final Edition

Attorney General Joseph I. Lieberman, stressing family and consumer issues and such statewide concerns as high housing costs, today formally announced his campaign to unseat Republican Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr. ''Connecticut needs a Senator who will put Connecticut first,'' Mr. Lieberman said, standing in freezing temperatures on the steps of the Connecticut Supreme Court Building, surrounded by about 120 supporters.

''I see the United States Senate as much more than a debating society, more than a bully pulpit for a narrow personal agenda,'' he added. ''I see the United States Senate as the place where we can light a spark that can truly change our lives.''

snip

Mr. Lieberman also has said that he will attack Mr. Weicker as a Senator who has pursued his own personal agenda rather than such issues concerning many Connecticut voters as clean air and water, consumer affairs and the cost of education.

Although considered by both Democrats and Republicans to be a slight underdog, Mr. Lieberman contended that Mr. Weicker was vulnerable after nearly three terms in office.

''Connecticut needs a Senator who will bring new energy to Washington and new help back here in Connecticut,'' he said. ''And, bottom line, I am running for the United States Senate because I know deep in my heart that the people of Connecticut, after 18 years, are ready to say, 'Thanks Lowell. Now, it's time for a change.' ''

So, Lieberman felt that a "spark" could be lit, and "truly change people's lives."  Kind of sounds like what we have all been saying regarding all of our exciting Take Back America democratic primaries for seats around the country, huh?  According to the article, Lieberman was also considered the liberal and progressive challenger to a moderate republican incumbent, with love from the OTHER side of the aisle.

Mr. Lieberman announced the formation of his campaign last fall and expects to raise more than $2 million for the race against Mr. Weicker.

The popular 56-year-old Senator is a Greenwich resident who is the only Republican in Connecticut since 1970 to win statewide office, largely due to an unusual amount of support from Democrats and unaffiliated voters.

Although widely viewed as a liberal, Mr. Lieberman is expected to play down his progressive image, with the hopes of drawing support from Republicans displeased with Mr. Weicker's record in the Senate.

Huh.  How those tables do turn.

Accordingly, we all sat back and watched as Lamont continued to close the gap.  In the beginning, Lamont was a huge long shot.  Bust as time wore on, we watched as that changed.  Similarly, Lieberman experienced a bit of the same way back when...

Copyright 1988 The New York Times Company  
The New York Times
July 10, 1988, Sunday, Late City Final Edition

There is, however, another reason for the less than overwhelming concern for the Weicker-Lieberman contest. Some independent political analysts, citing early polls, say that the campaign is not as close and competitive as some thought it might be.

One poll conducted by the University of Connecticut's Institute for Social Inquiry, and published in The Hartford Courant in April, gave Mr. Weicker a 51 percent to 27 percent lead. The figures were similar to earlier polls conducted by NBC News and the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute in Hamden.

''Weicker as an 18-year Senator just has a name recognition that is very formidable,'' said Morton J. Tenzer, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. ''And this early in the campaign season, he has maximum strength.

''I would not be surprised if Weicker's lead held up through the summer and into the fall,'' he added. ''I could see Lieberman closing the gap by October and then Weicker pulling away. If anything, Weicker hasn't pulled out the stops yet.''

Later in the same article, Liberman belabors the 18 year term again.

Mr. Lieberman, a New Haven resident, also said that Mr. Weicker should be deemed vulnerable because he had been in office for so long and could only muster 51 percent of the vote at this early stage of the race.

''I don't kid myself,'' Mr. Lieberman said. ''I'm an underdog. But it's a winnable race. This is an incumbent a lot of people don't like. There are lot of people who feel that 18 years is enough for a senator.''

Oh, but it doesn't stop there.  Lieberman repeated this "18 years is enough" talking point throughout the campaign's entirety.

Copyright 1988 The New York Times Company  
The New York Times
September 17, 1988, Saturday, Late City Final Edition

'Incredible Inconsistency'

Mr. Lieberman, who dismissed the assaults on his voting record as misrepresentations, attacked the Senator's record and criticized the liberal Republican's reputation as a political maverick.

''For 18 years, my opponent has gotten away with saying he's a maverick,'' the Attorney General said. ''Well, it's about time the people really understood what a maverick is. It means you're not ultimately accountable to anybody.

''You don't even have to make commitments, even to the voters you represent. You just do whatever suits you personally whenever you want to do it. I look at his record and see a pattern of incredible inconsistency.''

snip

Most independent polls over the summer have placed Mr. Weicker ahead of Mr. Lieberman. On Thursday, Mr. Weicker also became the first Republican running for state office ever to receive the endorsement of the Connecticut A.F.L.-C.I.O.

Mr. Lieberman, who said he had long expected to lose the labor endorsement, pressed on. ''It's time for a change,'' he said. ''It's time for somebody fresh.''

An inconsistent record, folks.  And time for "somebody fresh."   Now, do we know of a long time senator from the state of CT who ALSO has an inconsistent record?  And do we know of a state that has recently decided it is time for somebody fresh?

We move on to another article, with another statement concerning 18 years and an important "big win" for the "fresh face."

Copyright 1988 The New York Times Company  
The New York Times
October 25, 1988, Tuesday, Late City Final Edition

Regardless of how close the race actually is, Mr. Lieberman is finally receiving widespread attention. A prominent Senate leader, George J. Mitchell, Democrat of Maine, will appear with him at a news conference. On Wednesday, ABC News and The Wall Street Journal will watch him campaign.

''The thought of Weicker's winning was like a plane landing safely,'' his communications and issues director, Marla Romash, said. ''It wasn't news. If Joe wins, it's big, big news.'' This evening, Mr. Lieberman made the 20-minute drive from New Britain to Hartford, to his headquarters on the first floor of a factory converted into offices, went by some young staff members eating chow mein out of containers and watching ''60 Minutes,'' and sat down in a conference room running over with campaign literature.

He said he saw the paradox in his new status. If he has had a running theme, it is that Mr. Weicker's reputation, built on 18 years in office, of a maverick Republican liberal doing good for the state is merely imagery.

And so it goes.  As the race pushes on, we get more media coverage of the 18 year line, and something new-Lieberman's own ANGRY, PARTISAN, ATTACK STYLE CAMPAIGN.  Kind of like evil Lamont, with his web site hacking and attack buttons.

Copyright 1988 The Washington Post  
The Washington Post
October 29, 1988, Saturday, Final Edition

Along the way, the Democrat has garnered support from some unusual sources, such as conservative columnist William F. Buckley Jr. and Citizens for Reagan. But it is in the Nutmeg State that Lieberman has apparently had his best success in raising doubts about the maverick three-term incumbent he hopes to unseat.

"You can choose between a senator who has been there 18 years and seems to have lost touch with our common concerns, or you can vote for a senator who will be there when you and your family need him," Lieberman said at a Rotary luncheon in Bridgeport. His stump speech is mostly anti-Weicker as he assails the Republican for missed votes, accepting honoraria and opposing U.S. military actions in Libya and Grenada.

"This is my Lowell Weicker hit file," Lieberman aide Marla Romash said in her office here this week. Romash has assembled a fat stack of news releases, voting records and newspaper clippings that form the backbone of Lieberman's speeches and advertising campaign.

For months, Weicker shrugged off Lieberman's criticisms, which were heavily dependent on cartoonish television commercials that depict Weicker as a hibernating Washington bear. But as polls began to show that public sentiment was shifting away from him, the suddenly vulnerable senator is striking back.

"With a totally negative campaign and a saturation campaign in the media, it clearly impacts on my support," Weicker said. "It's not that they're going to Lieberman, but they're going to undecided. There's a massive undecided [vote] out there."

Lieberman, 46, who turned the low-profile attorney general's office into a consumer advocate's platform, decided early that the best way to win was to chip away at public confidence in the incumbent while presenting himself as a more reliable -- if not more conservative -- alternative.

"I'll tell you this," Lieberman said in Bridgeport. "I never missed a vote to collect a speaking fee."

Weicker, back in the state fulltime now that Congress has adjourned, is responding with a few belated salvos of his own.

In a televised advertisement unveiled this week, an announcer intones: "It seems some politicians will say just about anything to get elected," as a black-and-white photo of Lieberman first shrinks, then disappears from the screen.

In another, Lieberman is shown lavishly praising Weicker at a 1986 black-tie testimonial. "If Lieberman believes what he says," the ad ends, "he'll vote for Weicker."

snip

At the heart of Lieberman's attacks are questions about Weicker's true allegiances that have attracted some of the state's more conservative Republicans to his cause. Perhaps Lieberman most backhanded endorsement has come from Buckley, who has taken to the pages of his magazine, National Review, with a series of Weicker-bashing articles, one entitled: "Does Lowell Weicker Make You Sick?"

I know, this diary is getting long, but bear with me.  And when I say bear with me, I do mean it as a bit of a pun.  Keep reading for more 18 years and Lieberman's own attempt at a kiss float.

Copyright 1988 The New York Times Company  
The New York Times
November 6, 1988, Sunday, Late City Final Edition
Weicker Gains in Poll

A University of Connecticut poll released today by The Hartford Courant showed Mr. Weicker with the support of 42 percent of 521 likely voters contacted last Tuesday through Thursday, and Mr. Lieberman with 36 percent.


The poll also showed Mr. Bush with the support of 45 percent of the voters surveyed and Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts with 37 percent. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.


''Remarkably, you have an 18-year incumbent who 60 percent of the people don't support,'' Mr. Lieberman said.

Marla Romash, Mr. Lieberman's director of issues and communications, said the poll was not an accurate reflection of the race. Polls in the last two weeks have placed the race in almost a dead heat.

''I wouldn't bet my coffee money on that margin,'' she said.

snip

Paying a Bear to Sleep?

Mr. Lieberman's three television commercials depicting Mr. Weicker as a bear have been, arguably, the most effective media spots in the campaign.

His campaign is hinting that a fourth bear advertisement might be broadcast. Even if it isn't, Mr. Weicker should know that the three cartoon commercials already seen, in which the bear is heard growling and snoozing but is never seen, could have been far more unflattering.

Earlier this year, Mr. Lieberman's staff considered using a live bear. They were stopped by the $2,000-a-day rental fee. ''It was outrageous,'' Ms. Romash said. Money wasn't the only problem. ''Unless you got the bear first thing in the morning,'' she said, ''it did nothing but sleep.''

OK.  A live bear.  RENTING A LIVE BEAR vs a humorous float constructed with sweat and passion.  WOW.

In closing, partly bc I think I actually do need to get some work done, and also bc of it's importance, I have included the entire article from 11/6/88.  Negativity, partisanship, too close to call polling, and a race to the finish.  Plus, the last few lines are priceless.  Enjoy!

Copyright 1988 Globe Newspaper Company 
The Boston Globe
November 6, 1988, Sunday, City Edition

The most expensive, and some say nastiest, race in Connecticut's history rumbled toward conclusion last week with a discussion of one candidate's kidney stones, a joking suggestion that the other was a political prostitute and a pair of campaign appearances perhaps unique in this election season.

All of which happened in just two days in the tight race between Republican US Sen. Lowell P. Weicker, who is fighting for his political life and a fourth term in the Senate, and Democrat Joseph I. Lieberman, the state's attorney general.

"We've got a real race on our hands," said G. Donald Ferree, director of the influential Connecticut Poll. "It is not out of the realm of possibility for each man to win."

A sampling by Connecticut Poll of 1,103 voters, published in the Hartford Courant last week, gave Weicker a one-point lead over Lieberman among an electorate that Ferree said has a "shockingly high" number of undecided voters in a race that features an 18-year incumbent and has consumed $ 5 million, the bulk of which has been spent on negative television ads.

Yesterday, the Courant published the final Connecticut Poll, which gave Weicker a six-point lead among the 515 voters surveyed. The poll, which had five-point margin of error, also indicated the race remained volatile and that negative impressions of both candidates were high.

"I know other places have hard-ball politics, but there's never been anything as negative as this campaign here," said Barry Williams, secretary-treasurer of the state AFL-CIO Labor Council. "In a way that's sad . . . because in the long run, it makes voters more cynical."

The labor council, for the first time in its history, has endorsed a Republican in a statewide race. Williams said his criticism of the tenor of the Senate race included Weicker.

It was labor's endorsement of Weicker and Weicker's decision to back Vice President George Bush in the presidential race that set up an unusual juxtaposition of political allies.

On Friday, Weicker began his day with Bush in Fairfield, where mention of Weicker's name drew scattered boos. Weicker ended the day at what Williams called an "old-fashioned labor rally" for union-endorsed candidates in Waterbury.

Most labor groups, including Connecticut's state labor council, have backed Democrat Michael S. Dukakis for president.

Weicker began the campaign with a solid double-digit lead in polls, a standing that led him to predict a major victory for his brand of idiosyncratic politics that has earned him censure from conservative Republicans but enough Democratic votes to win in a heavily Democratic state three times.

But Lieberman has spent the past months, and most of his $ 2.5 million treasury, picking away at what he calls "the Weicker myth" of being an indepedent maverick who puts the concerns of Connecticut ahead of party allegiance.

His ads noted that Weicker missed some votes that could have affected the state while accepting honorariums from special-interest groups. The ads end with "nobody's man, but whose?" - a play on Weicker's theme of "nobody's man, but yours."

"One of the arguments I wanted to make was the inconsistency of my opponent," Lieberman said. "Apparently, for him what it means to be a maverick is to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it."

In mid-October, the Connecticut Poll said it was a dead heat, jolting Weicker into rescinding his promise not to use negative ads while offering typically unconventional explanations for some of his absences.

Speaking to Rotarians here Thursday, Weicker recalled the first time he was hospitalized for kidney stones. The Senate was in session, and Weicker said he missed nine votes before he hustled himself back to the Senate for the 10th.

"You're looking at the only United States senator who passed a bill and passed a stone" on the same day, Weicker said to loud laughter.

Weicker reminded Rotarians that Lieberman once accepted a $ 500 honorarium, which Lieberman has dismissed as insignificant when compared to the $ 235,000 in honorariums Weicker has collected in seven years.

"Now he says it wasn't very much. Hey, come on," Weicker said with disgust in his voice. "I've been trying to find the joke, I think by George Bernard Shaw. I do remember the punchline: 'Sir, are you calling me a woman of ill repute? Madam, we've already settled that, we're only haggling on the price.' "

Lieberman has been as harsh, saying thhat Weicker's acceptance of honorariums raises questions about who gets access to the senator - the public or those who provide the speaking fees.

"He is part of the system that he quite correctly says affects the public perception of integrity in government and therefore diminishes the public trust in goverment," Lieberman said.

And Lieberman has been endorsed by archconservative William F. Buckley, who had called Weicker a "horse's ass" at one point during their long-running feud.

Lieberman has also embraced the muscular foreign policy initiatives of President Reagan, such as the bombing of Libya and the invasion of Grenada, and supports the death penalty for drug kingpins, stands that push him well to the right of Weicker.

Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, flew in on Friday to personally endorse Lieberman and to praise the attorney general as a candidate who backs a "conservative" war on drugs that will work, in contrast to the Reagan administration's effort.

Lieberman appeared, as did other top Democrats, with Rev. Jesse Jackson when the one-time presidential candidate was on the stump for Dukakis in New Haven earlier in the week.

And while Jackson offered a blanket endorsement of the party's ticket, he did not single out Lieberman, who could face stiff competition for black voters because of Weicker's support of civil rights laws and sanctions against South Africa.

While losing labor, Lieberman has retained the support of another traditional Democratic ally, environmental groups, which were angered by Weicker's vote to approve drilling to determine the extent of oil reserves in wildlife refuges in Alaska.

Lieberman told reporters Friday that he was "grateful" to be considered capable of besting Weicker. "I believe that there is going to be an upset on Tuesday, that we're going to go over," he said.

Weicker was equally upbeat, saying the voters he has met in recent days are going to stand by him.

At his first and only formal news conference of the campaign on Friday, Weicker said his victory would end negative campaigning in Connecticut and vindicate the advocacy of what he said were sometimes unpopular causes.

"If the wrong thing happens on Tuesday, it's nobody's fault but my own," he said.

I realize this was a long diary, and if you read it (or even skimmed it) I thank you.  It took a few hours, as this is my first "research" diary.  But I think it tells a very strong story.  Lieberman has become the man he detested with a passion, and Lamont is the fresh face Lieberman once demanded the country and CT wanted.

Hypocrisy at its finest, or just a sore loser?

You be the judge-I'm going to rent a live bear.

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