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Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Ned Lamont: Perception and reality

Few antiwar activists will be under the impression that Ned Lamont, victor last night over Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Senatorial primary, is actually "antiwar." He stands four-square behind Israel as it slaughters the Lebanese people, and, on Iraq, he's no more "antiwar" than hawk John Murtha, whose plan for "redeployment" Lamont supports. He may think that the United States shouldn't have invaded Iraq, but I haven't heard anything that leads me to believe he thinks the U.S. didn't have the right to do so. And, while he will go to the Senate and be one more vote for the next toothless resolution that says, "Please, Mr. President, conditions permitting, we urge you to begin withdrawing some of the troops in the next year," I have heard nothing to indicate he'll be the first Senator to actually vote against spending money to support that war.

That's part of the reality. The other part is that Democrats, led by Lamont, had many beefs with Joe Lieberman. It wasn't just his support of the war, but his positions on such matters as the bankruptcy bill, cloture on the nomination of Justice Alito, the Terri Schiavo affair, and many others. And on the war, it wasn't even primarily his support of the war that got people up in arms, but his rosy-lensed cheerleading for the war, combined with his criticism of those, mostly Democrats, who dared to voice criticisms of Bush (and the war).

But after all that, there's perception. And the perception, and the headlines, are that Ned Lamont was "the antiwar candidate" and that the defeat of Joe Lieberman represents the people of Connecticut voting on the war, and saying, if not "Out Now," then at least "Out." And that was reflected last night - after Lamont talked about pulling the troops out in his acceptance speech, the crowd began a steady chant that went on for a good while - "Bring them home. Bring them home." And that perception isn't just the media - it's the American people, and other politicians too. The victory of Ned Lamont as an "antiwar candidate," even if he isn't one, validates and strengthens the real antiwar sentiment of the American people, and will push other politicians (and possibly Lamont too) a little bit more in the antiwar direction.

And that, despite the reality of who Lamont is and what he and his party stand for, is a good thing.

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