Early in 2004, after winning the nod as the Democrats’ candidate for the presidency, John Kerry boldly shouted to President Bush, “BRING. IT. ON.” But in August of 2004, Kerry ended up personally asking President Bush to…Make. Them. Stop–make the Swift Boat Vets stop attacking him. And you could argue that it was at this moment that Senator Kerry lost the election, because he couldn’t bother to defend his record in the wake of his former colleagues reminding modern voters of Kerry’s early 1970s duplicity while in the Naval Reserves. Instead, Kerry ended up whining about the Swift Vets’ opposition to his candidacy to his primary opposition, the incumbent president, inadvertently increasing President Bush’s stature as a result.
Flash-forward to today–after, as Glenn Reynolds’ notes, Ned Lamont’s television ad producer and chief cheerleader Jane Hamsher dubbing his opponent “Rape Gurney Joe” and portraying him in blackface, it takes a huge amount of chutzpah for Ned to ask Joe to dial down the language:
Democratic Senate nominee Ned Lamont, the anti-war candidate who toppled Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary, says he was surprised by Lieberman and Vice President Dick Cheney’s claims that his victory could embolden terrorists.“My God, here we have a terrorist threat against hearth and home, and the very first thing that comes out of their mind is how can we turn this to partisan advantage. I find that offensive,” Lamont said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press.
After British officials disclosed they had thwarted a terrorist airline bombing plot on Thursday, Lieberman warned that Lamont’s call for a phased-withdrawal of troops from Iraq would be “taken as a tremendous victory” by terrorists.
Cheney on Wednesday had suggested that Lamont’s victory might encourage “the al-Qaida types” who want to “break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.”
‘Seemed almost orchestrated’
Lamont said Lieberman’s swipe at his candidacy “sounded an awful lot” like Cheney.
“It surprised me,” he said. “It seemed almost orchestrated. It’s sort of demeaning to the people of Connecticut … I thought the senator and the vice president were both wrong to use that attack (strategy) on the voters of Connecticut.”
The Lieberman camp Sunday brushed aside Lamont’s comments.
As well they should. Now that they’ve kicked Lieberman out of their party, the modern Democrats are the party of international pacifism, but at home, they’re still the party that fights the dirtiest for an election. On some level–especially after his campaign’s own antics, Ned knows this–but like Kerry two years ago, he doesn’t seem to realize how weak he’s making himself look by trying to play the losing “Make. Them. Stop.” card when Lieberman points out the obvious. (And as Orrin Judd notes, “Way to keep a storyline that’s hurting you going and to remind voters that Senator Lieberman is with the Administration against terrorism.”)