Saturday, July 08, 2006

Err America: Ed Schultz, You're Off-Course With Lieberman

The Huffington Post
Err America: Ed Schultz, You're Off-Course With Lieberman
RJ Eskow

Two usually reliable sources went way off-track this week. Yesterday the LA Times used Orwellian language, pre-scripted for them by neocons, to repeat false claims. (I reviewed the subliminal spin here.) And today Ed Schultz - who I always figured would make a great fishing buddy - swallowed Lieberman's nonsense hook, line, and sinker.

Ed can support Lieberman, and we'll still be pals. The problem is that he bought a talking point that was custom-made by Lieberman's handlers, and by the Republicans (if, in fact, the two are different). A savvy talk radio guy should know better.

While I don't have a transcript of Ed's radio show on Air America today, he kept repeating this talking point: "Joe Lieberman says he's voted with the Democrats 90% of the time. If that's true, why isn't that enough? What is enough? 95%? 98%?"

Ed, Ed, Ed. This is wrong in so many ways. First, what does the statement even mean? Is Joe saying he voted with ALL the Democrats 90% of the time? Or is he saying that when all the OTHER Democrats voted one way, he went along with them nine times out of ten? And how many times is that?

If you don't understand a spin point, don't repeat it.

Second, even if it were true - which 10% are we talking about? Joe's been wrong on almost all the key issues of the last five years. Who cares what percent it represents? The question is: How much harm did he cause?

And the "percentage" game leaves out all the rhetorical support Joe's been giving the GOP.

Lastly, to answer your question: "What's enough" is whatever Connecticut's primary voters say is enough. Period. If Ned Lamont can convince a majority of primary voters on Aug. 8 that Lieberman doesn't represent them, for any reason - then that's enough.

It's called "democracy."

Ed, buddy, I love ya - but don't buy into this nonsense. I voted for Lieberman the year I lived in Connecticut. And I want the Dems to win back the Senate. So if he wins the primary, I'll encourage people to vote for him again (although I might have to take up drinking again to do it.)

I think the people of Connecticut can do better, though. Once they get to know Ned Lamont, I'm confident they'll vote for him. It's true that Lamont has support from committed Democrats around the country, as well as in his home state. But - since when is that a bad thing?

Where you really got my goat, though, when you talked about Lieberman and Israel. Ed, you said (and I'm paraphrasing slightly) that "Lieberman's Jewish, so he's going to support Israel. Get over it."

Ed, I'm Jewish (and Southern Baptist and Catholic - but I'm Bar-Mitvah'd so I'm in the club.) I take offense, pal. This is old-fashioned ethnic stereotyping.

You're not the only one to make this mistake. Lots of people think that "supporting Israel" is the same as "supporting the Israeli hard right and its aggressive anti-Palestinian policies."

I can't blame you. There are people like Alan Dershowitz and AIPAC working full-time to make you believe it. In fact, some of them will tell you anyone that opposes Likud's policies is "anti-Semitic." But we on the sane side of the political spectrum need to think more clearly than that.

Lieberman doesn't take the positions he does on Israel, or on Iraq, because he's Jewish. He does it because he's a right-winger and a neoconservative. That's why most Connecticut Jews are supporting Lamont, according to one poll.

And what does Joe's extremist backer John Droney say about that (in the same link)? ""I find the behavior of a large segment of the Jewish community to be reprehensible and outrageous ... they all ought to rally to him."

That's the kind of person we're dealing with here. It would never occur to him that Jews might reject Lieberman because they love America and support Israel. They probably believe, as I do, that his policies are bad for both.

Ed, if you take a minute and think about it you'll come around, like you did when you stopped being a conservative. You don't really believe this is a party "purge." You're too sane for that.

So how about knocking off all this nonsense and teaching me the right way to fish? I never could bait a hook worth a damn, but I'm willing to learn. I'll even set a date: August 9. We can agree then to support the Democratic nominee together, whoever he may be.

But if it's Lieberman, keep those frosty cans of Bud well out of my reach.