Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Connecticut Yankee in Joe Stalin's Court: Painting Ned Lamont 'Red'

Editor and Publisher
A Connecticut Yankee in Joe Stalin's Court: Painting Ned Lamont 'Red'
The editorial page of Waterbury's Republican-American, stuck in a 1950s time warp, suggests that blueblood U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont is actually a Marxist whose "true color" is Red.
By Greg Mitchell

(August 15, 2006) -- In case you thought McCarthyism in the press died out in the late-1950s, consider this past Sunday’s editorial in the daily newspaper in Waterbury, Connecticut. At least Ann Coulter, an avowed fan of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, has moved on to current threats (terrorists and other liberals), while the aptly named Republican-American, Sunday circ 60,000, is still obsessed with Communists.

It’s almost quaint, but as the author of a book about 1950s politics, I have to add that Red-baiting is no joke, even when the Red Menace is no more.

Not many were laughing late last Sept. 1, either, when New Orleans’ besieged Times-Picayune, then underwater and only publishing online, felt it had to reply to the Waterbury paper after it suggested their city might not be worth “re-claiming” after Katrina. "How dare they?" the Times-Picayune asked.

Not surprisingly, this past Sunday’s editorial was inspired by Ned Lamont’s upset victory in the state’s Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate last Tuesday, in which he edged Joseph Lieberman, mainly on grounds that the incumbent backed President Bush on the Iraq war and several other key issues. Lieberman is now running as an Independent.

On the surface, Lamont seems blessed with Republican-like credentials. He is a true blueblood, a phenomenally successful businessman and terribly rich. His father, Ted, a longtime Republican, was an economist who worked with the Marshall Plan, and later served in the Nixon administration. His uncle, Thomas Stilwell Lamont was vice-chairman of Morgan Guaranty Trust. His famous grandfather, Thomas Williams Lamont Jr., was a partner and then chairman of J.P. Morgan & Co.

But that doesn’t mean that Ned Lamont isn’t a Commie. Here are a few excerpts from the Waterbury paper’s Sunday editorial. It’s titled “Ned Lamont’s True Colors” and I think you can guess what color they are referring to:

“(L)iberal journalists adore him because they share his world view on abortion, homosexual marriage, universal health care, racial quotas, loopy environmentalism and especially the war against Islamic terrorism.

“They are blood brothers, or more accurately, fellow travelers. Just as journalism has become a hornet's nest of socialism (communism not yet perfected), if you shake Mr. Lamont's family tree, a lot of Red apples will fall.

“His great-grandfather, Thomas W. Lamont, was chairman of J.P. Morgan. A wealthy progressive pacifist, he was the sugar daddy for the American Communist Party and other extreme left-wing organizations. His wife, Florence, belonged to such subversive groups as the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship and American Committee for Friendship with the Soviet Union.

“Their son, Corliss Lamont, was an unapologetic Stalinist and atheist. Congress once declared him ‘probably the most persistent propagandist for the Soviet Union to be found anywhere in the United States.’ As national chairman of The Friends of Soviet Russia, he refused to condemn Josef Stalin's show trials in the 1930s. For 22 years, he was director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been financed by communists and dedicated to advancing Marxism since its inception and to this day seeks to impose socialism and atheism on America. ...

“According to one recent commentary, Corliss' nephew, Edward M. ‘Ted’ Lamont Sr., embraced liberal-socialism ‘and passed his religious devotion to atheistic materialism along to his son.’ Ned Lamont, in turn, has surrounded himself with people who may be characterized fairly as dedicated socialists and borderline communists. ...

“Corliss Lamont was the only Lamont unashamed to declare his communist sympathies and beliefs publicly, but that doesn't make Thomas, Ted and Ned any less Marxist. Red Ned may label himself a progressive, but when he espouses goals shared by Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Castro, et al., he gives away his true color.”

This account is rife with errors -- consider, for example, the suggestion that J.P. Morgan for decades entrusted its billions to the Communist Party’s “sugar daddy” -- but that’s not the point. Even if everything stated in the editorial were somehow true, it would still be an attempt to tar Lamont because of the views or political activities of long-dead ancestors. If you’re going to play the bloodline game, at least stick to the still-living father -- the Nixon administration official.

There’s an intresting story behind the Waterbury paper, however. A man named William J. Pape once owned three papers. He folded The Democrat in 1946, and merged The American and the Republican in the early 1990s. The Pape family still controls the paper through American-Republican Inc., and William J. Pape, II now serves as publisher.

Back in June, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed Pape for a piece on the trend of newspapers dropping an outdated party label from their logo. Pape admitted that Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 2.5 to 1 in his city, but added, “We've got no intention of changing the name. My grandfather would roll over in his grave, because The Republican was always his favorite."

It was almost a full year ago that the Waterbury paper made national headlines with that August 31 editorial which asked, in its title,
"Is New Orleans Worth Reclaiming?"

The following day, The Times-Picayune replied online: "Yes, We're Worth It.” Others in the media around the country joined in bashing the Waterbury editorial, which had asserted that “if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property."

Waterbury, of course, is built on a flood plain of the Naugatuck River, and has been ravaged by floods over the years.

The Times-Picayune concluded: "Even as people from New Orleans desperately search for their family members and rescue workers patrol the region in boats, hack through roofs and try to pluck survivors out, some people in other parts of the country have begun to blame us, the victims. Our crime? Choosing to live in New Orleans.

"Especially heartless were U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and the writers of an editorial that appeared Wednesday in the Republican-American, a newspaper in Waterbury, Conn. ... The editorial depicts our city and our people as a drain on federal coffers, and if you read it you might get the impression that New Orleans has never contributed to the economic vitality of this country. It maligns the city and our people as if we're nothing more than outstretched palms waiting for FEMA grants that only they fund.

"How dare they?”