Archive for August 8th, 2006

It’s official: Lieberman conceded today’s primary to Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont. Some were claiming this race was the most important in America, a litmus test for how effective blogs are and how strong the burgeoning left-based populist movement is.

Unfortunately the good news is laced with some bad. Lieberman, in the same breath annoucing his concession to Lamont announced that he plans to take Lamont on again, but as an independent.

What an *ss.

In the next few days we’ll see whether the DC insider establishment has digested the import of Lamont’s run. If so, we’ll see the Democratic leadership first urge Lieberman to drop out, then when he doesn’t, go on the attack. If not, we’ll see the usual hemming and hawing and calls for compromise and attacks on Lamont as a radical and the bloggers as a pack of dangerous extremists. (That is, how the right will spin it.)

But for now, news is good.

Congratulations, Lamont. Good riddance — for now — to Lieberman.

There’s a nice profile in the Billings Gazette about three of the younger Democratic Party candidates up for election this November: Michelle Reinhart, Kendall Van Dyk, and Kevin Furey. Admittedly, it is a kind article, scarce on criticism. But then, it isn’t that kind of article.

Of the three, I’m most familiar with Reinhart and Furey. Reinhart is running in my House District, and I’m voting for her not just because she’s a Democrat (I am, after all, a partisan hack), but because she’s kick *ss. Furey is kind of a local celebrity: Iraqi war vet, university student, state legislator. The city’s wunderkind. Of the two, Furey is facing a tougher re-election. He represents the more conservative eastern swath of town, while Reinhart is running virtually unopposed. It wouldn’t matter anyway if she were opposed: our little section of town is rabidly working-class Democratic.

What gets me about this story is the virulent, hate-filled response by conservative commenters to the piece, especially over the claim that these three strive to be non-partisan.

It’s easy to forget, especially in a forum like this that concentrates most of its efforts to highlight what separates candidates, that most of us want the same things. (Even Dave Budge and I in our vicious back-and-forth on CI-154 – which we’ll have a public debate over, I hope – have the same core belief: we want to protect private property, especially that of small home- and business owners. We disagree over the initiative’s effectiveness – and disagree sharply.) We have more common ground than differences.

That said, I think these three candidates embody what the Montana Democratic party can bring to the table and the Republicans can’t: talented, smart, competent, and honest lawmakers.

Update: I just realized that Furey’s Republican opponent, Tom Opre, was the politician busted for beating his wife. It should be clear in this case, which candidate has the better character.

New York is a pretty cool place. It is not – as many New Yorkers think – the center of the universe, though. I admit that many of the best and brightest congregate there, but I think that’s a numbers game. Stick seven million people on an island along the main Europe-North American trade route, and you will find accomplished people. On the other hand, you will also find a lot of folks at the bottom, the down-and-outs, the never-weres and never-will-bes, the depraved, the criminal, the pathetic and the just plain dumb.

And then there’s the great bulk of the mediocre middle. Folks who are…well…just like me and you, only they don’t know any better because they live in New York and once met Paul Theroux at a party.

To wit: a recent attack on my state, town, and local weekly newspaper, the Missoula Independent over an item in the weekly Calander (penned, ironcially, by former New Yorker, Jason Wiener):

Bowling and karaoke go together like Israeli bombing and US bombs during Solid Sound Karaoke at Westside Lanes. 8:30 PM. Free. Call 541-SING.

Gawker’s response?

Somewhere, in a land far, far away from The Island, there is a place called Missoula, Montana, where the Independent serves as the community’s alt-weekly. A ranch-handling reader alerts us to an item from the Independent’s events listing…, in which karaoke and bowling are likened to that other peanut-butter-and-jelly pairing, Israeli bombing and U.S. bombs. Um, okay.

This concludes your disturbing update from west of the Hudson.

A comment from “grandenchilada” tosses gasoline on the fire:

But bombing goes together with Missoula, Montana just dandy.

No doubt you non-Missoula Montanans are sniggering in your Pabst Blue Ribbons or cowboy coffees – or whatever the h*ll it is you drink out there in the boonies – to see Missoula get its comeuppance in a snarky and incestuous middling New York insider blog. But, still! Isn’t it odd that a “sophisticated” New Yorker is unable to spot the subtle humor of the item? (Or perhaps 9/11 really did mark the death of irony.)

Independent editor Brad Tyer responded to the snub (perhaps a bit too earnestly) thusly:

The calendar entry in question is for a running event — every Saturday night’s karaoke event at a local bowling alley. In trying to keep the calendar entry fresh, our calendar editor Jason Wiener has developed a running “goes together like” gag taking its cue from current national news (Missoula is not so far, far away after all), the point of which is not, as your interpretation holds, to pair peanut-butter-and-jelly likes, but precisely to point out disturbing pairings.

For instance, from this week: “Bowling and karaoke go together like an anti-Semitic tirade from a drunken Mel Gibson and making movies about Jews killing Jesus during Solid Sound Karaoke at Westside Lanes.” Or, “Bowling and karaoke go together like responding to newspaper editorials you don’t like and envelopes full of white powder during Solid Sound Karaoke at Westside Lanes,” from July 20. Or “Bowling and karaoke go together like Mark Cuban and Dan Rather at…” from June 22. You get the picture. To the extent that we have an editorial policy on such things (settle down: we don’t) it’s that bowling and karaoke don’t go particularly well together at all.


Oh well. At least we got the pleasure of seeing our country humor (we come by it naturally: Jason’s from New Hampshire, I’m from Houston) fly right over the heads of the sophisticates at Gawker, and that’s no small consolation for seeing ourselves willfully misconstrued on a national stage.

“Oh well,” is right.

Today is the much touted Connecticut primary, in which Senator Joe Lieberman squares up against Ned Lamont. Some see this election deciding America’s future. I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think the election is important enough to warrant its own links page.

So here it is! 4&20 blackbirds’ election-day links special! Enjoy.

ConnecticutBlog is compiling all the live blogging going on in the state.

Sirota’s four possible outcomes for today’s Connecticut primary. I predict a double-digit Lamont win.

Cillizza’s five questions for today’s election.

The WSJ sees Lieberman’s struggles as just scratching “the surface of anti-incumbent sentiment.” Excellent analysis, IMHO.

More excellent analysis: the WaPo’s Dan Balz recognizes Lieberman’s troubles extend much further than the war.

The WaPo’s Dionne believes this race is a preview of the November election. Bad news for Republicans, that is.

Time tries to depict Markos Moulitsas as a kingmaker. Meanwhile Ezra Klein prepares for the post-election spin that shows the netroots have already won. Of course, in reality, if Lamont loses today, it will enable DC insiders to discount the recent surge of populism.

I really, really, really like the way the Guardian describes the race.

Digby analyzes today’s Lanny Davis WSJ op-ed piece, which basically accused Lamont supporters of being anti-semetic. Digby, as usual, rips things up.

Some genius over at the American Prospect has dug up info on Joe Lieberman’s pals.

And then there’s William Kristol’s take, which strongly supports Lieberman and suggests if he loses, he should be incorporated into the Bush administration. Boy, if Kristol is on your side, you know you’re living in fantasyland.

Glenn Grenwald considers Lieberman’s right-wing extremist support: “…any residual doubts about where Lieberman fits on the political spectrum are fully resolved by reading Bill Kristol’s full-scale defense and embrace of his candidacy.”

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