Ned Lamont’s Self-Imposed “Dirt”

Well, it seems as if Connecticut senatorial candidate Ned Lamont, the crusading hero of countless “netroots” folk, has some egg on his face. Take a gander at this story, which, interestingly enough, appeared in the September 9 number of The New York Times:

NEW HAVEN, Sept. 8–Ned Lamont, who this week chastised Senator Joseph I. Lieberman for his public rebuke of President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, wrote Mr. Lieberman at the time praising the eloquence of his speech on the Senate floor.

“I supported your statement because Clinton’s behavior was outrageous: a Democrat had to stand up and state as much, and I hoped that your statement was the beginning of the end,” Mr. Lamont, then a cable television executive, wrote in an e-mail message to the senator’s office on Sept. 16, 1998, two weeks after Lieberman’s speech.

Hysterical, is it not? Good ole’ “Red” Ned has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle. Perhaps the “netroots” nutters’ feverish contempt for Senator Lieberman has even infected the judgment of their candidate of choice?

As humorous as this situation is, it pales in comparison with the feeble way Lamont’s handlers attempted to spin this obvious blunder. The Times tells us:

His [Lamont’s] campaign manager, Tom Swan, did not address the content of the e-mail message, but said: “It is clear that Senator Lieberman would prefer to try to cloud Ned’s statements from eight years ago, instead of talking about the important issues of national security, the war in Iraq, and health care. It is shocking to see his Senate staff, at taxpayer expense, is spending their time trying to make up dirt on Ned Lamont.”

For its sheer chutzpah, we’re tempted to conclude that this is one of the most brazenly inept rebuttals in recent political history. Could even the most diehard Lamont booster read Swan’s statement without inadvertently chuckling?

We mean, come on: To paraphrase Mary McCarthy (the deceased author, not the disgraced CIA leaker), every word Mr. Swan said is a lie, including “and” and “the.”

First off, how in the good Lord’s name could presenting reporters with Lamont’s own e-mail amount to “cloud[ing] Ned’s statements from eight years ago”? Perhaps Mr. Swan should look up the word “cloud.”

Further, it’s a bit of a tough sell to suggest that Senator Lieberman refuses to discuss important issues like the liberation of Iraq. Isn’t Mr. Lieberman’s defense of the Iraq War what compelled good ole’ Ned to challenge him in the first place? And, of course, there’s the fact that Neddy, not Senator Lieberman, brought up this whole issue by criticizing the senator’s Monica Lewinsky speech.

But surely the “taxpayer expense” line is the greatest howler. “Red” Ned, who never met a government program that wasn’t worth our hard-earned cash, cares about saving the taxpayers’ money? That’s news to us.

And, gee: How long would it take Senator Lieberman’s staff to dig up that e-mail? One minute? Two? That’s some savings.

Gee, if the Lieberman folks only listened to Lamont’s staffers, perhaps we’d save enough money for all of us to become self-important, dunderheaded cable television tycoons.

(Note: The crack young staff normally “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently coaching Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan on how to say “No comment.”)

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