Thursday, July 13, 2006


Hey, Teacher! LieberDem's Alone!

I've pretty much avoided the whole Joe Lieberman-Ned Lamont primary/independent run thing since it seemed to me to be an interparty feud that Democrats needed to settle themselves.

However, this item is too good to pass up.

Lieberman's former press secretary Dan Gerstein nails progressive blogger David Sirota in an a rather embarrassing
apparent hypocrisy -- which seems to illustrate the interesting lengths that the anti-Lieberman people will go create a "pure" Democratic Party !

[O]ver the July 4th weekend, the Hartford Courant published an op-ed from a young operative and blogger named David Sirota, who told Connecticut Democrats like me that Lieberman didn't represent us. In fact, Sirota went a step further, and ludicrously argued that Lieberman was not just outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party, but of the American people.

Now what standing and credibility does Sirota have to make either claim? Well, he spent most of his limited adult life working in Washington -- including a stint with the lone socialist in Congress -- before moving to Montana. To my knowledge, the closest he's come to spending any meaningful time in Connecticut is interviewing for a job in Joe Lieberman's Senate office (with yours truly) and in his Presidential campaign in 2003.

Yes, that's right: the same guy who is viciously attacking Joe Lieberman as the great Satan of the Democratic Party actually sought not one but two jobs from the target of his hatred, and did so at time when all of the supposed sins that Sirota is attacking Lieberman for now were well known. The polite term for that would be chutzpah. Some one less charitable might call Sirota a fraud. But in fairness to Sirota, he isn't just attacking Lieberman.

He has accused
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama of being bad Democrats as well. That alone should resolve any question about Sirota's qualifications for discerning what a mainstream Democrat is, be it in Connecticut or anywhere else.

And, no, someone shouldn't be forever prevented from criticizing someone for whom they applied for a job in the past. That's not the implication of Dan's note. However, if Sirota feels that Lieberman's position on the war has made him no longer representative of the views of Connecticut Democrats -- or Democrats in general -- then how is it that Sirota was willing to go to work for him more than a year after the invasion of Iraq?

Now, Sirota could say that he turned against Lieberman because of his unflinching support for the Bush administrations's current course on Iraq. However, that's not the only reason Sirota is opposed to Lieberman. From the Hartford Courant op-ed, he says:

How about partially privatizing Social Security? Lieberman was one of the earliest and most outspoken senators giving credence to the concept. In 2000, The New York Times reported that Lieberman suggested he could support allowing workers to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in private markets.

But, if that position was known going back six years, why didn't Sirota have a problem applying for a job with the "Joe-mentum" presidential effort in 2004?

Connecticut Democrats can sort this whole thing out themselves, but if Sirota is indicative of the anti-Lieberman folks, they have some issues of their own to cop to.

In the interests of full disclosue, I will note that Gerstein and I co-host a monthly bi-partisan dinner in New York.

UPDATE: In the interests of fairness, here is David Sirota's response.I knew I shouldn't have gotten involved in this. Anyway, the only thing I will add is that Sirota's put down of Dan Gerstein -- a "classic, haughty, self-important, professional election loser" -- seems to be a tough thing for one Democrat to say to another, isn't it? Just asking.

Oh, one more thing -- Dan Gerstein is a friend of mine and I can say unequivocally, one thing he is NOT is classic (though the name of his blog IS).

UPDATE II: Dan responds to David.

UPDATE III: Sirota's last word?

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