Access Denied

What do you do when the people you represent want to be represented by someone else? What do you do when the your highest approval ratings come from members of the party you claim to differentiate yourself from? What do you do when you’re down and desperate?

You call in some Democrats with bona fides, and keep the public–especially bloggers who happen to be both constituents and registered Democrats–the hell out. (See “The Adventures of Maura and CTBob” for the story of the newest additions to Joe’s Enemy List).

So unless you were living under a rock, you heard that former President Bill Clinton came to Waterbury yesterday to rally the troops behind soon-to-be former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman. The visit was announced last week, just before the latest Quinnipiac Poll was released showing that Ned Lamont holds a 4 point lead over Lieberman.

Receiving far less hullabaloo than the Clinton visit, another staunchly liberal Democrat made the trip into Connecticut in a futile attempt to raise Lieberman’s street cred with voters. Barbara Boxer doesn’t seem to have much in common with Senator Lieberman. After all, she stood up to the Bush administration by voting against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts AND Samuel Alito. Starting yesterday, she has at least one thing in common with our much maligned junior Senator: a detachment from reality. Just watch the video, keeping in mind what you know about Barbara Boxer’s record on choice as well as what you know about Lieberman, and ask yourself whether she is off her rocker when insisting that she and Lieberman have the same position.

I’m always happy to meet a Senator, whether or not a Senator is happy to meet me, but I decided to forgo a trip to Norwalk for Barbara Boxer. I opted instead to preserve my energy (Blogger Juice® – we all live off it) for the Clinton event. One ex-President trumps any number of current and soon-to-be-former Senators in my book. I mean, President Clinton is larger than life and I’d have loved to come back to my keyboard and gush about how electrifying it was to be in the same room as a Democratic Party icon. That wouldn’t make for very interesting reading, now would it?

So I get to downtown Waterbury and park across from the Palace Theater around 2:15pm. At this point the road is not yet closed, but the line to get in is already extending for more than a city block. I turned on my camera, and accompanied one of the DumpJoe.com guys to pass out kiss buttons and show off some of the signs he made to the folks patiently waiting to get in. What struck me was just how many people wanted the kiss buttons (though I shouldn’t be surprised).

I also expected (and got) some dirty looks from the crowd we were walking through, but what I wasn’t prepared for were the remarks I can only describe as just plain hateful. They were coming from people who ostensibly support the man who is willing to “agree to disagree” about this country’s continued involvement in a bloody civil war. If these people can get so riled up at the sight of a “Hi Bill, it’s still time for a change” sign, let’s just say I’m glad we kept moving.

I really wished I had a ticket, but I wasn’t willing to give all of my personal info to a Lieberman staffer. The Secret Service was welcome to it (and I’ve yet to verify whether a social security number is required–though the SSA sheds some light), but I’d prefer to cut out the vengeful middlemen thank-you-very-much. Close to the start of the event, after the police had shooed all of us non-ticket holders down past the barricades, Jane asks if I’m ready to go in. I don’t know and I’m not interested in knowing how she got the tickets, but I handed my camera off to a friend and followed Jane to the door. While walking the line passing out kiss buttons, I overheard several announcements that no cameras or video cameras were allowed–and I didn’t want a big hold-up on my way into the event.

I was about 10 yards behind Jane, and had just gotten to the door when I was told that no backpacks were allowed in the theater. I could see Jane showing her ticket and presumed that she’d save me a seat, so I bolted to my car to drop off my bag. When I came back but a minute later, a familiar face was waiting for me. It was the Lieberman staffer who exuded so much confidence about Lieberman’s ability to change minds in New Britain when speaking at the DTC meeting in June who reached out and ripped the ticket from my hand.

It’s one thing to tell me I’m not welcome, it’s quite another to actually steal something from me. I insisted on getting the ticket back, but I had walked right into a childish game of “keep-away”. I was no longer in front of the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut but rather standing on the playground at “Connecticut for Lieberman” elementary. I was ready to go play tetherball or four-square when back-up arrived–for the Lieberman staffer.

It was someone a little higher up on the Lieberman food-chain (I can tell this because he didn’t steal anything from me) who came over with a police officer and said this about me:

“Officer, he’s a known protester”

As opposed to, you know, a known sanctimonious, power-hungry, opportunistic career politician like Joe Lieberman. As opposed to the first Democrat to speak out against President Clinton and the first Democrat to speak up for President Bush.

I bristled at the charge that I was a “known protester”. Am I not also a Democrat? How about a constituent of Senator Lieberman? How about a fan of Bill Clinton?

Nope. Because I am a pretty visible supporter of Ned Lamont, and because I’ve made appearances at a couple of Lieberman campaign stops to see what he has to say (and to ask him to commit to the Primary), I was not allowed in to see Bill Clinton.

This is reminiscent of George W. Bush’s campaign in 2004. Sure, you could come in to his campaign events, but just sign away your conscience on the dotted line at the bottom of this loyalty oath. A strange move for someone who is working hard to claim that there’s a great deal of distance between himself and the hugely unpopular current President. It’s not surprising that Senator Lieberman is running his campaign events using the Karl Rove playbook. After all, the last time Senator Lieberman held an event that was open to the public he had to face dissent. There’s no room for that in the world of “Connecticut for Lieberman.”

40 Responses to “Access Denied”


  1. siun

    “a known protestor” – whoa! can’t have any of those around!

    Great job Spazeboy!

  2. Connecticut Bob

    LMAO!

    Great reenactment! Jane was very good, but you stole the show! Two thumbs up! Remarkable performance! It was like actually being there. You’re a born actor, Spazeboy; a regular “Barrymore of the Bloggers”!

    …and I’ll bet you DID cry, too! 😉

  3. Jenny from the Blog

    spazeboy –

    Do you think Clinton’s people know about this? It reflects very poorly on him and I think he’d be incensed, or at least “play” incensed…

  4. Lizzy

    What do you do when you’re down and desperate?

    You watch this great video. Thanks Spazeboy.

  5. DeanFan84

    Bloggers? Bloggers!

    We all know that Lieberman is no match for a handful of pesky bloggers. Last week in Stamford, the running joke was, “How many bloggers out front, does it take to get Joe to chicken out and sneak in the back entrance for a campaign event?”

    The answer, “just two!”

    And hey, Spazeboy. You weren’t the only one excluded from the event. Former State Chair George Jepsen was also denied entry. http://www.georgejepsen.com

    If and when we win, do you think we should give Nancy DiNardo reciprocal treatment?

  6. TeddySanFran

    Well, this is an outrage. There’s no excuse for it. I recommend you write to BigDog and Hill. perhaps telling Bill how sorry you were not to be able to hear him speak. And the circumstances.

    “Known protester?” Such pre-1776 thinking. Nice to know the LieberTroopers are taking their cue from the Mehlman/Rove playbook. Here’s hoping they weren’t provided with the last chapter: about winning.

    You and Jane rock. What a coupla cuties!

  7. Jeremy

    lmao. my goodness. That was funny but sad at the same time. The lieberman folks are afraid. This is desperation from the HoJo camp.

    Yikes.

  8. Millineryman

    A known protester, wtf?

    Is that going on your permanent record or something equally stupid.

    I’d write to Bill and let him know. And good luck today on the radio. Speak loud and clear about it.

  9. tribe.net: www.spazeboy.net

    Barbara Boxer + Bill Clinton + Joe Lieberman = WTF?…

    http://www.spazeboy.net/2006/07/access-denied/

    Access Denied

    July 25, 2……

  10. ctkeith

    Spazeboy was kept out but Ed Marcus,The man John Olsen told me at the anti-war Protest in Hartford,was the most evil man in Conn. Politics EVER was allowed up on stage.

    “Man of Integrity” my ass. Joe Lieberman would sell the soul of his recently deceased mother right now to insure his hold on what he considers “His Seat” in the Senate.

  11. worc33

    It was a private event.

    Who do you think paid for the arrangements and the renting of the theatre, the Lamont campaign?! The event was reserved for the friends and supporters of Joe Lieberman, period. Anyone who presumes that they have a right to attend is kidding themselves..

  12. Carly

    SpaceBoy – i think i’m falling in love with u!

  13. Radio Left

    Lieberman even runs a Bush style campaign…

    Crooks and Liars

    Jane and Spazeboy were kicked out for no reason at all.
    Spazeboy and I both had legitimate tickets, and were both given the heave-ho, recognized by Lieberman staffers we had encountered when we accompanied the Kiss Float to other cann…

  14. dcfree

    Back in 92, a number of us Clinton supporters in Michigan went to a Bush rally. We had tickets. The GOP goons tried to keep us out, pointed us out to the Secret Service and the State Police as disruptive elements. The Secret Service and the police both chose not to interfere…they said: “they have tickets they can enter.” They told us it wasn’t their job to police rallies for purity of intent or aliegence to Bush. How said that the Dems. in Conn. are now doing that, sadder still that the police supported them.

  15. derby378

    Spazeboy, you shoulda fought back. You’re a Dem, and you’ve earned the right to be there.

    If Junior tried to snatch my ticket away from me, he’d draw back a stump. This is no time for progressives to be coy.

    Having said that, S, I feel for you.

  16. Rachel

    We just wrote something about this at TPMCafe, and we talked to Marion Steinfels. We wanted to know if you had anything to say to her response–she says it was just that your names weren’t on the list. Thanks.

  17. Bretton

    Well, Kos does the same thing on his “democratic” website, banning people for being too far left. Welcome to your own hypocricy.

  18. LindaR

    You go spazeboy and Jane! They’re not so tough when they can’t control the information, eh?

  19. Jarjura

    Jane is hot! If she’s your gf spazeboy you’re a lucky guy.

  20. John in Chicago

    The Lie-berman Camp has responded to this story:

    http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2006/jul/25/lieberman_spokeswoman_responds_to_blogger_scandal

    Doesn’t change the fact that this was a choreographed, Rovian event…

  21. Jeremy

    So why was Jane Hamsher tossed as well? She waan’t on the list too?

  22. Brian Schwartz

    Lieberman’s people at this event are like comic book characters. Their lack of democratic and tolerant instincts are symptomatic of who the Senator is…a spoiled brat, dangerous fig leaf for the radical right wing and someone who has flunked the litmus test for the issue of our times…the pre-emptive war in Iraq.

  23. skippy

    this aggression shall not stand, man!

    skippy won’t take this egregious disrespect of his friend jane hamsher laying down.

    skippy calls the big dog

  24. n69n

    “known protester”?!?!!?
    why, thats just a hop skip & jump away from “serial killing pedophile”!!!!

  25. Maria

    Wow, fantastic video, I hope everyone in the whole US sees this. I just saw it on Huffingon Post. Thanks for taking the trouble to let the rest of us know what is really going on.

    Remember the fate of the world depends on our success in November–so shout it from the rooftops! Republicans (including Lieberman) OUT!

  26. romolo

    Peace. I’m going to add you to my daily rotation with kos and mediamatters, thanks. Where can I get a “known protester” T-shirt? Hound Lieberman about his “Enemies List”. Demand to see it. Start a groundswell. Last fall I wrote in my sometimes blog, http://www.elvismeetsnixon.blogspot.com, about the election for the mayor of St. Paul Minnesota where a pro Bush Dem (DFL) was replaced by a real Dem (DFL). Look at that election. Again, thanks for being a known protester.

  27. baghdad joe

    Another dark day for the Lieberman campaign.

    It’s… starting… to… swirl…

  28. BarbaraB

    If Clinton is only speaking to a pre-screened audience, who is he supposed to persuade? Saying “vote for Joe” to folks who are going to do that anyway seems like a waste of his time. If he was just for a photo op and a sound bite, Clinton could have stayed home and mailed in a DVD endorsement. Very odd, but look at it this way — you’re a (reluctant) rock star, and it’s the LieberGoons getting the bad publicity. Pretty cool.

  29. liebermania
  30. Josh B.

    Who is the woman in this video? She is absolutely breath takingly beautiful.

  31. TrueBlueMajority

    How do I get labeled “a known protestor”? I’d take that as a badge of honor!

  32. Sue

    http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2006/jul/25/lieberman_spokeswoman_responds_to_blogger_scandal

    TPM Cafe:
    “Lieberman Camp Responds To Charges They Barred Lamont Supporter From Event
    By Rachel Weiner | bio
    As Election Central wrote below, a Ned Lamont supporter and blogger named Beau Anderson, a.k.a. Spazeboy, was barred from attending the big Clinton-Lieberman event, even though he had a ticket. We’ve now spoken with Marion Steinfels, Lieberman’s campaign spokeswoman. She tells us that although Spazeboy had a ticket (which was apparently given to him by someone else), his name wasn’t on the list, and no one whose name wasn’t on the list was admitted — ticket or no ticket. “You had to have your name on the list, for security reasons,” she told us. “Every ticket had a number and the name corresponded.” It appears that the person at the door recognized Spazeboy and knew his name wasn’t on the list, and thus barred him.”

  33. Sue

    TPM Update:

    UPDATE: We heard from Spazeboy, whose account of the proceedings doesn’t exactly match Steinfels’:

    No, the list was not checked, and in fact no one had asked for my name or identification. After stowing my bag in my trunk, a Lieberman staff member (who I recognized from his visit to my town’s Democratic Town Committee, and who recognized me) came right up to me and took the ticket from my hand. I insisted that he give the ticket back, and he refused. It was after the ticket was taken from my hands that the police officer approached me with another Lieberman staff member who identified me as a “known protester.” The officer asked me to leave and informed me that my other option was to be arrested.

    This all happened on the sidewalk right outside of the entrance. There were no lists out there.

    Clearly, there are still plenty of unanswered questions here.

  34. Sue
  35. Sue

    Digby, Jane and Spazeboy links found on Kos front page.

  36. Eric Jaffa

    worc33 –

    If an event is only for specific people, then they should write people’s names on the tickets.

    It’s deceptive to give out tickets which appear to provide admittance to anyone who has one, then snatch the ticket from a man’s hand and run away, and then tell a cop, ““Officer, he’s a known protester,”

  37. Eric Jaffa

    Alternatelty, if admittance is based on having one’s name on a list, as the Lieberman spokeswoman claims, it would make sense NOT to distribute any tickets and publicize the fact that it’s an invitation only event.

    It is slimy for Liberman’s people to hand out tickets, and then say to the police, “Officer, he’s a known protester.”

  38. worc33

    the “known protestor” comment was clearly amateurish, but the broader point was that this was an event for the friends and supporters of senator lieberman and that despite some attempts to crash, measures were in place to ensure that NON-rightful ticket holders would not be admitted…

    you have to get over the fact that you weren’t invited. Derby’s comment that “You’re a Dem, and you’ve earned the right to be there.” is so childish and naive I dont know where to begin…

  39. Eric Jaffa

    worc33 –

    Why give out tickets if only specific people are allowed in?

    The Lieberman people could have invited their donors and asked them to bring ID, with no tickets.

    In America, the meaning of a ticket is admission.

  40. tom lenihan

    About the only thing GI Joe and clinton have in common is that they are both a couple of draft dodgers. But Lieberman serves shamelessly on the armed services commitee. Gladly puts OTHER families in harms way to defend America, but not his. Preaches moral values to Clinton,–same Lieberman that deserted his wife and children because he “had more important things to do” This man is a disgrace to Connecticut