Senator Lieberman has a bit of a problem. He knows his weaknesses and he is projecting them onto his Democratic opponent, Ned Lamont. I am not a psychologist, but I have been dating one for over five years. As such, I certainly feel like an expert in the field of psychology–by proximity. Just to be on the safe side, let me define the term in question here:
Projection A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, in which what is emotionally unacceptable in the self is unconsciously rejected and attributed (projected) to others.
Senator Lieberman has been in full-on defense since his meltdown on Colin McEnroe’s radio show back in March (MP3 Link). For the first time, Senator Lieberman really lost his cool–I think even McEnroe was surprised by it. The Senator’s meltdown was precipitated by a column appearing in the Hartford Courant on Sunday March 19 (which is unfortunately no longer available online), in which McEnroe quoted Lieberman saying:
“It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war we undermine the president’s credibility at our nation’s peril.”
Three days later, on March 22, Lieberman went on the air with McEnroe and took issue with that quote, assuming that it must have come from some bloggers.
This is when, in my opinion, Senator Lieberman began losing the primary.
One of the Senator’s first lines of attack against Lamont and his supporters in the blogosphere was that we’re all just so angry. Take a listen to that interview Joe did with Colin McEnroe, and then head on over to the Ned Lamont Resource and listen to one of Ned Lamont‘s interviews (I suggest March 29th) with Colin McEnroe. Who’s angry? It ain’t McEnroe and it ain’t Lamont. PROJECTION!
Senator Lieberman recently attacked a friend of mine, accusing her of being a “plant” of the Lamont campaign. You can take a look at her in action, as WTNH and NECN had cameras at the event and recorded her polite but firm questioning of the Senator. In fact, the event was for Irish Democrats in Stamford, so Maura had as much a right to be in attendance as anyone. Senator Lieberman, being an elected official and representative of the public, will have to face the public every once in a while. That he was called on his bullshit in front of a TV camera or two no doubt irked his tater, but it doesn’t make Maura a plant. Senator Lieberman however, earlier on in Lamont’s candidacy (pre-convention), had his minions show up at Ned Lamont‘s campaign stops–DTC Meetings and the like–to film and photograph Lamont. They were planted at Lamont’s events by Lieberman. PROJECTION!
Senator Lieberman has run television advertisements and mailed out slick oversized postcards questioning Ned Lamont’s loyalty to the Democratic party. The mailers and commercials claim that while a selectman in Greenwich that “Ned Lamont voted with the Republicans 80% of the time.” Yes, Lamont and the Greenwich Republicans agree: those potholes ought to be repaired! Comparing Lamont’s voting record as a selectman to Lieberman’s voting record as a U.S. Senator reveals that when it comes to important issues–the type that Republicans and Democrats actually disagree about–Senator Lieberman often votes with the Republicans. And if he’s not voting with the Republicans, he’s reluctantly voting with the Democrats. Why does Senator Lieberman continue to make the technically accurate claim that Ned Lamont voted with Republicans 80% of the time? PROJECTION!
On major issues such as Iraq, the confirmation of Superme Court nominee Samuel Alito, Social Security Privatization, censuring Clinton, and censuring Bush, Senator Lieberman has either very reluctantly sided with the Democrats or has wrapped himself in elephant skin and lived up to his nickname–“George Bush’s Favorite Democrat.”
One of Senator Lieberman’s recent attack ads calls Ned Lamont a “flip-flopper” (in and of itself, that’s significant evidence that Lieberman is taking cues from the Republican playbook). I have already addressed the charges made by that ad, but the main point here is that Senator Lieberman is a flip-flopper on an issue important to the Democratic party: Affirmative Action.
Maybe they’re still stinging from this Lieberman quote, from the floor of the US Senate in 1995:
Affirmative action is dividing us in ways its creators could never have intended because most Americans who do support equal opportunity and are not biased and don’t think it is fair to discriminate against some Americans as a way to make up for historic discrimination against other Americans.
I’m sure Lieberman would rather they remember this quote, from a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus in 2000:
I have supported affirmative action, I do support affirmative action, and I will support affirmative action because history and current reality make it necessary.
What is it when Senator Lieberman calls Ned Lamont a flip-flopper when it is actually Senator Lieberman who has flipped and flopped? PROJECTION!
This projection thing is a problem for Senator Lieberman, because every single line of attack he’s used against Lamont identifies a weakness of his own.