Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Lowell and Colin Show

“Thinking about today's show,” Colin McEnroe – blogger, author, Courant columnist and beau viviant – writes on his blog, “ I re-read Genghis Conn's excellent meditation on Weicker's 1970 three-way. (It is fun to wonder how many of the people posting comments, back then, about Lieberman crushing Lamont like a bug have revised their entomology. Hey, we ALL get stuff wrong.)”

Gengis Conn is the proprietor of Connecticut Local Politics, a much read progressive blog. The blog is read mostly for its sometimes colorful and disputative commentary section. Among the comments on the particular site to which McEnroe refers is this one:

Don Pesci (that would be me) said...
GC
I believe in God and Senator Dodd and keepin' old Castro down --Phil Ochs, Draft Dodger Rag
In the context of the times, Ochs' song is instructive. It's generally forgotten -- and never mentioned in discussions of the Dodd pere/Duffy/Weicker race that Duffey was the anti-Vietnam war dove. Dodd, unlike his son, was an aggressive anti Castroite and anti-communist. Weicker was a raging war hawk, and a conservative. Only later did his world view develop those amazing twists and turns for which he became famous. His pro-war message was one of the reasons Weicker was able to prevail in the race.
Genghis Conn said...
Very true, Don. In fact, during the first and only debate in October, another of Weicker's memorable lines was that "a nice warm jail cell" awaited draft dodgers. If I had to guess, I'd say a higher number of conservatives voted for him in that election than in any of his subsequent contests--especially post-Watergate.”

Gengis’ comment is, as the progressives might say, absolutely spot on. Weicker was elected as a conservative hawk; he did, over the course of a long career, move to the left; he was the bane of the Republican Party both as senator and governor, once referring to himself colorfully --but absolutely spot on accurately -- as “the turd in the Republican Party punchbowl.” Whenever he cudgeled individual Republicans and pulled the elephant’s nose, the Democrats snuggled up and returned him to office.

Weicker was defeated finally by his mirror opposite, current Senator Joe Lieberman. Just as the right regarded Weicker as a faux Republican – and worse – so now the left looks with the same baleful eye on Lieberman and sees … well, McEnroe is familiar with the left’s attitude towards traitor Joe. In fact, many of Lieberman’s blogging flagellators were in the studio with McEnroe as he was throwing smurfball questions at Weicker.

It is this sense of ironic cymbals crashing two inches from one’s ear that is not caught in McEnroe’s interrogatories with the ex-senator and governor. Weicker, one of the best sound bite pols in the business, was occasionally interrupted by a worshipful McEnroe with affirming grunts, but there were no claps of thunder, no lightning flashes revealing armies struggling on a darkling plain.

Now then, here is what we know about Weicker, Lieberman and Ned Lamont, the progressive’s – and Weicker’s – Great White Hope:

1) Weicker hates Lieberman and wishes to see him roasting on a spit in Hell, along side all the Connecticut voters who turned the former senator out of office.

2) It was Weicker who first publicly encouraged Lamont to run. Lamont’s campaign soon brought in Tom D’Amore, the ex-senator and governor’s hand picked ex-Republican Party chairman, to cook and wash bottles for Lamont. Yet, when Lamont phoned into the Lowell and Colin show, he said to Weicker, “Ah, so you’re on board…” At this point, one expected a snarling guffaw from the usually risible McEnroe, but the co-host was too enchanted to react, which means that McEnroe, virtually all of the bloggers who joined him in the studio and Connecticut’s uncritical media are now partisans in a struggle for political influence and status.

3) Weicker’s principal interest is – and always has been – self vindication.

Ahab, the greatest self vindicator in American literature, in pursuit of the white whale that had scarred him, is told his passion is blasphemous, to which he responds, “Speak not to me of blasphemy man – I’d strike the sun if it dare insult me!”

There is more than a little Ahab in most Americans. But then, as McEnroe reminds us, “Hey, we ALL get stuff wrong.”
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