Lamont's friends

Robert Novak
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Posted: Aug 12, 2006 12:01 AM
Lamont's friends

WASHINGTON -- Old-line Connecticut Democrats who backed insurgent candidate Ned Lamont against Sen. Joseph Lieberman were appalled to see their candidate flanked at his Tuesday night primary election celebration in Meriden, Conn., by two contentious African-American political activists from out of state.

On either side of Lamont during his victory speech were the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York and the Rev. Jesse Jackson of Chicago. Each nodded affirmatively as Lamont spoke, giving the impression that they were his close advisers.

Faithful Democrats urged Lamont's managers to get the two former left-wing presidential candidates away from the Connecticut campaign. The danger is that they might drive Republican, independent and even some Democratic voters into support of Lieberman's independent candidacy.

UNGRATEFUL GREENS

The environmentalist lobby endorsed Sen. Joseph Lieberman against Ned Lamont and then abandoned him in his unsuccessful Connecticut Democratic primary election.

Giving Lieberman an all-time environmentalist voting record of 86 percent, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) designated him this year as an "environmental champion." That won him endorsement for re-election from both the LCV and Defenders of Wildlife, but neither organization contributed television ads or get-out-the-vote efforts.

Spokesmen for the environmentalist groups explained that they had other political commitments in 2006. However, sources said environmentalists so oppose Lieberman's support of President Bush's Iraq policy that they would not countenance their organizations assisting his campaign.

NOT BUSH'S CHOICE

President Bush's closest political lieutenants were not happy about Rep. Joe Schwarz's loss in Michigan's southern tier Tuesday to a conservative insurgent, even though Schwarz had opposed the president on key issues.

Bush not only backed freshman lawmaker Schwarz, as he automatically does all incumbent Republicans of Congress, but the president and the first lady went beyond that with automated telephone campaign pleas during the campaign's last weekend. Schwarz had opposed Bush on stem-cell research and cast several liberal votes on the environment and population control. Sens. John McCain and Chuck Hagel went to Michigan this year to campaign for Schwarz, while the Club for Growth made his defeat a priority project.

The Bush political operation's concern with Schwarz's defeat is based on the theory that the nomination of former State Rep. Tim Walberg, an ordained minister, makes this an additional congressional district they have to defend. However, the district appears safely Republican. The Democratic candidate, organic farmer Sharon Marie Renier, reports a current cash balance of minus-$1,209.

KATHERINE IS SILENT

Rep. Katherine Harris, the embattled Republican Senate candidate in Florida, did not make the required notification to House Speaker Dennis Hastert when she was recently subpoenaed by the Justice Department in a campaign contributions case.

House rules require that any member, when subpoenaed, must notify the speaker, who then announces this development from the chair. There is no sign of how Hastert will respond to this failure by Harris.

Justice's investigation involves a campaign contribution to Harris by Mitchell Wade, president and CEO of MZM (a high-tech national security firm based in Washington). Harris is alleged to have broken the law in reimbursing MZM employees for cash they gave to Harris for contributions.

ENDING SOCIAL SECURITY

Democrats are spreading the word that Rick O'Donnell, nominated without opposition Tuesday by Republicans in Colorado for one of the country's hottest congressional seats, a decade ago advocated abolition of Social Security.

Prior to the primary, O'Donnell tried to defuse the issue by admitting his authorship of a February 1995 essay, "For Freedom's Sake, Eliminate Social Security." A professional think tank analyst and government official, he declared on July 31 that he had changed his mind and now favors fixing the system rather than eliminating it.

O'Donnell is running for the seat now occupied by Rep. Bob Beauprez, a conservative who is the Republican nominee for governor of Colorado. The district, which includes Denver's inner suburbs, is one of the nation's most evenly divided constituencies.