Snow Spins Lamont Victory Over Lieberman (After Advising White House Had "No Comment")
Tony Snow's press briefing today began with a sentiment we can all agree with:
SNOW: As for -- the President has no comment on the winner or loser of the race, that is for the Democratic Party and Democratic voters in the state of Connecticut. But it also clear, because of the attention being paid to it, that there is a significant political argument underway, and it's one that I think it is important for the American people to have. I say, I think, that the administration thinks it's important for the American people to have.
Then, Snow offered a few less appetizing thoughts on Ned Lamont's primary victory over incumbent Joe Lieberman. Those thoughts followed a broad theme played up by the conservative media over the past few weeks -- that those who support Lamont are "cut and run" McGovernites who lack the cajones to stay the course in a dangerous world.
Snow also implies that Lamont was helped by his wealth (code: he's a limousine liberal) and suggests the possibility that pre-election polls were "rigged."
Ironically, Snow talks about how "some elements" within the Democratic Party have made the Iraq War a with us-or-against us issue -- a charge that has often been made about the Republican Party and the greater conservative noise machine. For example, Mark Levin, on today's radio show, said he had no time for liberal Republicans like Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) when it came to discussing the war.
And Snow disses Democrats who have a "timetable" mentality -- a more sophisticated way of knocking what they call "cut and run." Clearly, the administration wants Americans to forget that the top American commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, had briefed the administration on a similar plan, or that a majority of Americans support troop redeployment out of Iraq.
All that spin, just for a Democratic primary victory in a blue state? Remember: The White House had "no comment" on a race that Snow then proceeded to spin for several minutes. Don't tell me that Lamont's victory doesn't scare the jeepers out of the Republican intelligensia.
Some snippets from the press briefing:
Q On Lieberman, are you telling us you now want to make the November election a referendum on the Democrats' position on the Iraq war?
SNOW: No, I'm saying that there are some Democrats who have said that the key issue is leaving, and that there are some elements within the Democratic Party who are pushing hard to say, look, if you don't agree with us, you no longer belong in the party. ...
There seem to be two approaches. And in the Connecticut race one of the approaches is ignore the difficulties and walk away. ... And it's really up to Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party to figure out how they want to stand in the war on terror: do they want to have the sort of timetable approach, leave by a date-certain; do they not want to have something constructive to say about gathering threats from Iran and elsewhere. Or do they want to acknowledge that fact that in a dangerous world it takes commitment, it take persistence.
Q Tony, just to follow up on that. Does this shake up the political landscape conventional thinking of how November midterms are going to go and strategy looking forward to '08?
SNOW: I don't think so. ... One of the interesting things that happened in this Connecticut race, by the way, was there appeared to be some buyer's remorse as election day approached. Maybe the polls were rigged; maybe the polls were bad. But at least the lead that Mr. Lamont had went from 13 points to six to four on election day. That indicates that even in a fairly liberal state like Connecticut, where this is the one issue, where you had a well-financed candidate who had more money than the incumbent, that you still had a 50-50 split more or less within the Democratic Party on this issue.