Joe Lieberman’s appropriation of the Rovian politics of projection in this race has been acute. He’s accused Ned Lamont being a flip-flopper on Iraq, when in fact it was Joe who voted for a permanent presence there and has now changed his mind. He’s accused Ned of negative campaigning, but in fact it has been his own campaign that has been spreading bold, outright lies about Lamont they have been forced by the press to recant.
This week Lieberman seemed to think it was a Really Big Deal that Ned Lamont owned some Halliburton stock, that this was some sign of abject moral depravity as he defaulted to his usual finger-wagging scold mode (seen in YouTube above) as local journalist Mark Davis tossed him a softball:
LIEBERMAN: From the limited disclosure he had under the ‘Senate ethics’ that he has stock in ‘Halliburton,’ and he has stock in, more stock in some of the big oil companies. That’s something for everybody to judge.
MARK DAVIS: That would be a crime?
LIEBERMAN: Oh no, this is just public right to know. None of this is about illegality. I think when you get into public office you’ve got an obligation to disclose all your financial holdings.
Now it turns out that Lieberman was playing Mark Davis for a fool, and he himself holds Halliburton stock. It is the third largest holding, in fact, in his "Victory Fund" mutual fund (PDF of Lieberman’s 2005 Personal Finance Disclosure Statement, p. 7, line 7).
If Lieberman really believed in the "public’s right to know" as anything other than a campaign talking point, perhaps he would have mentioned his own Halliburton stock at the same time? After all, Joe Lieberman is a sitting US Senator whose pro-war votes have been so helpful to Halliburton’s stock over the years. (Davis himself simply took Joe’s word for it and wrote a follow-up piece without further investigation into Joe’s own finances, helpfully repeating Lieberman’s scripted anti-Lamont tirade without troubling himself to look any deeper. That was quite a miss.)
The fact that Lieberman’s campaign is so desperate it has to engage in this kind of tactic (and take the risk of Joe’s own holdings being uncovered) to keep the focus off his record is a sign that they are indeed in melt-down.