Colin McEnroe invited me up to hang out with him and Lowell Weicker on Colin’s radio show on Friday. What am I going to say, no? I dragged along the infamous Spazeboy as well as James Rogan and Will Dixon from the BBC. Quite the party.
It was awe-inspiring to be sitting there with Weicker. When I was a little kid I’d come home from school and watch the Watergate hearings; I didn’t comprehend even a fraction of what was going on but was glued to it nonetheless. It was obvious something very important was happening and I certainly understood the power of personality and and the drama of human interaction. Lowell Weicker was a titan. His character was evident and watching his struggle of conscience play out was one of the most memorable dramas of my childhood.
And there is probably nobody who is enjoying the spectacle of the Lamont/Lieberman race more than Weicker. Since Lieberman gained his Senate seat after beating Weicker in 1988 in an ugly battle, it is with no small amount of satisfaction that he is watching Holy Joe having to fight for his political life.
At one point early on, Weicker said that he would run against Lieberman if nobody else stepped up to the plate, but he’s 75 now and his health isn’t all it could be. As Colin said, "if he felt a little better, he would have run, and we would have had a situation that made the current one look like a dull episode of Sponge Bob."
Weicker said he did not think the current battle between Lieberman and Lamont was a battle for the soul of the Democratic party, he said he thought it was a battle for the future of America, and definitely a referendum on the war that would have far-reaching implications should Ned defeat Lieberman on August 8.
Feelings were obviously running strong as Weicker started taking calls. One Joe defender called up echoing Lieberman’s threadbare arguments about Ned voting with his party 80% of the time. Weicker scoffed, having been a Greenwich alderman himself in his long career, tasked with dealing with the filling of potholes and the placement of stop signs. It was a rather desperate move to try and equate Ned’s record of working with Republicans in Greenwich to Lieberman’s complicity in the Senate. "It’s not Republican or Democratic garbage," he said quoting Fiorello LaGuardia. For Lieberman to compare that to his own support for the horror in Iraq was, Weicker thought, absurd.
Colin himself is an astute handicappers of local politics, and he thinks that the greatest mistake Lieberman made early on was throwing his perceived affability out the window (although I think Weicker would argue that Joe’s reputation for being a good-natured gentleman who was "above it all" is largely a crock).
Colin has known Lieberman since he was 15 years old and thinks that he would have voted for Alito on the Senate floor vote, too, if he wasn’t already feeling the heat.
Listening to Weicker in high dudgeon over Lieberman and his war was great. You can hear him talk about this and other things in the YouTube by Spazeboy above, but he believes that the implications of Joe’s continued support reach much further than the disaster in the middle east. "How can we trust you on everything else?" he said. "You picked the most extreme option in Iraq, you were totally wrong and you won’t admit that."
"And then he goes ahead and also criticizes those who criticize the President. It’s America, I wish more people had criticized the war eariler on…I’ve never seen such a mealy response to such a big issue of our time."
There may be better ways to spend an afternoon but I can’t think of one. The dogs have declared they do not want to hear any more sentences that begin with "And then Lowell Weicker said…"