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You know Karl Rove is getting serious about using Joe Lieberman’s swollen ego to destroy the Democratic party from within when he trots out his good friend Rush Limbaugh to attack Ned Lamont’s campaign manager Tom Swan over a local politics crack that could not possibly be of any comprehensible interest to his knuckledragger faithful.  

Paul Bass wrote about the topic that Rush now finds so abjectly fascinating he had to devote a chunk of his daily bloviating to it today:

The mayor of Connecticut’s corruption capital, Waterbury, endorsed U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman’s independent bid for reelection. He also attacked Democratic candidate Ned Lamont’s campaign manager (Tom Swan, pictured) for his quote in an election-night Independent story suggesting that Waterbury — which keeps producing felonious, imprisoned elected politicians (Rowland, Giordano, Santopietro, etc.) — has, uh, a corruption problem. (Guess which candidate Waterbury voted for in the primary?) 

If you were scratching your head wondering how this made it onto Rush’s radar, scratch no longer.  It also climbed onto the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle, most of whose readers would probably be hard pressed to tell you where exactly Waterbury was, courtesy of the curiously Lieberman-loving AP.  All the stops are being pulled out within the Mighty Wurlitzer to blast Lieberman PR far and wide — the wrecking ball that is Joe’s "Kiss My Ring" party is of tremendous use to the GOP. 

As Arianna says:

Here’s the bottom line: Ned Lamont ran against the war in Iraq, a war that Joe Lieberman vehemently supported — and still supports. A war that 60 percent of Americans are against. A war that is the defining foreign policy initiative of the Bush administration — an initiative that has been an abject failure on every level. A war that has put the GOP’s back against the electoral wall. So it’s firing back with it’s favorite weapon — fear — trying to make the case that being against the war somehow makes Lamont soft on national security or, as RNC chair Ken Mehlman put it, "a leading proponent of the isolationist, defeatist, blame-America-first philosophy."

Talk about desperate. So do Cheney/Rove/Mehlman really believe that 60 percent of the public are blame-America-firsters? Or that because 60 percent of us agree that Iraq is a disaster, we somehow don’t have "the will" to, in Cheney’s words, "stay in the fight and complete the task" of taking on the terrorists — and thus are encouraging al Qaeda types?

Of course not. They know being against the war in Iraq doesn’t mean you are against fighting the war on terror. It means you are against a failed policy that has created more terrorists than it has killed, that has cost America 2,591 lives and $305 billion dollars, that has thrown Iraq into a bloody sectarian civil war, and that has so lessened our standing abroad that we are unable to be a real power broker in an exploding Middle East.

Are leading Democrats so afraid of being branded "soft on terror" that they don’t want to step into the fray?  Is it that hard to admit that the war they got conned into is a cocked-up mess without allowing the vastly unpopular GOP codpiece crap to dominate the narrative?  Do they fear that Lieberman will win and caucus with the GOP?  Or are they just happy at the idea that the blogger irritant will be successfully diverted by this race well into the fall and stay off their collective cases? All of the above?

It doesn’t really matter, because the only real question is, how much damage is Joe going to be allowed to do to Lamont, and to the Democratic Party, before the party bigwigs step in and shut him down?  I’m not even sure they can, but every day they stand by and let Joe run his mouth about soft-on-terror Democrats, more and more damage is done that can never be undone.  Salazar needs to have his chain yanked, the DSCC needs to come in clearly on Lamont’s side, and if Bill and Hillary are truly the party leaders they ought to show up in Connecticut and spare no effort to assure people that Joe’s willingness to sacrifice the party for his own petty, selfish and whiny purposes will not be tolerated. 

It would be nice to see a little whip cracking as we cruise into November, some kind of reassuring gesture to let people know Karl Rove is not going to be allowed to dictate the terms of the next election with a 36% mandate.  I know it’s a radical thought, but let’s entertain it just for a moment anyway, shall we?