By: E&P Staff
The first big political race of the year comes in a little more than a week, and The New York Times on its editorial page Sunday endorsed Ned Lamont — who is challenging Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut.
But the two biiggest papers in Connecticut, the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Post, both backed the incumbent. So, far away, did The Washington Post.
Here is some of the Times’ commentary:
“The race has taken on a national character. Mr. Lieberman?s friends see it as an attempt by hysterical antiwar bloggers to oust a giant of the Senate for the crime of bipartisanship. Lamont backers ? most of whom seem more passionate about being Lieberman opponents ? say that as one of the staunchest supporters of the Iraq war, Mr. Lieberman has betrayed his party by cozying up to President Bush….
“Mr. Lieberman is not just a senator who works well with members of the other party. And there is a reason that while other Democrats supported the war, he has become the only target. In his effort to appear above the partisan fray, he has become one of the Bush administration?s most useful allies as the president tries to turn the war on terror into an excuse for radical changes in how this country operates.
“Citing national security, Mr. Bush continually tries to undermine restraints on the executive branch: the system of checks and balances, international accords on the treatment of prisoners, the nation?s longtime principles of justice. His administration has depicted any questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. And Mr. Lieberman has helped that effort. …
“On the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Lieberman has left it to Republicans like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to investigate the administration?s actions. …Mr. Lieberman prides himself on being a legal thinker and a champion of civil liberties. But he appointed himself defender of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the administration?s policy of holding hundreds of foreign citizens in prison without any due process. …
“Mr. Lamont, a wealthy businessman from Greenwich, seems smart and moderate, and he showed spine in challenging the senator while other Democrats groused privately. He does not have his opponent?s grasp of policy yet. But this primary is not about Mr. Lieberman?s legislative record. Instead it has become a referendum on his warped version of bipartisanship, in which the never-ending war on terror becomes an excuse for silence and inaction. We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut.”