Joe Lieberman Misused $387,000, and All We Got Was An Article About John Edwards!
I know, I know…the John Edwards debacle was and is stunning, heart wrenching, and life changing, and now its back in the headlines in all its glory! Edwards announced today that there is a federal investigation going on into his campaign funds (.… to determine if certain funds disbursed to the company of the woman that he had an affair with were legally transferred, or if there was some nefarious plot to shut her up and keep her in grand style …with their maybe love child…) over the sum of…um…$114,000, give or take.
Look maybe you can keep your baby’s mama in a nice trailer park for that amount, but it seems to me that this might perhaps be production money, as she was the videographer on the campaign trail, and anyone who has had to shoot for hours and then spend hours editing down footage for public consumption will know that an amount like that is chump change. Did he pay her to go away? Did he buy her jewels and furs? Who knows and who cares?
His career is ruined for now, and it seems to me that it serves a whole portion of others in the political and business spectrum to have his voice shut down because of what his message was and is. So, yeah, hes an idiot narcissist who imploded, and he’s lucky that, from the outside anyway, his family has survived….If you’ve read my previous posts on this subject, you’ll know that it interests me little to hear speculation about the details of this stupidity, and if he misused 100 grand of campaign funds, I’m sure that there have been worse crimes committed…oh, like the Clinton’s real estate bamboozle and Bill Clinton’s flirtation with the young Monica Lewinsky. I’m sure that never, ever happens in the halls of power….right? What kind of time and money are we willing to waste because of the hint of a sex scandal?
Which brings me to Joe Lieberman, our favorite Jr. Senator here in Connecticut. Today in the local Stamford Advocate, we were treated to a large piece on the news of Edward’s probe, and then a page or two back and in a small box, was the news that Joe himself is also under investigation for misuse of campaign funds. This is a story that is not being covered by much of the media, except for snippets in our local papers here in Connecticut, and only by the Connecticut blogs such as My Left Nutmeg, which has been great all through the nightmare that has been Connecticut politics for more years than even Bush was the national nightmare. The New Haven Register had this story about Lieberman, as if his misuse of funds was just a blip that a small fine would take care of; a civil penalty of $50,000.
The Register also had the same article on Edwards that was published in the Advocate, (but which the Advocate hasn’t, as of this time, put on line; nor have they put up the Lieberman story.) The Edwards article talks about his buried career and how he is finished, the turmoil of his marriage and any other projections that the writer could come up with because, heaven knows there isn’t much in the way of facts there; not the gay in the bathroom stall/affair with a male page sort of deliciousness brought to us by the now defunct republican majority; now THOSE were facts!
Still, the article makes the Edwards situation sound like he took pallets of cash to another country that we had invaded illegally and just lost it with no explanation….oh yeah, that’s the former President of the United States, who we can hardly muster the balls to investigate on charges of real war crimes, much less the money misspent, lost, given out with no explanation, and pocketed in conflicts of interest such as Halliburton/Blackwater & it’s subsidiaries/Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld/Tamiflu/Aspartame.
Look, I’m not an apologist for Edwards. I’m as disappointed as anyone who was a true believer in his message, and who was mortified to find that he didnt get out of the race, and continued to wield his delegates, knowing that this was likely to come out. But here’s the deal, Edwards is not in office, nor has he been nominated to any cabinet post. He is old, tragic news, in a very interesting election cycle, who will likely have his second act as they all do in show business.
Joe Lieberman, on the other hand, is still actively jumping parties out there and holding his chairmanships on some pretty important committees, (Homeland Security and Government Affairs to name but two.) He is a sitting senator and as much as his crony’s have forgiven him for his insane campaign to get back into that seat, the people of Connecticut largely have not.
Why this isn’t a bigger story isn’t much of a mystery to me, because I was there and saw the tactics of the Lieberman campaign first hand. I worked for Ned Lamont during every free moment I had and manned a contentious poll on election day. The Lieberman investigation was about a whopping $387,000 that was given out improperly, and much of it was to stage a ground war here, when he hadn’t planned much campaign presence at all because he was so sure that he would win! When faced with a real lack of volunteers, the campaign hired ground teams to disrupt Lamont’s events and basically make a nuisance of themselves. They plastered much of downtown Stamford with Joe signage, which was illegal, they ran through the streets of anyplace that Lamont was appearing and jostled in front of TV cameras with signs that they, themselves didn’t understand, and they menaced even old folks and parents with babies in carriages with their aggressive actions.
At a Lamont speech in Greenwich I asked some of the kids, (they were all black for that event and it made the white Joe T-shirts pulled over baggy clothes stand out all the more, as if a crowd of black kids on Greenwich Avenue weren’t enough in that stogy old-money town!) if they knew what Joe stood for, and they said no, that a guy in a van offered them $60 per day to wear the t-shirt and support Joe. Later when someone I know asked again, the amount had been raised to $100 per day. A kid said that he didn’t know who Joe was or what he stood for but that it was just a job and he was following orders. At the time I was down in what is the inner city of Stamford quite a bit for some personal reasons, and on the cul de sac circle of the cluster housing that now replaces part of the old projects, a white Joe van would drive up and kids would go up to the van looking for work.
At the time the army recruiting offices were active in just such neighborhoods because these were the kids likely to go for the bonus money to go to Iraq for an indeterminate amount of time. Was it right for Joe, who supported the war and had no answers on how we were going to handle the military in Iraq or when they came home, to have children working for him against their own interest? Was it right to pay the on the ground volunteers in a political campaign who don’t know what they are representing? I told a few of them that he was pro war and they shrugged, like teens do, and said that they didn’t care because it was a job. I felt like that white van circling the entryway to the neighborhood that held all the poor in this city separate from the very rich and thr quickly dwindling middle-class, was preying on these kids, and that they should have been as against the law as any predator enticing kids with cash or candy.
Joe was a strong Bush supporter and allowed himself to be used as a representative for the democratic party implying that some of us were pro Bush and pro war. In reality, Joe was in a world of his own and the only pro war people around were those who were afraid of the terra, and who bought the victory line against the facts presented by experts. That was not what the people of Connecticut wanted, and as our representative we let Joe know that in the primary when we chose Ned Lamont to be our candidate. Joe wouldn’t take that laying down and he jumped parties to run as an independent, thus getting elected on the Republican vote and the votes of those who had known him for years here and who either weren’t paying attention or who thought that he would come to his senses.
Those kids didn’t understand that on key issues Joe was not for them and that they were actually working against their own interests. But that was another Rovian tactic that seemed to work well when used in many different cases. Many of them were very young and in no position to represent one candidate over another, but cash talks, and when a small amount wasn’t enough the ante was upped.
Well, we would soon come to find that the way the campaign was paying out for these services was incorrect and illegal. But for Joe, who is still seated on his committees and who was welcomed back with open arms and a standing-O by his coworkers in the senate, even after he lied to his supposed constituents, dumped his party, and let us know in no uncertain terms that he knew better than we did what was best for our state, this was a non-starter. The rules don’t apply to guys like Joe; that’s the old Bushism that was not only shot down, but smeared into a paste and is now being washed down the same sinkhole that it slithered out of so many years ago; before Reagan, before Nixon…back, back, back to the barons of power who set the stage for the wealthy to maintain their prominence by creating a permanent underclass to fight our wars and tend our lawns, middle-class be damned!
Joe Lieberman has been sheltered by the media of this state and the country for no reason at all. He has been allowed to conduct the business of paying his fine in relative privacy, and in light of other investigations that are getting bold print treatment, he has been favored as always, by a system that protects its own. The end is near for Herr Lieberman and his little Hadassah, so they can return to the country club in Westport where he has been seen airing his furry little body in the pool. He can write his book and take a nice cushy job like Hadassah has. He has certainly represented the interests of big business and war in his years in office enough to deserve something with a corner office and a seven figure salary.
Meanwhile, is it really worth the small civil fine to persue this matter with Edwards? It depends on how serious the powers that be, in whats left of the old guard of the federal government, want him silenced for the long term. However long, it wont be forever, because regardless of bad personal choices, which are just that, personal, the message of the two Americas still rings true, and as much as a watered down Obama will try to address the poverty issue, he is not a bulldog on this issue like Edwards is. So, we will see what happens, and just when you think that hes gone for good, like our friend Elliot Spitzer (who in polling today was overwhelmingly preferred over Patterson as Governor of NY…in fact they want him back!) the second act will arrive.
c/p RIP Coco