Shays Backing Simmons for Senate

Politico is reporting that former U.S. Congressman Christopher Shays is supporting his former colleague Rob Simmons in the race for U.S. Senate.  Shays said this:

“I will be supporting Rob Simmons. We’ve had lots of conversations, and he’s been a close adviser to me and a close friend,” Shays said. “I will hopefully be making a constructive contribution to the race.”

Simmons’ most glaring weakness is that he is relatively unknown in the Nutmeg State’s most expensive media market – Fairfield County.  The April 2 Quinnipiac Poll that showed Simmons with a 16 point lead over Sen. Dodd also showed that 70% of Fourth Congressional District voters haven’t heard enough about Simmons.

The endorsement means that Simmons will have one of the Fourth District’s most recognizable names introducing him to voters in that region.

But beyond the introductions, Shays was an instrumental part of the 4th Congressional District Republican Organization, the districtwide GOP group that fought political battles with Shays for more than two decades.  If the CDRO is marshaled effectively for Simmons’, it will make Sen. Sam Caligiuri’s path to the Republican nomination much more difficult.

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53 responses to “Shays Backing Simmons for Senate

  1. Bruce Rubenstein

    Let me ask ACR….Don Pesci…or some other conservative…

    The fact that a very moderate Shays endorses Simmons comes as no surprise and would tend to galvanize movement conservatives towrd Sam Caliguri?

  2. Bruce,

    The endorsement may galvanize “movement conservatives” towards Caliguri or some other conservative. However that datum may not be as important as you think – if you think that conservativism is monolithic. It isn’t. The galvanization itself would only be important in a primary. But there are political parties on the other side of primaries. My argument has been that moderatism – to coin a phrase – is not a political doctrine that has not been tried here in the Northeast; it has been tried and found wanting, which is why ex-moderate-Republican Shays is pulling for Simmons. I think a challenge from the right would strengthen the Republican Party in Connecticut in the general election, especially against a movement liberal like Dodd. It always surprises me that liberals are given a green light by establishment liberals in the media when it is a question of movement liberals challenging other more moderate Democrats in primaries: The argument generally make here is that primaries are good for the party. Apparently this logic is not permitted to cut both ways.

    You knew what I was going to say, didn’t you?

  3. No, I don’t think it will galvanize conservatives to go anywhere because I actually think Shays is insignificant in this effort… the effort to remove Dodd.

    The only galvanized movement should be the one in Dodd’s pants as to what is coming his way.

  4. Bruce,

    At some point Sen. Dodd himself must figure into the political equation. Dodd has moved quite far to the left — for him — which is why we’re beginning to see some push back from what you must regard as movement liberals; Jonathan Pelto, for instance, is not supporting a primary against Dodd. And my guess is that if, per impossible, Dodd were to be primaried by the darling of left liberals Dick Blumenthal, Pelto would still be thumbing his nose at the business. The interesting question is this: Laying aside Dodd’s recent troubles involving Countrywide, his support from financial institutions that he as a banking chairman is bound to regulate and the property he has acquired in Ireland, why would movement liberals prefer Blumenthal over Dodd. Are they not, mostly, cut from the same cloth – with this difference, that Dodd is much more effective in opposition to Republicans than Blumenthal.

    So let me ask you point blank: In a Dodd Lieberman primary, who would you support.

    I think I know the answer.

  5. AndersonScooper

    Pesci–

    I love you guys.

    You honestly believe Nancy Johnson, Rob Simmons, and Chris Shays would have had longer careers, — if only they had been stauncher Republicans!!!

    What brilliant logic.

    Look, the netroots criticism of Republican-lite was based on two core ideas:

    1) That a majority of Americans really want the things that Democrats stand for, if only our elected leaders would advocate for them more forcefully, and

    2) That when D.C. Democrats move to the corporate center, it creates a loss of faith, “why bother?” response from folks who might otherwise take the time to vote.

    The problem with the GOP is that New Englanders hate your divisive strategies as played out through FoxNews, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Morris, and Ann Coulter. PLUS your agenda doesn’t resonate, particularly not after eight years of George Bush.

    So please go ahead and embrace your Obama-hating, social conservative base. It’s a path to nowhere, and the one real reason why many of hold out hope for a Dodd re-election.

  6. The problem with the GOP is that New Englanders hate your divisive strategies as played out through FoxNews, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Morris, and Ann Coulter. PLUS your agenda doesn’t resonate, particularly not after eight years of George Bush.

    Ed, explain how your party’s 2004 liberal candidate lost handily, and your party’s 2008 extremely liberal candidate won handily? 2008 didn’t show that the country was turning more left, just as 2004 didn’t show the country was turning more right. Exhibit A: Ned Lamont. He got blasted in 2006 because he was too far left and, well, a bad candidate.

    Also, you (inaccurately) claim that the only thing on Simmons’s agenda is to say, “I’m not Dodd.” Well, guess what? That’s exactly how Barack Obama won the election! Have you noticed that now that he’s in office, Obama is keeping up many of the Bush-era policies, such as keeping Guantanamo open, opposing gay marriage and launching drones into Pakistan? His first 120 or so days have really poked a few O-sized holes in that whole “Hope and Change” business, haven’t they?

  7. Scoop… serious question… I know you say that high credit card rates are un-American. But a more basic concern…

    What’s your philosophical argument for the very existence of credit cards?

    On the MLN live blog, Dodd said he didn’t oppose credit cards. But seriously… why even have them? We could get rid of them… we’ve got debit cards and can use monthly payoff charge cards.

    I firmly believe that we need a national dialogue on the fractional reserve banking system (including credit cards), along with fiat money and the Federal Reserve.

  8. AS

    Here are some random references to Shays taken from my blog site:

    “Dumb questions elicit dumb answers. Limbaugh, whose name former Gov. John Rowland used studiously to miss-pronounce (I know not the man), would be the first to deny that he was the voice of the Republican Party. Certainly his is not the voice of Northeast Republicans, a vanishing species. Where have all those flowers gone? Chris Shays was (please note the past tense) the last moderate Republican standing in New England.”…

    “Republicans have now lost control of both houses of the US congress. Rep. Chris Shays was the last moderate Republican left standing in New England. Democrats control both houses of the Connecticut legislature with a veto proof margin. The state has lost control of its spending, which is pretty much in the hands of President Pro Tem Don Williams in the Senate and Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, formerly a union head. The Democrat controlled legislature that will refashion Governor Rell’s budget is determined to tax working families even more and to resist whatever rational cost saving measures Mr. Livingston disapproves of.”…

    “Connecticut’s Congressional delegation, all Democrats now that Rep. Chris Shays has been defeated by Jim Himes, have written to president-elect Barack Obama to suggest that he appoint as leader of the Peace Corp soon to be former Rep. Chris Shays, a maverick Republican.”…

    “Since the Weicker era, the Republican party in Connecticut has become more negligible; Weicker and D’Amore have been put out to pasture; Connecticut has just bid goodbye to former Rep. Chris Shays, the last Republican “moderate” standing in New England, though Shays, like Weicker, preferred to think of himself as a maverick; and those who do not have the interests of the Republican Party at heart have become even more importunate.”…

    “The chatter now is that Republicans in the state must become even more moderate to survive. One is tempted to ask: More like Chris Shays do you mean? More like Weicker? More like Chaffee?”..

    Do you want to make some original point, or are you content to just repeat what I’ve already said?

  9. AS,

    There are no Limbaugh loving conservative office holders of note in Connecticut. They are all moderates — and, most of them, are gone. My advice is to try something else. I have near a thousand entrees on my blog site, many of them columns. I think I’ve mentioned Limbaugh twice, maybe three times. I don’t know what fictional universe you’re living in, not Connecticut that’s for sure.

  10. This is just a press release nothing more.

    It doesn’t give Simmons anything but an endorsement.

    The only thing it might do is bring some Shays folks (who were in the Senate or now work for the Senate R’s) away from Caligiuri. If it was for raising money, forget it, most of Shays Republican donors were Simmons donors and the Democratic donors are Dodd loyalists.

  11. AndersonScooper

    RedCoat–

    Shays spent 21 years in the House of Representatives. He’s on a first-name basis with every Republican of any importance in all of Fairfield County. Of course his endorsement of his D.C. buddy Simmons means something.

    What will Nancy Johnson do? Will Caligiuri be able to get her to stay neutral?

    Wait till you see some of the big G.O.P names that will drop by the state for Simmons’ benefit. (the inside-the-beltway crowd looks out for their own.)

    The question is whether Sam the right-wing man will be able to pick-up any endorsements of significance. Maybe the FIC can bring James Dobson, or Tony Perkins to Connecticut on Caligiuri’s behalf.

  12. I can’t help but laugh when — for all the efforts to engage — the only post here our erstwhile “Dodd critic” PoopyScoopy chooses to reply to is a red-meat post from RedCoat.

    Poopster, where’s the substantive reply to Don? To Tim? Jack?

    Bueller? Bueller?

  13. AndersonScooper

    C’mon Red5–

    1. Don– Have we not heard comments from you ‘wingers about how Democrat-lite failed, and now it’s time to return to hard-core conservatism?

    2. Tim– I’m sorry, but I’m not with you about returning to a gold standard, and I don’t want to invite a ten post discussion on the subject, even though I do honestly like you. (and I don’t think abolishing credit cards, altogether, makes much sense. )

    3. Dobbs– A. Obama wasn’t to the left of Kerry. And if he was, he sure fooled all the Edwards’ supporters, the mainstream media, and the voting populace. And Ned Lamont isn’t a far lefty, despite the fact that liberals everywhere embraced him.

    B. I understand that Simmons would love to run a strictly “I’m not Dodd campaign.” But thanks to Caligiuri and you ‘wingers support for Sam’s social conservative, highly ideological dogma, Simmons is screwed. And that’s the beauty of this cycle, no wonder how much I worry about Dodd’s vulnerabilities.

    You happy now Red5?

  14. AndersonScooper

    Of course now that I’ve indulged you, and jumped through your hoops, can you explain to me which parts of the Obama agenda Rob Simmons will support?

    Or do you actually think Connecticut will send him to the Senate on the anti-Obama agenda that you will require of him during the fight for the CT GOP nomination?

  15. Bruce Rubenstein

    You knew what I was going to say, didn’t you?

    Don..yes I did…though I cannot fault your analysis….I do think that Caliguiri is more impressive then Simmons on style alone…he is a much better speaking presence and looks serious while Simmons looks too animated and cartoonish. On substance the differences are telling.

    So let me ask you point blank: In a Dodd Lieberman primary, who would you support.

    Dodd of course..but you knew that already….

  16. substantive
    sub⋅stan⋅tive  /ˈsʌbstəntɪv/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [suhb-stuhn-tiv] 5. belonging to the real nature or essential part of a thing; essential.
    6. real or actual.
    7. of considerable amount or quantity.
    8. possessing substance; having practical importance, value, or effect: substantive issues under discussion.

  17. AndersonScooper

    Red5, your insistence that I strictly dialogue according to your terms only is a joke. About as big a joke as your hope that Rob Simmons can survive his Caligiuri challenge and run his campaign on an “I’m not Dodd” platform.

    And no, I don’t really expect any of you ‘wingers to tell me what part of the Obama agenda Simmons would embrace. But thanks to Caligiuri, he will have to answer that question, somewhere on the way to next spring’s GOP convention.

    Beautiful, isn’t it?

  18. 3. Dobbs– A. Obama wasn’t to the left of Kerry. And if he was, he sure fooled all the Edwards’ supporters, the mainstream media, and the voting populace. And Ned Lamont isn’t a far lefty, despite the fact that liberals everywhere embraced him.

    If you think that Obama wasn’t more liberal than John Kerry, or John Edwards, I don’t know what to tell you.

    B. I understand that Simmons would love to run a strictly “I’m not Dodd campaign.” But thanks to Caligiuri and you ‘wingers support for Sam’s social conservative, highly ideological dogma, Simmons is screwed. And that’s the beauty of this cycle, no wonder how much I worry about Dodd’s vulnerabilities.

    That’s not what you said. You said that the only thing Simmons is campaigning on is the fact that he isn’t Chris Dodd. That’s page one out of the Barack Obama playbook.

    Of course now that I’ve indulged you, and jumped through your hoops, can you explain to me which parts of the Obama agenda Rob Simmons will support?

    I can’t speak for Rep. Simmons, but (as I said before) I bet Rob would support the decision to keep Guantanamo open and he might support Obama’s stance on gay marriage, but he’d vehemently oppose the “stimulus” plan, having the government buy failing car companies just to save union jobs, usurping the bankruptcy courts and “universal” health care.

  19. You’re an honest guy Rubenstein, one of your most attractive features.

    I have a feeling that Dodd’s problems won’t disappear, because Dodd’s enemies, some within the Democrat camp, won’t disappear. And for all AS’s palaver about fire-breathing conservatives in CT – where are they? – even he is a bit queasy at the prospect of an Achilles with a rather large heel running in the Democrat slot.

    I think Dodd can do it, for reasons we discussed privately, but it is going to be a slog. Add to this the possible degradation of Obama’s over-the-top celebrity – nothing fades so fast as a fad – and the Republicans might have a good chance.

    At this point, they’re going to have to decide whether they then want to put up a vulnerable moderate in Dodd’s empty seat – been there, done that. It should be interesting.

    For the first time, also, the condition of the state – tottering – may play an important, if not controlling part, in the race, all this as a swirling and unarticulated undertow; if the recession is prolonged and inflation sits heavily on Connecticut’s economy, as many predict will happen, the Democrats, who control pretty much everything, will have lots of s’plaining to do.

    I am not expressing a pious hope here, like Limbaugh; I’m just trying to sketch in some of the realistic possibilities.

    Got that AS?

    Of course, all this presupposes that Republicans know how to make a campaign, which is doubtful.

  20. I agree with you about Caliguiri.

  21. ‘I bet Rob would support the decision to keep Guantanamo open.’

    So would Harry Reid. Few of the Democrats in Congress want to move hard core — AS might call them “movement jihadists” into US prisons. And Obama appears to be coming around. Pelosi, though, is a question mark, because Pelosi is always a question mark.

  22. Shays spent 21 years in the House of Representatives. He’s on a first-name basis with every Republican of any importance in all of Fairfield County. Of course his endorsement of his D.C. buddy Simmons means something.

    Hey Scooper,

    Those Republican’s know Simmons very well and the Republican’s Simmons needs to get to know are the ones that are happy to see Shays gone.

  23. Thanks for answering Scoop. And FWIW, I don’t really wanna return to a gold standard. But considering that Helicopter Ben and Taxman Tim (with the complicity of their bosses – Bush and Obama) let loose and printed $10 trillion in the past year… I absolutely believe we need to lock down the printing presses and return to sound money (though not a gold standard). Heck, I’d love to have another WJB come forward on the Dem side and demand a conversion to a silver / gold standard. America needs the debate before the dollar is replace with a currency controlled by these guys:

    As for eliminating credit cards – a big deal? yes. very. But America’s lending standards need to be improved. From $50,000 pre-approved credit cards to no-money-down, no-income-verification mortgages… something has got to change. And Geithner’s repeated lies about the credit markets being closed isn’t setting America on the right course.

  24. Those that feel strongly that we should close Guantanamo should volunteer to be host families along the lines of having an exchange student for a semester or two.

  25. Bruce Rubenstein

    Don..i couldnt agree more…your Republicans make a practice of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    For these big races such as Senator…nothing goes according to plan.

    I will say that Dodd….will experience an uptick now on the credit card legislation and if his staff is smart they will have him back in CT every weekend to campaign…most but not all of the party elite will tend to give Dodd the greatest deference….he has built up alot of good will over 30 years, including mine.Stripping aweay the serious scandel problems, when you do look at Dodd’s voting record, it is a record that appeals to the party faithful and the liberals….and they dominate any inter-party primary.

  26. Thomas Hooker

    It is stunning to see Chris Shays still referred to as a “moderate’ anything. Let’s be clear: Shays is a stalwart Neocon who backed the invasion and occupation of Iraq from the very first. Shays for years advocated privatizing Social Security. Can you imagine where retirees would be today if he’d got his way in 2005 and invested Social Security receipts in the stockmarket? Shays not only refused to back health care reform, he actually stated that he believed that the existence of health care itself was a major problem because it masked the true cost of health care from “consumers”. Shays the “moderate” endorsed George Bush for president twice, and now is backing a former CIA agent who stated recently that he thought we should have continued fighting the Vietnam War, rather than withdrawing. Chris Shays is the guy who, in between cursing Capitol Hill police officers, told us that what happened at Abu Ghraib was not torture, but the activities of a “sex ring”. Chris Shays is the guy who, true to Republican form, voted with his right-wing party nearly 90% of the time in close votes. So much for the “maverick” image. So much for the “moderate”.

    This country is fed up with the Republican Party, as evidenced by recent surveys showing that just 21% of all Americans identify themselves as Republicans. 35% say they’re Democrats. And the loss of adherence to the Republican Party is across the board, with the exceptions of the elderly and self-identified conservatives. So much for Republicans’ contention that this is a “center-right” country.

    Chris Shays could turn out to be Simmons’ Marv Thronebury. If he does for Simmons what he did for his own elective fortunes, Simmons is in big trouble.

  27. Shays is a stalwart Neocon who backed the invasion and occupation of Iraq from the very first.

    Name a major Democrat, and I’ll find you some pretty damning quotes on Iraq and WMDs, from the Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43 administrations. Name one.

    This country is fed up with the Republican Party, as evidenced by recent surveys showing that just 21% of all Americans identify themselves as Republicans. 35% say they’re Democrats. And the loss of adherence to the Republican Party is across the board, with the exceptions of the elderly and self-identified conservatives. So much for Republicans’ contention that this is a “center-right” country.

    Assuming they’re accurate (and after your Sunday post, these certainly should be questioned), your numbers show just how open the field really is. It sounds like you’re bragging that the Democrats’ polling numbers are 67% higher than the Republicans’. However, if 35% of the population says they’re Democrats, that means that twice as many people say that they are something other than a Democrat. They could be farther left, they could be farther right, who knows? The bottom line is that nothing is certain right now, and if the economy continues to falter and/or fail to improve, keep an eye on those numbers.

  28. Shays was rated a moderate by National Journal in 2007, with a 47.7 liberal/ 52.3 conservative rating. I look forward to Rep. Himes being ranked in line with such Democrats as Heath Shuler, Nick Lampson, and Brad Ellsworth.

  29. “Shays is a stalwart Neocon who backed the invasion and occupation of Iraq from the very first…”

    It might be more interesting at this point to ask Mr. Hooker whether he agrees that Democrats ought to back President Barack Obama’s plan to militarily engage the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Assume he, as a good Democrat, would not wish to undercut his president in his war of choice, we would also want to know how stalwart Mr. Hooker would be in his support. If he is stalwart in his support, we would also want to know whether he would encourage Sen. Dodd to replicate his example. If Dodd should trun out to be a stalwart pro-warrior – unusual for him — would Mr. Hooker proceed to argue that the senator was no longer a liberal?

    Of course, it’s always possible that Mr. Hooker is a stalwart peace activist. But the time for him to declare is NOW.

  30. Thomas Hooker

    Barack Obama and Ned Lamont. Include Stephanie Sanchez in there as well: she’s Shays’ opponent in 2002 who refused to be taken in by Bush’s fake assertions, unlike Shays.

    Jack Dobb questions the accuracy of my Sunday post. Did you bother to check the data in the sources I utilized? Did you? Don’t impune the accuracy of that post if you’re too lazy to go to the source. Don’t do it. It’s simply dishonest. If you want to question the accuracy of those assertions, do your homework.

    Dobb also suggests that “nothing is certain now.” But this is most assuredly certain: the American people voted in Democrats to control the U.S. Senate, the House, the president, a strong majority of the nation’s governorships, and voted out every congressman in New England. In this state, some two-thirds of state senators and 70% of state representatives are Democrats. Of those Republicans in the House, half of them come from the South. Just how can you look at those election results and suggest that “nothing is certain”? How can you peruse the party identification figures and say that “nothing is certain”?

    Just how badly do you need the Republicans to be beaten in Connecticut, New England and the nation as a whole to understand that the voters have turned against the Republican Party?

  31. Shays was rated a moderate by National Journal in 2007, with a 47.7 liberal/ 52.3 conservative rating. I look forward to Rep. Himes being ranked in line with such Democrats as Heath Shuler, Nick Lampson, and Brad Ellsworth.

    Heath that was Shays only line during the campaign; no one wins elections on some silly inside the beltway rating. It matters how you vote on the bills people care about and Shays said screw you to his district long ago.

  32. Thomas Hooker

    Responding to Mr. Pesci, I am concerned that our involvement in Afghanistan will turn into a quagmire. What is our objective in Afghanistan? Is it to destroy the Taliban? We entered Afghanistan to destroy al Qaeda forces that were allied with the Taliban. Now the conflict has basically turned into a war against the Pushtuns, the ethnic group separated by the Helmand line between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Is our objective to occupy Afghanistan? To preserve the corrupt government now in place there? The Russians tried to occupy and subdue the Afghans for years with far more troops and employing far more brutal methods and failed. What exactly is our objective? And what is the exit strategy?

    Are we there to prop up Karzai’s administration? At what cost? Can we ever subdue Afghan irregulars in that country? If so, how many troops will it take? And how many lives? Is there some way to ensure that al Qaeda is not harbored in either country?

    There are many questions as to what we’re doing there today. We had our chance to catch bin Laden and totally destroy his followers in 2001, but we let him slip out. Do we invade Pakistan now to try to destroy him? If so, how will Pakistan’s military react to that invasion? Will they support us or oppose us? Do we risk invading a country with deliverable nuclear weapons? Can we be assured that the country whose security services actually created and nurtured the Taliban in the ’90’s will sit quietly while tens of thousands of American troops pour through the Kyber Pass?

    The war in Afghanistan has become something quite different from what it was when it started. For one thing, the enemy is much stronger; for another, we’re not fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan now. Al Qaeda fighters now are reported to be sitting in Pakistan. Whom should we back now in Afghanistan? The old ethnic components of the Northern Alliance? Which couldn’t push the Pushtun Taliban out of Kabul until we arrived?

    What is our exit strategy? While Shays was gungho to fight and continue to fight the pointless war in Iraq, at the end of his stay in congress, he expressed opposition to Obama’s call to increase troop levels in Afghanistan.

    Bottom line: we are not going to win final military victory in Afghanistan, and invading Pakistan would lead to disaster. Some form of negotiated settlement that kicked out bin Laden and al Qaeda arabs in return for our departure will have to eventuate. If you want our country to keep fighting there, tell me how many more years it will take and how many more lives. The Soviets lost over a hundred thousand, right? Are you willing to see that many young Americans die there? You tell me.

  33. Thomas Hooker

    Responding to RedCoat, the National Journal ratings were a joke. They treated every vote the same, which obscured the “catch and release” trick practiced by Shays and his right-wing leadership. And it didn’t take into account Shays’ votes with his leadership on many crucial procedural votes that actually determined whether and what kind of legislation would eventually pass. When those votes were over, Shays frequently reversed himself on final passage. Jim Himes’ website’s study showing Shays voting nearly 90% of the time with his conservative leadership on close votes was the real test. The notion of Shays as a moderate is smoke and mirrors.

  34. Why are we even having this conversation about Shays?

    The voters realized that everything that came out of his mouth was crap and kicked him out of office. He is hanging on Simmons to stay relevant.

    We should all do what the voters wanted and stop talking about Shays and move on.

  35. AndersonScooper

    Hey RedCoat, is McKinney to the left or right of Chris Shays?

    And who’s going to run against Himes in the 4th? My guess is no one.

  36. Weicker Liker

    Anderson…

    Interesting you ask about the race in CT-4.

    You might want to keep your eyes peeled for a story about a potential Himes-McKinney race in one of the major DC political publications

  37. McKinney is way to the left of Shays and will lose to Himes big time.

    Himes only problem is that Shays still gets more press and conversation on blogs than Himes and McKinney combined.

  38. National Journal’s Methodology for determining scores, for those interested…I do agree that debating the merits (or lack thereof) of Mr. Shays is a moot point. My point in the post is that Shays endorsement could be a big boon to the Simmons campaign if Shays brings his organization with him.

  39. Bruce Rubenstein

    let me ask the conservatives here…..

    If Shay’s is supporting Simmons it doesn’t mean that the 4th CD is locked up for Simmons by any means does it?

    Wouldn’t delegates listen to Jodi Rell ? Healy ? their respective chairs…all of whom will quietly and possibly not publically designate their preferences. Wouldnt the more movement conservative types vote for Caliguiri?

  40. Bruce,

    imho, if it goes to a primary, endorsements mean absolutely nothing. It all comes down to, who can excite the base, who has the better organization and more importantly, which candidate would have the better chance of winning in the general election.

    I don’t imagine the liberals do it any differently but perhaps I can be convinced otherwise.

    Wouldn’t delegates listen to Jodi Rell ? Healy ? their respective chairs…all of whom will quietly and possibly not publically designate their preferences. Wouldnt the more movement conservative types vote for Caliguiri?

  41. Shays organization (what is left of it) will spend all it’s time with McKinney and Caliguri since they all work up in the Senate now.

  42. Wouldn’t delegates listen to Jodi Rell ? Healy ?

    I would doubt that either will express anything in public and rarely in private.

  43. Joe Sixpack

    Shays organization (what is left of it) will spend all it’s time with McKinney and Caliguri since they all work up in the Senate now.

    Or in jail….or Thailand.

  44. exactly.

  45. AndersonScooper

    where is Michael Sohn?

    Is he even in America?

  46. Responding to Mr. Pesci…

    Hooker,

    Good for you. I have no quarrel with principled pacifists, provided they do not cherry pick the presidents upon whose hides they wish to press their principles.

    So then, you plan to oppose Obama on this point as strenuously as before you opposed Bush?

    If so, you may have a strong case.

    Have you solicited Dodd’s opinion on this matter? On matters of war and peace, the senator has been pretty much all over the map: The Persian Gulf War he thought would be a quagmire; he supported Bush 2’s war on Hussein, but then so did everyone at the time. Dodd came out in opposition to the Iraq war when things seemed to be going poorly, but then so did everyone at the time. We do not know Dodd’s opinion on President Obama’s current strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, largely because Connecticut’s media has been less then dogged in pining him down on the subject. Perhaps a letter to him from you might help in disgorging his opinion.

    What about Ned; what does he say?

  47. Is he even in America?

    He’s had some plastic surgery and it’s now thought that he looks like this.
    Michael Sohn?

    Be on the lookout.

  48. Thomas Hooker

    Don Pesci referred to my remarks raising serious questions about both our objective in Afghanistan and our exit strategy as amounting to “principled pacifism”. How in the world does raising questions about our country’s objective in a war that is going badly and has continued for over seven years constitute “pacifism”? I am not a pacifist, unlike Chris Shays, who stated that had he not been granted CO status, he still would have refused induction into the military.

    Some wars are necessary. Those include most of the wars this country has fought. But Vietnam was a miserable waste of human life and was absolutely pointless. The first Gulf War was necessary and right to have fought. The Iraq War was absolutely unnecessary and wrong.

    It was right to go after al Qaeda and bin Laden in Afghanistan. We blundered in not sending in sufficient troops to capture him and wipe out his followers. But what are we fighting for now in Afghanistan? Please tell me that.

    This is not a matter of mindless ideology. Lives are being sacrificed, and for what? A competent foreign policy will have to acknowledge that we are not going to succeed in occupying Afghanistan for years on end, and certainly not with a few thousand troops and a few thousand European soldiers who are under orders not to engage in combat.

    What do you believe should be our policy in Afghanistan? Do you believe that Bush 43’s policy there since 2001 has been right?

  49. Hooker,

    A few things: al Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan. It is in Pakistan, which has had friendly diplomatic relations with the United States and has said, on many occasions, that it does not want US troops operating on its soil. Given the likely possibility that Osama bin Ladin may be dead, it has seemed to some people that he is the equivalent of the WMD’s that did not exist in Iraq when George Bush decided to invade the country. Given that you are not a pacifist, what guiding principles were you operating under when you objected to the war in Iraq? To what extent do these principles apply in Afghanistan and Pakistan? You seem to be saying that both theatres of action – Iraq, where our influence was beneficial – and Afghanistan/Pakistan are illegitimate. Just asking. Having been wrong about your pacifism, I do not wish to misinterpret you further.

    If all you are saying is that the United States should not involve itself in foreign wars it cannot win, I quite agree.

    Do you feel comfortable in the camp that opposes President Obama’s committment of troops in Afghanistan/Packistan?

    Are you disturbed that Sen. Dodd and others who also believe the war in Iraq was unnecessary are not sufficiently alarmed about Obama’s plans for Afghanistan/Packistan?

  50. And where’s Ned when you need him?

  51. Thomas Hooker

    A few things: al Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan. It is in Pakistan, which has had friendly diplomatic relations with the United States and has said, on many occasions, that it does not want US troops operating on its soil. Given the likely possibility that Osama bin Ladin may be dead, it has seemed to some people that he is the equivalent of the WMD’s that did not exist in Iraq when George Bush decided to invade the country. Given that you are not a pacifist, what guiding principles were you operating under when you objected to the war in Iraq? To what extent do these principles apply in Afghanistan and Pakistan? You seem to be saying that both theatres of action – Iraq, where our influence was beneficial – and Afghanistan/Pakistan are illegitimate. Just asking. Having been wrong about your pacifism, I do not wish to misinterpret you further.

    Let’s try to sort all of this out, shall we? First, al Qaeda is probably mostly in Pakistan in the Tribal Areas, as you say. Pakistan having friendly relations with the United States- look closer. The ISI, the country’s intelligence operations and secret police are probably decidedly hostile to the U.S. They’re also the ones who midwifed the Taliban into existance, and are also, according to numerous reports, protecting bin Laden and Taliban elements in Pakistan. The government of Pakistan is weakening, which makes its control over Islamic deliverable nuclear weapons tenuous.

    The guiding principles in Afghanistan and Pakistan start with the essential interests of the United States. What are those interests? First, America’s national security demands that a terrorist organization capable of launching attacks against the U.S. must not be permitted to organize and launch those attacks. Second, stability of the region is also a crucial interest of the U.S. And that stability is necessary in order to keep war with Pakistan’s external enemies from starting, and internal enemies from seizing those weapons and potentially threatening India, which could also lead to a nuclear exchange.

    Do those interests mean that we must continue to occupy Afghanistan? I’d argue that the latter act will actually destabilize the region over the longer term, and contribute to enhanced power for al Qaeda and its affiliates globally. We simply cannot be seen to be an occupying power in Muslim nations.

    You suggest that we’ve had a beneficial effect in Iraq. I’d disagree with you. We are seeing a lull now, and nothing more. Our invasion has fragmented the country into a majority Shiite region, which includes most of the critically important city of Baghdad and the lower oil-producing regions. In the north, much of the oil producing region is controlled by the separatist Kurds. Their control of oil wealth could prove a major threat to Turkey, which has faced demands for the breaking off of the largely Kurdish southeast for several decades. The Sunnis are isolated in the resource-poor middle, without political power or oil revenues, and increasingly persecuted by the Maliki government.

    The Shiite government has now largely aligned itself with Iran, and will become closer to that nation as the Sunnis reach out for support to majority-Sunni Saudi Arabia. In short, over time we will see a major conflict in Iraq between Sunnis and Shiites which will surely involve the Saudis and Iranians. And the Iranians in such a regional struggle are likely to encourage the separatist Shiites who largely populate Saudi Arabia’s eastern oil producing regions.

    It’s a matter of time. We have destroyed the country at the center of the Middle East which both Bush 41 and Reagan saw (rightly) as a bulwark against Iranian Shiite extremism. Iraq, albeit after the bombing of the nuclear power complex, was also a buffer between Iranian extremism and Israel, a Sunni power holding off radical Shiism.

    In short, the war was strategically an enormous mistake, for which the world will pay for decades to come. And it should come as no surprise that the Iranians have wanted to create trouble for us in Afghanistan on their eastern border.

    Also to sum up, President Obama might want to increase troop strength in Afghanistan short-term in order to keep our troops from being overwhelmed. But longer term, we simply cannot ramp up for a major occupation and offensive operations. It would be horribly foolish. He needs to negotiate our way out of there, with safeguards against bin Laden (who is almost certainly alive) and al Qaeda.

  52. A pretty good discussion there Hooker. You’ve forgotten Putin; never a good idea to forget the mischievous makers. I disagree with you about Iraq. Pakistan is “friendly” only in the diplomatic sense. Every country pursues its own self interest. With whom should President Obama “negotiate” a leavetaking? I seem to recall that once he wanted simply to shut down the war in Iraq and bring the troops home by last April, an eventuality that almost certainly would not have been in US interests. What need of negotiations when he could just apply to Afghanistan and Pakistan the solution he once settled upon for Iraq? Just go, and leave the broken shards for Europe to pick up. I disagree with you that Osama is almost certainly alive, but we’ll see – when we see him rather than hear manufactured audio reports. When do you want the troops out of Afghanistan and Packistan? Could we do it by next April? And what about the loyal opposition – Dodd, Ned and the rest of them? Can we depend upon them to be as principled as you are, now that Obama has his war on?

  53. Thomas Hooker

    A pretty good discussion there Hooker. You’ve forgotten Putin; never a good idea to forget the mischievous makers. I disagree with you about Iraq. Pakistan is “friendly” only in the diplomatic sense. Every country pursues its own self interest. With whom should President Obama “negotiate” a leavetaking? I seem to recall that once he wanted simply to shut down the war in Iraq and bring the troops home by last April, an eventuality that almost certainly would not have been in US interests. What need of negotiations when he could just apply to Afghanistan and Pakistan the solution he once settled upon for Iraq? Just go, and leave the broken shards for Europe to pick up. I disagree with you that Osama is almost certainly alive, but we’ll see – when we see him rather than hear manufactured audio reports. When do you want the troops out of Afghanistan and Packistan? Could we do it by next April? And what about the loyal opposition – Dodd, Ned and the rest of them? Can we depend upon them to be as principled as you are, now that Obama has his war on?

    How many more years would you like us to fight the war in Afghanistan? Would you like us to invade Pakistan? Tell us, please. You mention Obama’s wanting to bring home the troops in April, which you suggest was wrong. Do you think the situation in Iraq and the outcome- continued conflict between Sunni’s and Shiites will be any different if we remain for another six years? Of course it won’t. Indeed, if we don’t start to pull out soon, the Iraqi’s will resume making war on us. We are not loved by the Iraqis; they do not want us there. Remaining will only result in more American corpses.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about when you mention “leaving it to Europe.” Recall, if you will, that Europe had it right when they opposed invading Iraq, or have you forgotten that?

    We need to talk to the Taliban and other tribal leaders in Afghanistan. Again, we are not going to subjugate that country and pacify it- not now, and not for many years. Tell us how many Americans you are willing to have die in Afghanistan, how many wounded and maimed, and for how long. You tell us how that war ends. You tell us what it will take to occupy and pacify Afghanistan and how many troops that will take. You tell us what your proposed exit strategy is. Don’t just toss out gratuitous barbs against Dodd and Obama. Keep in mind that Obama had it right when he said that invading Iraq would be a mistake. When you make snide comments about Lamont, keep in mind that he was right in stating that this war was a mistake, and the American people overwhelmingly agree with him- not you.

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