Lieberman “Rallies” Dixwell

by Paul Bass | July 31, 2006 9:47 PM | | Comments (15)

Joe Lieberman failed to attract even a dozen genuine neighborhood supporters to an anemic reelection campaign rally in his New Haven hometown’s Dixwell section Monday. But the pictured policeman and his supervisor showed the beleaguered U.S. senator some love by trying to intimidate teenagers out of allowing an anti-Joe display in the driveway of their home.

 Lieberman is in the midst of a 10-day “bus tour” of Connecticut leading up to the Aug. 8 Democratic primary against challenger Ned Lamont. His bus pulled up shortly after 4 p.m. to the Monterey Homes complex, a bright new housing complex that replaced the drab old Elm Haven projects. The race is neck-and-neck; lately both campaigns have focused on the black vote. Lieberman’s campaign imported dozens of politicos for the Monterey event, including Newhallville Alderman Charles Blango (pictured with Lieberman). But out of a crowd of 75, there appeared to be few actual people who live in Monterey. The bulk of the crowd consisted of politicos, campaign staffers, and pro-Lamont counter-demonstrators, one of whom tried to disrupt the proceedings by heckling speakers.

 The campaign did convince Nancy Horne (pictured) to come out. She lives in Monterey’s senior complex down the block. Looking around, she said she had thought that as many as eight other seniors from her complex had agreed to come to the event, although she could spot only one. She praised Lieberman for talking about his early 1960s civil rights activism in his speech and for saving jobs in the state.

“I’m not George Bush,” Joe Lieberman told the crowd.

Valerie McKinnie (pictured) lives two doors down from the spot where the rally took place. She works as a canvasser for the Lamont campaign. She said she counted maybe 15 neighbors in the crowd, about 10 Lieberman supporters and some five pro-Lamont Monterey-ers. She said she pulled out some Lamont supporters at the last minute. “We didn’t have any advance knowledge of this.”

The most interesting moment of the event took place before Lieberman arrived, at the home of McKinnie’s next door neighbor, whom McKinnie identified as “Jonelle.” McKinnie had previously convinced Jonelle to support Lamont and place a Lamont sign on her front lawn. Seeing that sign, two Lamont supporters — local activist Edward Anderson and influential national blogger Matt Stoller of — asked for permission to park the pictured flatbed display (of the famous Bush-Lieberman kiss) in the driveway. Jonelle wasn’t home; her teenaged daughters said yes. The driveway is a bit away from the rally site, but remotely visible.

But when Anderson and Stoller parked, Officer Herb Sharp (pictured) ordered them to move. They told him they had permission from the tenants. He said they still had to move. A reporter — me — happened to be watching and taking photos. Sharp ordered me to leave the area. He claimed (falsely) that I was in his way. (I was standing behind him.) He said I was “interfering.” When I refused, he told me to speak to his supervisor, Sgt. Anthony Duff. Duff came forward and denied that Sharp had told me to leave, only to stay out of his way. Sharp proceeded to knock on the door of the home and speak to two teen-aged girls. Their mom wasn’t home. One of the girls went to take away the Lamont sign from the front yard.

I asked Sgt. Duff why the display couldn’t remain parked in the yard. He responded that the police had previously worked out security arrangements with the public-housing complex’s management. (The area was festooned with Joe Lieberman campaign signs, including some held by members of Sgt. Duff’s family.) “Our job here is to keep the peace,” Duff said. Why can’t tenants allow someone to park in their driveway? “There are teenagers here. The head of the household isn’t here,” he responded. One of the teen-agers called her mom. Her mom said yes, she was happy to have the pro-Lamonters’ display in her driveway.

Duff relented. The display stayed in the driveway. One of the teens returned the Lamont sign to the front yard. “We’re Ned Lamont people,” she said. She preferred not to give her name for publication.

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Posted by: TrueBlueCT | August 1, 2006 1:32 AM

Wow! This contest sure has been a lot of fun. Who would have thunk that Connecticut would become ground zero in the battle for the future of America?

I'm just wondering what we'll do once this zaniness is all over. We'll have to find some way to continue to make Connecticut "First in the Nation"!

Posted by: paul w. miller | August 1, 2006 8:42 AM

"I'm not George Bush," Joe Lieberman told the crowd.
It's always good to clarify who you are not. There was an all star wrestler who said, "I am not a frog". Joe should further clarify that he is not Elmer Fudd, either.

Posted by: ronjazz | August 1, 2006 9:40 AM

Lieberman claims not to be George Bush, but his campaign is certainly taking the fascist page from the Bush playbook. How could any cop dare to infringe on people's rights to do what they want on their own property? I'm going to let lots of folks know about this abuse of power as i campaign for Lamont today. Just disgusting.

Posted by: Paige | August 1, 2006 1:24 PM

I don't understand how a policeman can act this way and get away with it. Shouldn't there be some sort of disciplinary action against this officer or his local police department?

Posted by: Stephen Wilmarth | August 1, 2006 1:25 PM

So often, we in Connecticut find ourselves at the back of the bus in terms of having an impact on national policies and priorities. Many of my Connecticut friends and neighbors have come to believe that we are at the mercy of other, more dominant voices in the national debate about issues critical to our very futures. Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina – states who have a disproportionate weight in the national debate, and New York, California, Ohio, Texas, and Florida who represent the 800 lb. gorillas of electoral power, conspire to keep the voices of Connecticut's voters in the background of the debates that set the course of our country's future and choices.

As a happy set of coincidences have now come together, on August 8th Connecticut voices have at long last achieved an opportunity to shape the entire national debate in this critical election year. With three years to go in the Bush administration and a majority of conservative Republican voices rising in a crescendo for tilting our national priorities ever more away from the great progressive legacy that has sought peace in the world, justice for America's most disadvantaged citizens, fairness and equity for the great majority of hard working American families, and moral, ethical choices that come with the responsibility of being the world's only economic and military superpower, Democrats across this country can focus on the outcome of a single election right here in Connecticut for setting their moral compass in the partisan debates to come.

We Democrats have a clear choice. Stay with the failed policies and rhetoric that have put our nation on the brink of moral and economic bankruptcy, caused us to lose our traditional global standing as a serious broker of peace and economic justice, and put our great constitutional values of freedom and democracy at serious risk; or send a clear and unequivocal message that we Democrats have had enough - that we Democrats will finally stand up for the protections afforded by our constitution, for justice for all citizens regardless of wealth or social status, for economic security for hard working families everywhere, for a fair hearing of all sides in the cultural differences that would divide us, and of greatest significance of all – for an end to the foreign policies that elevate war over diplomacy, greed over aid and compassion, and raw power over humility and restraint.

In this election – Ned Lamont vs. Joe Lieberman – we are not voting for one man's integrity, sincerity, or character vs. another's. Simply stated, this election is all about failed (even if honest) leadership vs. a clarion call for new leadership. It's what we hope and pray all elections could and should be about. And finally, it's about every Connecticut Democrat's voice being heard and resonating loudly and clearly across this land and around the world as in no other election in my memory. Long live the voices of Connecticut Democrats on Tuesday, August 8th!

Posted by: KCinDC | August 1, 2006 3:07 PM

Anyone who's read Don't Think of an Elephant knows that if Lieberman is saying "I'm not George Bush" he's activating the frame for Lamont's arguments in the listeners' minds.

Posted by: bemused | August 1, 2006 4:01 PM

Richard Nixon: "I am not a crook."

Posted by: Bfair | August 1, 2006 4:12 PM

Joe Liberman and Ned Lamont have done what for African Americans in their many years of service and which is more likely to begin doing anything that benefits us? That's the question that community leaders must ask themselves when they are supporting either candidate. Barb Fair

Posted by: Oddball | August 1, 2006 5:06 PM

Can I be a speech writer for Joe at his next stop?

"Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed constituency, Joe Lamont would certainly want you to believe that I am George Bush. And they make a good case. Hell, I almost feel like him myself! But, ladies and gentlemen of this supposed constituency, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a congresscritter defending a major asshole president, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that voting booth deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed constituency, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must elect me! I rest.

You see, it is all about Joe....Joe for Conneticut.....Joe for the President.....Joe for all the wrong reasons.

Have you had enough yet?

Posted by: Donna | August 2, 2006 12:35 AM

This is regarding the comment by BFAIR. You ask which candidate is likely to "begin" to do things for the African American community? Well, Lieberman has been a United States Senator for eighteen years! If you're still waiting for him to "begin" to do something for your community, then your choice is clear, and it's Ned Lamont.

Joe Lieberman is in favor of school vouchers, which would destroy public education. Joe Lieberman is against universal healthcare. Joe Lieberman was against affirmative action for a decade before he decided to run for President and had a convenient change of heart. Joe Lieberman couldn't even bother to spend ONE HOUR questioning Michael Brown as he was up for confirmation as head of FEMA, and the Katrina disaster was the result.

Private citizen Ned Lamont volunteer teaches at an inner city Bridgeport high school. He's been doing that for years, LONG before he decided to run for office. That tells you pretty much all you need to know about where his heart is concerning minority communities.

Posted by: TrueBlueCT | August 2, 2006 1:20 AM

As the person who was threatend with arrest, (yep), I just need to say to everyone that I hold nothing against Officer Sharp. Senator Lieberman has put so many of us in difficult positions, (openly opposing him is not always comfortable for me!) Anyway, I don't have anything against Mr. Sharp for doing what he perceived to be his job. (keeping order).

What happened yesterday at a political event in Dixwell was of very little importance. First and foremost, I thank Officer Sharp for putting his life at risk to protect the citizenry of New Haven. Our police officers put up with a lot of sh*t, and get far too little credit.

Heck, even if he had actually arrested me, I would still respect Mr. Sharp, and his badge. This is New Haven, and I have faith in our police force, despite the fact we are all human.

Posted by: KCinDC | August 2, 2006 10:17 AM

Good point, Bemused. It inspired this post.

Posted by: baile27 | August 2, 2006 11:13 AM

I write to defend one of the best police officers New Haven's finest can claim among it's ranks-Sargeant Duff. He is a professional through and through but maintains a sense of community policing that earns him the respect of colleagues and residents alike. He is also my brother-in-law (as the article intimates). I am an Alderwoman and a supporter of Joe, but Sgt. Duff would never compromise his professionalism for family, friends, or candidates. Family members and I often joke that we would rather not be pulled over for any reason by Duff, because he would show no mercy. Report the news, but please refrain from distorting the truth when you write about Sargeant Duff.

Posted by: nfjanette [TypeKey Profile Page] | August 3, 2006 8:08 PM

Joe Lieberman is in favor of school vouchers, which would destroy public education.

As if it needed any help in its destruction? Left-wing liberals have supported the union that prevents the elimination of bad teachers and administrators. Many of the students attending urban schools come from homes broken by drug use and violence - the direct result of failed left-wing social policy. And you would blame a single politician for the problem because he wants to empower parents to have some choice in the matter? Pure chutspah!

Posted by: Jeff | August 4, 2006 3:12 PM

You go NFJANETTE! Couldn't have said it any better...

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