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Joseph Lieberman ended the primary election season in exactly the method that his very worst critics, had they been writing the storyline themselves, might have imagined he would: in a self-absorbed publicity stunt, one that blamed his fellow Democrats for Lieberman's own campaign incompetence.

Following the lead of some Lieberman staffers who have seemingly entirely abandoned the actual campaign and are apparently more and more focused on frantic damage control in case of a Lamont win, MSNBC's Chris Matthews writes this:

The big question is whether the damage done to the Lieberman campaign by the shutdown of its command and control operation will prove decisive in tonight's results.  In other words, will the votes lost to the shutdown in its communication system exceed the margin of any Lamont victory?

Shutdown of his command and control operation? On a $15 rented webserver?

Yes, this is currently the line Lieberman's people have been publicly pushing: that if they lose badly today, it'll because Joe's website was down. I mean... seriously. I would just like to point out to anyone that takes this seriously for a minute -- for example, anyone suffering from untreated head injuries, or anyone in the D.C. pundit class, or anyone to happens to fit both groups -- that this is completely retarded. Admirably whiny spin, but retarded.

Lieberman's campaign wants to set themselves up to explain away Lamont's performance today, so they're going with the remarkably improbable line that people didn't vote for Lieberman because his website was down. Truly, while I'm a great fan of the internet, that's one of the stupider attempts at spin I've ever heard -- whether his site was "hacked" (cough, cough) or not.

Websites on election day are, as much as I might hate to admit it, largely useless. Only people who would be savvy enough to have been going to the joe2006 website (today or any other day) in the first place would be people politically aware enough to have known that it existed: there's simply no way they're going to somehow "forget" to vote for Joe today because his freaking website went down. While the Lieberman campaign is wonderfully quick to declare that the Internets have all sorts of magical superpowers -- he certainly treats hostile bloggers with a lot more attention and seriousness than he's spent on the actual voters of his state -- I sincerely doubt that there is a single human on this entire planet that was going to vote for Lieberman until -- gasp! -- his stupid website went down, upon which they suddenly lost interest again and returned to watching TiVo'ed reruns of game shows or something. Please don't dignify this goofy spin, pundits, with anything more than the laugh it deserves.

Now if they're going to claim (as they did for a while, at least) that their e-mail is down too, and so they couldn't do campaign GOTV e-mails to each other, that's pretty remarkable bullcrap. I won't call it a lie -- although, ahem, strong technical evidence provided by others indicates that it in fact could very well be -- but I'll point out that even if it really was true, that would almost be worse. There's no way any modern campaign should have their primary email services all being routed through some podunk dirt-cheap $15 webserver in Texas. And if the entire Joe Lieberman get-out-the-vote effort is being routed entirely through some $15 rented webserver, then that indicates yet again the extraordinary unseriousness with which Lieberman has been treating his own voters and his own campaign.

The facts of the matter seem pretty clearly to be this. Lieberman's tiny and meager website, apparently constructed as an afterthought, was placed on a tiny and meager shared webserver, where it shared space and resources with seventy-plus other sites. For some reason (almost certainly, from the symptoms, that the Lieberman campaign reached their bandwidth limit on their meager shared machine) it went down. Lieberman's staff claims it was hacked, but so far, there are no facts whatsoever to back that up. His staff isn't providing any: the hosting provider isn't providing any: zip. Nada. Zilch.

On the other hand, a great many technical and web experts throughout the blogosphere have been combing through Lieberman's story and the technical issues all day, as the front page and user diaries of this blog and many others can attest. And more and more, it's looking like the only reason Joe's website isn't up at this point is either rank incompetence or because they intentionally are leaving it off, the better to perpetuate this sorry stunt.

MSNBC is reporting that if Lieberman does not pull off a win today, he is definitely going to be running as an independent against his own ostensible party, in November. So it seems now that this entire faked episode is nothing more than a publicity stunt by the Lieberman campaign, one they will use in a pathetic attempt to claim that the voters of Connecticut didn't really mean what they said they meant today, and Joe knows better than they do.

To me, this entire last-ditch episode is completely emblematic of Lieberman's last six years in office. He completely ignores the voters, he completely ignores realities surrounding him, he doesn't give a damn about even much feigning interest in the responsibilities of public office, and whenever anything goes wrong for Joe, he always finds someone else to very loudly and petulantly blame. And in 99.9% of those cases, the people he blames are other Democrats.

But Lieberman and his apparently incompetent staff? They can do no wrong. And they're going out on campaign day in the exact style that Lieberman's spent the last six years perfecting: whiny, spiteful, bungling, self-absorbed, and dishonest. He is a self-absorbed man who ran an incompetent and petulant campaign that was an insult to the voters, right down to the last day.

Originally posted to Hunter on Tue Aug 08, 2006 at 04:28 PM PDT.

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