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I know there will be a lot of pontificating on this race. Certainly the media has no idea what they're talking about when they cover this race, since most report on it from Washngton, DC, not Darien or Norwalk.

I spent the last 48 hours in Fairfield County, CT. I worked on the Lamont campaign. I went door-to-door, I sat for hours in the phone bank, I stood in front of Joe Lieberman's synagogue, Agudath Sholom, from 5:30 am till 1:00 pm, and got a sunburn to boot. Through all of this, I met a lot of Connecticut voters, and what I found was phenomenal.

First, those who supported Senator Lieberman were very angry and obnoxious to me. Many of his supporters came up to me and started yelling at me for supporting Ned Lamont. One supporter even told me that "you left-wing Democrats are what's bad for this country." Yes, that's right, not pollution, poverty, war, terrorism, or intolerance, but "left-wing Democrats" are what's worst for this country. I was appalled. I was disappointed in these Democrats. But I courteously tried to convince people that Ned Lamont was the right man for the job. And for Ned's supporters, including a whole bunch of very nice old ladies who adored me, Ned was the right man. One 84-year old woman from Stamford came up to me and told me she had never missed a school board, primary, or general election since 1944. She told me that while she didn't hate Joe, she really like that Ned Lamont, a fresh face, was getting into politics to change things.

Another woman I met, from Fairfield, told me that she hadn't seen Joe Lieberman since 1996. She told me shen hadn't heard of an event or a meeting with Joe Lieberman since then, ten years ago. This wasn't a nobody either. She was a Democratic committeewoman from Fairfield and has been very active in Fairfield and Connecticut Democratic politics since 1990. She said that most people she knew were never crazy about Joe Lieberman, especially because in his first election to the Senate in 1988, Joe Lieberman won by running to the right of Republican Senator Lowell Weicker. This woman told me she was thrilled to have a candidate who actually challenged Joe Lieberman for the first time in his career.

I met several hundred Nutmeggers during my time in CT. What I found was that people want change. It's not just "left-wing Democrats." People are tired of the cynical politics of division, fear, and half-measures. It's not left vs. center vs. right. It's about people who want to make this a better country by changing the way we do things vs. those who want to keep things the way they are.

Put me in the camp that supports change. I think Joe Lieberman has done a lot of good in his time in the Senate. But Ned Lamont won last night to change things. For the good of the party and the good of the country, Joe should accept that choice and support Ned as we work to change the system. Joe can choose to be a force for change or he can continue a quest to hold on to power. I hope he makes the right choice.


Liz Fossett said...

From Bluegrassreport.org:

"Rove Reaches Out To Lieberman (Stephanopoulos, ABC News)
George Stephanopoulos is reporting that Karl Rove has reached out to Senator Lieberman (I) (hat tip: Talking Points Memo):

According to a close Lieberman adviser, the President's political guru, Karl Rove, has reached out to the Lieberman camp with a message straight from the Oval Office: "The boss wants to help. Whatever we can do, we will do."

Meanwhile, former president candidate Gen. Wesley Clark (D) offered this in an e-mail today:

"we cannot let Joe Lieberman be this year's Ralph Nader. " "

[yet another reason to not support lieberman]

Rach C said...

"including a whole bunch of very nice old ladies who adored me"

seems to be your core constiuency, adam.

miss you at aapac.

ari said...

Well, folks, I've got to lay it out there. As fresh of a face as Ned might be, the Lieberman shakeup has really thrown me. When I first heard that Lieberman was being challenged in the primary, I was excited. Like everyone else, that famous George-Joe kiss made me angry, and more than once I've wagged my finger at some right-wing-ish vote of Joe's. So all through the primary, I kept my mouth shut, happy to not be from Connecticut. I wouldn't have to choose. But when election day finally rolled around this week, it hit me like a cartoon anvil: I really wanted Joe to win. For the sake of the Party, Joe needed to win.

Here's my take. So Ned takes the cake. Now lots of little Neds all around the country look up at the Democratic congressman from their district or at their senator and say, well shucks, I didn't like the way the Honorable Mr. X voted on bill A, B, or C! He's awful. Hell, he's a Republican! I've got cash, I'll run! And then you have lots of little Neds challenging Democrats with seniority, with backroom connections, with history, with committee appointments. And all of the Joes are having to raise twice as much money, because all of a sudden they have to run against Ned Jr, not just the GOP. So you have problem number one, the eventual donor fatigue. But, we continue. The primary rages on, and, someone's down. Maybe it's Ned. Maybe it's Joe. But one of them is down, and desperate. Up goes a negative ad. Up goes the GOP cry, "Democrats can't agree on anything! Look at the infighting! They don't have a message! And look at how dirty they fight!" The voters will remember that after the primary. So let's say Ned comes out ahead. Now it's Ned, beaten up by Joe, versus GOP guy. If it's a purple state, it's anybody's game, of course. But if it's a blue state, theoretically, we end up with Senator Ned. Now, unlike Joe, Ned doesn't know squat about The Capitol. He gets lost in the basement his first day (but haven't we all?) and the trouble doesn't stop there. He's afraid to vote for anything the GOP has laid a finger on for the first few years, because he's afraid that his party will be mad at him. So there goes bipartisanship. He never gets invited to those closed door meetings or Friday night poker games, because all of his colleagues think of him as 'that guy who got our friend Joe kicked out and put all of our butts on the line'. Sure, they respect him because he's clearly good at politiking the constituents, but people like him make their jobs harder. None of his bills make it to the floor, no one ever votes for his amendments (why would they? what has he ever done for anybody?), and he only gets to speak on the floor at 1am. It's a little prank they play on freshmen, he guesses. Six years pass, and Senator Ned's constituents look at each other, and at their new senator's record, and think to themselves, why the hell did we do that? He hasn't done a damned thing for us in six years. And so the cycle begins anew...And not just in Ned's state, but everywhere. In the House and the Senate. Ned and Ted and Jed and Fred -- all of them ineffective but 'fresh faces'. And Joe and Moe and all of the senior legislators are at home, watching C-SPAN2, and shaking their heads. All those years of public service, they're thinking, and we've been replaced by that?

Adam Hearts Dems said...

ari, as you and i know, senators know little about backroom deals after 40 years in the senate. there are professional senate staffers, whom the "little Neds" would hire that would be able to guide them through important legilsative processes.

and btw, if having experience is so good, why don't we get rid of elections altogether and just let incumbents stay in the senate until they die. if we follow your logic, that seems the way to go.

also, if you use experience for bad policies, then the experience is useless. joe lieberman supports a failed war and a failed President's policy on the war. he deserved to go.

and btw, the person that makes democrats look divided is joe lieberman when he chastises democrats for criticizing the president or the war strategy.

Anonymous said...

Well written son. I'm your biggest fan.