JOE SHOULD GO-- NED LAMONT'S FIRST FUND-RAISER
I just got back from meeting Ned Lamont. I went because I dislike everything about Lieberman and have since I first heard about him as a sleazy, right wing local pol in Connecticut, long before he became part of a national or international nightmare. I was so sure I was going to be unimpressed with Lamont that I didn't even bother to bring my checkbook to this-- his very first-- fund-raiser. I was so completely impressed that the first thing I did when I got home was rush to the computer to add him to the fledgling DWT ACT BLUE page. (Alas he's not even on with them yet but I'll get one going as soon as Act Blue gets him in their system.)
The last minute e-vite came a few days ago from friends with impeccable progressive cred-- some early (pre-cover of ROLLING STONE) activists in Howard Dean's California state campaign. It was for a hastily put-together fund-raiser for Lamont, who has been planning on being in L.A. months ago on non-political matters. Lamont is an entrepreneurial guy from Greenwich and all most people know about him is that he's taking on the odious Bush-Democrat from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman.
Yesterday Lamont created a "candidate committee," which isn't the same as declaring but does allow him to start collecting contributions. Liberal activist/Executive Director of Connecticut Citizen Action Group Tom Swan is heading it-- a good sign.
The mostly DFA crowd filled the house and Nick and his gracious, friendly wife, Anne and some friends spent time talking with everyone individually before he launched into a great talk about the race. Look, I go to a lot of these candidate meetings. This guy looks great, sounds great and it all seems very kosher. I was a little nervous because all I had read about him was that he was a millionaire businessman. His story is a lot more compelling than that. First of all his a quintessential all-American kind of entrepreneurial guy-- a living embodiment of the best in the American dream. He's as far from a corporate type of Big Business monster as you can be. He completely understands why it's essential for business that reforms like universal health care get hammered out. (He reminded me of Howard Dean when he talked about that.) This guy teaches entrepreneurship in Bridgeport High, a tough inner city school.
Although he was a town selectman, not only is Ned not a politician, he has a vibe that told me that even if he's elected to the U.S. Senate, he'll never become some kind of careerist self-server, but will always look at his role as that of a civil servant and guardian of his constituents' interests.
As soon as he walked in the door, just a few minutes after me and a good 30 minutes before the crowd showed up, I got to chat with him about the issues. The first thing I wanted to get a sense of was how he left about Iraq. I was wary of hearing any double-talk or weasel words. There were none. He went right to Jack Murtha and showed me immediately that not only does he support a plan for withdrawal but that he has a far better grasp of what the war is all about than old-line Democratic "thinkers" like Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Wes Clark (all of whom are still babbling nonsense about "winning," an absurd concept to begin with). Later when he talked to the whole group he contrasted Bush's (latest) approach (shared not just by Lieberman but by even some well-meaning-- if limited-- Democrats) which is basically that the U.S. will step back when "the Iraqis" step up with a more well-reasoned and thought-out approach which is that the Iraqis will step up when-- and not until-- the U.S. starts stepping back in a serious way. "The invasion of Iraq was a colossal foreign policy disaster." That's clear. That's simple. That's what Democrats running for office should all be saying.
He talked a lot about the harmful trend of the Federal Government increasingly intruding into the private lives of American citizens and how that trend has to be turned around. He told us that for him Alito was not a close call. I have no doubt that he saw Alito as much a dangerous threat to American liberty as I did. In fact, he seems like the kind of guy who's going to carefully consider every issue and come up with the right approach across the board-- kind of a polar opposite of Joe Lieberman.
THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE: ACT BLUE JUST ACTIVATED NED LAMONT'S ACT BLUE PAGE
Here's your chance to tell Lieberman what you think of him in language he understands. And at the same time, advance the candidacy of a potentially great, progressive U.S. Senator. It's easy. Start right here.