Thursday, August 17, 2006

I HATE NED.... Lamont

I don't usually post about politics, because I have political views that are shared with precisely one other person in the world. But this post isn't about politics, it's about HATE.

I hate Ned Lamont. And not just for ruining the name Ned for an entire generation (or at least a news cycle). I hate Ned Lamont because he's a beady-eyed, trust-fund-baby, Joe-smearing, Senate seat-buying, know-nothing selectman. Seriously people, he's a selectman. That means he'll go from considering whether to grant TGI Friday's a liquor license to solving our nation's most pressing problems. God forbid he ends up on a Senate intelligence committee. We might as well appoint the City Manager as head of the CIA.

I feel I can say these things about Ned because I am a Connecticut resident, and I've put up with his beady stare for lo these many months. At first it was amusing, as the gist of his campaign ads was that Joe Lieberman personally helped George Bush drown people in New Orleans. In all seriousness, his ads opened with images of people on the roofs of their flooded Louisiana homes, and then segued somehow into "Joe Lieberman won't stand up to George Bush."

It was funny for a while, but there was no response from our man Joe. I dislike probably 90% of United States senators, but I like a few: McCain when he's not crazy, liberal Republicans, conservative Democrats. I like Joe. But he didn't respond to the negative advertising. Then Lamont started up the radio ads. The Lite FM station that my racist cubicle-mate listens to featured Ned Lamont's voice more than the actual DJ.

Joe started falling in the polls. People said it was because of anger about Iraq, or the infamous State of the Union makeout session, but from my perspective as a potential Connecticut voter, it was clear that it was because Joe had ceded TV and radio to his opponent. Every day was a relentless "Joe won't stand up to George Bush" mantra repeated in as many media as possible. There was no Lieberman response.

The week before the election, polls showed Lamont up 13 points on Joe. Finally, with just days to go before election day, I heard the first pro-Lieberman radio ad on Lite FM. Bill Clinton came to campaign for Joe. There might have even been an ad during the local news. It was too little, too late. Even so, Joe closed a large gap in just a week.

In the ten days leading up to the primary, Maude, a registered Democrat, received a different piece of direct mail from Lamont EVERY DAY. One featured Lieberman's scowling face and another showed flood victims in New Orleans (a favorite Lamont motif, it seems). Total direct mail received from Lieberman? Zero.

I have no idea why Joe ran such an anemic primary campaign. According to news reports, he still had 2 million dollars in the bank afterward, which is crazy. Had he defeated Lamont in the primary, he could have campaigned in drag and still defeated the Republican challenger in November. Why save your money for an expensive independent run without any party support, when you could crush your only serious competition in August? I think Lieberman was one serious campaign ad away from a primary victory, and he blew it.

So as for my despised doppel-namer Lamont, he is still trailing an independent Lieberman in the polls, 41% to 46% (with Republican Alan "I Do Not Have a Gambling Problem" Schlesinger at just 6%), but I am not optimistic about much more Joe-mentum picking up. Lamont now has the support of the entire Democratic party and can always dip into his large personal wealth to help close the deal.

But don't worry, if any zoning disputes come up in the Senate, Ned has the necessary experience to handle it.


j.b. said...

Great post, great analysis. It's nice to hear the keen point of view of a real Connecticut voter, and its nice to see the Ned-haters mobilize.
Things may be looking up though, the latest polls show a 12-point lead for Lieberman.

Anonymous said...

I don't think experience is quite as important as attributes like honesty and work ethic actually. Political instincts count for a lot in a democracy as well. Carter, after all was far more experienced at governance than Reagan. But Reagan's political instincts were so much better that he was simply a more effective leader (whatever you think of his policies).

I've actually gotten hints in the interviews that Lamont has more to his agenda than simply "I hate the war." He might actually do alright. Certainly I don't think it will be as good for the people of Connecticut. All things being equal, you're better off having a veteran congressman rather than a newbie. The veterans have been around long enough that they have the influential committee positions and personal connections that are invaluable in securing federal benefits for their state. Newbie congresspersons tend to get junk assignments right out of the starting gate.

Lamont was an opportunist in his use of the war. That doesn't mean he has no other ideas, but it does mean he'll have to work hard to shake his image as a one-trick-pony with the swing voters.

I don't like the one-sided partisanship that Lamont represents. But as for the man himself, I don't know enough about him to say much.

Seth R.

RoastedTomatoes said...

One of the funny things about this, especially in light of your on-the-ground experience of Lamont's media campaign, is that Lieberman actually outspent Lamont by millions of dollars during the primary campaign. I wonder where it all went?

Anyway, the Lamont victory may be annoying for Connecticut (But, really, what a dire choice! Lieberman, the creator of "Joe-mentum" and now the clear poster-child for political sore-loserhood, or Lamont, the self-entitled rich boy?) but it doesn't reflect a broader national trend. Conservative and moderate Democrats still make up a clear majority of the party's Senate caucus--and, if the party gains seats this fall, the centrist domination of the Senatorial party will only increase.

The Sinister Porpoise said...

For a minute there I thought this would be a rant about having to share the same name with a disgraceful or disgraced figure, much like I share my homestate and last name with the former Tour De France champion.

Er, if it's any consolation, Lieberman is ahead in the overall polls.