Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Lamont in Hamden

Before I begin talking about Lamont speaking in Hamden last night, I want to point out that I had trouble finding parking in the combined parking lot for the Miller Library and the Hamden Senior Center. For those not familiar with Hamden, not being able to find parking on a Monday night at 7 at the Senior Center is as unlikely as seeing the Patriots play in Hartford.

Inside was packed as well; by my count, there were over 100 people there and it was standing room only in the back of the room (I included the two Lieberman staffers, one with video camera in tow, in my count).

After hearing stories about Lamont's lack of polish on the stump, I was pleasently surprised by the energy and enthusiasim (dare I say, fire) he displayed at the podium. Especially considering that this was his second of three speeches of the day. He was by no means perfect, if I was a staffer, I would do anything I could to get him to slow down - he stepped on several of his applause lines, but considering that he has only been campaigning for a couple of months, he was surprisingly good.

Right off the bat, he acknowledged that much of his support was anti-Joe and anti-war, and that he was there to explain who he was. He also acknowledged his lack of political experience and framed it as a positive: His pitch was that, as a small businessman and as an educator, if elected he would be a citizen legislator, and not as a legislator representing lobbyists and campaign contributors.

In talking about the Iraq war, he constrasted himself with Joe Lieberman by pointing out that "Staying the course is not a strategy." He said that our troops had been put into an impossible situation in the middle of a civil war and that it was time for the Iraqis to step up and take control. He also made the point, sure to appeal to people without ties to enourmous defense contracts, that the $250M per day (per day!) that is being spent in Iraq could be better use to rebuild infrastructure, rebuild schools, and on universal preschool.

In talking about energy policy, in addition to making the expected points about missed opportunities after 9/11, the Cheney/Lobbyist lovefest energy bill that many of the New England Senators (Republican and Democrat alike) voted against but Joe Lieberman voted for, and the need to make it an American mission to promote conservation and increase fuel efficiency, he also tied our energy policy directly to national security (a point The Hamden Daily News, in addition to labeling as Ned Lamont a picture of someone else, seemed to miss) in that our dependence on foreign sources of fuel makes us weaker as a country.

Note: In talking about the energy bill, Lamont said that if elected he would fight against legislation that was created in secret by lobbyists, delivered to Senators athe the last moment, and passed with no scrutiny. In doing so, he pointed out that Exxon-Mobil made record profits of $36 billion last year (yes Virginia, that is a b) and that (rough paraphrase) giving them money to incent them to drill for oil is like giving fish incentives to swim. He then cut off laughter and applause by jumping immediately into his next point.

Finally, Lamont addressed the primary race itself. He said that the CT party leadership doesn't like primaries, especially for safe seats, and he (obviously) disagreed. He made the point that CT is a progressive state that would not be losing a senator, but gaining a Democrat (applause cut off by next point...). He went on to describe himself as proud to be a Democrat and stated that, no matter the result of the primary, he would support the party in November.

During the Q&A, when asked to get specific about plans to exit Iraq (in a pretty aggresive question), he said that he would support pulling frontline troops out of harms way in the Sunni Triangle into the Shia desert immediately, but that US troops would have to remain for some time in a training/logistical/suuport role with an Iraqi and/or international face. He made the point that we need to step back before the Iraqis would step forward (and contrasted it directly with the administrations view that we would step back when the Iraqis stepped forward).

To avoid accidently writing a book instead of a blog post, here are the (brief) capsules of the answers to the more interesting questions:

- On Iran: Stop rattling sabers; use direct diplomacy and convince Russia and China to bring their pressure to bear

- On Public Transportation - rebuild infrastructure, but also provide cities with high quality education, housing, and jobs so that people will want to live there again and thus take cars of the road; increase rail use

- On Illegal Immingration/Border Security - No to the wall; Yes to employer sanctions; mostly in favor of Kennedy/McCain comprehensive approach with the caveat that guest workers should not be used to drive down wages - there are no jobs that Americans wont do for good pay and benefits (guess what he did next? If you said, waited for applause to finsih, you would be wrong)

- On Single Payer/Universal Health Care - In favor, but will have to happen in incremental steps - 1. If you work a 40hr/wk, you get insurance (will take care of 70% of 47MM uninsureds); 2. Let small business owners buy into government programs; 3. Government helps take load off of employers

- On No Child Left Behind - Its unfunded and all sticks, no carrots; Its unfair in that schools are judged on performance, but kids get to the schools already behind; Tests (and the school-pressure to prepare for them) takes away from time that kids could be learning

- On Right to Choose - Would have led the fight against the confirmation of Justice Alito; views his appointment as a fundemental shift on the court

- On a Debate - would love to debate all the time (what a surprise for an underdog!) and has offered to debate, but Lieberman declined

The evening ended with a standing ovation.

Some final thoughts: Just based on simple math, it would be difficult for Lamont to beat Lieberman (although the combination of Bush's low poll numbers in CT and Lieberman's lowered numbers among liberals make it a little easier). That said, before last night, I had thought it was an impossibility. That no longer is the case; last night, for the first time, while watching ordinary citizens crowd in to the Senior Center and while watching their enthusiastic response to the speech, I actually had the thought that he could beat Joe Lieberman.

Don't misunderstand me. This is not a prediction (Lamont fans will take heart; I have incorrectly predicted that the Knicks would be competitive for 8 years running) - he is an overwhelming underdog with a 10:1 cash disadvantage. And the structural impediments to defeating an incumbent are intense (another post for another time). But it is a possibility. And the Lieberman ads and his staffers showing up at Lamont events (with video cameras) are evidence that Lieberman and his staff have recognized the possibility and are reacting to it.

Finally, based on the stature (or lack thereof) of the possible Republican challengers and the blueness of CT as a whole, this seems to be a safe seat (assuming that no one makes this a three way race) no matter which Democrat wins the primary. So, if you are a Democrat, vote your conscience and may the best man win! And here's to hoping that we get a Democratic debate before the primary...

33 comments:

ctblogger said...

Tried to make to to Hamden but there was no way I oculd make it in time.

Gabe, don't worry, I'm a Knicks, Jets, and Mets fan...I feel your pain.

Gabe said...

I am Knicks, Giants, and Mets - disaster all around recently (although the Mets look amazing. I predict...

BRubenstein said...

Gabe...As ive said before, the war is the major issue for most of us in the Democratic Party and most of us dont support Joementum's position.

If Lamont gets 15% of the convention vote it will be a huge victory for him ( and those of us that are anti-iraq war)and it will be a competitive primary.If Lamont gets 25% or more of the convention vote then Joementum is in trouble.

The convention is the forumn most friendley to Joe as delegates tend to be party insiders and if he can't stop Lamont there, then one questions if he can stop Lamont anywhere.However the war issue being so intense, its hard to imagine a delegate who is intensely against the war switching their vote on the order of a town chair or some political operative attached to Joementum.The anti-war vote is a "hard" vote which will come out in droves i believe, to support Lamont in the primary.Joementum's vote is a "softer" vote less apt to come out and vote.

I agree that Lamont has gotten much better as a speaker and is showing passion in his speeches....and i am also happy that he has an array of other issues and positions that he discusses in his appearances....noone can accuse him of being a one issue candidate.
Clearly, he is not an " angry candidate" that Joementum's campaign manager tried to have us believe last month.

As you may know, there are around 700,000 registered democrats. If 30% come out in the primary, that is a total vote of 210,000 or so...its not inconceivable that there are 120,000 anti war democrats who will vote on election day for Lamont.the petitions for Lamont will be a clue into his support as of now...If he is able to petition his way on to the ballot( 20,000 democratic signers) as well as get the requisite 15% of the delegates at the convention..then Joementum is in trouble as those 20,000 signers would be used as a " prime voter vist" to be called to vote on primary day.

truth squad said...

Bruce, there has been talk in some circles about doing away with the convention system and simply having primaries. have you heard about this at all? as for you comments about this convention, i see your point, however let me also say that these delegates are the party activits, the DTC members and those said to be most anti-joe at this point. i think there is an expectation game being played here and that setting the bar at 15% is kind of lame and a cop out. my coffee pot could probably get 15% of the vote at this convention if it were to run against lieberman. i mean arlen spector LOST his convention. whats the smallest percentage anyone has gotten at the convention and won the primary? thinking maybe curry against larson, but dont really know for sure.

Quarterly Prophet said...

I almost want to see pictures of these staffers to see if they just how many of them there are following Mr. Lamont around. I can't imagine Lieberman's campaign would be using that many people to tail him.

If they are going to be following him, maybe they should ask Ned if they can carpool to save on gas?

Oh, and I still have my Patriots tshirt that preemptively celebrated the Patriots coming to Hartford. They will come. I know it.

BRubenstein said...

Truthsquad:

Ive heard no talk about doing away with the convention system...as you may know the state central folks would have to bring it up and vote the convention system out in order for the change to be legal...and ratified by the national DNC.I for one would agree that the present convention system is old and outmoded...i think that the candidates ought to just register and perhaps pay a small fee and then they would be entitled to be on the primary ballot...

Truthy..its all about expectations...the dtc's tend not to be loaded with liberals and anti-war folks...and many are "not their own person" but are beholden to others, and i politely disagree that the "activists" reside on dtc's...most activists i think reside in democratic base groups like the labor unions..citizens groups..etc and never get on a town commitee....If Lamont is able to qualify against a 3 term senator who was a Vice Presidential candidate and a Presidential candidate..that is huge.The 15% bar was established as you know by the party and the legislature after a successful federal court case, so that is why i mentioned it before.

truth squad said...

bruce, i would agree, but in a very similar situation, arlen spector LOST his convention so i dont see it out of the realm of possibility nor plausibilty that the greenich millionaire should set his sights a little higher.

BRubenstein said...

Truthsquad;

No one has been in this situation before since the rules were changed to accommodate the successful court case and we all will wait and see what happens at the convention.For tactical purposes a campaign would set a lower bar..and then clamin victory for meeting it.( wink wink)

I totally agree with you that just because one wins a convention contest that the candidate isn't "a shoe in" for the primary

In fact, the convention isnt a reliable predictor at all...and yes...you were right about Larson/Curry ( and i was there)


And that is precisely way i want to abolish the convention system and just have candidates register and pay a small fee to qualify for the ballot.

DeanFan84 said...

This graph, as opposed to this graph, is what will hand Ned Lamont the Democratic nomination.

Republicans love Joe Lieberman! And why shouldn't they embrace their wolf in sheep's clothing?!

Joe supports Bush's idiotic war. Joe turned his back on women and helped get Alito confirmed. Joe voted for the Bush/Cheney energy bill. Joe pushes the "family values" agenda. Joe puts Corporations first. Joe helped stop the Clinton health-care plan. Joe's DLC wing of the Party passed NAFTA, and then CAFTA. Joe supported the GOP during the Schiavo fiasco. Joe supported the Neo-Con John Bolton, now our United Nations Ambassador. And Joe is good friends with Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and William Buckley!

No wonder CT Republicans see Joe as one of them. He's out and out earned his new sobriquet: George Bush's Favorite Democrat!

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

Gosh, what a fresh and original thought, DeanFan! Glad to see you're branching out! Keep up the good work!

DeanFan84 said...

DiffAnon!
What, you don't like the message, buddy? Better get used to it b/c the grassroots is ready to make it into umpteen thousand flyers...

Your guy got way too cute in playing to the other side. Now Joe is caught with his pants down. And he still won't commit to the Democratic Party?! How incredibly stupid and arrogant.

Please acknowledge that the same SurveyUsa poll shows a precipitous 10% drop among Independents. That, and his negatives shot up from 29 to 41%. So Joe is stinking up the joint, even among non-partisans.

Diff, this is Connecticut. One can be either a Yankee, or Red Sox fan and still command respect. But I pity the fool who thinks he can be both. Joe is that fool.

disgruntled_republican said...

Deanfan-

Republicans dont love Lieberman. Just because he supports the war is not to say we love him. George Bush may love him, but we don't. Would I vote for him over Lamont...you betcha but that doesnt by any stretch of the imagination mean that I love him. I actually find your party's desire to oust him humorous in a way.

The first thing I learned when I became a Republican is that Republicans don't speak ill of other Republicans in public...obviously, you dont mind eating your own.

I know, I know..he isn;t really a Democrat...say it all you want...and make sure every Dem candidate in the state he gives money to gives it back...yeah right...lmao.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

The message is cool. The problem is that it's your only message, it's has been your only message for months, it seems likely to be your only message for the foreseeable future, and my dear God it's -- ore, more exactly, you -- are getting tiresome.

For the record: We get it. You don't like Joe. You think Joe is a traitor. You think Joe needs to go. You think Joe should abide by the results of the primary. You want Ned to win. You hate the war. You hate Bush. You are tickled pink, as it were, that Joe's poll numbers blow.

We will all stipulate to that, and more, if you will only, please, please, please, please, for the love of Mike, please just give it a frigging rest.

DeanFan84 said...

DiffAnon--
For the record, this is a Lamont thread. And what, are you incapable of scrolling?

Most of the time I don't write for the Republicans and Liebercrats lurking here. Why should I? The neo-phytes are the reason I bother to post. And God help your side if we get on message.
------------------------------------------
Disgruntled-
I hear you. No one really likes Lieberman. Your side approves of him only b/c he is a useful tool.

BRubenstein said...

Dear A Different....;

Its not just DeanFan that is posting anti Joementum stuff..what about the rest of us..we are an un-silent majority in this blog.

BTW the public is GETTING IT ALSO...Joementum's poll numbers are way down..

Dont forget this isnt just a senate race in CT....this is a national race and referendum about the war in iraq and the national press has taken notice. So it is only logical to see that this race is eatting all the oxygen in the political room. Please be prepared to read more posts about this race.

ctkeith said...

Dis said
The first thing I learned when I became a Republican is that Republicans don't speak ill of other Republicans in public.


Seems Joe Lieberman learned the exact same thing.

disgruntled_republican said...

Wrong...it is a Senate race. And about a Senator who has different views than you on the war. The referendum for 80% of Americans was 2004.

disgruntled_republican said...

ctkeith-

I'll give you that...you literally have me laughing out loud at my desk...

DeanFan84 said...

Disgruntled--

Kerry ran away from the war, and 2004 wasn't the referendum on Bush and Iraq that we would have had if Howard Dean hadn't exploded.

I wish I could fully recount to you the number of fence-sitters who were angry at me when Kerry flatly stated that he would have voted the same way and done the same things. In near unison my friends asked why they should vote for John "Fake" Forbes when his positions on Iraq were so close to Bush's.

P.S. Do you think Iraq is "winnable"?

disgruntled_republican said...

Deanfan-

Did those friends in turn vote for Bush? There were many differences between Bush and Kerry both on the war and in most other areas of their campaigns. Im not sure if it was you or someone else who sai that Kerry's comment was the reason Bush won...fact is the strong grassroots effort and amazing organizational machine are why Bush won. If people were as outraged with this war as you seem to be, and it is your right to be, then they would have voted Bush out 2 years ago. Fact is, not only did they vote to keep him in, they INCREASED the number of Senators and Congressmen that a Republican. Now while I don't think this was a mandate as Bush thought, it is very telling, wouldn't you say?

You asked, "Do you think we can win this war?"

In a word, yes.
In many ways, we already have. I will never forget the feelings i had when i saw Iraqi's going to vote in their first democratic election. Sure, Iraqis are having their issues but they are working to resolve them and I have the utmost confidence they will become a great friend to the US.

Do I agree with Bush's policy on Iraq; not by a long shot. I do think we should have some type of plan for withdrawl realizing that a plan is simply a roadmap that is not set in stone and can be changed as need be. I have issue with Rumsfeld but fear he isn't going anywhere soon.

And one last thing, if this were an election on Iraq then why is it that gasoline/oil prices, the single thing most closely tied to Iraq in most people's minds, are being blamed on money hungry oil companies and not on the BNush administration?

middlesexist said...

Disgruntled---

The idea that the 2004 election somehow negated the Iraq War as an issue is completely laughable given that we're still in Iraq and that casualties continue to mount. Iraq will remain a leading issue until we're out of there.

Maybe, just maybe, you could make your argument about Ohio or another swing state, but Connecticut voters sent a very strong message in '04 that they take the war seriously. Joe Lieberman will ignore them at his perile.

middlesexist said...

Disgruntled----

---If oil companies are the only ones getting the blame for high gas prices, then why do you think Bush's numbers are in the low twenties in Connecticut? Judicial nominations? Sunspots?

disgruntled_republican said...

middlesexist-
Show me where there is outrage towards Bush for gas prices...everything I hear is the oil companies this and the oil companies that.

The "low" approval numbers in Connecticut for Bush are deceiving...
5% say excellent
19% say good
27% say fair
To me that is the cut-off because fair is not a disapproval now is it? 48% then disapprove.

I would put myself in good/fair.

I have never said Iraq is not an issue. fact is, it is an issue. but it is not the overwhelming issue that you "progressives" make it to be. (I aplogize if you do mnot consider yourself a "progressive"). Yes, we are still in Iraq and yes casualities continue to mount. At the same time, there is a lot good going on in Iraq. They have a stock market again. Businesses have been rebuilding and the public markets are returning. The people are not afraid to go out...so to think things are at a low there is just plain wrong. (Not saying you said it).

And again, i maintain that MOST voters in CT have no idea who Ned Lamont is and have no problem with Joe Lieberman. His is the only race that Iraq is the driving issue behind his opponent and that is a fact.

Gabe said...

And again, i maintain that MOST voters in CT have no idea who Ned Lamont is and have no problem with Joe Lieberman. His is the only race that Iraq is the driving issue behind his opponent and that is a fact.

Even if this is accurate, and I'm not sure it is, it is irrelevant because most of the voters in CT are irrelevant to who wins a Democratic primary. The only voters that are relevant are the ones who will show up for the Democratic primary - and, not so coincidently, those are the voters that Lieberman will have the most trouble winning over.

disgruntled_republican said...

Gabe-

I don't disagree. I was merely using that point to explain my beleif that the Iraq war is not a litmas test in this GENERAL ELECTION...it certainly is in the Democrat primary for US Senate.

middlesexist said...

disgruntled---
---You're, with all respect, out of your mind. You just can't redefine the metric virtually all approval polls use, and have used since Gallup invented it in the 1930s, just because you've decided by fiat that "fair" doesn't sound all that negative. You're in living I'm afraid in La La land if you believe that.

As for Lamont, I'm aware that his name recognition is low, although I'm not sure why you think ignorance of Lamont translates into support for the war. I also don't believe that the relatively small subset of voters who regularly vote in Democratic primaries (let alone the tiny subset that will attend the May Democratic Convention) is ignorant of Lamont.

disgruntled_republican said...

MIDDLESEXIST-

With all do respect, I am not in LALA LAND and it was not a Gallup poll. I realize it sounds funny and I also realize I am not saying what I mean but don;t really know how to any better. I will toss it up to a disagreement and move on.

As for Lamont/Support of the war. Not once have I said people support the war or tried to equate the low name recognition to war support. Never.
I have clearly stated that this election is not about the war, aside from the Lieberman/Lamont primary. I also NEVER said the small subset of voters in the primary are ignorant of Lamont. I think it is just the opposite...they are the ones who DO know about Lamont. I don't think you are reading my posts clearly and looking back, with the except of the poll, I have been very clear.

hartford_for_lamont said...

I disagree with Gabe here to the extent that a 3-way race in Nov is somehow bad for the Dems or bad for Lamont;

Indeed, I feel that the emergence of Alan Schlesinger as the likely repub candidate in Nov GREATLY HELPS LAMONT by draining away those pro-Bush red repub votes that Lieberman needs for Lieberman to win as an Indie in Nov -

In a 3-way race between Lamont (Dem), Lieberman (indie), and Schlesinger (repub), contrary to the conventional thinking, Lamont and Lieberman will NOT split the Dem vote; rather, I believe that Lamont would take the lion's share of the blue Dem vote, while Schlesinger and Lieberman will cannabalize each other and split the pro-Bush red repub vote.

I do not see any pro-Bush red Dem voters who are like Lieberman that will vote for Lieberman; Lieberman's SOLE voter base are the pro-Bush red REPUBS, and Schlesinger will siphon much of that vote AWAY from Lieberman in Nov, leaving Lamont a clear path to victory in Nov!

Anybody disagree with my scenario?

hartford_for_lamont said...

disgruntled_republican, I have a question for you -

in a Nov 3-way race between Lamont (as Dem), Lieberman (as indie), and Schlesinger (as repub), who would you vote for?

hartford_for_lamont said...

disgruntled_republican wrote:

"I maintain that MOST voters in CT have no idea who Ned Lamont is and have no problem with Joe Lieberman."

True, but all that counts for now is the subset of CT Dems who are already politically astute and who are progressive who will turn out with a passion for Lamont in the Aug primary -

Then, after Lamont wins that, big national money will pour into the Lamont campaign so that the Lamont campaign can properly & aggressively educate the rest of the CT Dems as to how & why Joementum is such a poor excuse for a Dem.

so please, just one step at a time!

hartford_for_lamont said...

disgruntled_republican wrote:

"there is a lot good going on in Iraq. They have a stock market again."

do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds?

your bushies and joementum went from "imminent mushroom cloud" to "Iraq has cell phones and a stock market again" -

like, WHO CARES if Iraq has cell phones and a stock market again??

hartford_for_lamont said...

BRubenstein wrote:

"this isnt just a senate race in CT....this is a national race and referendum about the war in iraq and the national press has taken notice. So it is only logical to see that this race is eating all the oxygen in the political room. Please be prepared to read more posts about this race."

yep, well said.

the Lieberman-Lamont race is now at least as "national" as the Santorum-Casey race is.

Both are being looked at nationally as being bellwhethers and referendums on Bush and Iraq.

the Lieberman-Lamont race is also being looked at nationally as the beginning of the end of the DLC wing of the Dem party.

Indeed, Joementum is even worse than the DLC wing of the Dem party; indeed, Joementum is a unique creature unto himself, a special sort of cancer within the Dem party that must be excised.

And after we excise Joementum out, then we must excise out those establishment Dems who loved Joementum, like Nancy DiNardo.

Gabe said...

Hartford For Lamont -

Just for clarity's sake, when I said:

...this seems to be a safe seat (assuming that no one makes this a three way race) no matter which Democrat wins the primary.

I meant not that we would lose the seat in a three way race, but that a three way race is the only possible scenario where we could lose the seat.

As for your scenario, you could be right. I think you are underselling Lieberman's support among Democrats though. The number of Dems that would still vote for Lieberman as an Indy is not zero.

That said, I still don't see the Republicans picking up the seat in a three way race. best case is Lamont wins anyway. Worst case is Lieberman holds the seat and then has to make a decision on which party to caucus with...