...[T]he petitioning drive may not be necessary. Lamont would automatically qualify as a primary challenger if he can capture 15 percent of the delegate vote at the May 20 Democratic State Convention. And based on the buzz generated statewide by this race, I wouldn't be surprised if Lamont does significantly better than that.
From the Hartford Courant:
On the way out the door, Lamont is asked to autograph a political cartoon. It pictures a broadly smiling Lamont with a lapel button that says, "Ned Who?"
Lamont, who collects political cartoons, seems bemused by a request for his signature on a work caricaturing his anonymity. He smiles as he scrawls a message, then disappears into the night for a fast, perhaps last, ride in a Lexus to another town committee. The signature he leaves behind: "Ned Who."
The Lieberman campaign is spooked enough by Ned Who that it is already spending some of its $4.7 million bankroll on early television ads. Lamont seems assured of qualifying for an Aug. 8 primary, either by a petition drive or by winning 15 percent of the delegates at a nominating convention May 20.
The great-nephew of a socialist and great-grandson of a capitalist is unsure where he falls on the political spectrum.
"I'm never quite sure if I am left of center, or others have just moved to the right," Lamont said.
Dwight Eisenhower never would have favored a unilateral invasion of a foreign land, and Ronald Reagan was the president who appointed O'Connor, whose retirement is so lamented by the left, he said.
"So," he asked, "what does that make me?" (Pazniokas)
Someone someday will write a story about two well-off Greenwich families who reacted differently to the decline of northeastern influence in the GOP: the Lamonts and the Bushes. Both started out in the same place, as northeastern moderate Republicans. But while Prescott Bush's son George moved his family west and his politics to the right, the Lamont family moved left and out of the Republican Party entirely.
It's a compelling story. Heck, isn't it Lowell Weicker's story? It's no wonder that Weicker and Weicker's crowd have supported Lamont.
Joe Lieberman, in the meantime, can't seem to catch a break. His new commercials seem to be leading political observers to the conclusion that he's spooked: which by all accounts he is. From the Washington Post:
But, Lieberman's decision to go up with ads defending his stance on the war illustrates the effect that Lamont's candidacy -- and the unrest among the state's liberal voters it symbolizes -- has had on the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee. Lieberman was greeted with boos during a party gathering last month, and did himself no favors recently when he refused to rule out a bid as an independent if he lost in the Aug. 8 primary.Murray)
Lieberman's campaign is trying its best to appeal to voters' common sense and reason. One of their ads says the following:
"I already know that some of you feel passionately against my position on Iraq."How rational. How reasonable! Right? Right?
"I respect your views, and while we probably won't change each others minds, I hope we can still have a dialogue and find common ground on all the issues where we do agree." (Senator)
But this election year is shaping up to be anything but reasonable and rational. Voters are angry and frustrated with their leaders, both Republican and Democrat, and they seem ready for a change in the status quo in Washington.
Still, Lamont needs to be careful. The media has a record of building up candidates, then tearing them down. The press coverage won't stay so rosy forever.
For now, though, everything seems to be going his way.
Hackett, Ray. Column: Lamont effort to beat Lieberman is gaining surprising strength." Norwich Bulletin 23 April, 2006.
Murray, Shailagh and Chris Cillizza. "With Ethics in Question, GOP Seeks Answers." Washington Post 23 April, 2006.
Pazniokas, Mark. Out Of The Political Shadows." Hartford Courant 23 April, 2006.
"Senator Lieberman Begins Television Advertising Campaign." Press Release. Friends of Joe Lieberman. 20 April, 2006.