It's nice that the nation is interested in what's happening in Connecticut. We don't get much attention. We're too small and usually too Democratic to matter in presidential races, and we're not as nuts as Massachusetts on social and tax policy, so we get ignored.
But now that Ned Lamont is drawing within striking distance of Joe Lieberman, the rest of the country has taken notice of us.
You know what? I think I liked it better the other way.
David Brooks weighs in:
Sometimes history comes with previews. In the 1930's, the Spanish Civil War served as a precursor to the global conflict that was World War II. And in a smaller fashion, the primary battle playing out on the smiling lawns of upscale Connecticut serves as a preview for the national conflict that will dominate American politics for the next two years. (Brooks)
"The smiling lawns of upscale Connecticut"? Has he seen the distinctly unsmiling dirt pile that is my lawn? Has he been to Connecticut past Greenwich? To David Brooks, we barely exist at all, except as a one-dimensional backdrop for a bit of national political theater.
Then there's this from the LA Times:
Ned Lamont's challenge to Sen. Joe Lieberman in next month's Connecticut primary has blossomed into a full-scale Democratic civil war. What's at stake is the legitimacy of partisanship.
But if Lieberman's allies are irritating and often wrongheaded, alas, his enemies are worse. Lieberman recently declared, "I have loyalties that are greater than those to my party." Markos Moulitsas, the lefty blogger from Daily Kos who has appeared in a Lamont commercial and has made Lieberman's defeat a personal crusade, posted this quote on his website in the obvious belief that it's self-evidently absurd. But shouldn't we all have greater loyalties than the one to our party — say, to our country? Partisanship isn't nothing, but must it be everything? (Chait)
Lost amidst the screaming from out of state is the simple essence of the Lieberman/Lamont primary, which is that every once in a great while, Connecticut voters get cranky. At those times, it is our right as citizens of the world's first constitutional democracy to boot out the incumbent and replace him or her with someone else.
The simplest question, free of all national strings, is this: Does Joe Lieberman or Ned Lamont better represent Connecticut's Democrats?
Then in November, when the primary is forgotten, all of our voters get to decide which candidate best represents Connecticut as a whole. It will probably be Joe Lieberman. We usually play it safe. But then again, this time we might not. Maybe we don't like the war so much. Maybe we're sick of the same guy in office, year after year. Maybe we want change, for once.
We aren't just some sprawling suburb of New York, bursting with millionaires and coffee-slurping intellectuals. This is a real place. We exist. We live, breathe, have families, go to work and play out our lives right here. Our voters don't care about the legitimacy of partisanship. We don't care about a liberal inquisition, or party purges, or an impending Democratic civil war. We don't care about Markos Moutsalis, David Brooks, Joe Biden or Maxine Waters.
We care about Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont. The national implications can play out as they will.
Brooks, David. "The Liberal Inquisition." New York Times 9 July, 2006.
Chait, Johnathan. "Purely foolish Democrats." Los Angeles Times 9 July, 2006.