Connecticut Politics Watch

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What To Think Of Ned?

This is a strange position for me to be in. I am a fairly conservative Republican and so I normally do not take too much interest in the infighting between Democratic candidates. However, I have been watching the race between Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut election for U.S. Senate. And the more I watch, the more perplexed I become. I will admit that I voted for Senator Lieberman, and that I think he is a very good representative for Connecticut.

Connecticut residents know the record of Joe Lieberman. Most things they agree with and support Senator Lieberman in. Some things they do not. But, since there is a “new face” on the block, I am really curious. What exactly does Ned Lamont stand for? What are his specific plans for Connecticut? What exactly is he going to do if elected? It seems to me that these are extremely important questions that need to be answered before a rational, reasonable person can make an informed decision. I set out to find more information.

I began my journey for enlightenment at the most logical place, none other than Ned Lamont’s web site. If there is anywhere I would expect to find the information on what Mr. Lamont stands for, I would have thought that would be the place. Here is what I found (here and in all quotes the emphasis is mine):
Why am I running?

I am running for the US Senate because we deserve a Senator who will stand up for Connecticut and stand up for our progressive democratic values. Rather than spending hundreds of millions of dollars a day in Iraq, it is time for America to refocus on issues back home: fixing our healthcare system, upgrading our schools, and rebuilding our aging infrastructure. We will start winning in Iraq as the Iraqis take control of their own destiny, just as America has to start investing again in our own future.

I would have led the opposition to Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, which may soon be considering the South Dakota law which outlaws a woman’s right to choose even in the case of rape and incest. I will push for energy conservation and efficiency standards as the best means to energy independence and a cleaner environment.

In other words, I am running to be your Democratic Senator.
OK. Now I get it. Ned Lamont thinks that the money we are spending to protect our country from the Global War on Terror (GWOT), and especially our role in Iraq, could be better spent on “healthcare system, upgrading our schools, and rebuilding our aging infrastructure.” I think I understand that. But still, the big question for Mr. Lamont becomes: What is your plan to accomplish all of that? That doesn’t seem like to complicated a question does it? Well the answer must be somewhere on Mr. Lamont’s web site right? Yeah…that’s got to be it. So I found this:

I will say that Mr. Lamont made a token effort to say that he would have “led” the issue of not confirming Alito to the Supreme Court. Of course he does not mention that Mr. Lieberman was vocal in not supporting Alito, nor does he mention that Mr. Lieberman voted against Alito’s confirmation. So, in essence, they had the exact same stance on that issue.

The curious thing here is that Mr. Lamont is trying to link Joe Lieberman to the fact that the Supreme Court may review a case from South Dakota on abortion rights. The fact that the case may be heard has nothing to do with Joe Lieberman. He voted against Alito. It seems a bit disingenuous of Mr. Lamont say, “We won’t crawl through the political gutter down-the-stretch, airing misleading personal attack ads, we don’t have to.” That seems true – he puts innuendo and smear right there on his web site for all to read.
Standing Strong ... Together

With less than two months to go until election day, things are really heating up. The polls show Ned closing the gap from 43 points to as little as six in a recent Rasmussen poll. In response, Senator Lieberman is spending his corporate interest campaign contributions on ugly attack ads the New Haven Independent calls “Rovian.” In addition, the senator still refuses to support the winner of the primary, while his high-profile supporters label us “weirdos” and “radicals.”

By contrast, our effort centers on people-power and positivity, packing rallies with dozens and even hundreds of supporters at almost every campaign stop. We won’t crawl through the political gutter down-the-stretch, airing misleading personal attack ads, we don’t have to. We have each other, and that’s why we are going to win on August 8. But now is the time to re-double your effort and add your voice to the thousands thirsting for change in Washington, D.C. This is what democracy looks like.
Well that is much more enlightening on Mr. Lamont’s position, right? I mean if you can get past the fact that there is no such word as “positivity” in the English language, we can see that Mr. Lamont is running specifically to…well….I don’t think it says. I mean, it talks about Joe Lieberman running “attack ads” and being “Rovian” in nature, but I don’t see where Mr. Lamont says just what he stands for; what specifically he will do for Connecticut. It must be there on the site somewhere.

At the bottom of the last quote there is a link that says “read more.” Ahhhh…obviously that is where the meat of Ned’s positions must reside. So I clicked on it and to my surprise I found this:

Since I said I was willing to challenge Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary, we've been overwhelmed with notes of encouragement and people signing up on I've been traveling around the state too, listening to voters, and finding an outpouring of intense frustration with many of Senator Lieberman's votes. Democrats, Independents and even many Republicans desperately want a Senator who will stand up to the President's wrong-headed fiscal, judicial and foreign policy choices.

But, it will take an unprecedented grassroots movement in Connecticut, and unprecedented support from Americans everywhere, to beat an entrenched and well-funded incumbent like Joe Lieberman.

Our campaign cannot succeed without your financial support!
- Ned
What a surprise! Nothing on his stances at all, but a general statement that he is running because….ummmmm….he thinks people want a Senator that will stand up to “the President’s wrong-headed fiscal, judicial and foreign policy choices.” Isn’t that the same platform John Kerry ran on? That Bush is wrong on everything and therefore we should vote for him because he said it? Is that the only reason to vote for a candidate? I thought that we voted for someone based on their stand on the issues – not because they believe somebody else is doing something wrong. Of course, maybe I just don’t understand Mr. Lamont’s message. Maybe he has different, secret, news on the economy – which according to every report I have read is booming. Or maybe Mr. Lamont believes the deficit, in the wake of Iraq, Katrina, and out of control spending by all congresscritters combined isn’t being addressed; that the deficit projections now show that the deficit problem will be solved three years earlier than expected. Or could it be that Lamont has different, high level, Fairfield only, sources on the GWOT? Maybe his stance is like that of Larry Johnson, infamous ex-CIA analyst/journalist, who the day before 9/11 published an article that we, the United States of America, did not have to worry about terrorism.

The rest of that particular page was a form to fill out to send donations to Lamont’s campaign. I still haven’t found any reason to support Lamont – I’m a “give me the facts” kind of voter, as I hope that others are – as I hope that others realize they should be; that they have a duty to be.

Well, the information must be there on Lamont’s site somewhere. I looked further and saw a section entitled “Where I Stand on the Issues.” That must be it. Here is what I found:
I am seeking your support in the race for the United States Senate because of my profound disappointment at what George Bush and his allies are doing to America. I will not be reluctant to challenge the Bush administration whose policies have been so harmful to the long term interests of our state and our country.

I believe:
  1. That the war in Iraq has diverted far too many of our dollars, and too much of our attention, from our needs back home. The crisis in health care, lack of progress towards energy independence, and struggling public schools are examples of how our government is not leading, but allowing lobbyists and special interests to write the rules.
  2. Washington needs creative solutions to old problems. I am an entrepreneur who has built a successful business from scratch. More than 20 years ago, I founded a company that competes successfully against cable conglomerates. I am running with the support of Connecticut citizens, not corporate or special interests – and I bring real business experience that government needs.
  3. Government has a role in ensuring fundamental rights and equal opportunity for all Americans. Senator Barack Obama reminded Connecticut Democrats recently what a difference good, progressive government can make in people’s lives—from social security and Medicare to the national highway system and the Civil Rights acts. Rather than replacing the hard-earned social safety net with partially funded savings accounts, Democrats should be ready again to defend and build upon all that we have accomplished—equal rights and equal opportunity for all.
We will continue to update our Issues Page and appreciate your feedback.
AHHHHHH…..but still no answers to the initial answers I set out to find. What are the answers Ned? How do you plan to bring about this utopia for Connecticut residents? What specifically are your plans? There are lots of words on Mr. Lamont’s site; a tremendous amount of rhetoric. But the site lacks substance. In fact, I suspect that a high school student, running for Student Class President, could do as well.

Having been thwarted by trying to rely on Ned Lamont’s own web site to gather substantive information, I turned to other sources to see what I could find about Mr. Lamont’s actual stance on the issues – well any issue other than Iraq. I tried the newspaper, but as usual, the left-leaning Hartford Courant, in the voice of DAVID LIGHTMAN, “Washington Bureau Chief” (pretty lofty sounding, huh?) and othews, has already started their not-to-subtle support of Ned Lamont. However, to be fair, here is what a recent article by Mr. Lightman said:
More recently, the conflict has centered on Iraq. Liberals want troops out of Iraq quickly and according to a clear timetable; moderates say they also want an end to the war, but with a careful and gradual troop withdrawal.

Since 2000, the progressives have been ascendant, largely because of the insurgent 2004 presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. His anti-war message energized the progressives and got him elected party chairman last year - much to the dismay of Lieberman and his followers.

Lamont could fit nicely into the progressives' re-emergence. Many at last week's progressive convention in Washington seemed to know little about Lamont, the Greenwich businessman making his first bid for a statewide office.

But they know he's a fervent Iraq war critic, a stark contrast to Lieberman.
Well that caps it – according to the Courant, the platform that Lamont is running on is – well – the fact that Senator Lieberman supported the war in Iraq. Nothing about medicare, social security, infrastructure, defense contracts, or any other issue. Simply the idea that we should vote for Ned Lamont because he is against the war. Even Mr. Lamont’s television commercials reflect the same thing.

At this point I have concluded my research into Mr. Lamont’s position on the issues. I think I get it. His single stance is “vote for me because I am not Lieberman and he voted for the war in Iraq.” Period. Single issue campaign and a pretty weak one at that.