The odd decision of Joe Lieberman and his incompetent (and soon-to-be- justifiably-unemployed campaign staff) to run against Lowell Weicker, then the blogs, and now me has been a bit of a head scratcher. It’s allowed Ned Lamont to run virtually unopposed. His "unfavorables" are outrageously low at this point in the game, and Lieberman’s politically tin-eared choice of Ned’s money as a key campaign issue probably worked to diffuse the other narrative he was pushing so aggressively: that this is a party purge by angry radical lefty extremists, a story which is near and dear to Joe’s heart. Pointing a finger at Ned’s money and background highlight the fact that he is, in all likelihood, someone with a vested interest in respecting the establishment. It makes him an awfully hard sell as the Che Guevara of Greenwich.
Joe’s strategy now seems to be to heckle and abuse Ned and hopefully throw him off his game. Good luck with that one; Lamont is nothing if not unflappable. All it has done is highlight how rancid and poisonous the DC lobbyist class has become, and provide us with a perfect, succinct poster boy that will serve us for months (if not years) to come as we try to undo the pernicious damage they have inflicted upon the democratic system. Holy Joe can whine all the wants about Ned’s money, but the bottom line is that Ned put up his own money rather than start cutting deals and taking money from the Richard Goodstein’s of the world. Ned’s personal resources gave him the freedom from bondage to the lobbyists who own Lieberman down to his toenails. Joe didn’t raise $10 million for this campaign because people like his shiny white teeth.
At any rate, I got a couple of testy emails from people in Connecticut after I mentioned in the NYT that I didn’t think most people here knew what blogs were. That wasn’t meant as a slight to Connecticut — go anywhere in the country and tell people you’re a "blogger" and 19 out of 20 times you’ll spend the next 15 minutes trying to explain just what that is. Our impact is not on volume eyeballs, it’s on opinion makers who go forth and spread the good word. We can do a lot of things but we can’t deliver elections. We write about the Connecticut race because it is a good story; it is not a story that exists because we write about it.
So I’m always happy to see a bit of local pushback against the boneheaded DC punditocracy canon that this race has everything to do with their own personal obsession — a couple of bloggers — and nothing to do with what is happening in Connecticut, or the country at large for that matter.
Dennis Horgan, in the Courant:
Locally, we are advised that way out lefty blogs have us marching in lock step to our mad political doom, daring to consider whether Joe Lieberman deserves yet another term to do more of what he has done for so long. Obviously it is those lefty blogs – launched from the moon – that have put up the lawn signs in such huge numbers, that have people working the crowds at the supermarket, holding rallies, and tipping the opinion polls so dramatically away from Lieberman and the like.
Surely, Connecticut is too dumb to do things on its own, to have smart and strong feelings on issues.
We are also advised that Connecticut Democrats will be destroying the Democratic party’s chances when, around here, some have the audacity to wonder whether it isn’t exactly Joe Lieberman who has abandoned the party on the principal issue of the age: The killing of people. He has also walked away to the Bush camp on other issues too, but we are told by the sharpies that we are too naïve to understand that. Better to have a leader who is out of touch and arrogantly distant than to dare question it.
The visitors say that there is an unfair and outrageous insurrection and a purge of the sainted Brother Lieberman going on and that that is against the rules, when some I know think that going to the polls in a fair election is pretty much the democratic process that we are being told is a dandy thing for the Hottentots and Iraqi and everyone else but us in the Nutmeg State.
Others send us the message that we silly bumpkins do not have a sense of the big picture and that we should do what we are told which is to never, not once, challenge the actions of the insiders – no matter that those actions are fundamentally in conflict with the values we are amused to count as valuable.
That’s us. We are destroying the party by voting, we are handing the opposition a victory by potentially removing someone who is indistinguishable from that opposition, we are the lunatics because we are standing on our hind two feet about something we happen to believe in, we are the boobs because we will be sending a signal to the country that Democrats are against the war of the Bush-Cheney-Lieberman Axis – when the entire country has come to that message by itself.
We are a bunch of saps here in this small state in the Northeast. Because some here believe in something different than the punditry centers command from afar.
The punditocracy — and the LieberDems — should feel free to continue to roll around in the kind of solipsistic ignorance which completely ignores the fact that the people of Connecticut actually had something to do with this. I’ll just say right here that this kind of institutional blindness is fine by me.
An opponent who can’t keep his eye on the ball is just that much easier to beat.