Let me start out by saying that I do not speak for the Alpert campaign. My only connection, at this point, is that I have made a $50.00 donation and am enthusiastic about Alpert's candidacy.
I have been a diarist and commentator here at MLN for about 3 and 1/2 years. There was a discussion here once about the differences, if any, between liberals and progressives. Some took the position that the terms were essentially synonymous. I took the opposite view. I have come to the view that not all liberals are progressive. The discussion between Blumenthal and Alpert during their debate on incrementalism is, I believe instructive on this point. Richard Blumenthal, not unlike Chris Dodd, is very much a creature of the system and seems to feel that adjustments on the periphery can help to correct certain imbalances. Alpert, in the style of Progressivism, sees the system as fundamentally skewed and prescribes more sweeping measures to ameliorate the plight of the middle class and the working poor( in other words the vast majority). This is made clear by their respective ideas concerning health care. While the Attorney General's ideas are sound and helpful, they really don't lay a glove on the major issues of the millions of uninsured citizens. Merrick Alpert, on the other hand, clearly states that he believes that health care is a right of all citizens and stands for universal coverage.
In careful center-left style, Blumenthal supports the Administration's escalation of the war. Alpert does not. On financial reform, Blumenthal, ala Dodd, would make marginal changes that leave the present fiscally dangerous situation intact. Alpert calls for sweeping reforms, like the reinstitution of the protections of Glass-Steagall, to protect the economy.
The question about Cuba policy, perhaps sums up the differences between the candidates as well as anything. It seemed to me that the Attorney General,( as is the want of career politicians), tried to have it all ways at once and to appease as many factions as possible. Merrick Alpert simply pointed out that our policy is archaic and counterproductive.
We should not award Senate seats because, "it's their turn" or " he's paid his dues". The unseemly appearance is that Senator Dodd has anointed his successor. Merrick Alpert is that rare candidate who rises to the forefront, not from the political class, but genuinely from among the people.
When considering these candidates, from a progressive point of view, ask yourselves this question: Which candidate, Richard Blumenthal or Merrick Alpert, has the best chance to give Connecticut a Senator like Russ Feingold or Sherrod Brown...and which one is more likely to become an Evan Bayh or a Ben Nelson.