|Turning to issues, Lamont's pick for the major issue prompting his run will come as no surprise to readers of this blog.
"Joe [Lieberman] is not challenging the president on policies that are bad for the country. Number one is the war, which I have thought was a foreign policy blunder from the get-go. I'm also distressed at the way Joe Lieberman has tried to discourage ongoing debate about the war, when Murtha and others have come up with viable alternatives."
"The problems we're having in Iraq are not the result of too much debate."
But there's more.
"The Senator is so outspoken on the war that we're becoming passive on other important issues like health care -- there's been very little creative thought on this while people are forced into greater expense for less security -- energy conservation, and education.
Lamont clearly feels that Bush administration failures in education are a putting the country at a disadvantage. "The United States is standing still," he says of the country's ability to compete in the global arena. "I'm an entrepreneur and means thinking creatively about what the other guy is doing and responding. If you stand still, you get crushed."
Another thing that bugs Lamont is something that bugs a lot of rank-and-file Dems in the state.
"Joe has been distant from the state. He's not here as much as he should be." Lamont promised that as Connecticut's new junior senator, "I'll be back every weekend with an eternal debt of gratitude to the people who sent me to Washington. A senator should be there, be accessible, and always be listening."
Lamont also pledges to support Democratic candidates, another area in which many feel Lieberman has been missing in action. "A, we're Democrats. We should be standing up for one another. But how can Democrats run against Republicans who say 'I'm just like Joe'?"
Lamont was dismissive of the notion that the war is just one issue of many and that it won't really matter in the long run.
"I hear people say, 'Well, Joe's good on everything else,' and my response is 'Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?' It's a big issue."
There's a pleasing, folksy, Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington quality about Ned Lamont that I suspect will resonate well with the electorate. And he's the soul of modesty.
"I've never won a race and never come in better than third," he said with a chuckle. Well, actually, he was elected as one of three Greenwich selectmen by garnering the third highest vote count, so technically I suppose he really has won a race. But contrast the "aw shucks" tone with Lieberman's absurd boast of being in "a three-way split decision for third place" in the New Hampshire primary when he had placed fifth. (It should be noted in his defense that, as Lamont himself points out, it is hard to win as a Democrat in Greenwich.)
He's positioning himself as the outsider businessman who's willing to challenge those out of touch inside-the-beltway types. Hey, it worked for Bush and Lamont has the advantage of having actually succeeded in his business ventures.
He also seems to be tapping in to the growing discontent over the "imperial presidency" of George Bush and the perpetuation of political privilege.
"Encumbancy seems to be becoming a birthright. People deserve a choice."
Lamont, apparently, is teetering on the verge of providing that much needed choice in Connecticut and that's a hopeful sign.
What's less promising is the apparently skeletal nature of the Lamont campaign organization. As of yet, there is not even a "Friends of Lamont" type organization that could raise money while Lamont continues to mull his options. "We're not there yet," he told me.
That mulling presents another potential pitfall. Given the short attention span of today's media, how long before Lamont gets dubbed "Hamlet on the Housatonic"? (And, yes, I know it doesn't flow through Greenwich.) There's a Democratic convention in May, a primary in August and time's a'wastin'.
The Lamont campaign's Internet presence is in a similarly unformed state. People are working on it, I was told.
To conclude on a more promising note, the campaign (such as it is) seems genuinely intent on rolling up its sleeves and going at it full bore when Lamont drops the checkered flag.
Although Lamont referred me to Tom Swan for more details, the nascent campaign seems to be set on pursuing a two-pronged strategy: Going for the 15% of convention delegates needed to force a primary while simultaneously gearing up to get the signatures ("somewhere north of 15,000") that would be needed to place Lamont on the ballot.
In my view, both are more than doable. Some political observers I've spoken with think that Lamont might actually be able to get 51% of the convention delegates, putting Joe in the awkward and intriguing position of deciding whether he wanted to go gentle into that Foggy Bottom night or mount a primary challenge of his own.