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My Left Nutmeg

Lamont Grants MyLeftNutmeg First Blogger Interview

by: BranfordBoy

Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 12:33:54 PM EST

Ned Lamont is new to the "netroots" but he plans to make it a cornerstone of his campaign.

Even though he says he is still "three to four weeks away" from making a decision, he left little doubt in a conversation this morning that the Internet will play a key role in his all-but-official campaign.

"The Internet is very important," he said. "I'm new, I'm an unknown and between now and August I'm going to have to reach out and meet a lot of people. The 'Net will help me do that."

He is also well versed in the history of Howard Dean's success at raising funds over the 'Net. "I think there are a lot of shall we say traditional contributors who will shy away from me given the nature of this campaign," he noted. "The Internet is a way to bypass that problem."

The web site Time To Go Joe has already racked up $67,000 in pledges that are just waiting to be spilled into Lamont's campaign coffers.

More on the flip....

BranfordBoy :: Lamont Grants MyLeftNutmeg First Blogger Interview
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.

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I'm liking what I see here about Ned Lamont (0.00 / 0)
Unfortunately, I have to work on Jan. 21 and can't make it to New Haven to meet him.

I'm secretary of Killingly's DTC and would like to help Ned. 

You may be in luck (0.00 / 0)
It's now uncertain whether Ned's NH appearance will be on the 21st or the 28th.
I'll try to keep people posted.

[ Parent ]
Netroots (0.00 / 0)
I'm glad to hear that he's not internet phobic. 

Excellent post (0.00 / 0)
Good job!

Lamont Grants MyLeftNutmeg First Blogger Interview (0.00 / 0)
Looking forward to finding out if he is the real deal.  Might resonate with North Haven DTC.

Resonate, indeed (0.00 / 0)
I think it would be a very good idea for Ned to go around the state and, in a very low key way, introduce himself to the DTCs. If he does it quietly, the Lieberman camp will never know because Joe pretty much ignores what Leona Helmsley so endearingly called "the little people."

[ Parent ]
When Lieberman first ran for the senate didn't he go to almost every diner (4.00 / 1)
in the state?  That was for the general election.  I don't know if he made it to Zips, the diner in Killingly-Dayville, but I've seen Lieberman's picture in a diner in the New London area.  Zips doesn't have a picture of Lieberman, so I don't think Lieberman made it to our neck of the woods.

I do think that Ned Lamont needs to visit every DTC he can if he wants to increase his chances of winning the Dem Primary or at least getting on the primary ballot.  Northeast CT DTC's should be very open to him.  Planfield may not.  I don't know them very well, but my DTC, Killingly, and our neighboring DTC's Pomfret, Ashford (they hate Lieberman), Putnam, and Eastford were very open to supporting Howard Dean in the 2004 Prez primary.  Killingly DTC is one of the largest and most active DTC's in the area.  Susan Bysiewicz comes out our way frequently.

[ Parent ]
It's my understanding (4.00 / 1)
A 'listening tour" for Ned Lamont is already in the works.

Wouldn't it be refreshing to have a Jr. Senator whose public debates consisted of more than "suprise Diner Stops" that only the press and Joes stooges are notified of an hour beforehand.

In the last yr. Joe has taken exactly 7 questions from people in Ct at "open to the public" forums.Four were at the Yale Event and three were at his appearence at Dem. State Central meeting.I was at both events and can say he left both with his tail between his legs and with many more questions unanswered than answered.

[ Parent ]
Dailykos (0.00 / 0)
Did you do a diary? I'm still trying to figure out the best time to do it. Don't forget about the subsidiary places - The Next Hurrah, Booman Tribune, etc.

Nice job. Does he volunteer in Bridgeport?

Best time on kos (3.00 / 1)
is usually between 4 and 5 PM our time to maximize exposure and chances of reaching recommend list.

Branfordboy did a diary a little after noon and was overwhelmed by Alito fever.Heres the link


[ Parent ]
Thanks for that tip! (0.00 / 0)
Old dog learns new tricks. Slo-o-o-wly.

[ Parent ]
Minor correction for spelling (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Awesome Post (0.00 / 0)
congrats branfordboy for the scoop. Keep up the good work

mr lamont's interview (0.00 / 0)
congrats on landing the interview (and the GREAT post)!!!

be safe be well dream in colors. an' it harm none, do as you will

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