The Ned Lamont Challenge

From a newspaper in Connecticut — the Hartford Courant — this letter to the editor:

Does The Courant’s April 23 encomium to Ned Lamont [Page 1, “Out Of The Political Shadows”] have to be reported as a campaign donation? Too bad, but even a puff piece like this contains some hard truths about the aspiring senator. His style (hiding his luxury car, his Greenwich mansion, his Phillips Exeter past) reminds me a lot of another Greenwich “how can we fool ’em today?” pol, Lowell Weicker.

Seriously, Ned should step back and do a self-check: Anyone who advocates abortion, socialized medicine, amnesty for illegals and surrender in Iraq need not be “unsure where he falls on the political spectrum.” He is a leftist, just like his Uncle Corliss, who wanted to hand over U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations. To deny it is an act of mendacity or foolishness.

John Lankford

The term “leftist” is something of a joke, and there are those in this nation that have the habit of wrapping the political “left”, liberalism, right up to “Moderate” Republicans into one giant grouping.

I take more forceful aim at his suggestion of Ned Lamont hiding his wealth. Actually, to the legions of Ned Lamontites, the wealth is a great attraction. He has money to spend in his bid to unseat the reviled Joseph Lieberman. The sad fact that the Senate is a Millionaire’s Club means that Ned LaMont would be joining the company of 99 (give or take one or two) other Millionaire Senators, hiding their luxury cars, mansions, and privileged backgrounds when attempting to appeal to the voters as one variety of “populist” or other. This game works across the party aisles.

But somehow or other this gets through to the media. Witness today’s Washington Post article:

Mild-mannered and thoughtful, Lamont has a pedigree that blends old money with noblesse oblige. His great-grandfather Thomas W. Lamont, a chairman of J.P. Morgan & Co., commuted to Wall Street by yacht and helped to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles. His family tree also includes Corliss Lamont, a socialist philosopher and civil libertarian, and an assortment of ministers and adventurers. Lamont served as a Greenwich selectman during the 1980s and lost a 1990 state Senate bid.

In his official biography, Lamont describes the lively, politically charged family dinner conversations that punctuated his childhood. “The underlying theme was public service,” he recalled.

That is how the party of Roosevelt and Kennedy tend to frame their rich pedigree: “Service”. I suppose this is the “limousine liberalism” that gets people tied up in knots — how very paternalistic those bastards! Those with more humble backgrounds, John Edwards — whos background is not quite as humble as he makes it out to be, but we work with him nonetheless, Bill Clinton — and the most humble backgrounds of them all — Dennis Kucinich — can play that other role. (The most aggravating thing I ever heard about Bill Clinton was “I like him, because he’s like an ordinary man.” But at least it wasn’t as annoying as hearing “I like George W Bush, because he’s like an ordinary man.”)

The bizarre trick up Ned Lamont’s sleeve is to use his business pedigree to show him as not terribly a leftist firebrand at all that is supposedly the fire-breathing bloggers’ driving aim — someone who is not playing out Cindy Sheehan’s role — contemplator of a more symbolic primary fight against Dianne Feinstein — but seriously meaning to become Connecticut’s next Senator, and once there, governing.

The trouble with Lieberman:

With nearly $4.8 million of campaign funds in the bank as of March 31, Lieberman rolled out two statewide ads about a week ago, including one that directly confronts the war. “I already know that some of you feel passionately against my position on Iraq,” Lieberman says in the ad. “I respect your views, and while we probably won’t change each other’s minds, I hope we can still have a dialogue and find common ground on all the issues where we do agree.”

is that, by definition, you are already at common ground on “all the issues we do agree” with.

Lowell Weicker sits on the sidelines:

“It appears Weicker has not gotten over the loss to Lieberman 18 years ago, and he’s still trying to get some measure of revenge for that,” said Lieberman campaign manager Sean Smith.

Smith was then quick to clarify that he does not lay all the blame at Weicker’s feet.

“I want to be clear,” Smith said. “Sen. Lieberman has taken on some controversial positions and he knows that some of the discontent out there is due to positions that he himself has taken.” He then added: “It does appear also that Lowell Weicker is still trying to get back at Joe Lieberman for taking away his Senate seat in 1988.”

Which either misses the mark or it doesn’t. It’s a sub-plot for the chattering classes of Connecticut to yammer on about, of no consequence to anyone other than them and a few Political Insiders.

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