Since many of the posts on this little missiva digitalis are political in nature, it seems natural to assume that its creator is political in nature. Sort of. I like to spout a lot about politics (as is evident). I occasionally like to rant (ditto). This happens a lot. My involvement in electoral politics, however, is more sporadic - I don't always put my money or time where my fat yap is.
This year, I'm attempting to be a little less hypocritical. I'm making a few contributions - small, as a blogger's gift must always be - to a few candidates I happen to like. And because y'all have shared so many of your political ideas (however insane) with me over the run of this blog, I've decided to share. So slap away in the comments, but here goes.
All of my giving so far is aimed at U.S. Senate races, and every penny goes to Democrats (yes, that's a shocker). What might be surprising are the varied political fillings inside those big Democratic donuts: some are centrists, even by other's standards (I'm 100% certain they would all describe themselves as in the middle). In no particular order, here's who's getting those hard-earned Watson bucks:
Ah yes, you say - the last two are interesting: primary choices, Dem vs. Dem. Well, Webb is an outspoken anti-war candidate with a strong miliary background and he's no chickenhawk. His kid is in Iraq. I want him on Capitol Hill when the votes come down on the sons and daughters of other Americans, period.
Lamont...well, it's just a great story all the way around. First, of course, he's running against Joe Lieberman in a pretty safe Democratic state. But Lieberman, since he ran for Vice-President, has become a flaming Republican in Democratic clothing all around. A strng primary challenge therefore can accomplish eithe rof two things: snap his head around like a fender-bender on the Merritt and get his vote back in the Democratic column, or replace him with a more progressive candidate.
Secondly, Lamont is the first YouTube candidate. His campaign has - quite amazingly - used social video networking and distribution to get their candidate's ideas across. Lamont videos find their way all over the web, and the campaign employs tagging and feeds to keep supporters and the politically curious informed. Check out Lamont's YouTube page, and you'll see "NetRoots" in action. (Lamont knows media: he's a cable TV entrepreneur). It also happens to be working: Lamont is going to make the ballot and received endorsements as diverse as NOW and former Senator Lowell Weicker.
Thirdly, the guy has an interesting background. A lifelong liberal Democrat, Lamont comes from one of the most prominent banking families in the US. The grandfather was Thomas W. Lamont, basically JP Morgan’s right hand man. Ned’s Uncle was Corliss Lamont, a leading humanist philosopher in the 1930S through the 1980s or so. He is perhaps best known as a civil libertarian. During the McCarthy period, when the ACLU refused to stand up to the McCarthyites, Corliss Lamont, at the time their Chairman, resigned and formed the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee. This group defended many of the working class and middle class people (many of them Jewish) who were getting victimized in that period. In the current conservative climate, the very real injustices of that period (and their lessons for today) have been forgotten. Ironically, one of Carliss Lamont's supporters was Senator Prescott Bush, a liberal Republican from Greenwich. Yeah, that Bush family.
Finally, he's a Democrat with a rare pursuasion - he just speaks up and lets people judge. Here's a snippet from a Wall Street Journal profile:
Mr. Lamont criticizes Democrats--and not just Joe Lieberman--for timidity. "I think we should have been a lot bolder as a party during [the 2004] campaign, and probably the previous campaigns. Come out and say what you believe. . . . The Republicans are really good at talking about the principles that they believe in. And be bold. If you think preschool should be a right for all 4-year-olds . . . go out there and say it, and give people something to believe in."
It's not enough, he says, to be anti-Bush, although he certainly is that. "This administration may be leading the country in the wrong direction . . . but there's also a sense that the Democrats aren't standing tall and being constructive and offering real alternatives, and [voters] want the Democrats to stand up and offer real alternatives."
I'm on a committee for a Lamont fundraiser here in Manhattan next week, hosted by Richard Edelman (who is, by the way, a great blogger) - if you're interested in attending or giving, let me know.
This may well be a Democratic year, possibly in both Houses. New Gingrich may be right: the best slogan the Dems can trot out could be "Had Enough?" But in turning Congress, I'd also like to see it improve. And for that, we need some meat with our potatoes.
UPDATE: Amazingly, Lamont has already forced a primary, taking 243 votes to Lieberman's 513 at the state convention. That was a huge surprise. Natch, Jane has the details. More from FDL: " Lieberman 1014, Lamont 497. That puts Ned at roughly 33%, WILDLY in excess of what they anticipated."
UDPATE II: And from MyDD: "Ned Lamont is CRUSHING Joe Lieberman. Lieberman's expensive tent and lavish support and paid armies of staffers weren't enough. His side is incredibly dejected - their crowd of thunderstick cheerers, who cheered whenever a town went lopsided for Joe, have disbanded and are chatting. The Lieberman supporters aren't even dejected, they are bored."
UPDATE III: As Bruce notes in comments, attendees to the Lamont fundraiser in NYC are most welcome!
Date: May 23rd, 6 PM -- 8 PM
Place: Edelman PR Headquarters, 1500 Broadway (between 43rd and 44th Street), 26th floor
To rsvp, call Paige Savage or Anne Blossom at Edelman PR, (212) 704-8121. or email email@example.com
Bring your checkbooks!