Following Ned Lamont around the state is starting to be like following the Stones. Everywhere he goes he’s treated like a rock star. Last night we went to see the Temptations at the New Haven Green and it was a microcosmic view of the two campaigns.
Ned’s people were there early and they were passing out t-shirts and stickers to everyone in sight; people were still coming up and begging for stuff as the staff and volunteers were scrambling to find more. Ned was joined by Maxine Waters who was a superstar — I doubt even Bill Clinton himself would’ve been treated like the hero Waters was by the largely African American audience. They worked their way through the crowd for an hour as people crowded in to shake their hands and chat. The Kiss Float was there, driving in circles around the green and people were laughing and pointing at it. The atmosphere was ebullient and the excitement contageous.
Joe arrived after sundown when the Temptations were already in full swing. A group of LieberYouth holding Lieberman signs over their heads paraded in an orderly fashion on the periphery. We took off right then so I couldn’t tell you what happened after Joe arrived, or even if he did. I realize Joe wasn’t able to come earlier because of the Sabbath but I wonder that it was worth showing up at all under the circumstances — it was as usual too little too late and I doubt if many could have been bothered to pay him much attention.
Lieberman seems to be in shock — reactive, angry, unable to come to terms with what’s happening to him. He’s pushing the "experience" meme, but I rolled my eyes when I read this in the Courant this morning:
On Friday, he attributed the salvation of the Groton submarine base to a "bond" formed years ago with Tony Principi, chairman of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
"How did I turn around the base closure? I had a relationship with Tony Principi that went back to when he was secretary of veterans’ affairs," Lieberman said.
"My first conversation with him, he said, `I trust you. I respect you. You are a stand-up guy. I know you are a Democrat. I’m a Republican. If you think something’s wrong that your party is doing, you are going to say what you think is right.’ And that created a bond which I think helped to convince him to keep the base open."
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken with here who are active in local politics and are angry that Joe is taking credit for the work that so many people put into keeping the Groton sub base open. Even as he seeks to raise himself up he’s doing so by kicking other Democrats in the state. It must be a reflex by this point.
There are two other stories that I think reflect the state of each of the campaigns. The first has to do with the secretary of the local Veteran’s committee I met up in Waterbury at Ned’s event last week right after Spazeboy and I got booted from Bill Clinton’s speech. He told me how he’d invited Joe each year to come up to Waterbury to share Memorial Day with them, and every year Joe didn’t even bother to write them back to respectfully decline. Then this year, he just turned up.
He just wrote a diary on Kos entitled "The Compassion of Ned Lamont":
I volunteered for Ned Lamont right away – in March, picking up local voting lists and doing what I could, even getting sigs before the Dem convention so Ned could be on the ballot if he did not get enough support. I had never met Ned, but you see, I knew Joe, I worked with Joe, and I knew Ned Lamont was no Joe Lieberman.
So did I say that I am an old man and an officer of the local Veterans Committee? Well, as such, I invited Ned to Waterbury to meet our group and place a wreath on Memorial Day in memory of our Waterbury soldiers.
My best friend died in Viet Nam on November 22, 1968. I remember his death like it was yesterday. We grew up together and he lived not far from me, on MacArthur Drive, Waterbury, in one of the simple little houses. Sp4 David Alexander Cassidy was a frontline slackman (walking behind the pointman) serving in the the Big Red One (1st ID) and had more courage that a 19 year old should have. He is at Panel 38W, Row 33 of the WALL. Dave died near Bien Hoa, south of the Ben Cui Rubber Plantation.
Ned agreed to come to Waterbury on Memorial Day and to place a wreath in memory of our local soldiers and sailors. I also planned to place a wreath that day in memory of my good buddy Dave.
When the wreaths were delivered, I was standing in the cemetery with Ned and I saw the wreath with Dave’s name on it and I lost it. Tears for Dave’s senseless death in a war fought for nothing suddenly appeared. Then it all came back – that hot humid day north of Sai Gon that was the end of my best friend’s life.
Ned was so good – he comforted me and together we made it thru the ceremony. Trust me, Ned Lamont is not just some candidate out for himself. Ned’s compassion was outstanding that day in the cemetery as I fought back the tears that have been stored so long – ever since November 22, 1968.
To this day I have no idea why my good buddy Dave died that hot day north of Sai Gon. All I know is that I saw firsthand the compassion of Ned Lamont when he saw how war hurts – even years later. All my work for Ned Lamont is in memory of Sp4 Dave. I do not want anymore senseless deaths in wars fought for nothing.
I will close with some Vietnamese I learned in ‘Nam, so many years ago: "To Quoc Gh’i O’n, anh Hai!" (Your country will never forget you, respected brother).
Draw your own conclusions.