The Wednesday Times delivers a puff piece on Ned Lamont, who is trying to escape his roots:
GREENWICH, Conn., July 16 — Ned Lamont has become a political sensation in Connecticut by being a multimillionaire who wants the troops out of Iraq. But he would love, love to get people talking about other things than his wealth or the war.
Mr. Lamont breezed past Iraq the other night at a fund-raiser in Stamford for his campaign against Senator Joseph I. Lieberman. Instead he delved into Israel, jobs, Terri Schiavo, and his beef with Don Imus, the radio talk show host, who recently called Mr. Lamont a “bug-eyed pencil neck geek.”
“Imus is incredibly popular here in Fairfield County, so I have to deal with that,” Mr. Lamont said in an interview afterward. “People need to know the real me, not just the war and the money, if I’m going to pull this off.”
This notion that Lamont is more than just an anti-war candidate has been a staple amongst the Nedheads for months; here is Paul Krugman airing that Lamont talking point to a national audience in May.
As to the desire of his internet backers to imagine that Lamont is about more than the war, presumably they would like to imagine that their creation is not simply a one-issue, one-trick pony.
And the Times reporter leaves no doubt about the strategy behind Lamont's attempt to broaden his appeal:
With national reporters now traveling here to cover him, and his unlimited advertising budget giving Mr. Lieberman agita, Mr. Lamont has concluded that he might just beat the senator in the Democratic primary on Aug. 8 — as long as voters see him as credible, not just as a single-issue rich guy trying to buy an election.
The problem is, what the voters see is exactly what Lamont is - a single-issue rich guy trying to buy the election.
Do you doubt me? Let's flash back to the cold days of late autumn, when a credible opponent to Lieberman was a gleam in the eye of a few internet bloggers - per the Kos himself, MoveOn was so vexed by Lieberman's stance on the war that they were mulling the possibility of finding a champion to challenge him (Kos emphasized the war but also noted Lieberman's vexatious views on Social Security and Howard Dean).
Let's flash forward to Feb 19, 2006, when the NY Times first covers Ned Lamont as a possible challenger to Joe Lieberman:
Mr. Lamont, 52, is the product of some of the nation's most elite schools and a resident of one of the state's most buttoned-down towns, a self-made business executive with a pedigree to make Miles Standish blush.
Yet he is also a mince-no-words, unreconstructed left-of-center liberal who said he strongly believed that Senator Lieberman had drifted far to the right and had become too cozy with the White House, and that when it comes to the people who put the senator in office, fallen way out of touch.
With the Democratic primary in August just seven months away, Mr. Lamont may face an uphill battle against an incumbent, in a race in which he has little name recognition.
He announced the formation of the exploratory committee in January and hopes to officially declare his candidacy by the beginning of March.
Yet he has already made his main message unmistakably clear: It's time to get out of Iraq.
''President Bush says we'll step back when the Iraqis step forward,'' Mr. Lamont said. ''I would turn that on its head and say, 'We start stepping back right now, and make the Iraqis step forward.' It's their war to win or lose.''
And what prompted Ned Lamont to think about entering the race?
Senator Lieberman, in an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal last November [link], argued for the president's ''staying-the-course'' strategy, presenting the challenge as a stark, if oversimplified, calculus: securing the country for 27 million Iraqis, and or handing it to 10,000 terrorists.
Reading that article led to Mr. Lamont's ''eureka'' moment about running for the Senate.
Instead of just slamming down the newspaper in disgust, he decided to be proactive, picking up the phone to vent to the ''usual suspects.'' That list, he said, included political activists, union leaders and town officials, though he declined to be more specific.
''Everybody was sympathetic, and the general message was, 'If you feel so strongly about it, you do it,' '' he said about running against Senator Lieberman.
Well, fine - now he is doing something about it, and it is a wonderful country where a frustrated centi-millionaire can go out and buy a Senate seat when he feels the country needs his guidance to get itself back on track.
In addition to promoting the illusion that his race is about more than the war in Iraq, Lamont palmed another card in chatting with the Times. Read this next bit and help me out - is Lamont lying, or just frighteningly out of touch?
He has been on a steep learning curve ever since he entered the race. Blogs, for instance, were news to him.
Blogs were news to him? Did Lamont sleep through the entire Dean insurgency? Did he really miss the bit where an unknown anti-war outsider raised money and attention on the internet and (nearly) upset the established party order? I would have thought that someone in his position would have found the Dean experience to be quite instructive, Lamont being a nanti-war insurgent and all. Frankly, I am shocked that the topic never came up in strategy sessions with his exploratory committee as they studied the possibilities of a Lamont campaign. Is Lamont that out of touch? Did he surround himself with incompetent advisers? Or is he just, ahh, lying?
My guess? It's just a little white lie and the Times is thrilled to play along (since the Times' core readership overlaps with the lefty blogs, the Times is pleased to denigrate their influence). Why the lie? Because Lamont gains nothing by highlighting the fact that a big chunk of his buzz and financial support come from potty-mouth out-of-staters. Here is a story the Times overlooked:
70% of donors to Lamont's campaign are from out of state
Ned Lamont's primary campaign against U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman has rallied plenty of angry Connecticut Democrats eager to unseat the 18-year incumbent for his unwavering support of the Iraq War.
But a list of campaign donors shows there are hundreds of nonresidents seeking Lieberman's ouster, from celebrities such as Barbra Streisand to an ex-"Baywatch"-lifeguard-turned-activist to a California strawberry farmer and craft-store owner in Illinois.
With three weeks to go until the primary Ned Lamont, the internet-fueled anti-war candidate, is trying to pretend he is something he is not - a candidate with broad appeal in Connecticut and broad appeal on a range of issues. How many people will he fool?
THIS JUST IN: The Times finally gets to the "70% out of state" story but they deliver it as a Liberman basher. Could they be not-so-secretly rooting for Lamont? Of course they are!
But that is only partly because the Timesmen are earnest liberals; the rest of their slant is driven by the possiblity of an exciting three way race this fall, if they can only get Lamont over the hump in August. Tha alternative, a Lieberman primary victory, assures utter tedium in the Connecticut Senate race this fall.