The vicious poodle

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Club

I was ruminating - as I often do after a nice walk, slurp of puddle water, and a biscuit - about the dust up over Lewinsky, Lieberman, and that unfortunate e-mail from Lamont that to the untrained eye looks like one whopper of a flip-flop.

Two Lamont quotes really got me hot on the collar. The first, reported in the NYTimes has Lamont referencing Joe's Lewinsky speech and saying, "You don't go to the Senate floor and turn this into a media spectacle." Yeah, that whole Lewinsky thing was really about to drop off the news page before Joe took to the floor. If I recall people had almost completely forgotten about, what was her first name? That's right Monica. As I think back to the summer of '98, America was positivley riveted over the new fall television season and the premiere episode of "Celebrity DeathMatch." (God, I wish they had TIVO back then!) Then Joe had to ruin it. He had to remind us that our President was facing impeachment.

The second, was Lamont's take on what he would have done. That's the one that really ticked me off. "You go up there, you sit down with one of your oldest friends and say, 'You're embarrassing yourself, you're embarrassing your presidency, you're embarrassing your family, and it's got to stop,'" said our courageous Senate hopeful.

You know, he hasn't even cast his first vote and he's already behaving like he's in the old boys' network - the Senate "Club."

"What I would do, is I'd sit down privately with Senator Stevens and I'd say 'Ted, we really don't need to spend $13 gazillion on a bridge in Tundra Blossom, Alaska to an uninhabited island known only for its perrin poop. You're embarrassing yourself with this and the other 13,000 pork barrel projects in this bill. You've got my support Ted, because, you know we've been, like, friends for 19 days. But I just wanted you to know how I felt. Wow, I feel much better now that I got that off my chest.'"

You see, Ned, that's the problem with the Senate. These guys would rather privately tell their friends in the Club that something is wrong over taking a stand.

The fact is that 8 years ago, Joe Lieberman kind of saved the Democratic Party. He showed average Americans that Democrats had a conscience and that certain behavior was reprehensible, even if it was the behavior of someone we loved, admired and respected. He gave us a path back to normalcy. Joe's speech was the reason he was selected by Al Gore to fix his problem - his association with a president who had become too controversial.

The sad thing is that Ned was right to praise Joe 8 years ago. And he would have done himself good not to flipflop this past week - not just because flipflops look bad, but because he could have elevated himself to be something greater than a contrarian.

Oh, well, back to Celebrity DeathMatch.

- The Vicious Poodle

Monday, September 11, 2006

What happened to Ned Lamont? In the space of several weeks he has metastacized from the refreshing idealist willing to stand for what he believes to a candidate who resembles (to paraphrase one of my favorite ol' Democrats, Paul Tsongas), a "pander bear."

The amazing thing is that it happened so fast. One moment he was rushing the barricades; the next he was dissembling about how what he said at the time did not mean what he meant at the time. Or something like that.

We've seen this movie before, literally. It was "The Candidate" with Robert Redford - the idealist running to further a cause rather than attain power for its own sake. But the closer Redford got to the finish line, the more he acted like some lifetime county commissioner droning on about property assessments. That's the funny thing about winning - if you're not careful, it can be corrupting.

The Lamont deconstruction happened right quick. He was running a different kind of race with different types of folk at the helm. He caught steady, dependable Joe napping in the primary and suddenly took the pole position in August. But when Joe soldiered on, Ned must have realized the old "aw shucks" routine was starting to run its course. He hired a bunch of seasoned politcal pros (read: high-priced political mercenaries). His positions on issues like Iraq began to "evolve." He went negative - a sure sign of weakness. Then he got clumsy, criticizing Joe for taking the wrong position with Lewinsky (that came out wrong, but you know what I mean) and then pretending not to backtrack when he got caught praising Joe for speaking out in 1998.

We're watching the Lamont candidacy age right before our very eyes. And I mean that in a Star Trek-we're-on-a-planet-where-people-grow-old-and-die-in-a-day episode.

You get the sense that the next eight weeks are going to be very painful. You expect to hear some very "nuanced" positions coming from Ned on the estate tax and capital gains. You expect to see him bragging about his longtime support of the Sea Wolf submarine.

And what about Joe? Amazingly, he seems the same. He got laid out in the primary like Trent Green, but got himself up, dusted himself off, and is now eating his way across Connecticut. You gotta respect that.

57 days to go. Let's see how Ned continues to "evolve."

-The Poodle