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


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