Tuesday, August 08, 2006

ned lamont

It is rare that a person becomes my cool thing of the day. It is more rare still that I discuss politics. But, even though I am working on some other topics I had to write about Ned Lamont’s surprise primary victory tonight over Joe Lieberman in Connecticut.

I like Ned Lamont, and not just because he is a graduate of Harvard and Yale who has seen the light and decided to give $50,000 to my alma mater. Lamont, despite his personal wealth, is a classic underdog. No one thought he could unseat a 3-term Senator and the 2000 Democratic Party nominee for VP. Yet, he ran a positive campaign and convinced the primary voters of his home state that he better represented their interests and politics.

His challenger, on the other hand, refused to place party loyalty over personal interest. As in 2000, when he simultaneously ran for VP and Senator in case he lost the national election, Lieberman would not rule out a bid as an Independent were he to lose in the primary. In fact he lined up signatures and out-of-state financial support mostly from corporate interests to support that contingency. Tonight, in his “concession” speech, he launched his Independent bid just as his critics predicted he would.

It will be interesting to watch the reaction of the Democratic Party establishment. Hillary Clinton has already offered her support for Ned Lamont, Democratic nominee for Senate, and I would expect other national figures to follow suit. However, one result from this primary is indelible and unmistakable: blogs have permanently changed how we receive and filter information.

The anti-Lieberman movement was incubated in liberal blogs opposed to his cozy ties with Republicans and stance on the war. In fact, blog authors were outraged by Lieberman comments intimating that Iraq war opposition was tantamount to providing comfort to our enemies. They reacted, and sites like Daily Kos and Firedog Lake kick-started the Ned Lamont campaign. Washington insiders are scratching their heads, but the blog-era is upon us.

Bonus link: what it looks like when you win