The Happy Leftie

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Dump the DINO: Ned Lamont to give Lieberman the boot

Prepared Text of Ned Lamont's Announcement Speech

Good Afternoon. Thank you for being here.

I understand that some of the political brass do not like the idea of a primary: I see it more as a kitchen table debate within our Democratic family: what do Democrats stand for, what type of country do we want, how do we get there?

I did a little research on announcement speeches and to paraphrase from a Democrat who stood before the people of our state, about eighteen years ago. He said: "Connecticut needs a Senator who will bring new energy to Washington and new help back here in Connecticut...Connecticut needs a Senator who will put Connecticut first."

Senator Lieberman, those words are true today. I wish you did not need to be challenged, I wish there was nothing to challenge.

Here we are eighteen years later, it is time for us to elect a Senator who will stand up for Connecticut, stand up for our Democratic values, and stand up to the Bush administration whose policies are so harmful to our state and our country, and that is why I am announcing my candidacy to the United States Senate.

Let me tell you who I am, and what I am for.

My first job out of college was editor of a small town weekly newspaper. The biggest employer had pulled out of town leaving a community that felt like it was knocked on its back. The neighbors invited me into their homes and their hearts, and together with the local selectmen and civic leaders, this small town got back on its feet.

I have never forgotten what a difference good government can make in people's lives; today it seems that Washington has stopped trying to make a difference, they're pulling back the helping hand, and they're telling Connecticut's families: Good Night and Good Luck.

But that's not America: Democrats are not going to let that happen.

Senator, stop by Bridgeport on your way back from Baghdad and listen to your constituents:

"I have earned my social security, not a private savings account."

"We deserve universal, affordable healthcare, not a health savings account."

"I want a great community school for my kids, not a voucher."

I taught a course last year, "How to start your own business" at Harding High in Bridgeport.

It is an old school with great teachers, but we are long on security guards in the hallways and short on coaches and the arts. I tried to get the community involved, give these students some role models, local entrepreneurs who could tell their story and remind the students- you can do it, too.

I met Joshua Grant, the founder of Soul to Soul Restaurant. He inspired the class to put together a power point marketing plan which just maybe will take Soul to Soul from coast to coast. Joshua, please stand up, you are a friend and I appreciate your being here.

I started a company from scratch; we build advanced video systems for college campuses. We compete with the largest cable operators in the country, and I am proud as a small businessman that we give college campuses a choice.

I am jumping into this Senate primary because voters deserve a choice.

Let's have the debate:

Three years ago politicians with years of political experience rushed our troops off to war; they told us the war would be easy; we'd be greeted as liberators.

Now three years later, America is no safer, Israel is no safer, the Middle East is even less stable, Iran is on the prowl, Osama Bid Laden is on the prowl, and we have 130,000 valiant troops stuck in the middle of a violent civil war in the heart of Iraq.

Those who got us into this mess should be held accountable.

In Washington they give you a medal; in my world they say: "You're fired."

I say it is time for the Iraqis to take control of their own destiny and we're just getting in the way.

Let's have the debate.

The $250 million a day we are spending in Iraq is better spent on pre-school and healthcare, public transit and veterans benefits.

Let's have the debate.

I would have lead the opposition to the nomination of Judge Alito? Next year the Supreme Court will hear the South Dakota law which outlaws a woman's right to choose, even in the case of rape and incest.

Let's have the debate.

I believe that President George Bush's illegal wiretaps, his reckless fiscal and environmental policies are weakening America and leaving too many hardworking citizens behind.

I doubt that anybody will call me "George Bush's favorite Democrat."

Do you remember that Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska? Part of the 6,371 earmarks, which are multi million dollar pork ridden special favors for special congressmen, added to a bill at the last moment, under the cloak of darkness. And it's all legal, the big easy for career politicians.

If you are not shouting from the rafters that this is wrong, then you are complicit and part of the problem.

I am not a shouter, but I come to this race as someone who is obviously not afraid of a challenge. I am ready challenge business as usual, I am ready to fight for our Democratic values and I will tell the Bush administration to put their haughty arrogance in their back pocket and deal with the rest of the world with respect. That's how America will start winning again in a post 9-11 world.

As I travel the state I have heard from thousands of you - students and elderly, veterans and teachers, small business and labor, even a few courageous political leaders: let's have a primary, let's have the debate: how did we get into this mess and how do we get out?

Sure, there are some that have not been quite so encouraging: Ned, don't jeopardize a safe seat.

I tell them, Connecticut is a progressive state. You're not losing a Senator, you're gaining a Democrat.

They tell me, Ned, don't rock the boat.

And I tell them, baby, it's high time we "rock the boat."

We are running for the heart and soul of the Democratic party; we're showing the country that we can win as proud Democrats fueled by your grassroots support and energy and passion; and on August 9 the pundits will be shaking their heads and noting: here come the Democrats.