Ned Lamont Falling Flat With Progressive Bloggers?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On February 5, I wrote about Ned Lamont hiring former Deeds for Governor campaign manager Joe Abbey to run his own gubernatorial campaign in Connecticut. As I wrote at the time:
...when I think of potential campaign managers for Ned Lamont, the first name that springs to mind isn't Abbey's. Why not? Nothing bad about Joe Abbey, but when I think of Ned Lamont - or at least the 2006 version - I think of a netroots activist-oriented, liberal/progressive candidate and campaign. That's simply not how I see Joe Abbey, whose last two gigs were with moderate-conservative, top-down Democrats Mark Warner and Creigh Deeds.

On the other hand, Abbey also worked for Chap Petersen -- who I'd describe as economically progressive/populist, socially moderate, and netroots friendly -- in his victorious 2007 State Senate campaign against Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis. Still, when I think of Ned Lamont, I think more of Markos Moulitsas, Jane Hamsher and Tim Tagaris than of Joe Abbey. It will be fascinating to see how this one plays out, and also if Kevin Rennie is correct that Joe Abbey's hiring means Ned Lamont "will try to tack to the center after winning fame as the 2006 hero of the insurgent left."
Well, we're now starting to see how "this one plays out," and so far, not so good. For starters, check out this comment by top Connecticut progressive blogger, Aldon Hynes.
Here in Connecticut, it appears that Ned Lamont is running rapidly to the right. Some of the most progressive Democrats in the state are staying with him in this shift, but many are not.

It will be interesting to see how this shift to the right, the apparent hiring of an out of stater to run his campaign and the attack on other well respected Democrats will play out for Ned and Joe.
Uh oh.

Now, check out yesterday's My Left Nutmeg diary on Ned Lamont's campaign kickoff. The headline - "Ned Lamont Announces for Governor" - is obviously not what you want if you're the Lamont campaign, nor is the writeup, with lines like "If Lamont's supposed hard-core supporters cannot rouse themselves to cheer his announcement, complete with fawning video, how in the wide world of sports is he supposed to win this thing?"

So, my question is this: how much of this apparently lack of progressive enthusiasm for Lamont, circa 2010, has to do with the fact that he's not running against Joe Lieberman this time around? If you believe, as I do, that the 2006 Lamont phenomenon was a lot more about hatred of Lieberman than love for Lamont, then that would make sense. But, my guess is that Lamont tacking in a more conservative direction - closer to Creigh Deeds land, in other words - isn't helping him much with "the base." We'll see how it plays out in coming weeks and months, but as of this moment, it's not looking like the Joe Abbey-run, 2010 Lamont campaign is going to be anything more than an extremely pale shadow of the 2006 phenomenon.