What Lamont Tells Us

Over at the crack den last night, a commenter asked, basically, how do we do this again? How do we take Ned’s success and replicate it in every Democratic race in November, making every race a referendum on the past six years of misgovernance?

And I think the answer is that we build more floats.

The cops started arguing with us, and said that what we were doing was criminal trespassing, and we needed to leave immediately. I was in a bit of shock because I’m not used to cops yelling at me, but Ed was a lot cooler headed, and pointed out that we had gotten permission from the homeowner. Several police officers stood around sort of growling, while one of them confronted the girl at home. When she said that we had permission, the cop demanded she get her mother on the phone. The cop and the mother talked for a few minutes, and I was getting ready for us to go, but the cop suddenly said ‘you have permission to stay here’. Go Mom!

I don’t mean it literally, of course. Although that wouldn’t be bad either.

I mean we take a message, simple, visual, visceral,a little bit funny, a little bit mean, and we push it and push it and push it. We show up at rallies with it and we go house to house with it and we take it everywhere our opponent goes. We make sure he can’t turn around without seeing it. We make sure that even though everybody might not be convinced by it, everybody sees it, sees what the campaign is about, sees what the issue is, and sees it in a way they remember whether they want to or not.

A lot of people are going to get a lot of credit in the coming days, but one thing I really haven’t seen pointed out is just how well the Lamont campaign stayed on message: that this race was about Joe Lieberman loving Bush more than he loved his state. Over and over and over, the campaign hung the Dubyatross (tm Eli) around Joe Lieberman’s neck and in the end, it dragged him down into a classless, whiny, quicksand of bullshit from which there was no returning.

What Ned Lamont’s campaign did, and the reason it was so strenuously supported by those of us who’ve been calling for change within the party for years, is simply say the things that candidates afraid of Bush refuse to say. Every day, that campaign pushed the message: sick of your president, his policies, his wars, his impoverishment of you and yours? I know most of you are. Here’s how to fix that: elect people who’ll do something in Washington other than suck his face.

Joe Lieberman would have been plenty content to win his primary from a bar in DC. Plenty of Democrats like to take potshots at their foes from a distance. Ned Lamont and his backers waded right into the crowds with signs and questions and the Kiss Float, and it rolled them all the way to victory.

That’s how we beat them in November. By pasting the face of every Democrat’s opponent over the face Bush is kissing on, and following the guy around with it, to every rally, every speech, every hot dog stand and baseball game. By building floats.

Lots and lots of floats.