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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ned Lamont and NOW

I had a great conversation with Ned Lamont this morning. Ned is the real deal. He's sharp, personable and extremely genuine. He's spending every afternoon traveling around to small towns and meeting with the people of Connecticut who haven't seen a US Senate candidate from their state in 18 years. His entrepreneurial background, firm grasp of the issues and deep-seated pragmatism make him the perfect antidote to Lieberman, whose close ties to George Bush as well as his position on so many issues are poised to alienate his constituents.

As Kos has noted, the more people see of Lieberman the more they don't like him. I'll add a corollary to that: the more people see of Ned Lamont, the more they'll think he's the man for the job.

Ned is solidly pro-choice and says that an Alito cloture vote "wasn't even close." He then listened to me bitch and moan for a while about NARAL and Planned Parenthood, and how after having an eye blackened by Lieberman they got down on their knees and thanked him for not blackening the other one. Then Ned said, "well, there's NOW..."

Ned then quickly sent me an email from NOW that almost made me cry, and I'm not kidding. NARAL and Planned Parenthood may be thick as posts and working hard to kill choice in this country, but NOW gets it:
For Immediate Release
February 1, 2006


Senator Lieberman turned his back on this country'’s women by refusing to support a filibuster against the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Judge Alito was confirmed yesterday by a vote of 58-42. While Connecticut NOW recognizes the 42 senators who voted against confirmation, the crucial vote happened the day before, when senators voted on whether or not to end debate on this nomination. Since the Republican leadership had enough votes to confirm Alito, a filibuster was the only way to prevent his confirmation.

Connecticut NOW applauds Senator Dodd for his support of the filibuster. Shamefully his colleague, Senator Lieberman, demonstrated a lack of respect and concern for the women and girls of Connecticut and the nation by his refusal to support the filibuster. Senator Lieberman pointed out that he had studied Samuel Alito'’s record carefully and so he was aware of the threat Alito poses to a woman's most basic constitutional right: to control her own body and decide whether or not to bear a child. As reported by The Hartford Courant, Senator Lieberman stated that he did not support a filibuster because Alito's confirmation vote did not meet the standard of "extraordinary circumstances" decreed by the Senate "Gang of 14." "This is a slap in the face to every woman of this state, no matter her political beliefs, economic status or race," stated Rosemary Dempsey, President of CT NOW. "“What could be a more '‘extraordinary circumstance'’ than when a woman'’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions is seriously threatened?"

The women of Connecticut expected that our senators, who call themselves pro-choice and claim to be supporters of women'’s rights, would use every measure available to prevent the confirmation of a judge who undermines and disregards them. Laudably, Senator Dodd did just that; regrettably, Senator Lieberman did not. Senator Lieberman's vote to shut down debate had the effect of anointing Judge Alito as a Supreme Court Justice. As Kathleen Sloan, Executive Director of CT NOW explained, Senator Lieberman's vote against Alito on Tuesday was "symbolism without substance". His failure to support women'’s rights at a time when they are most severely threatened by a Supreme Court Justice whose record is replete with contempt for same, makes it highly unlikely that CT NOW will support Lieberman in his bid for re-election.
I'm flabbergasted. And thrilled. I thought there was some sort of collective brain atrophy going on in the institutional "pro-choice" world that caused people's capacity for critical thought to disolve. What is it that Planned Parenthood and NARAL don't understand about this? Why are they both asking their memberships to thank Joe Lieberman for throwing them yet another beating?

Ned will be announcing his candidacy on March 11. I hope everyone will contact NOW, thank them for their brave stance and ask them to enthusiastically support Ned Lamont:
Connecticut National Organization for Women
135 Broad Street
Hartford, CT 06105
860.524.1092 fax

Kathleen Sloan, Executive Director
Rosemary Dempsey, President
Then contact Planned Parenthood and NARAL and ask them why they aren't.

The other thing I'd like to mention: both Ned and his campaign are more internet and netroots savvy than any campaign I've ever dealt with. They're right on top of it, have information at their fingertips and know how to operate at the speed the blogosphere runs. It's extremely impressive and gives me great hope that their alacrity and resourcefulness will be able to cut through the institutional mountain of bullshit Lieberman will no doubt bring to the campaign.

I think we've got a winner here, folks, so please get on board with everything you can.

Update: The South Dakota State Senate just passed a bill banning all forms of abortion except when the life of the mother is endangered. Thanks, Holy Joe. We owe you one.