I've known Howie Klein since I was a teenage punk rock nitwit in San Francisco and Howie was starting indie 415 Records. Howie went on to become the head of Reprise Records and has now retired from the music business to devote himself to blogging on his site Down With Tyranny. He does a lot of due diligence with candidates ever since he got conned into contributing to Zell Miller's campaign years ago and he's been trying to make up for it ever since. He's exactly the kind of guy who would get invited to the first fundraiser for Ned Lamont, and this is Howie's report:
I was a little nervous because all I had read about him was that he was a millionaire businessman. His story is a lot more compelling than that. First of all his a quintessential all-American kind of entrepreneurial guy-- a living embodiment of the best in the American dream. He's as far from a corporate type of Big Business monster as you can be. He completely understands why it's essential for business that reforms like universal health care get hammered out. (He reminded me of Howard Dean when he talked about that.) This guy teaches entrepreneurship in Bridgeport High, a tough inner city school.Howie came away extremely impressed with Lamont. I find this very comforting. You can sign up to volunteer to help Ned rid the US Senate of the dreaded Lieberman here.
Although he was a town selectman, not only is Ned not a politician, he has a vibe that told me that even if he's elected to the U.S. Senate, he'll never become some kind of careerist self-server, but will always look at his role as that of a civil servant and guardian of his constituents' interests.
As soon as he walked in the door, just a few minutes after me and a good 30 minutes before the crowd showed up, I got to chat with him about the issues. The first thing I wanted to get a sense of was how he felt about Iraq. I was wary of hearing any double-talk or weasel words. There were none. He went right to Jack Murtha and showed me immediately that not only does he support a plan for withdrawal but that he has a far better grasp of what the war is all about than old-line Democratic "thinkers" like Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Wes Clark (all of whom are still babbling nonsense about "winning," an absurd concept to begin with). Later when he talked to the whole group he contrasted Bush's (latest) approach (shared not just by Lieberman but by even some well-meaning-- if limited-- Democrats) which is basically that the U.S. will step back when "the Iraqis" step up with a more well-reasoned and thought-out approach which is that the Iraqis will step up when-- and not until-- the U.S. starts stepping back in a serious way. "The invasion of Iraq was a colossal foreign policy disaster." That's clear. That's simple. That's what Democrats running for office should all be saying.
He talked a lot about the harmful trend of the Federal Government increasingly intruding into the private lives of American citizens and how that trend has to be turned around. He told us that for him Alito was not a close call. I have no doubt that he saw Alito as much a dangerous threat to American liberty as I did. In fact, he seems like the kind of guy who's going to carefully consider every issue and come up with the right approach across the board-- kind of a polar opposite of Joe Lieberman.