MORE FROM CONNECTICUT. At Stratford�s Frank Scott Bunnell High School this morning, those who stopped to share their views spoke with plain, if surprisingly unsentimental, conviction about their choice. �I�ve lived through too many wars, and I want my two young grandsons to have the same opportunity to vote that I�m exercising today,� said Susan Delbene, a professor of nursing at New York�s Pace University who wearily returned to her Connecticut condo at ten o�clock last night so she could vote against incumbent Joe Lieberman this morning. Apart from his stubborn support for the Iraq War, Lieberman has �greatly taken Connecticut voters for granted,� underestimating their intelligence and exploiting their good will for too long, she believes.
As if on cue, voter Bob David stepped from Bunnell�s lobby into the sparkling midday sun, quickly separating his feuding sons, aged 3 and 5. �Enough,� he scolded. �We�re not warring Republicans, you guys!� David, a fiber-optics executive and former City Council member here, still serves as vice chair of the Stratford Board of Education. �Lieberman has been a good Democrat, and good for the state of Connecticut,� he said. If he loses today�s primary, �I�m convinced he�ll still win as an Independent in November, and that will greatly weaken the state Democratic Party in the long run,� he fears. David strongly opposes U.S. involvement in Iraq and laments Lieberman�s position on it. But he admires the senator�s support over the years for Sikorsky -- the aerospace giant headquartered just a couple miles up the Merritt Parkway -- and for Electric Boat in upstate Connecticut, which together employ a small army of Connecticut workers. �Being strong on defense isn�t a bad thing. I don�t like George Bush anymore than you do,� he says, �but I understand why Joe�s gotta work with him,� he says.
But what about the fresh perspective someone like Ned Lamont might bring to Washington? �It�s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize,� says David. �It�s a lot harder to propose constructive solutions, and I haven�t seen much� on that score from challenger Lamont.
Neither has my cousin Jodi Friedman, a New Haven voter who nonetheless decided to support Lamont today over the incumbent, to whom she has more personal ties. A former neighbor, Matthew Lieberman, is Joe�s grown son; his kids and my cousin�s shared a local Jewish day school and synagogue, while the Orthodox shul attended by Joe and Hadassah is nearby. My cousin�s position is perhaps a more nuanced �anti-Joe� posture than most. The Iraq War �is a more difficult issue� than many liberals will acknowledge, she believes, and she doesn�t fault Lieberman for his initial support. �It was his continued support -- long after it became clear that it was being waged so incompetently, and in a way that could only embolden Islamic militants� -- that is unforgivable in Jodi�s view. A former federal lawyer in Washington, Jodi was also deeply offended by Lieberman�s position in the Terry Schiavo matter and his willingness to �interfere with an independent judicial ruling� in that Florida case.
A lifelong liberal Democrat, my cousin sees today�s party in Washington as dysfunctional and ineffective. And she�s willing to take a chance that Ned Lamont, the pedigreed Greenwich millionaire and tested CEO�might be willing to talk a little truth to power in her former hometown. �Maybe we need someone able to tell it like it is without fear of offending the political establishment.�