The Silence of Our Friends

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Nearest Book Meme

I've been tagged by Sunrunner at Dark Sun for a new meme. The rules are:
1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog
4. Name of the book and the author
5. Tag three people

Such a suspicion could never have entered her head! If she suspected any prepossession elsewhere, it could not be in that quarter. 'There to be sure,' said she, 'I might have thought myself safe.

The author/book is Jane Austen - The Complete Novels; and is from Sense and Sensibility. I read this about a month ago and it has been sitting on the table directly behind me since then, if I had put it back on the bookshelf downstairs the only other book in this room would be the Bible. I should have cheated and quoted from that, it would be kind of funny having a "Godless lefty" quoting the Bible.

I tag BlackAmazon, Kai, and Eli!

58 comment(s):

Oh, bugger.

By Blogger Eli, at 12/10/2006 10:38 PM  

Since we've already established that I have no blog I thought I'd share anyway...

From In The Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith whom the New York Times dubs "The Miss Marple of Botswana". ;)

"Over the next half hour, they danced in almost complete silence. Mma Makutsi had to acknowledge that Phuti Radiphuti was making an effort and seemed to be improving slightly. He trod on her toes less frequently now, and he seemed to be making some progress with keeping in time."

This is literally the closest book to me, as I've been reading the whole series sick in bed this week, courtesy of my neighbor who thoughtfully stopped by with them. Incredibly delightful books and I'm sure they had something to do with my complete recovery. ;)

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/10/2006 10:47 PM  

My favorite of the series is called Tears of the Giraffe and here's the first sentence of the book:

"Mr. JLB Matekoni, proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, found it difficult to believe that Mma Ramotswe, the accomplished founder of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, had agreed to marry him."

It's charming and funny and so much more. I highly recommend for light reading. There's quite a bit of wisdom to be had, as well. Delightful!

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/10/2006 10:53 PM  

Wow! That was fast.

"Such suspicion could never have..."!!!!

ha!

By Anonymous sunrunner, at 12/10/2006 10:55 PM  

Hrmf. Showoffs.

I had to quote from the *second*-closest book 'cuz the closest book was a Hellboy comic.


I think I may have also given myself a paper cut...

By Blogger Eli, at 12/10/2006 11:02 PM  

Eli, I hardly think quoting from "The Miss Marple of Botswana" qualifies as showing off. hehe, I could have pulled out some Proust or somethin' if I wanted to make you feel really bad.

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/10/2006 11:13 PM  

At least it's an easy meme, Eli! I've seen some where you have to answer like 30 to 50 questions. All I have to say to that is; DO NOT TAG ME! I don't want to think that hard for a meme.

Jenny I'm glad you decided to play along. I was actually thinking of tagging the reader who have no blog, so you were reading my mind. Don't you think Eli should have quoted the Hellboy comic? LOL

Sunrunner, I think I just happened to check for new posts at your blog right after you posted the meme. I try to check over there at least once a day to see what you're up to.

By Blogger Donna, at 12/10/2006 11:29 PM  

I meant readerS...

Why, oh why, do I never use preview?

By Blogger Donna, at 12/10/2006 11:30 PM  

I wasn't sure if the Hellboy even *had* 123 pages, but it looks like it does:

"Things will be worse now.

You feel it?"

"I smell the smoke... the fire cannot be far behind."

I don't want to even attempt to explain what it's about, other than that a lot of it's underwater, and Hellboy's hand may be the key to the end of the world. Or something.

Oh, and never let an underwater fish-sorceress stick a nail in your head.

By Blogger Eli, at 12/10/2006 11:34 PM  

Donna, I thought I was the one and only reader who has no blog and was quite flattered. LOL

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/10/2006 11:34 PM  

If you use preview, the terrorists will have won.

By Blogger Eli, at 12/10/2006 11:34 PM  

Oh, and never let an underwater fish-sorceress stick a nail in your head.

*scribbling Eli's advice furiously on a napkin*

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/10/2006 11:35 PM  

Oh, and never let an underwater fish-sorceress stick a nail in your head.

I laughed out loud at that. I agree, Jenny, this is an important tip that must not be forgotten. *scribbling furiously on an old post-it note that isn't sticky anymore*

By Blogger Donna, at 12/10/2006 11:42 PM  

Hi folks!

I liked the Hellboy passage. And the Miss Marple too.

When I got the tag, there were in fact 2 books roughly equidistant from my center of gravity. I concluded that this fact gave me some discretion; so I went with Naomi Klein because I wasn't sure what I'd get from The Sibley Field Guide To Birds of Eastern North America. But now that everybody's doing it:

Lesser Prairie-Chicken
Tympanuchus pallidicinctus
Uncommon, local, and declining in dry shortgrass prairies and other arid grasslands with low shurbs. Habits and appearance similar to Greater Prairie-Chicken, but range does not overlap; distinguished by overall paler and grayer color, weaker brown bars across belly, and slightly different courtship display. Voice: Male display at lek includes bubbling hooting sounds higher and shorter than Greater.


Cheers.

By Blogger Kai, at 12/11/2006 10:56 AM  

I think you chose wisely, Kai...

By Blogger Eli, at 12/11/2006 1:48 PM  

So what are you saying, Eli? Do you have some sort of problem with lesser prairie-chickens?

(Hehe, I do think it kinda sucks to name a species "lesser", but anyway.)

By Blogger Kai, at 12/11/2006 2:45 PM  

It's a pretty huge burden being born a "Greater", though. I'd rather be "Lesser" and work my way up the coop, er, ladder. I guess chickens don't have that choice, tho.

Very interesting choice, Kai the Greater.

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/11/2006 2:53 PM  

LOL, I first typed "Kai the Greeter" which could have worked too.

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/11/2006 2:54 PM  

Not to start in again, but has anyone noticed how deadly dull FDL is, now that they're on their best behavior? bwahahaha!

That's okay, they can't control themselves forever. heh.

By Anonymous zizan, at 12/11/2006 2:57 PM  

Wow. How did I become zizan? It's better than anonymous, I guess.

Eli, help!

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/11/2006 2:58 PM  

The lesser prairie chicken owes me money, and keeps ducking me. Very low character - never lend to one unless they can get a greater prairie chicken to co-sign.

Also, never let them stick a nail in your head, but that's just common sense, really.

By Blogger Eli, at 12/11/2006 3:00 PM  

LOL, I first typed "Kai the Greeter" which could have worked too.

At Kai-Mart?

By Blogger Eli, at 12/11/2006 3:02 PM  

Hello! my name is Greater Prairie Chicken. You killed my father. Prepare to die!

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/11/2006 3:07 PM  

"My father was slaughtered by a slick-feathered hen."

By Blogger Eli, at 12/11/2006 3:49 PM  

*Irony Alert* !!! Let's play "Guess the Poster", shall we?

But Tom was not prepared for the phenomenon known as "open commenting," and the challenges it posed to his authoritarian personal style were, well, it appears a bit daunting.

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/11/2006 4:09 PM  

"zizan" said...
Not to start in again, but has anyone noticed how deadly dull FDL is, now that they're on their best behavior? bwahahaha!

That's okay, they can't control themselves forever. heh.


JftB, Their traffic is cratering. November was their lowest month since they peaked last May. December is shaping up to be worse than November. Sadly, all TRex had going for him was the Rickles schtick. Without that, he's also-ran quality as a thinker (Mr. Polonium? Puhleeze.) If it wasn't for the post-kerfluffle rubbernecking, they'd be in free fall.

Dog forgive me for enjoying the comeuppance of others.

By Anonymous op99, at 12/11/2006 6:09 PM  

op99 -

Speaking of rubbernecking, I read this today on the DeLay thread, which is pure comedy gold! ...

TRex says
December 11th, 2006 at 1:59 pm*

My post at TomDeLay.com:

Dear Mr. DeLay-

A thin-skinned little Caligula like yourself has no place in blogging. You should get out while there is still time. You are making a terrible mistake. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Sincerely,
T.Rex, Esq.
We’ll see if it clears moderation.


Side-splittingly funny.

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/11/2006 7:15 PM  



A thin-skinned little Caligula like yourself has no place in blogging. You should get out while there is still time. You are making a terrible mistake.


Is that what is meant by projection?

By Anonymous sunrunner, at 12/11/2006 7:26 PM  

Well, I don't want to continue sniping; I've been much happier since the whole flap died down and feel slightly soiled just talking about it. I know I brought it up (my bad) but I'll just ease away from it now...

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/11/2006 7:33 PM  

btw, Donna, please feel free to delete my FDL comments because I've created a distraction from this really sweet *literary* thread! Let's keep that going...

Truth be told, I'd rather be talking about chickens!

I should have posted the other thoughts down below, if at all.

Apologies!

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/11/2006 7:44 PM  

I did mine. I have to go read everyone's now. This one is not nearly as fun as the 8 pictures thingy, but was way easier.

Also, as jenny from the blog has already totally wrecked this thread *cough*, I wanted to let you know about another roundup of the Clinton blogger/fdl etc mess to add to the list. It's at Mo Beta META (A Kewl Sleeper Cell of Serial Blog Wreckers) heh... sort of a central place to crab about blogs. Anyway, there tis.

Oh, and James (the one who wrote the post) also runs a cool little blog called Nothing Is, where he searches out older or obscure jazz and other music albums that are freely downloadable. If one is into that sort of music, excellent place to just pop in and click.

Lessee... okay, all done with my completely guilt free promotion of an obscure but really cool blog ;).

By Blogger Nanette, at 12/11/2006 7:56 PM  

nanette -

hehe... you funny!

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/11/2006 7:59 PM  

Twice this has happened to us and both times we turned down the offer for the best of reasons: I was pregnant.

We cancelled the rest of our bookings and hurried home, mentally planning the nursery addition to our little six-room valley home. On the train ride back to Hollywood, in January 1942, we heard the news of Carole Lombard's death in a plane crash.


"Love, Lucy" by Lucille Ball

By Anonymous op99, at 12/11/2006 8:44 PM  

Yikes I leave to get some errands done for the day and everyone has a party without me!

My sister has a timeshare in Florida and she has traded it in for one in Mexico next April and asked us to join her and her family. We thought since we would get free lodgings it would be relatively cheap...WRONG! This year you have to have passports, that was the errand today, $97 per adult and $82 per child, and we aren't even talking airfare yet, money for food, just spending money. And of course all of us are unhappy with our passport pictures, the worst is my oldest son, might as well be a mug shot on America's Most Wanted.

Jenny bring up FDL anytime. It's entertaining watching them implode. It would be even better if they just got rid of TRex, and made it a friendly place to debate topics.

LOL I like Kai the greeter, except since he is here does this mean I have to pay him? Walmart wages for you, Kai! No better yet, not cash, I pay in lesser chickens.

I'll add that link to the last post, Nanette. Thank you for finding it! I'll also head on over to your place to see what you are reading.

And thanks op99 for playing along!

By Blogger Donna, at 12/11/2006 11:29 PM  

Argh! I just noticed that I hadn't added Human Beams to my list of links. I could have sworn it was there at one time, did I accidently delete it while updating or something? My sincerest apologies, Nanette! Sheesh, I go around quoting you all the time too!

By Blogger Donna, at 12/11/2006 11:45 PM  

Thanks Donna! I didn't notice if it was there or no, actually. I really will be doing a blogroll type thingy soon, only it's not going to quite be one.

I am quotable? Cool beans!

I like watching and talking about the implosions too (hope jenny didn't take me seriously!). Not because I enjoy their discomfiture... okay, well I do, but still... also because, as I think you mentioned? this entire "leaders of the lefty blogosphere" stuff really should be nipped in the bud. Especially when there are people such as FDL representing themselves as such.

There is not much to them, really, after the snark... there was the Plame horse, which they road so far into the ground that all that was left was a flickering twitch of a tail. And the Lamont thing - I do have to confess here that for a time I was really happy I didn't live in CT as, after all the incessant Lamont postings by FDL and the other mostly "A List" blogs, I would have really been tempted to vote for Lieberman just out of spite at being bored silly.

This was before, of course, I discovered all y'all and your wonderful blogs.

I think, though, that the topics brought up by these sorts of flareups are good to keep going and discuss, in various ways, and among different people - not to keep ragging certain blogs or anything (much), but because so often what should be ongoing discussions of import are regulated to "flame wars" and are discredited to the point where sometimes people feel that they should shut up, or they won't be playing the 'blogosphere game' properly.

Or something like that.

By Blogger Nanette, at 12/12/2006 1:58 AM  

Oh, I forgot about the passport thing... what a mess that is going to be. Or, it would if more USians traveled outside the country (even to Mexico or Canada), as I think the vast majority of us do not have passports.

Mine is long expired... not that I went anywhere with it anyway, but these days it definitely behooves you to have one - especially because, while this new law I guess is supposed to keep people out, it does have the other effect of also fencing the rest of us in, no?

By Blogger Nanette, at 12/12/2006 2:01 AM  

I am one of those people who always keeps my passport updated; I love to go places and I always want to be ready if the occaision arises! And as I lost a wallet once, it was really handy to have some back up ID until I could get things replaced.

Nanette: interesting about the irritation with the incessant Lamont postings. It makes one wonder how many people ended up voting for Lieberman for precisely that reason...

By Anonymous sunrunner, at 12/12/2006 9:58 AM  

On Lamont, I do give FDL and other blogs alot of credit for his meteoric rise during the primaries. They helped raise his profile, and through donations helped him advertise which also raises his profile. BUT, I also give them the blame for his downward spiral after the primaries. The blackface incident meant that Lamont had to back away from blogs, which were a main source of funding and driving media depictions of him good or bad, and after that it was mostly bad. I'm sure it soured alot of CT voters seeing the bombastic obnoxious people who were backing Lamont.

Lamont was in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation with FDL. If he hadn't let Jane and her crew close to his campaign, I doubt if she would have thrown so much support towards him. But FDL was a ticking time bomb and he got splattered when they exploded. If he had more distance it might not have happened...but as I said, if he had more distance, there would have been less fundraising, and less media attention.

While I am glad that blogs are free agents who can not be controlled by politicians, I also think that politicians would be wise if they didn't associate with blogs that have a 'Howard Stern' type or two on the payroll. You would think that blogs who want to be players in politics would understand that they have to avoid extreme outrageousness and controversy.

By Blogger Donna, at 12/12/2006 11:22 AM  

What I meant was players in campaign politics. I think all of us who comment on politics want our opinions to count and mold it in some way. My interest in blogging is to define my own opinions by learning from others, and vice versa. I don't expect to directly affect any one politician. I think of it more indirectly; by deciding is it worth voting, if so, who do I vote for and why? How do I affect change other than voting? How do I motivate myself and others to make these changes, and to make this a world I want my children and eventually grandchildren to inherit?

By Blogger Donna, at 12/12/2006 11:28 AM  

I agree Donna...

I am thinking particularly of the "rape-gurny-joe" language.

Lieberman's position re the "right" of catholic hospitals to refuse this option to rape victims (sending them to another to get the medication) was untenable, but it was possible to make the point without using such ugly (and on some level really unfair) language. It detracted from the real issue, which was important to some voters. But it also did not recognize that it was not likely a pivotal issue to many CT voters -- as the Iraq war was. And it is worth noting that I don't think the Lamont campaign itself ever brought up the issue.

I think that Tim Tagaris deserves some criticism in this regard, as I don't get a sense that he ever understood just how effectively fdl (and some other blogs) played into Gerstein's hands. All he had to do was to sit back and wait for them to say/write something that was so over the top and use his considerable media contacts (expertise?) to play it for all it was worth...and once he had been successful in establishing the meme that the blogger were mean lunatics, he was able to effectively get away with simply making stuff up. After FDL etc had been reined in and became less inflamatory during the general, it was simply too late.

By Anonymous sunrunner, at 12/12/2006 12:19 PM  

(hope jenny didn't take me seriously!)

Nanette, I laughed out loud when I read your comment. It just hit me as being really funny.

not to keep ragging certain blogs or anything (much), but because so often what should be ongoing discussions of import are regulated to "flame wars" and are discredited to the point where sometimes people feel that they should shut up, or they won't be playing the 'blogosphere game' properly.

And when you think about it, I do believe this latest flap finally embarrassed them. They made fools of themselves, not so much for the original posts but for their outrageously demented response to their critics. Just witness the blog right now. It is neutered.

I am one of those people who always keeps my passport updated; I love to go places and I always want to be ready if the occaision arises!

Sunrunner, same here. I have mine out ready to renew asap because it expires in a couple of months. Never know when you'll need to jam. ;) And Donna, I'm surprised at how much it costs to get a new passport these days. I think when I renewed mine 9 years ago it was all of $25.

How do I motivate myself and others to make these changes, and to make this a world I want my children and eventually grandchildren to inherit?

Donna, that's the mature approach and could make for a long-lasting impact on all of our futures. The more I look around the blogosphere, at large sites like Atrios and FDL all I see is snark to no purpose, anger and accusation intended to flame, well, prurient interest mostly, not too much that is intended for the common good. It's pretty nauseating.

When that blackface came out I was one of the people who asked that it be taken down immediately, of course I had only been visiting that site for about a week so it didn't matter what I said, but my heart just sank when I saw it. How revolting, unthinking and hubristic. And poor Ned, really, I felt for him. It was a true and personal betrayal - he must've been absolutely floored to realize his trust was so hideously misplaced.

btw, I do think there's a good reason to deconstruct the actions of a blog like FDL which wears its *progressivism* and *civility* like a gold badge. I hate the hypocrisy, I hate that they claim to represent the left. They ain't me.

And since nobody played along, the quote I put in my comment was from Jane's post yesterday about Tom Delay's blog. I just found it astounding in its complete lack of self-awareness!

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/12/2006 1:14 PM  

Donna, I think it's time you get a press secretary. ;)

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/12/2006 3:16 PM  

Hello again Jenny!

Well I don't read FDL anymore so I missed the quote. Sorry!

I feel like I should chime in on the Lamont story, as a CT resident who was volunteering on his campaign in both the primary and general.

Sunrunner, I think "Rape Gurney Joe" is a good illustration of the essential problem with FDL rhetoric. It's all about emotive association and negative typecasting, rather than rational argumentation in the service of progressive principle. I can tell you that the main reason CT locals were turning against Lieberman (more important by far than Iraq) was his disinterest in and disconnectedness from local affairs; the guy didn't return phone calls to city councils, didn't attend local events, wasn't bringing home bacon, didn't seem to give a crap about CT. But how would the FDL crowd know these things? To them, it was a video game: "Rape Gurney Joe! Haha! We're edgy witty!"

I vividly remember the first time I saw Blackface Joe: I'd just spent 2 long days working phone banks in the Lamont campaign office, trying to talk to undecided old Jewish ladies and skeptical elderly black men and others about why they should vote for Lamont. I got home exhausted, poured a tall drink, and checked into blogland.

I admit, I questioned my own sanity first, clicking reload several times and going for a walk around the house, before settling uncomfortably upon the conclusion that this was as bad as it seemed.

The next night, I brought a print-out of the post (in a manilla folder) to two big Lamont campaign events at prominent black churches, thinking that I'd collect some opinions. Once I was there, it was unthinkable for me to even expose FDL's poison to the sanctified air; I practically felt it burning the pew beside me as I stood there singing. I only brought out the post and image afterwards, sitting among friends (of color) in a booth at a noodle restaurant (yes, my pick). Most people could barely look at it, it was that disturbing.

In the end, I don't know how much damage FDL did to Lamont. But I know that damage was done. To me, it felt as though the campaign just squeaked through with the primary victory, then collapsed on the floor, exhausted.

Lamont, of course, personally made the Faustian deal with Hillary in the ensuing days, which can't be blamed on FDL.

Nevertheless, in hindsight, it does look as though FDL got what it wanted out of Lamont, not vice versa.

By Blogger Kai, at 12/12/2006 8:11 PM  

I don't know if all of you know that I was raised in CT and that's where my father and sisters are. My father is the only one who is political out of the bunch but he's a republican. But I do have friends there who are politically active.

So about Lamont. One of my friends was active in the Dem primaries, for Lieberman. One of the reasons why is because she didn't like all these outsiders coming in trying to influence CTers. So that was another problem with FDL, Jane was just as busy promoting herself and raising her profile as doing that for Lamont. Anyone who understands any psychology knows that people don't like outsiders telling them what to do and think. That's why Liza complained that Jane didn't leave it to CT black bloggers to speak to racism. Many people misunderstood Liza to mean that Jane didn't let blacks speak at all, but that isn't what she meant. Jane exclusively took on race on her own and as a white woman from Cali it doesn't resonate with black voters in CT.

By Blogger Donna, at 12/13/2006 10:46 AM  

Donna, from my own experience, the robo calls are beyond worthless - a real irritant. Heck, I even hung up on George Clooney. The one-on-one phone conversations can be very effective, though.

As for the hoardes of true believers charging into CT I think your story says it all. Nobody wants to be proselytized in that manner and I can see how locals would get their backs up when pressured by carpetbagging fly-by-nighters (at least I'm sure that's how it seemed...).

You and Kai have shared very insightful (inciteful) *titter* info.

Hello Kai!

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/13/2006 12:45 PM  

It is interesting to here your perspective, based on your own experiences with the Lamont campaign, Kai. I think it will be a very long time (if ever) before we hear of the real impact of the blackface incident.

I remember clearly, that both JH and the Lamont campaign both stated that the graphic was removed from huffpo *after* the Lamont campaign asked her to. (The Colin McEnroe piece adds some very interesting perspective as to what happened that day). Which leaves one scratching one's head, just why did it take so long before the Lamont campaign made that request? My guess is that the blog people (Tagaris) were aware of it immediately and did not understand what a vile mistake it was. And it was only after some of the African-Americans associated with the campaign (Sharpton and/or Waters people) caught wind of it that the message went out that it had to come down. And it is likely that they learned of it via the rightwing blogs. Anyway, something like that is a plausible narrative to me.

The problem was, they FDL/Tagaris (and perhaps Lamont? He is from Greenwich after all...!) NEVER got what the *big deal* was. And moreover, they simply weren't interested (which about says it all).

Because if they had, they would've taken the adult step of totally disassoicating themselves from FDL (eg, removing fdl from the Lamont blog blogroll etc, etc) and really denouncing the image in no uncertain terms(I am sure that Waters, Sharpton and/or Jackson could've helped them craft the statement).

Immediately afterwards there was that clown (forget his name) goimg around with his are you a Clinton or a Sharpton Dem. And after the primary, Jackson, Waters, and Sharpton completely dissapeared.

So where am I going with this...I think that a very good case that one of the biggest problems was that Lamont was not able to peel union support (who should be loyal to the Dems) away from Lieberman. And the reason was not only the use of the blackface image, but more what Donna points out that regular folks in CT were not happy with big name outsiders coming into CT--which is a very small state after all. If anything, the blackface incident was the last in a long series of faux pas, or the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. And it cannot be argued that it certainly focused the attention of the media on FDl et al in a way that did not help either the blogs (in general) or the Lamont campaign.

There was also that devastingly effective flyer sent out by the Lieberman campaign in the last days of the general election, with a mean-spirited quote by Markos Moulitas (I saw it at my sister-in-law's house) along with a photo of him in Lamont TV ads.

They (fdl/dkos) thought they could out-Rove Rove with their little blogs, but in the end it was obvious that they were simply a bunch of immature, full of themselves adolescents.

Anyway, I am still hoping that this will be written about more comprehensively than I am able...someday. Because I think there are some very important lessons to be learned by the left in all this, and cannot be learned unless it is really understood what happened.

The fact, Kai, that you were not able to talk to anyone about that post at the Lamont event speaks volumes, don't you think? Pandora's box was wide open and they didn't understand 'what' had gotten out, but they knew it wasn't good.

By Anonymous sunrunner, at 12/13/2006 1:18 PM  

Nevertheless, in hindsight, it does look as though FDL got what it wanted out of Lamont, not vice versa.

It's interesting hearing about the Lamont thing from the CT point of view. I think that above is a very important point, though, when it comes to politicians and (some) political blogger/advocates.

Not that blogger/advocates can't also be believers, and volunteers with no expectations except to see their favored candidate elected, to change things, and so on... but when you have people whose goals are to become "players", go to persons or whatever, then necessarily the goals are going to diverge. I was going to say that I'm sure the politicians realize this, but then again, if they are new to things themselves they might not have the same lookout as someone more used to the "game".

So about Lamont. One of my friends was active in the Dem primaries, for Lieberman. One of the reasons why is because she didn't like all these outsiders coming in trying to influence CTers.

I was sort of following the recent Louisiana runoff election on the mydd blog. Tagaris was down in Louisiana too, reporting on things and also helping the campaign of Jefferson's opponent, Karen Carter.

At the same time, I was reading some of the local (lefyish) bloggers, and their reactions to things, their views of what the issues were and so on, and seeing the sometimes vast difference in how they looked at both candidates (they basically hated them both), and what they thought of this or that event, and it was pretty informative.

I think Tagaris tried to understand the local scene, but being there not only as a "reporter", but primarily as an advocate, he missed a *lot* of the signals, it seems. For instance, he couldn't quite grasp the significance of Jefferson's challenger being considered the "white" candidate by the black people in New Orleans, even though both candidates were black.

When I heard that, I thought she was toast right there, lol.

Anyway, though... what gets me is some of the reaction of the national blogosphere to the locals, in elections that have been highlighted on the big box blogs, talked about from the point of view of the national blogger, or of the overall party in DC, but not usually from the point of view of those doing the voting... when the voting doesn't go the way they like or expect, the general attitude seems to be something along the lines of "Those morons (the voters)! They ruined my election narrative! They didn't recognize our brilliance, our superior grasp of the issues; they don't even care what it means to us to win this thing. How could they DO this to us!?" etc.

Which, if you ask me, might tend to leave a really nasty aftertaste in the mouths of the local voters.

Can't remember where I was going with this, but oh well.

By Blogger Nanette, at 12/13/2006 4:52 PM  

For instance, he couldn't quite grasp the significance of Jefferson's challenger being considered the "white" candidate by the black people in New Orleans, even though both candidates were black.

When I heard that, I thought she was toast right there, lol.


Nanette, when I heard the "white" candidate meme I was also struck by how CRITICALLY important that really was and thought, UH OH. I made my assessment right then and there, how the election most likely would play out. It was just obvious.

Now I do remember that!

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/13/2006 10:18 PM  

Kai said, "I can tell you that the main reason CT locals were turning against Lieberman (more important by far than Iraq) was his disinterest in and disconnectedness from local affairs; the guy didn't return phone calls to city councils, didn't attend local events, wasn't bringing home bacon, didn't seem to give a crap about CT."

I forgot to mention that I heard this too, even from my friend the Lieberman supporter. She knew that this 'could' be a problem for Lieberman. So that was definitely the issue that should have played to the voters. Lamont should have hammered that home every chance he got.

I also think the extreme language and hyperbole doesn't work with everyone. When someone is exagerrating there is a sense that it is a lie. That's why it would have been better to keep Lieberman's actual language front and center instead of 'rape gurney Joe'. It's also why the kiss float was a winner, because it is based on a real picture of Lieberman embracing Bush, not an exageration of a handshake or pat on the back.

The lesson for any political consultant, including blogs who want to be involved in campaigns is organize locals and listen to them. In fact FDL was warned about the blackface picture and race in general by two CT POC bloggers, Kai was one and CT Blogger was the other. But well, Jane knows best, better than actual CT voters, I guess.

By Blogger Donna, at 12/13/2006 11:49 PM  

jenny, yep... it's possible, no doubt, to overcome something like that with good politicking or something, but probably not in Louisiana in the year after Katrina, and all they've gone through.

I couldn't think of a way she could win, though, as white people (in general, and in that sort of stratified society) don't vote for black candidates - and black people (in general, in the post Katrina and attendant shenanigans atmosphere) don't vote for the "white" candidate who is supported by the white establishment.

There were, of course, other issues involved, but still... the mydd crew and commenters, kos and the other big blogs were just shocked! shocked! that she didn't win.

Maybe the various political blogs will start bringing on local bloggers to type when the national blogs are heavily involved in local races. Might help some.

By Blogger Nanette, at 12/13/2006 11:56 PM  

The lesson for any political consultant, including blogs who want to be involved in campaigns is organize locals and listen to them. In fact FDL was warned about the blackface picture and race in general by two CT POC bloggers, Kai was one and CT Blogger was the other. But well, Jane knows best, better than actual CT voters, I guess.

Hear, Hear!

It is also worth mentioning that back in the days when I combed fdl threads for signs of intelligent life, I remember that at least days before the Blackface brouhaha, Kai tried to warn FDL about thinking that they could speak for people of color and that they were treading on very dangerous ground (I think it had something to do with the flyers in black church parking lots) etc.

I am originally from VT and was living there for a stint during Dean's early days as Gov. And I gotta say, that to most progressives he usually came off as a smug asshat. But then I moved away (again!) and something happened. Maybe he began to have some real talks with Leahy and Bernie. But obviously he began to get it. Not enough to prevent some of the fatal mistakes in his own pres campaign (the Deaniacs in Iowa, for example) but again, he seems to have the rare ability to learn from mistakes, hence the very effective and smart 50 state strategy. I recently came across this video of him addressing a plenary session of the Liberal Party of Canada in Montreal. And guess what, he spoke a few lines of pretty decent French, and also spent most of the time talking about how "real" power grows from the grassroots up and politicians are "loaned" power by their constituents.

Anyway it is worth a watch if you have time!

By Anonymous sunrunner, at 12/14/2006 11:31 AM  

I'm sorry I came so late to the party on this thread (I've been out doing errands, which, being in the middle of nowhere out here on the Central Coast, means many hours of travel for basic necessities.)

I've wanted to really talk about what happened in Connecticut, but it's been very difficult. I even wrote a long post, which I never put up, about what I think went wrong. However, after reading Kai's take on the matter, I figured he'd said most of what I though anyway.

I, like Donna, grew up in Connecticut (there are a ton of Maine Indians who moved to Connecticut during WWII, btw, to work for Pratt and Whitney and other defense contractors - they were considered particularly skilled in detailed handiwork, due to years of experience with basket-weaving, bead production, etc.) I spent my early years in Madison, went to college in Middletown, worked in Stamford and Rowayton, taught school in Wallingford, New Britain and Waterbury, and lived for extended periods as an adult in Meriden and Durham. I spent most of my summer's with my family in Maine, but only finally moved there in 1997.

A number of the years I spent working in CT were in politics. I was state deputy field director for Clinton-Gore in '92, though became defacto field director when my 24 year old (beneficiary of nepotism) New Jerseyite boss completely flaked out a month before the election.

Politically, Connecticut is a very funny place; it's actually a lot like Maine, and probably much like Vermont as well - very liberal or very conservative, with little in between, and over all, very, very independent. The first Lamont ad I saw, the one with Markos, made me very, very nervous, as I didn't think Nutmeggers would take kindly to a candidate, particularly one from Greenwich (no disrespect to Kai, but many in Connecticut consider Fairfield County to be part of New York ;-D) with so many supporters from outside the state, particularly, egads, California.

The whole FDL flap, from rape-gurney-Joe (NB, I was raped in Middletown in 1990, and found that term exceptionally offensive despite my dislike of Lieberman's position,) to blackface, really off-putting (understatement.) I was also concerned with the outside bloggers lack of understanding of how GOTV works in Connecticut, with their focus on Joe's "petty-cash" expenditures. Were they so naive not to understand the practice of "walking around money" (WAM) and its use in most urban districts around the US? To me, that just smacked of complete cluelessness, and one not without racial overtones, as most WAM is used for Election Day "pull" in minority communities.

Anyway, I could go on for ever about Connecticut. As one point, Tom Swan asked a friend of mine to have me get in touch with him regarding minority outreach issues, but I declined when I noticed JH was involved with the campaign; I knew that it was then a Titanic just waiting for an iceberg, and had other ships on which to sail.

By Anonymous MB, at 12/15/2006 1:12 PM  

mb -

These threads never end. ;)

By Anonymous Jenny from the Blog, at 12/15/2006 1:25 PM  

MB,

Thanks so much for adding your thoughts to this thread. I'm very sorry and disturbed to hear about Middletown.

Regarding Fairfield County, no offense taken, it's true that I spend more time in NYC (where I have an office) than in the areas further north where you once dwelt (I dated women from Rowayton and Westport, but I don't think that counts). Truth is, I consider myself a New Yorker who ended up in CT by happenstance. Nevertheless, I've embraced CT in the 3 years I've been here (especially the nature here, as anyone who occasionally visits Zuky has probably figured out).

Regarding the election, the fact is that Lamont is Greenwich old money, and politically that works well in Fairfield (where Lamont had like 65% support) but further north he failed to make enough economic populist noise. I always figured the working-class towns were the key (you know all those towns whose skyline is comprised of church steeples and abandoned smokestacks), but Lamont never went for the jugular on Lieberman's neglect. I wish he had. I also wish he hadn't kept repeating that he "built a business from scratch"; I built a business from scratch, Ned had $100 mil in the cradle and tripled it in adulthood, no small feat but it's not "from scratch". He should've said he was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to build a business and learn about real work and real working people.

Anyway, MB, if you ever feel inclined to share, I'd love to see your unpublished thoughts on what went down in the election.

Peace.

By Blogger Kai, at 12/16/2006 1:07 AM  

jenny, they really don't ever end, and it's a good thing. Except when I miss comments! LOL

Reading over everyone's take about CT makes me think, they should have listened to the locals again. But it's not just the CT race. They do this all over the country, get their high paid consultants, and ignore the actual voters and what those people want to hear. What all of us want to hear, instead of what DC is pushing.

By Blogger Donna, at 12/16/2006 2:41 AM  

Yeah, I found the "I built a business from scratch" meme quite grating as well. (Which sounded about as genuine as Joe's stance on bi-partisanship.) Add that to the fact that everyone knew that he would not have been able to come as close as he did without millions of his own money (a point that Joe hammered on quite effectively I thought: people do know he difference between raising campaign funds and spending your own).

BTW Kai if you are still around. I didn't "get" the role of Mayor Bloomberg in the race...do you think it was to peel away votes from Fairfield County, where Lamont was considered strong. It was an odd one, one self-funded rich guy going up against another. I really couldn't figure out what was in it for Bloomberg, to be honest.

By Anonymous sunrunner, at 12/16/2006 9:12 AM  

Some things never seem to change, Donna. Even on that '92 C-G race, there were only four of us on the entire staff who were local - the majority of staffers were sent in from DC.

My overall boss, btw, on that campaign was Sherry Brown, most recently campaign manager for Lieberman for Connecticut (Joe's "independent" campaign.) I never met anyone so disliked by her staff. But I knew when Joe moved her into that position, Lamont was in trouble. She goes for the jugular every time.

A basic synopsis of my feelings over Lamont's loss are thus: Lamont entered the race as new blood, an outsider demanding change, and that was how he won the primary. The more Congressional Democrats dissed him, the better he looked. Then, after the primary, he met with HRC, and all his outside blogging buddies demanded he be embraced by Democratic insiders, which completely negated his "outsider" status. Suddenly, it didn't appear that, if he beat Lieberman, he'd be anything radically different. A lot of local politicos took huge risks by supporting Lamont in the primary (Lieberman is nothing if not one to hold a grudge, for a very long time,) and then rather than turn to them, the grassroots, as his power base after the primary, he spent his time, and capital, wooing the Big Boys (and Gals).

If I were a mid-level local politico in Connecticut (something, as a Democratic City committee executive, I was in Maine) and I'd burned my bridges with Lieberman and supported Lamont in the primary, I'd be pretty damn pissed that he sidled up to the insider/elite Clintonistas so quickly. I think losing that glow of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" lost him the momentum, and in the end, the election. I think it will also have long-term implications as well, as many people who risked a lot to back Lamont may think twice about supporting challengers in the future.

By Anonymous MB, at 12/16/2006 9:40 AM  

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