My friend Mindia Gabichvadze, one of the handful of students who overthrew communism in Georgia in 1990 or so and a very new U.S. citizen, asked me a tough question. He said, "I am tired of losing. I don't like Lieberman, but shouldn't we just be concerned about winning a majority and not spend time, energy and money fighting with each other?"
Polls show Ned Lamont poised for victory over Joe Lieberman tomorrow. Polls have been wrong before, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow night to find out for sure, but the race has already defined the 2006 elections. Put simply, Lamont has forced the war to the forefront of debate (again, Arianna was right months ago) and has created a stark divide: voters can choose Lamont who stands up to the president or Lieberman who stands with the president. It's that simple. The America that Joe Lieberman champions when he kisses George Bush, literally and metaphorically, is not the America that is at the breaking point over an empire-breaking war, economic dislocation and no plan in sight to take care of a nation fast polarizing between haves and haves not. Joe Lieberman provides aid and comfort to George Bush, allowing the president to say, "look, Democrats (Lieberman) like what I'm doing." That is inexcusable.
A Lamont victory on Tuesday (which I predicted in May when we completed the DVD introducing him) will demonstrate to Democrats and progressives across the nation that to win in November, we have to stand up now. We have to say no to George Bush's disastrous policies. We have to say that Congress will investigate the corruption and profiteering that is endemic in the Bush Administration's occupation of Iraq. We have to know that the future can hold hope, not more dictatorial despair.
Mindia, remember that the establishment decried Howard Dean in 2003-4. Yet, Howard Dean framed the 2004 election. He tapped into a desire among Democrats and Independents alike for change. He put the war on display, not in a vault in the back room. That's Lamont. Only Lamont may really win. And then we can hope for dozens of wins in the fall because candidates like Francine Busby may learn the lesson of Lamont and of the poll we annoucned from her district last week. Candidates will see that to convince voters they are worth coming out for, they have to stand for courage and conviction and that means standing up to George Bush. In many ways, Lamont has already won and so have we.