I posted about Arianna Huffington's plea for the netroots to help write Ned Lamont's concession speech yesterday. Well, it seems the faithful have come through. In reading through this, I came to an epiphany of sorts. Something snapped into focus for me on why there is so much difficulty communicating these days. More about that after a few highlights:
Far too often politicians don't speak from the heart until it's too late.Freed from their consultants, they finally summon the passion and purpose that drove them into politics in the first place — ironically turning into the candidates they should have been all along.
We desperately need Ned Lamont to get to that point now, while there is still time — and two more televised debates — left in which to let the people of Connecticut know (exactly and unequivocally) why returning Joe Lieberman to the Senate would be such a disaster.
First and foremost, I want to apologize to all of you who gave your heart and soul — and your hopes for a better America — to this campaign. Instead of honoring that commitment, I ran a milquetoast race, and I am deeply sorry. You wanted reform, and I gave you warmed-over political platitudes. You wanted righteous indignation, and I gave you calculated criticism.
Like Al Gore and John Kerry before me, I forgot how high the stakes were. And I played it safe. I played not to lose rather than to change the country. I forgot that I had to give people a reason to vote for me — or a reason to vote against my opponent — every single day, every single hour. I forgot –and how could I forget? — how dirty the other side would play to win. I forgot that in building a successful business of my own, I had relied on my own gut instincts, not on advice from some M.B.A. textbook. I should have stuck with my gut; instead I let consultants tell me what to do and what to say.
I turned my campaign over to hired guns who think that running to the middle is a winning strategy — even though it's proven to be a loser time and time and time again. These Beltway professionals, some on loan from Democratic leaders who do not share my passionate opposition to the war — the core issue of my campaign — came in, having learned nothing from their electoral defeats, and ran the same cookie cutter campaign.
Hopefully, my self-inflicted defeat will help break this endless and tragic cycle and be a first step on the road to reclaiming the Democratic Party.
Well, that's all very emotional. It has all the pathos and grandiloquence that one would expect from an emotional Hollywood tearjerker of a movie. A regular Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. A veritable lollapalooza with a cast of thousands. That is when it really struck me.
That is exactly, precisely how many on the left see politics. As a Hollywood movie. They are the downtrodden hero standing up to The Man. They have little scripts running in their heads. Dialog where they triumph over the bad, evil people. And at the end of the movie they have scripted in their heads, everyone gets a pony and we all live happily ever after. Don't believe me? Read the part I left out of the intro to Ned's concession speech – as drafted by the HuffnPuff crew.
Maybe having Lamont look in the mirror and deliver this speech will be the political equivalent of that moment in Moonstruck when Cher slaps Nic Cage across the face and says, "Snap out of it!"
Politics as a Cher movie. Good Lord.
UPDATE: QandO has more.