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REYNOLDS Ned Lamont: Not Just an Empty Suit,
But a Polyester Horror

John Mark Reynolds [author, academic] 8/18/06


My mother bought it and it lives in my memory like an evil dream. It was lemon yellow and made of polyester that would not die. It was a leisure suit for boys and it could not be destroyed. An Adult Leisure Suit

At last I outgrew it, but it could have lasted forever looking just as lemony with orange glowing buttons. It lives still in my memory, but I may recover with some fashion therapy. What it could do was throw off little pills of itself. . . each an indestructible piece of itself that could not be detached from the whole without destroying it. But if you did cut it off carefully with a clever tool that K-Tel would sell you on late night television, the pill would glow on its own in the waste can. You can be sure that all the leisure suit pills in the world still exist buried out of sight in the dumps of the world.

It is a frightening thought.

John Mark Reynolds

John Mark Reynolds is the founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute, and Associate Professor of Philosophy, at Biola University. His personal website can be found at www.johnmarkreynolds.com and his blog can be found at www.johnmarkreynolds.info.

It has become fashionable on the blog-o-sphere to call Mr. Ned Lamont, slayer of Jewish Senators, an empty suit of clothes.

And there is some virtue in it, for Ned Lamont is an empty suit filled with the hot air blown his way by Michael Moore, the Daily Kos, and whatever leftist tripe he still remembers from college days. His thoughts are not just undigested, for he seems to lack the internal mental organs needed to digest thought, but almost random. If his wine-and-cheese crowd friends suddenly supported the War, Ned Lamont would support it with a change so intellectually effortless that it would be nearly impossible to notice it.

That is not what is interesting about Ned Lamont since Ted Kennedy has spent a lifetime without thinking for himself the scion of a rich family who pretends to have made it on his own. Half the Democrat Senate consists of rich white men who are sorry for being rich, white, and male in a superior self-satisfied way.

No instead what is frightening about Lamont is his potential staying power. His naive views are ugly, in a world where anti-Semites run nations they are even dangerous, but come packaged in a sunny exterior that appears capable of discharging little mental pills into our political system for decades.

He is young and has the rich kid health and confidence that means he can go forever. Send Lamont to the Senate this time and we may see him there for the rest of our lives. . . slowly evolving into the Teddy Kennedy of the twenty-first century.

He is Leisure Suit Lamont and he may live forever in the Senate.

Below is one pill discharged from the leisure suit mind of Ned Lamont. . . with my comments in italics. Long after his Michael Moore/Daily Kos creed will have been utterly out grown by the body politic, he will go on glowing in the Senate discharging his fuzzy warm wisdom to us.

We have but one good chance to stop Leisure Suit Lamont. If you doubt my picture of him, then keep reading his most recent editorial in the Journal.

The Democrats Mean Business
Washington needs an entrepreneurial approach.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

In the past week, my victory in the Connecticut Senate primary has been labeled everything from the death knell of the Democratic Party to the signal of our party’s rebirth. Beneath all of this punditry is a question that I want to face directly: how the experience I will bring to the U.S. Senate will help Connecticut and the Democratic Party during this time of testing for our country.
How can his experience help us? He can help us, but his experience can only be used by Lamont to form a basis for his own action. But here we see the fearful passivity of the Lamont mind, for he will not act his experience will act. Lamont’s experience will rise up within him and take control of him. This is a man who does not write in the passive voice, he lives It.
I ran at a time when people said “you can’t beat a three-term incumbent,” because I believed that President Bush, enabled by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, had weakened our country at home and abroad. We’re weaker economically, because we’re more dependent on foreign energy and foreign capital. Our national security has also been weakened, because we stopped fighting a real war on terror when we made the costly and counterproductive decision to go to war in Iraq.

So far so good. Lamont now must tell us how he will make us stronger. I don’t agree that the economy is “weaker” (what does that mean?) or that the Iraq War was an error, but let’s grant Leisure Suit his opening point. One thing to note: gradually the first person will utterly vanish from Lamont’s writing. He does not speak. Something else or someone else speaks for him. He is soon to become all we with no he. His empty self will vanish all together.

My confidence that Connecticut was ready for a real debate and a real choice this year was founded not only on current events but also past experience. It was my career in business that shaped my outlook, and helped prepare me to run the race I did.

Somehow his experience being the heir to a fortune gave him the confidence to know he would win? Well, yes that seems likely. After all, Lamont has been handed most of what he wanted all of his life with little risk, chance of real failure, or effort.

However, Lamont remains passive. . . even here. It was “my career in business” that helped him prepare. . . evidently it too exists apart from Ned Lamont ready to take command of his mind (and since it probably was handed to him this may be true).

Where is Ned Lamont in this? Controlled by his “experience in business” as explained to him by his aides. . .

In 1984, with a loan from People’s Bank, I started Campus TeleVideo from scratch. Our offer was unique: Rather than provide a one-size-fits-all menu of channels, we let the customers design their cable system based on the character of the community being served.
From the moment I filled out that loan application, I’ve been in every part of the business–pulling cable, hiring workers, picking a good health-care plan, closing deals, listening to customers and fixing problems. It’s been profitable, and it’s been instructive, a quintessentially American experience. Here, entrepreneurs have the freedom to be successful in ways the rest of the world admires.

This sounds good. What did he learn from it?

These defining lessons of my business experience are central in my campaign: identifying the challenges that face our state and offering real solutions. Something clearly worked, because the voters decided to do what our Founding Fathers envisioned; they put their trust not in a career politician but in a concerned citizen and experienced businessman who promises to rock the boat down in Washington.

And here we have the first pill of wisdom discharged from the leisure suit mind of Ned Lamont. Lamont spent millions of dollars to learn: you must identify challenges and offer real solutions. What wisdom! What Delphic insight! What a mind! No wonder this rich heir to wealth could get a loan for his idea! He must have marched right into that People’s Bank and hammered his fist down and said, “My experience tells me cable has a problem and it needs a real solution! Give my experience money!”

His being a rich kid had nothing to do with getting the money. Nobody could doubt his business chops with wisdom like this. Ned Lamont is going to march to the Senate and his experience, or aides, will discharge more such wisdom.

Here are the four lessons of my business life that I talked about every day on the campaign trail, and that have resonated with Connecticut Democrats:
• First, entrepreneurs are frugal beasts, because the bottom line means everything. In Connecticut, voters are convinced that Washington has utterly lost touch with fiscal reality. We talked about irresponsible budget policies that have driven the annual federal deficit above $300 billion and the debt ceiling to $9 trillion. Meanwhile, the government is spending $250 million a day on an unprovoked war in Iraq while starving needed social investment at home. I am a fiscal conservative and our people want their government to be sparing and sensible with their tax dollars.

Lamont’s experience taught Lamont that in business you have to make money. Wasting money is bad. Thanks be to Lamont’s experience!

Well, we are all for a balanced budget in wartime. I am also for sunny days, world peace, an Islam that decides Jews, women, and Christians are swell, and a better Packer’s running game. What will Mr. Lamont do to get to where he wants to go?

• Second, entrepreneurs invest in human resources. Our business strives to pay good wages and provide good health benefits so that we can attract employees that give us an edge in a competitive marketplace. Well-trained and well-cared-for people are essential for every business these days, particularly in a global economy. It’s getting harder and harder for American businesses to compete on price, but we innovate and change better than any economy on the planet. The quality of our work force is one of America’s competitive advantages–if our education system fails our children and our employers, we’ll lose the future.

Lamont’s experience speaks: “Well-trained and well-cared-for people” are good people.

Am I the only one who is growing a bit afraid of Leisure Suit Lamont? His pills of wisdom teach him that the rest of us need Lamont to be good to us. We need Lamont and, thank God, the Founders were right, republican forms of government worked, and brought forth Lamont and his experience to save the day, the world, nay perhaps even our souls.

Leisure Suit Lamont’s experience will train us, he will care for us, for all I know he will dice and slice and make Julienne fries for us. Lamont’s experience will meet all our needs based on the richness of his glorious knowledge.

That’s why I talked about my work as a volunteer teacher in the Bridgeport public schools, which can’t afford to be open later than 2:30 p.m., schools that send children home to an empty house. That’s why my campaign offered a strong alternative to standardized tests and No Child Left Behind. That’s why I believe in an employer-based health-care system that covers everyone, and providing tax benefits to small businesses so they can provide insurance without risking bankruptcy.

Lamont’s campaign offered . . . while Lamont? He nodded his approval. “Thank you campaign,” he murmured, “I believe in you and in your plans. Thank you.”

• Third, in a market-driven economy, entrepreneurs can never lose touch with what customers, suppliers and workers are saying. A great strength of our campaign is that we embraced the grassroots and netroots, suburbs and inner cities, and used the most advanced technology to empower our door-knockers and activists. We listened hard and respectfully to what voters told us, and gave them the confidence to trust someone new.

Thus speaks Lamont, “We must hear what our customers are saying.” What does this mean when applied to government? What if your core-voting group has anti-Semite beliefs? Will you speak truth to them? Or will you just listen and give them confidence by listening. Government is, Lamont’s experience might note, not a business. Dog’s are the world’s greatest experts on what dog food they like, but voters in any given group may not always be right. That is why we are a republic and not a pure democracy. We expect our elected officials to hear us, but also speak to us about what they think we should do. We pay them to rule us, because they are (we hope) wiser than we.

Leisure Suit Lamont will not be wiser than we are. No. Instead he will listen to his voters, the most radical fringe of the left, and repeat what they have said to him. He will hear and repeat.

• Finally, entrepreneurs are pragmatic. Unlike some politicians, we don’t draw a false strength from closed minds, and we don’t step on the accelerator when the car is headed off the cliff.

Lamont will never draw false strength from his mind for that would entail the existence of mind. Instead voters can look forward to six years of the following: “We don’t refuse a stitch in time! We save nine! We save a penny and earn a penny! We are early to bed! We are early to rise! We are the world! We are the children! Let’s start giving! Rain drops on Roses! Cute Kittens! Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String for All!”

By every available metric, the “stay the course” strategy in Iraq is not a winning strategy. Changing course is neither extreme nor weak; it is essential for our national security.

Explain? What is the best course? What is it exactly?

We start with the strongest, best-trained military in the world, and we’ll keep it that way.

Good start. Where did you get this military? Let’s see Bush has been President for six years. This is his army now. But wait, the army is not the product of a man who leads. Lamont’s experience tells him it exists detached from all other reality. . . a tool waiting for Lamont to use it. It too must be well cared for and made happy. . . for Lamont’s experience has learned that is good for our military to be strong and well trained.

But here’s how we’ll get stronger by changing course. We must work closely with our allies and treat the rest of the world with respect. We must implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and put in place real protections for ports, airports, nuclear facilities and public transit.

That’s it. That’s Lamont’s experience’s plan. We will work with our allies. What one are we not working with? France with its one aircraft carrier that never works? Who is Lamont talking about? How do we work with the “rest of the world?” Will we ask the Sudan or Kenya to aid our fight against global terror? Will the Communist Chinese leap to help advance liberty around the globe?

We have not had one major terrorist attack since 9/11. We have foiled many. Somehow Bush gets no credit for this since Lamont knows we should do more. “Doing more” to protect the homeland is always something we should be doing. . . like a cry for holiness at a Bible College it is impossible to disagree with . . . but what exactly should we do? Lamont has run out of space to tell us, because his experience used most of it telling Lamont about his own life.

Good judgment is an essential part of good governance.

Read this again. Warning: vote for this man and you will get at least six more years of this.

But we’re bogged down in Iraq, and hamstrung in the war against terror, by leaders who lacked judgment, historical perspective, openness to other cultures and plain old common sense. We offer something different.

Being in a hard war is being “bogged down”. . . were we bogged down in the Battle of the Bulge?

A Lamont pill: We are “hamstrung” by leaders who lack judgment.

How do they lack judgment?

More polyester from Lamont: We are “hamstrung” by leaders who lack historical perspective.

Does this mean that Bush does not anticipate defeating the terrorists with a single bromide? Does that mean Bush wants to win a long war while Lamont wants to forget there ever was one?

Yet another pill: Our leaders are not open to other cultures.

No. They are not. No theocracy here. No Islamic law. No women banned from higher education. Nasty Mr. Bush thinks that would be bad.

But in the final analysis, the results of this election say less about me, and more about the people of Connecticut.

Having spent his entire time avoiding saying anything about himself or his plans for action, Lamont now blames the people of Connecticut for his existence.

They turned out in record numbers; they spoke every day with a simple eloquence and urgency about the country we love. They oppose the war and the fiscal nightmare crafted by President Bush and his allies. But their vote, finally, was one based on pragmatism and reality, on optimism and hope. And it is to these ideals and values that we plan to address my campaign in the months until November.

Mr. Lamont won the Democratic Senate primary in Connecticut last week.

“We,” evidently Lamont will cease speaking all together, letting his Experience and Campaign speak for him, will not even talk to the voters, but to their ideas and values. Thus people have disappeared altogether in this article to be replaced by Experience and Campaign speaking to Ideas and Values.

Lamont, I assume, can go back to golfing at his white’s only golf course.

The people of Connecticut are warned. There is a Leisure Suit who wants to go to Washington. You will face years of this sort of article and speech. Do you want to go this way?

You have an option. You can vote for Joe Lieberman, a man even his foes respect. He is a real man. . . secure in his rumpled natural fiber self. You can vote for Joe and send the Leisure Suit packing. CRO

copyright 2006 John Mark Reynolds



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