July 31. Lunchtime. Waldbaum's @ Bishop's Corner in West Hartford. Three characters: me, Lieberman petition gatherer, Lieberman petition gatherer's witness. Paraphrased but an accurate account of the event.
Me: Hi. What are you collecting signatures for?
LPG: To put Joe Lieberman on the ballot.
Me thinking to myself: That's odd, Joe IS on the ballot -- for the Democratic Primary.
LPG: Would you like to sign?
Me: Why would I want to sign the petition when Lieberman is leaving the Democratic party? [Next time I have to ask sounding all confused: But I thought Joe Lieberman was on the ballot for the Democratic Primary?]
Me: Do you support Lieberman?
Me: Where are you from?
LPG: [Pause.] Missouri but my witness is from CT.
Me: Do you support Lieberman? Why are you here?
LPG: This is what I do. [Gather petitions.]
Me: Oh. [Walk away annoyed that I didn't ask if she supports the war.]
If you haven't heard, Lieberman won't answer questions about the petition gathering for his Independent campaign. My encounter was consistent with the Courant's account where I was told that they wanted to "put Lieberman on the ballot" with no reference to a specific election or party.
August 1. Quick stop between day-job and Lamont-volunteering. Subway store in West Hartford. Three characters: me, Paid Lieberman Youth 1, Paid Lieberman Youth 2. Pulling into the parking lot I see a van with a Lieberman sign on it. As I walk into the store I see PLY1 and PLY2 getting ready to order their sandwiches. They are wearing Vote for Joe on Aug. 8 / Lieberman forever t-shirts. Okay, I didn't see the word "forever" but the t-shirts were pretty obnoxious. Do you think the shirts were union? The following is my account-- the quotes may not be exact but I feel I captured the spirit of the conversation.
Me: Hi, do you guys support Lieberman?
PLY1 and PLY2 both look at me but don't say anything.
Me: Are you going to vote for Lieberman?
PLY1: This is just a job.
PLY2: I'm not registered to vote.
PLY1: I'm not registered to vote either. Maybe if I register but this is just a job.
Me: Where are you from?
PLY1: Rocky Hill. [CT]
PLY2: Hartford. [CT]
Me: Do you support the war?
PLY2: No. My dad was in Kuwait. I don't support the war.
Me: Do you know that Lieberman supports the war? He thinks things are going well in Iraq.
PLY2: I don't agree with Lieberman on the war. I don't agree with him on that.
Sandwich Artist: [Okay, there are 4 characters.] Can I help you?
All orders complete. PLY1 disappeared. PLY2 and I are walking out of the store.
Me to PLY2: If you do register to vote, I think you should vote for Ned Lamont. He thinks that we should get out of Iraq [PLY2 nods yes] and we should focus on education and jobs and healthcare.
Both PLY1 and PLY2 seemed like good kids (age 18-20, maybe younger?) and our discussion was casual, not at all a debate. I took the approach of trying to figure out their stance and why they were working for Lieberman rather than trying to argue. It seemed like the right approach. PLY1 seemed not to care much about the election other than getting paid. PLY2 seemed concerned when I brought up the war and healthcare. I don't know if he'll vote but if he does, I'm confident he'll vote for Lamont. I certainly didn't get the sense that either cared at all about Lieberman's campaign.
I can't wait to vote for Ned Lamont!