The Sandinistas are back in power in Nicaragua, and Democrats here in the United States are back in power in the House of Representatives. Daniel Ortega, much chastened since his days as a Nicaragua’s communist dictator, won the presidency of the country, causing old Contra hands to mutter under their breath, “There goes the neighborhood.” Sen. Chris Dodd and ex-president Jimmy Carter no doubt will be dispatched to Nicaragua to quell the flames of revolution.
Governor Jodi Rell swamped her Democrat challenger, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, but her victory is likely to be a Pyrrhic one, because Democrats now have a veto-proof majority in the legislature; which is to say, they may safely ignore Rell and the Republicans.
Connecticut is now officially a one party town.
The day after the Rell Tsunami, the Hartford Courant strewed some palms at the governor’s feet. Rell “…won that office on her own by politely ignoring her Democratic challenger's attacks,” the paper enthused. And, the paper observed, she is no friend to sprawl.
“Sprawl” is a code word for state intervention in the private market place, and the progressives are hot after it; so, for that matter, was DeStefano, who earned the paper’s endorsements because he was a proponent of “Big Ideas.” The Big Idea fallacy, rampant among progressives, is that more of a Bigger thing is a better thing.
On the bright side, those omnipresent noxious political ads, now that the election is over, will retreat to their proper place in the commentary sections of media outlets. And, should anyone be feeling mangled by the mercifully concluded election, they would be wise to beat a retreat to the Bolton Animal hospital, where Dr. Pomper regales visitors with his explosively wry sense of humor.
Pomper: (drawing a phial of blood from Jake’s paw; Jake is my wife’s Fidelco guide dog) Good Jake. You know, there are those of us who think that Lieberman might end up in the Bush cabinet, leaving his position vacant, at which point Jodi Rell can only do the honorable thing… Good, Jake…stay… and appoint Lamont as senator.
Meanwhile in blogland, the proprietor of Connecticut Local Politics, Genghis Khan (not his real name), asked some important post election questions well worth exploring.
1) “How will Jodi Rell, who has used veto power to accomplish at least some of what she wants, deal with a Democratic super-majority? Will she be able to accomplish any of what she wants (whatever that is), or will Democrats call all the shots?”
Very likely, Democrats will call all the shots. The Speaker of the House, Jim Amman, is not a wall flower type. Conservative Republicans not routed or frightened by Democrat gains in the U.S. Congress may suppose that the Rell administration will be a DeStefano administration without DeStefano. Why? Because the Rell administration is only half heartily Republican. The best ex-Governor Rowland could say of himself is that he served as a “breakwater” to prevent excessive Democrat spending. The Rell administration will be more of the same. But the breakwater has been breached by a veto-proof Democrat legislature.
2) “Will the Republican Party on the state level (outside of the governor's office) continue to be essentially irrelevant? Is this the end for George Gallo?”
There is no Republican Party “outside the governor’s office.” Why has no one noticed this? Gallo is bright and energetic, but his continuation as party chairman is unnecessary because Republican Party chairmen are not necessary. They have been useless appendages – dischargeable at the whim of governors – for several decades. In the bad old days of party bosses, party chairmen were influential in choosing governors, the gubernatorial under ticket and federal legislators. Surely, someone should have noticed that radical changes had occurred in the parties when then Sen. Lowell Weicker, who once described himself as “the turd in the Republican Party punchbowl” was instrumental in appointing his chief aide, Tom D’Amore, as Republican Party chairman. Most recently, D’Amore – not a very ardent Republican – surfaced as an aide to Ned Lamont, the Democrat Party’s choice for the U.S. Senate.
3) “So now what?”
We may look forward to further atomization of the parties, further decline, and the inevitable consequences of a one party state: There will be less discussion, more caucusing, more direct action by the single party in power, and less opposition when unopposed Democrats lead us -- as sometimes must happen -- in a direction that adversely impacts the state.