Monday, April 27, 2009

The Correlation of Forces in Connecticut

There are five political parties operating in Connecticut: the governor’s party, headed for the past few years by Jodi Rell; the old guard Republican Party; the new Republican Party; the old guard Democrat Party, and progressive Democrats.

Governor Rell and the new Republicans have in the past been at logger heads on important budgetary issues. The new Republicans want a stripped down state managed preferably by a Republican dominated legislature that is fiscally responsible and energetic in the pursuit of conservative economic principles.

Rell will, as she and her predecessor had in the past, reach compromises with the Democrat dominated legislature that will be distasteful to the new Republicans, who hope to be able to mount a convincing campaign against an entrenched Democrat majority.

A similar bifurcation presents itself in the Democrat Party. The diminishing old guard is in the process of being swallowed whole by progressives; occasionally one glimpses a bloody torso dangling from the teeth of the progressive lion. This battle between what use to be called fiscally conservative Democrats and young turks has been raging on and off within the Democrat Party for years.

The vanguard of the Democrat progressive party is made up of unions and “independent” journalists who fancy they are an army of I. F. Stones.

(A footnote on Stone: Active during and after the Stalinist period, Stone was widely regarded by honorable liberals in the United States as the ideal independent journalist. When it recently was shown that Stone was in fact a Soviet spy during the 30’s, many liberals who had idolized him for years barely batted an eyelash. The idols of the political marketplace are like banks; one invests one’s rich load of emotional energy in them, and when it is discovered that the bank is bankrupt, one refuses to face up to it, for fear one’s emotional capital will be depleted.)

There is no vanguard of the New Republicans in Connecticut; merely a few brave soul’s shaking their spears and defending the economic principles of Fredrich Hayek and Ludwig Von Meises, a rearguard action in the era of the widely popular President Barack Obama.

Progressive Democrats, both nationally and in-state, want the rich to pay the lion’s share of their social programs. In fact, they already do.

The party of Rell has balked at this notion not because the governor has a copy of Hayek’s “The Constitution of Liberty” at her beside table from which she quotes to confound progressive spendthrifts in the state legislature, but because she fears the mobile rich may move to more verdant pastures, in addition to which she knows that punishing taxes make new business enterprises go poof.

Progressive Democrats -- like Rett Butler, one of the characters in Margaret Mitchell's 1936 magisterial novel “Gone with the Wind” -- just don’t give a damn.

Rell gives a damn, but she doesn’t give a damn enough to fight the good fight.

One newspaper that is by no means ill disposed towards Rell, having noticed that the governor has offered state employees a guarantee of no layoffs for two years if they make minor, short term concessions in raises and benefits, asks “Is this as tough as she gets as a fiscal hawk?”

The paper dangles before Rell the possibility that she might veto successive budgets until Democrats, brought to their knees, begin seriously to address the state’s $8 billion debt through means other than raising taxes on the rich and struggling corporations, a hackneyed idea presently being explored by the Obama administration to pay for new, long term, expensive social programs. There is only so much milk in the utters of the rich.

Reality seeps in and the paper concludes, “Rell has always talked tough and given the Democrats most of what they wanted in the end. And there is no reason to think it will be otherwise this year.”

No effective opposition may be expected from either old guard Democrats – former Speaker of the state House of Representatives Jim Amann used to be regarded as a “fiscally conservative Democrat” before he “got religion” – or old guard Weicker Republicans now let out to pasture.

And that leaves but one force in the state to confront an army of spenders and their myriad supporters in media land – the new Republicans.

They have no party, no money, no leadership and no support in the media.

But the new Republicans fully expect Democrats in the state to self destruct as people begin to understand that government can only consume wealth; it cannot produce it, which, come to think of it, is one of the guiding principles of the “Constitution of Liberty,” a book Rell and her major domo, Lisa Moody, should have on their bed side tables, for ready reference in the battles to come.
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