Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blumenthal, Or The Ambiguities



According to a story in the New Haven Register, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal put a stop to the chatter that he might run for governor “at a gathering of students, senior citizens and local dignitaries… arranged by The Women’s Center at Gateway Community College.”

“Is this the time Blumenthal will take all that political capital and run for governor,” Topics Editor Mary O’Leary wrote, “now that Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell has announced she will not seek re-election, giving Democrats their first good shot at the top job in 18 years?

This interrogatory was followed by the now traditional let-down: “Blumenthal said no, he’s running for attorney general ‘because it is a job I love, because it enables me to fight for people and make a difference. I have no plan to run for governor.’

“On the other hand, asked if he would run in 2012 for U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman’s seat, Blumenthal said: ‘It would be a challenge that I would welcome, if it were the right time to do it, and I thought I could make a difference. Stay tuned.’”

If only there were a Democratic Party Central that could by a mere glance of disapproval whisk the attorney general from the office that has entrapped him and plop him into a political spot of its own choosing. Democratic king makers are interested in Blumenthal because his popularity rating is stratospheric.

Gov. Jodi Rell’s popularity rating also was sky high during part of her gubernatorial term. But, compared to Snow White, Blumenthal is a shining God, the equivalent in our politics of Phoebus Apollo.

Every time Blumenthal has been nudged towards higher office, he has refused, leaving the door teasingly ajar. And every time he has refused, his “bow out” has been more closely examined than the portentous oracles at Delphi, whose pronouncements, publicized by the priestess who was Apollo’s interpreter were, to say the least, ambiguous. Ambiguity needs a professional priesthood to interpret it.

Blumenthal said no to a gubernatorial run. That’s plain enough; “no” is no. And he has given his reason: He loves his job. Who would not love a job that permits him to spank the fannies of gluttonous businessmen in public? Who would not love a job in which he could dump into the public treasury a portion of the ill gotten gains of Fruit Loop producers?

In a subsequent interview with the Day, Blumenthal beat a hasty retreat from his “no” after having received a flood of phone calls begging him to run for governor

Now comes the ambiguity: Blumenthal would leave the job he loves on what conditions?

The job of U.S. senator would be “a job I would welcome.” But even here plain-speak is attended by the furries of ambiguity…”if it were the right time to do it” and if “I thought I could make a difference.” This diffidence is quickly followed by a sunburst of hope: “Stay tuned.”

It only remains to put these effusions into hexameter verse to have an oracle worthy of Delphi. Right now, as these words are being printed, the modern Pythia – the female priestess who in pagan Greece served as a vehicle for the word of Apollo at Delphi; for a gratuity, of course – is examining Blumie’s oracular emissions. In the modern period, there are many Pythias: lobbyists trained and paid to interpret oracular statements, editorial boards, reporters, members of the New Democratic Apollonarian Party, bloggers committed to the destruction of Joe Lieberman, Blumiepuffers in the press and elsewhere… and on and on.

Some of Blumenthal's admirers, men and women of a practical bent, are now scrutinizing these statements in hope that a correct interpretation would find Blumenthal, their Achilles, leaving his comfortable tent to turn the battle in their favor.

“Please, please, let it be so,” they pray at the alter of their god, quite willing to throw an live lamb on the offering brazier, if only Blumenthal will come to his senses, leave the job he loves, join them in their effort to make the world over.

A little common sense may be in order here.

Men are moved mostly by fear and love. Among the little discussed reasons Blumenthal may not wish to leave his job is this: He may not be able to leave it without exposing his entire record in office to his successor, and to the public. All those e-mails left behind, and some of the grosser errors he has made in his prosecutions, may testify against him if he should run for higher office.

The job he so loves may be his ball and chain, and fear more than love may explain his extraordinary reluctance to come to the aid of his party by running either for governor or senator. If that is the case, Democrats have in the past and will in the future be wooing Blumenthal in vain. Too many skeletons in the closet may be keeping Blumenthal at home in command of the closet.
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