Monday, May 17, 2010

Fedele Chooses Boughton As His Running Mate

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton announced yesterday that he would be running for Lieutenant Governor with Mike Fedele, the present Lieutenant Governor running for governor as a Republican.

The Boughton announcement follows announcements by both Democratic candidates running for governor, former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont, that they had selected running mates for lieutenant governor.

The specs for the job, Boughton declared, will be different should Mike Fedele become governor.

Fedele, Boughton said, had been underutilized in the Rell administration:

"We've made a commitment that we'll never run the lieutenant governor's office like that again. You'll be hearing from me. I'll be vocal, and I'll be Mike's full partner in managing this state. ... The bottom line is this will be much, much more than a ceremonial post. And I think the taxpayers deserve more, for $110,000 [per year in salary], than somebody that cuts ribbons and kisses babies.''

The Lieutenant Governor has attributed his supposed underutilization to “a difference in style” between himself and Rell.

Rell has relied most heavily during her administration on her chief of staff, Lisa Moody.

The Lieutenant Governor position, like the Vice Presidential position in national politics, traditionally has been a ceremonial slot famously described by Franklin Roosevelt’s Vice President, John Nance Garner, as “not worth a warm bucket of spit,” a turn of phrase here purged of its scatological overtones so as not to alienate the parents of young children.

The nature of the national office changed during the Bush II administration, when the redoubtable Dick Cheney, viewed by some querulous Democrats as the president’s Svengalli, assumed the post.

Fedele’s problem all along has been his inability, while lieutenant governor, to achieve an identity separate from the governor, a problem that will become more acute as his campaign unfolds – unless Fedele begins to strike out on his own and present himself to voters as someone other than the governor’s bucket holder.

How to do this without alienating the affections of a governor still held in high esteem by many voters is a delicate enterprise.

And, to complicate matters further, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Foley announced just moments ago that should the nominating convention choose Boughton as lieutenant governor, the choice of the convention would be acceptable to him as well.

Not to but too fine a point on it, the Republican nominating convention will be more exciting than its Democratic counterpart.

True, the Democrats will wrangle in choosing between Lamont and Malloy for the U.S. senate, but Attorney General Richard Blumenthal will be crowned without much opposition from a marginalized Merrick Alpert; and Malloy, rather than Lamont may walk off with the gubernatorial laurel – assuming the delegates at the convention really do believe in campaign finance reform. Unlike Lamont, Foley and Linda McMahon, running as a Republican for Dodd’s soon to be vacant seat, Malloy is not a self-financer.

Nor is he a millionaire.
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