Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lady Bysiewicz’s Ambition

It has been rumored that Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, very likely the Democratic nominee for attorney general, really has her eyes on a different prize. Some say she would treat the attorney general office as a jumping off place for a senatorial run against Sen. Joe Lieberman at the expiration of his term.

In the video clip below, Bysiewicz is given ample opportunity to answer this charge by a patient reporter who asks her three times whether she intends to serve out her term as attorney general, should the citizens of the state vote her into office.

Her answer is here:



Consider the lot of the poor reporter. He is given an assignment by his editor:

“Listen up here. Bysiewicz has a presser today. I’ve prepared a question for you, crisp and unambiguous. This is it: Will you serve out your term as attorney general, assuming you win the post? That’s it. We need an answer by deadline for tomorrow’s run. We need a “Yes” or “No” answer. Go get’er.”

The reporter sets out with trembling knees, his editor’s question tucked into his LL Bean shirt pocket. On the way to the presser, in the car, he rehearses the question several times, fully aware that Bysiewicz -- whose experience in running the AG’s office has been the subject of news stories, stinging commentary, a challenge from the head of the Republican Party and a court appearance from which Bysiewicz emerged a bit tattered around the edges but unbowed – is one slippery customer.

Ambitious too.

At the presser, the reporter fires off the question without a slip, putting his own construction on it:

“Your opponent said he has pledged to serve a full four year term as attorney general and has asked you to match that pledge. Will you do so?”

Batting her eye several times – first her right eye, then her left eye, then both eyes, then jutting out her well formed chin, Bysiewicz responds, or rather chooses not to respond, by mentioning she will take the same pledge generously offered by the sainted Attorney General Richard Blumenthal when he ran for office in 2006.

“And that is this: that I will be relentless, and that I will work very hard to be the best attorney general that I can be.”

To which the disappointed reporter, for the moment equally relentless, responds: “Will you serve your entire term as attorney general, or will you consider running for another office during your term, as Joe Lieberman did?”

The reporter, growing impatient, is under orders from his editor to dispel this nasty rumor.

Bysiewicz responds: “I pledge to work very vigorously to win a primary for attorney general, if there is one. I pledge to work very hard to win the attorney general election. And if I am privileged to be the holder of that office, I pledge to work very, very, hard to be the best attorney general I can be.”

Working very, very hard to bring back to the shop an unambiguous answer, the reporter makes one last desperate stab: “So, that’s a no then?”

Ah, but “Yes” and “No” are the Scylla and Charybdis of many a politician’s ship. Still, when Bysiewicz adds her final note, it is possible to detect in it a show of mercy. She must know the editor will beat up the reporter if he does not return with the journalistic bacon.

“I will work very hard…”

“Yes, I know… You’ve said that three times. I’m just asking you -- Yes or No -- will you remain in that office…

“One thing… one thing… I have learned about politics is never to speculate about the future because one never knows what the future will bring.”

A plain “Yes” to the question – “Yes, I do plan to serve out my term as attorney general, understanding that my answer precludes me from leaving the office prematurely to run for U.S. Senator – would be dreadfully inconvenient to Bysiewicz’s ambition; and, so far, nothing survivable has got between the lady and her ambition.

Attorney General Blumenthal’s ambition, with his 36,495 case backlog, certainly bears a striking resemblance to that of Mr. Macbeth. It would appear that Lady Macbeth understands Mr. Macbeth’s vaulting ambition well because she is, after all, made of the same stern stuff:

I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself,
And falls on th'other…

The reporter’s editor would understand.
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