Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mr. Blumenthal, This Is Your Wake Up Call

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s lead, a robust 40% when he first entered the U.S. senate race, has now been whittled down to 7%. The whole of the loss cannot be attributed to his casual relationship with the truth, and only part of it can be put down to Linda McMahon’s millions.

The lady sure knows how to advertise.

Mrs. McMahon’s considerable fortune permits her to sidestep the usual power brokers, including the mainstream media (MSM), who recently stepped up, to little avail, to revive former Rep. Rob Simmon’s moribund and penniless campaign. The MSM has contracted McMahonphobia in part because she is rich. The MSM has always suffered from pecuniaphobia. Note to the reader, if there is a reader: Don’t bother to look it up. The word has been newly minted from the Latin "money" (pecunia) and "fear of" (phobia) and, as its step-father, I fully expect to be credited whenever it is used.

This annoying sidestepping steams the MSM because they want a hand at determining events. In the old days, when the good old boys in the smoke filed rooms determined the make-up of political tickets, esteemed representatives of the MSM were in the room with the rest – political bosses, captains of industry, union leaders, campaign financiers -- smoking up a storm and determining the fate of state and nation.

Times change.

But why does it make sense, some Blumenthal watchers are asking, for the patron saint of citizens oppressed by lawless capitalism to pass his campaign days drowsing in a coffin and declining to confront Mrs. McMahon at every possible opportunity?

Mr. Blumenthal is a perfect target for ad-battering – ONLY if he absents himself from frequent direct engagement. Eventually, even given the support of the MSM he has earned during 20 years of truckling to it as attorney general, that 7% will be whittled away to zero, at which point people are bound to wonder: What are ya a’feared of Mr. Blumenthal?

As attorney general, a righteous wind of 200 and more lawyers at his back, Mr. Blumenthal has been a familiar actor on Connecticut’s political stage for two decades, and no one, during his many press conferences, has seen him blanched, timid, hanging back, drooping with anomie, listless, non-confrontational, docile.

Is this sad sack, some are now wondering, the battling attorney general who brought the cancer causing tobacco industry to heel, fearlessly confronted the makers of Fruit Loops, and valiantly protested erotic service ads on Craig’s list but not, unaccountably, in Connecticut’s Advocate newspapers?

When, Mr. Blumenthal’s fan base is asking, will Achilles come out of his tent and do battle? What the deuce is all the moping about?

Although Mr. Blumenthal has been running for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s soon to be abandoned seat ever since Mr. Dodd threw in the towel months ago, there is not a single person in Connecticut who could tell you what Mr. Blumenthal’s position is on an array of important issues. His thin soup U.S. Senate campaign site is full of the most glittering generalities.

President Barack Obama, the nominal head of the national Democratic Party, announced on August 14, during an Iftar meal at the White House for Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast, his position on the siting of an Islamic mosque and cultural center close to the cavity in New York where once stood the World Trade Center towers destroyed on 9-11 by jihadist terrorists. The issue certainly is a matter of some importance to Connecticut and other states contiguous to New York. Many Connecticut citizens died in the attack.

Mr. Obama said the United States could not deny a recognized religion, Islam, the same constitutional rights that other religions in the United States enjoy. Muslims, he said “have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country," which includes “the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan… This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are." New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who favors the building of the Mosque and cultural center, dubbed the president’s remarks a "clarion defense of the freedom of religion."

One looks in vain for a similar clarion call in Mr. Blumenthal’s campaign site, which is passing strange, since 9-11 directly touched hearts and minds in Connecticut with its red tooth and claw. Mr. Blumenthal also has a direct family connection to important properties in New York. His wife’s family owns the Empire State Building and other significant properties in the city. In addition, Mr. Blumenthal, as attorney general, has prided himself on a thoroughgoing understanding of both property and constitutional law.

It is a little disconcerting for those who admire such a bold and active attorney general to watch his mind and heart break down as he moves from his present position towards the U.S. congress. If five months before possibly being sworn in as Connecticut’s junior U.S. senator, Mr. Blumenthal cannot venture an opinion on matters of such moment to Connecticut, why should anyone trust him to come down on the right side of all the other important issues unaddressed on his campaign site?
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