Friday, September 17, 2010

Eleanor Holmes Norton Holds Her Nose And Makes The Call: Connecticut Dems Greet Obama

Some Democrats, distressed over the pull lobbyists have on the U.S. Congress, may have wondered to themselves “What do anti-lobbyist Democrats – the sort of folk who appeal to Joe Lunchpail on the stump by denigrating Wall Street in favor of Main Street – actually say when they pick up the phone and try to tease some money from Mr. Moneybags.

Wonder no longer.

Here is Eleanor Holmes Norton selling her patrimony for a mess of pottage:

"This is, uh, Eleanor Norton, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Uh, I noticed that you have given to uh, other colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. I am a, um, Senior Member, a twenty year veteran and am Chair of the Sub-committee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. I’m handling the largest economic development project in the United States now, the Homeland Security Compound of three buildings being built on the uh, old St. Elizabeth’s hospital site in the District of Columbia along with uh, fifteen other, uh, sites here for, that are part of the stimulus .
I was, frankly, uh, uh, surprised to see that we don’t have a record, so far as I can tell, of your having given to me despite my uh, long and deep uh, work. In fact, it’s been my major work, uh, on the committee and sub-committee it’s been essentially in your sector. I am, I’m simply candidly calling to ask for a contribution. As the senior member of the um, committee and a sub-committee chair, we have (chuckles) obligations to raise, uh funds. And, I think it must have been me who hasn’t, frankly, uh, done my homework to ask for a contribution earlier. So I’m trying to make up for it by asking for one now, when we particularly, uh, need, uh contributions, particularly those of us who have the seniority and chairmanships and are in a position to raise the funds. I’m asking you to give to Citizens for Eleanor Holmes Norton, PO Box 70626, DC, 20024. I’ll send you a follow-up note with appreciation for having heard me out. Thanks again."
A sound record of Ms. Norton’s warbling may be found here.

Mr. Green Descends To The Lower Depths

Mr. Rick Green, Courant columnist, was not able to arrange a private interview with President Barack Obama during his visit to the nutmeg state, possibly because his employers do not pay him $ 30,000 an hour and, like the rest of us, he could not afford the price of admission to Mr. Obama’s plush Connecticut appearance.

In Stamford, Mr. Obama joined Attorney General Richard Blumenthal – one of the few hearty in-state Democrats who were willing to appear with Mr. Obama on a dais, the rest having better things to do than to get themselves snapped in pictures with a president whose popularity in deep blue Connecticut is on the wane – to raise some cash; the Obama/Blumenthal/Democratic Party take was a cool million.

Mr. Money Magnet was whisked away from Stamford, without having had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Green, to dine with some of the denizens of Wall Street in Greenwich, where Mr. Blumenthal lives.

The Obama administration seemed concerned to put a ten foot pole between the president, Mr. Blumenthal and Connecticut's clamorous media. WFSB reporter Susan Raff noted:

Media were kept a good distance away from tonight’s fundraiser for senate candidate Dick Blumenthal headlined by President Obama. Reporters and photographers were kept blocks away from the Stamford Marriott.

“This was very different from the last time the President came to campaign for a senate candidate,” Raff explained, saying the October event with Senator Chris Dodd was much more accessible. “All of the television stations and reporters were allowed into the room where Dodd and Obama appeared. Tonight only one pool camera was allowed and no local cameras were allowed anywhere near the President or the hotel. We were not allowed to see who was entering the fundraiser,” Raff said.

Gluttons for punishment, friends of the fabulously rich and aptly named Rich Richman, Obama’s Greenwich host, coughed up more cash at a $30,000 a plate dinner that would have brought a smile to the lips of Caligula, who liked dinner parties at which he could pilfer his guests for contributions.

Chris Keating, a Courant reporter, noted in his story one other brave Democrat at “the star-spangled dinner” who apparently cared less about his reputation than the quivering members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, whose presence was not noted in connection with the Greenwich bash, “which raised $1 million for the Democratic National Committee.” Attending Mr. Obama were “longtime Greenwich director Ron Howard, ‘Doonesbury’ cartoonist Garry Trudeau and his wife, television journalist Jane Pauley. Blumenthal was seated toward the back of the vaulted-ceiling dining room in the $16 million mansion, while Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dannel Malloy was seated near the front.”

Deprived of Mr. Obama’s company, Mr. Green decided to mingle with a few hearty tea party patriots protesting opposite the hotel where Mr. Obama, dry and inside and loaded with cash, was praising the virtues of Mr. Blumenthal.

It was raining. Mr. Green, sprinkled like a morning daisy with dew, reached out to the assembled protestors and offered them a sign of peace:

“Actually, I think government is too big. I didn't want Chris Dodd re-elected. A Republican governor might be a good idea. I'm tired of handouts to Wall Street fat cats. I think it's a good idea to have conservatives and liberals representing us. But what's with all this anger and hyperbole?

“Well, it [the tea party movement] isn't so fringe anymore, as I'm sure Richard Blumenthal will at some point realize.”

And tea party revelers, I am told, figure that at some point Mr. Green will realize, to his dismay, that the tea party movement was NEVER a fringe phenomena, as some suppose who confuse political theatre with effective political action.

The McMahon Reaction

As might be expected, the Obama/Blumenthal love fest did not go down well with the McMahon campaign. McMahon communication Director Ed Patru reviewed the proceedings in a media release:

“It’s Friday, and the Cook Political Report says Connecticut’s U.S. Senate race is now a tossup. We spent all morning scouring the papers looking for signs that Dick Blumenthal stood up to Washington last night and gave the President a piece of his mind, but all we’re finding are pictures like this and this. “Washington isn’t listening, and Washington isn’t working for ordinary people,” said Blumenthal, exactly one month before yesterday’s lovefest with the man running Washington. In fairness to Dick Blumenthal, he is a career politician so he has a legitimate excuse for the hypocrisy.

“While Blumenthal is busy raising more special interest money, we’re focusing on Fightin’ Dick Blumenthal’s one-man assault on the middle class. But before we do that, let’s fire up the time machine and go back to the last time Dick Blumenthal had the power to write laws: the date is June 1989.

“’Have they no shame?’ asked the Hartford Courant in an editorial reaction, shortly after state lawmaker Dick Blumenthal voted to increase state taxes by about a billion dollars. “There is no fairness in increasing the highest state sales tax in the nation to a still higher level, in taxing meals under $2 and in imposing more taxes on telephone bills. There is no honor in retelling that lie that Connecticut has no income tax while taxing income from capital gains, dividends and savings accounts. There is only deception in the claim that many of the new taxes will not hurt the people because they will hit businesses and not people.”

“Twenty-one years after voting for what the Hartford Courant described as “the largest tax increase in state history,” Dick Blumenthal is back at it again. This time he’s fighting for not only a job-killing tax on small businesses, but also a massive tax on the middle class and working poor. Blumenthal led the fight for a regressive national energy tax that would raise electricity prices in Connecticut by an average of $925 per household and increase the cost of a gallon of gas by 68 cents. Blumenthal’s assault on the middle class will cost this state over 13,500 jobs, reduce income for families by almost $2 billion, and cut the gross state product by $5 billion. Dick Blumenthal’s letter lobbying for a Cap and Trade energy tax is available here.
“Blumenthal’s national energy tax is so extreme that even with a “Democratic supermajority” in the Senate, his big-government allies are struggling to pass it because it would “increase the national debt, kill millions of jobs, reduce personal income and wealth, and lop trillions off the national gross domestic product.” The Waterbury Republican-American explained in a recent editorial:

“James R. Copland, director of the Center for Legal Policy at the Manhattan Institute, writes in [Investors Business Daily] that Mr. Blumenthal, seven other attorneys general and others have sought to circumvent the Constitution through a taxpayer-funded federal lawsuit, filed in 2004, against five power companies. Dismissed in 2005 but revived last fall, the suit seeks to hold the companies liable ‘for contributing to an ongoing public nuisance, global warming,’ and demands the court impose caps on their greenhouse-gas emissions, similar to those in cap-and-tax.”

“Dick Blumenthal’s tax-hiking assault on the middle class isn’t just out of touch, it’s extreme.
“In a press conference yesterday that can only be described as bizarre, Blumenthal attacked Linda McMahon with a patently false and discredited Washington-produced talking point on tax cuts:
“’Some Republicans, including my opponent, are seeking to block, those middle class family tax cuts unless and until the wealthiest families receive tax cuts as well, that's wrong.’
 “There is no meaningful disagreement in Washington – or in Connecticut, for that matter – on extension of the Bush tax cuts that directly apply to the middle class. Dick Blumenthal knows this, and he’s being untruthful … again. The President, Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, Blumenthal and Linda all support extending those cuts. The debate is whether to raise taxes on small businesses, and as of today, there is no bipartisan support for raising taxes on individuals earning over $200,000 and households earning over $250,000; all of the bipartisanship is on the side of preserving those tax cuts. Even Nancy Pelosi seems to be wavering in her support for higher taxes, according to Politico, now that 31 Members of her caucus have come out in opposition to higher taxes.”
The primary season is now over.
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