"The sweet spot of the 4th District,” Himes said, “is socially progressive, business-oriented, and fiscally responsible, and I think that describes me. It's an interesting question, if you put Chris Shays between me and Dan Debicella [Himes’ Republican opponent], who he would be closer to."
There are some important differences between Himes and Shays. While in office, Mr. Shays had a RINO (Republican In Name Only) rating of 70%, which is to say he voted with his party in the congress 70% of the time, not a bad batting average for Republicans considered “moderate” by Connecticut’s left of center media. Mr. Himes’ DINO (Democrat In Name Only) rating is (94%), a score likely to raise the hackles only of progressive purists.
Shays chortles at Himes’ most recent ad, which confers upon the two year Rep. the following benediction: "After just two years, Jim Himes is New England's most independent Congressman."
Responding to Himes’ attempt to claim the “maverick” mantle once worn proudly by Shays, and before him by Republican senator and governor Lowell Weicker, the former U.S. Rep snorts, “This doesn't even meet the laugh test,"
The Himes ad is pitched at a district teetering between both parties that, some think, may have been radicalized by the national turn to the left of the present administration, thought to be Not Socialist In Name Only (NSINO) by some austere administration critics.
President Barack Obama may or may not be a kind of Bismarckian socialist, but he almost certainly is more than comfortable with command economies, edgy readings of the U.S. Constitution, and acquaintences whose pasts are, measured by stuffy New England standards, questionable: Domestic terrorist Bill Ayres comes to mind.
Within the last two years, Obama’s public ratings have plummeted roughly in-sync with the sinking national economy. Republican U.S. senatorial candidate Peter Schiff, an Austrian school libertarian economic guru, may have disappeared from Connecticut TV screens, but Schiff still is, to turn a phrase of Karl Marx, the ghost haunting Connecticut’s mid-term elections. Schiff is predicting a depression on the horizon; other reputable right of center economists are predicting another and more severe recession.
Schiff is not alone. Here is a graph taken almost at random from the Obama friendly New York Times. The title of the piece is, “Policy Options Dwindle as Economic Fears Grow”:
“Yet even as vital signs weaken — plunging home sales, a bleak job market and, on Friday, confirmation that the quarterly rate of economic growth had slowed, to 1.6 percent — a sense has taken hold that government policy makers cannot deliver meaningful intervention. That is because nearly any proposed curative could risk adding to the national debt — a political nonstarter. The situation has left American fortunes pinned to an uncertain remedy: hoping that things somehow get better.”When former Chairman of the Democratic Party Chris Droney appeared along with Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy on Face the State recently and told Dennis House that a visit to Connecticut by either Obama or Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi would not be helpful, Droney’s premonition was discounted by present state Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo and a few other querulous Democrats. Droney, it should be said to his credit, is an old-time Democrat who would, if he could, put the contact back in our political contact sport.
Himes, who rode to victory over Shays on Obama’s coattails, said he would welcome a visit by the Obama- Pelosi team.
"The president is always welcome in Fairfield County," Himes said concerning the president’s upcoming fundraising trip to Connecticut, but he offered a caveat: Himes, in Droney’s estimation the most independent congressman in Connecticut’s congressional delegation, could not commit to being present during the president’s trip. Important prescheduled appearances must be honored.
The president, whose approval rating has dropped in the state, is an understanding fellow. A reader of the New York Times, he is still full of hope that his remedies for a plunging economy may take hold. A rising tide, President John Kennedy, once said will lift all the boats, Himes’ bark among them.
Most Republicans, some Democrats and Independents, polls indicate, are less sanguine.