Democrats in Connecticut are more efficient than Republicans in utilizing human resources. During the last non-presidential election, national Republicans on the right appeared to have caught up with the left. It was owing in large part to the most animated wing of the Republican Party – patriot tea party people, but libertarians and conservatives as well -– that Republicans were able to bring into the U.S. Congress and state houses across the nation a rich harvest.
In Connecticut, the harvest was meager -- and bitter. Republicans sent two new senators and 15 House members to the General Assembly, but they lost the governorship by the thinnest of margins, in part because of a stubborn resistance among status quo Republicans to the party’s most active element. Perhaps members of the town committees and the Republican Party Central Committee thought they could harness the storm they saw brewing elsewhere in the nation without also making room in the breast of the party for the lightning bolts.
To tell the truth, the status quo Republican Party has for a long time been an endangered species. It was status quo Republicans in 1991 that did not take up arms energetically against then Gov. Lowell Weicker’s ruinous income tax. The tornado of resistance, led by Tom Scott and Joe Markley, both of whom have now reentered Connecticut politics through different doors, was an epiphenomena. Joe Markley is once again a state senator, and Tom Scott, along with publisher of National Review Jack Fowler, recently opened The Roger Sherman Liberty Center, a organization dedicated to righting Connecticut’s tottering ship of state. The center’s first radio program on WDRC, following the Brad Davis Talk of Connecticut program, will air with Mr. Scott next Saturday.
Since 1991, the state has seen a quantitative rather than a qualitative change in our politics: Debts are three times deeper; unions are more importunate; and the usual solution to state debt – get more tax money from the guy behind the tree – is, quite simply, unavailable. The state is “already broke,” the non-partisan Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants asserted in a stunning report in mid-April that should stiffen the spines of Republicans on town committees and at Party Central. If there is anything more broke than state government, it may be the citizenry of the state, the poor, the middle class and the entrepreneurial class, sometimes called, for tendentious political reasons, “the rich.”
The wings of both parties are moved by winds of authenticity. The operative principals of the left and right, much different in both parties, will not allow support for those who sell their principals thoughtlessly for a mess of political pottage. It has been unprincipled compromisers who have dug our red ditch. Mr. Weicker fancied himself a pragmatist, and the fruit of his labors was an income tax sufficient to pay off a budget of $7.5 billion; the present budget is nearly three times as large, though not yet as massive as the egos of those, untethered by solid principles, who shuck off their responsibilities in these calamitous times to their state and nation. The right in the Republican Party will work to elect authentic Republicans, and they are prepared to support the real article with, as the Declaration of Independence has it, their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
Conservativism is a philosophy of limits, constitutional, social and political. In a time of destructive debt, social anarchy and political effrontery that knows no bounds, it is a necessary and salutary correction. It is long past time for the Connecticut Republican Party both to open wide its arms to this correction and purge its ranks of status quo politicians and compromisers who have shown themselves to be unwilling to fight the good fight.
Last month, the right in Connecticut burst with indignation when it discovered that Dennis Cleary, a Republican Central Committee member of long standing, had made political contributions to U.S. Democrats Reps. John Larson and Joe Courtney in 2007. Mr. Larson’s 1st District, perhaps one of the most impregnable Democratic strongholds in the Western hemisphere, surely does not need monetary help from Republicans serving on the Central Committee. During the mid-term elections, Ann Brickley ran an energetic campaign against Mr. Larson on a shoe string budget; Mrs. Brickley had but $250,000 in her campaign kitty, Mr Larson $2.7 million. Of the two, Mr. Larson was, contribution wise, the millionaire in the race. Mr. Cleary is said to be a lobbyist, in addition to being a committee member. If so, Mr. Cleary may have been attempting by his contribution to purchase the senator’s ear, when he should have been attempting to purchase a victory for Republicans.
Elections to the Republican Central Committee are coming up in a couple of weeks, and it will be very difficult for any of the members on the committee who value limits to explain to any Republican voter how the party plans to defeat such as Larson and Courtney without first defeating those lobbyists among them who have chosen business interests over their share of honor.
The time to fight is now. Republicans need a Harry at the Helm of their party.
When they find him, they will win battles.