Thursday, December 26, 2013

McEnroe, A Thousand Laughs


One of the problems with columns written by humorists is that they may be taken seriously when they are intended as humor or – worse – they may be taken humorously when they are intended to be taken seriously. This was the curse that followed Mark Twain to the end of his days.

So too with Mr. McEnroe. “Give me the right guy,” he has said , “and I’ll vote GOP for once.”

Mr. McEnroe’s humor rests, like a coiled snake, in that “for once.” Has he ever voted for a Republican?

Not likely. Let the word go round at the Hartford Courant that any of its columnists voted Republican, and they would never survive the shattering laughter that would greet them when they sit down at their keyboards to advise Republicans who they ought to nominate to run against, say, U.S. Representative John Larson in the 1st District, or Rosa DeLauro in the 3rd District, both of whom are certain to die in office, Ms. DeLauro dressed as a 1930’s flapper, hip to the last.

Mr. McEnroe goes on to list the “wrong” guys: Tom Foley for governor; Mark Greenberg for the Congressional 5th District; Martha Dean for…  well, anything at all.

Perhaps the Republican GOP should take Mr. McEnroe at his word and offer him an opportunity to run on the Republican ticket in the 1st District against Mr. Larson. Mr. McEnroe, of a certainty, would be the “right guy” and someone on the GOP ticket he could vote for – “for once.”

Here is the ticklish question: Supposing Mr. McEnroe were to accept the GOP offer to run against Mr. Larson, how many votes would he garner from the editors and columnists and reporters at the Hartford Courant?

He should not be hasty in answering the question.

Years ago, when Barbara Kennelly held the seat, the sacrificial offering put up by the GOP was a very sweet, intelligent engineer who worked for Combustion Engineering, which went out of business after Connecticut became impatient with nuclear producers.

One day, the hapless GOP challenger called and lamented that he was not being covered properly by Connecticut’s left of center media, and could I do a few columns on his effort to overthrow the daughter of Connecticut’s last Democratic Party boss?

Of course I could – and did. He turned out to be a very respectable candidate. But the 1st District was then, as it is now, an unassailable Democratic fortress. He lost. But that was not what grieved him. What busted him up was that Combustion had given more money in campaign contributions to Mrs. Kennelly than to him -- a faithful employee of Combustion.

I wrote a last commiserating column that said, “If the Democratic Party were to run a fire hydrant in the 1st District and the GOP were to run God, the hydrant would undoubtedly win.” Ms. Kennelly’s communications’ director was not amused.

The GOP should seriously make Mr. McEnroe an offer and run him against Mr. Larson. Everyone would benefit from the arraignment: Mr. McEnroe would – "for once" – be able to vote for a Republican acceptable to him; the campaign would produce a thousand laughs, and the GOP would lose nothing in the venture they would not have lost had they run Martha Dean or God in the First District. 
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