Governor Dannel Malloy’s non-campaign for governor is an insider joke among virtually all Connecticut journalists. If it talks like a campaign, is attended by prominent politicians and holds media availabilities at the home of U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro – it’s a campaign.
Mr. Malloy’s non-campaign status allows him to shrug off as pointless the usual campaign confrontations among viable candidates. His is a stealth campaign that permits his campaign designers to preview possible themes without making commitments to specific proposals.
Until May, when he will formally unfurl his campaign banners, Mr. Malloy’s campaign will be on hiatus. Specific questions put to him by Connecticut’s news media will be handled by functionaries or out of pocket strategists such as former gubernatorial spokesman Roy Occhiogrosso, a Vice President of Global Strategy. These responses – because they cannot be attributed directly To Mr. Malloy -- will be non-committal and every bit as inscrutable as the declarations of the Oracle at Delphi.
Q: Governor Malloy, are you running for office right now?
A: What a silly question. I’m governing at the moment. The state is in a perilous condition, owing mostly to the incompetence of my predecessors, and must be saved immediately. See me in May, won’t you?
Q: You mean you can’t chew gum and walk at the same time?
He can do both, and does both with a flourish.
Here is the lede and second paragraph on a story in the Branford Eagle:
“Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the coy candidate-in waiting, left no doubt Sunday evening that he is running for election this year and offered a preview stump speech on issues on which he is considered vulnerable: the economy and handling of state finances.
“Malloy gave the preview at the New Haven home of U.S. Rosa DeLauro at what was billed as “the kick-off campaign” for Congressional and state office holders. After DeLauro introduced him as a person ‘who has been making a difference in the lives of the people,’ Malloy dived into the campaign pitch.”
Campaign pitch? Surely, the reporter intended to write “non-campaign-campaign pitch.”
“Let me tell you,” Mr. Malloy told his audience, members of the Hilltop Brigade, campaign workers who knock on doors for Democratic candidates in even-numbered election years, “we have come through some of the toughest times, a $3.6 billion deficit.” But now, Mr. Malloy said, “we have a $550 million surplus. That’s progress.”
Actually, it’s not. It’s a progressive non-campaign baloney sandwich, but the imposture will not likely dampen the robotic enthusiasm of the Hilltop Brigade campaign workers itching to push forward Mr. Malloy’s “non-campaign.” A surplus is what remains after all the bills have been paid. Connecticut’s bills are large and longstanding. The state’s long term debt reached $64.6 billion last January, according to a report released by the Office of Policy Management.
Mr. Malloy came through the tough $3.6 billion deficit by imposing on everyone a broad- based $1.8 billion tax increase, the largest in Connecticut history. His first budget was not at all an exercise in bi-partisan budget making: Mr. Malloy simply shooed Republicans from the budget making table, convinced the dominant Democratic General Assembly to pre-approve a budget he later would negotiate with SEBAC union leaders, and then appended to his budget a promise of future savings the benefits of which would not be realized until years later. According to the non-partisan budget projections, a new deficit of $2 billion awaits Connecticut tax payers in the next two year budget cycle. First a slice of tax increases, then a lot of spending, and then another slice of possible tax increases – the usual progressive baloney sandwich.
“There were zero dollars in the rainy day fund,” Mr. Malloy told his campaign workers. “Now on July 1 we will have $550 million in the rainy day fund. That’s progress.”
Connecticut’s rainy day fund is simply a slush fund for incumbent politicians, shamelessly raided whenever the General Assembly spends too much money and fears to finance its debts through further tax increases or real spending decreases, not an incapacitating fear among progressive Malloyalists. Tax increases will be held in abeyance by progressives until they are safely re-elected to office, after which taxes and then spending will both be increased to mollify the permanent government, most importantly the leaders of SEBAC with whom Mr. Malloy negotiates his budgets. There is no end to the progressive roundel – tax, spend, tax – short of bankruptcy.
Detroit awaits -- a perfect example of good intentions paving the road to Hell. And the kind of crony capitalism practiced by Mr. Malloy is one among many directional signs pointing the way.