Juliana Simone, for nine years the host of the Barkhamsted Republican Town Committee's political interview show "Conservative Chat and Chairman of the BRTC since 2009," has invited me to make a few impromptu remarks during the town’s biannual fundraiser on September 30. If anyone following Connecticut Commentary attends the event, please coral me and say hello.
I’ll be touching briefly on a few topics I’ve written about recently. There are some things I will not have time to address. Allow me to do so here.
Rob Simmons will be giving the keynote address. I think of Mr. Simmons -- though it may embarrass him – in connection with Winston Churchill’s formal entrée into British politics as a newly appointed Prime Minister of Britain. Following Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, World War II had begun, and Western Europe was under assault by Nazi Germany. Churchill mentioned the pummeling in his first speech to the House of Commons. He said, you may recall, that his government had nothing to offer Britain but “blood, toil, tears and sweat. Poor, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long while.” The attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entrée entry into the war occurred about a year after Churchill’s speech.
Counting his military service, Colonel Simmons has offered up his blood, toil and sweat in the service of his country for half a century. Unlike current U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, Mr. Simmons was an active participant in the Vietnam War for nineteen months, earning two bronze star medals at a time when Mr. Blumenthal, having exhausted his deferment campaign, was in Washington D.C. distributing toys to children. No one would have noted Mr. Blumenthal’s Toys For Tots service in D.C. had not candidate for the U.S. Senate Blumenthal falsely claimed or strongly suggested several times that he had served as a marine in Vietnam.
In the course of his career, Mr. Simmons has shed a few tears for his party, which has – in my not quite humble opinion -- won most of the arguments concerning the proper role of government in a nation of free men. Progressivism, as practiced by the Malloy-Obama administration, is an abject failure, as anyone may judge who has eyes to see. And yet the progressives have routed moderate Republicans in most of the centers of political power in Connecticut, admittedly an ultra-marine blue state. The members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation are all progressives, even those who pretend, for strategic reasons, to be moderates; such are Jim Himes, Joe Courtney and, when she is in the mood, Elizabeth Esty. Democrats occupying gerrymandered districts – John Larson in the 1st and Rosa DeLauro in the 3rd District have thrown off all pretense to moderation. Churchill would say “They are wolves in wolves clothing.”
Indeed, within the Democratic Party, moderation has been routed. Progressivism is triumphant. Governor Dannel Malloy marches on the picket line with union workers. In one of my more irreverent columns, I suggested that Republicans at the Capitol organize a picket line outside his office that he would not in good conscience cross in the performance of his political duties.
Now then, it’s important to understand that progressivism could not have taken such a gigantic leap forward without the active assistance of former Republican U.S. Senator Lowell Weicker who, as governor, was principally responsible for the passage of Connecticut’s income tax.
The income tax always has been the engine of progressivism’s forward motion, and it is important to remember that venerated moderate Democrats -- Governors Ella Grasso and Bill O’Neill come to mind – had vigorously opposed all attempts to impose an income tax on Connecticut. We may well ask, “Where have all the moderate Democrats gone?” Gone to graveyards, every one.
Since 1991, people in Connecticut have been reaping the noxious fruits of both the Weicker income tax and Connecticut’s progressive ascendancy. What are these fruits? In no order of importance, they are: a stagnant economy, business flight to states that offer less punishing economic environments, two malingering recessions, the near total disappearance of fathers as heads of households in Connecticut’s larger cities, more menacing and intrusive government, and a Republican Party so small in numbers that effective opposition appears to be pointless.
George Orwell used to say that the most difficult project for a writer was to describe accurately the reality that lies right under his nose. The same holds true for politicians. What is lying under our noses as I speak here is a state on the road to perdition, pushed forward by the good intentions of progressive Democrats. Some of us may recall our mothers telling us that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Everyone knows this. All the important indices in Connecticut point downward. They have too often been mentioned to recite them here. In Connecticut, we have a flourishing progressive governing class and an increasingly impoverished, weakened and dependent populace. The progressive governing class will, during the election now upon us, attempt to convince the weakened populace that progressive programs – higher taxes, more spending, a more intrusive government – are populist and popular. Republicans, who fervently desire a return to normalcy, are to be painted as extremists and abnormal. This is a vision of the world turned on its head. But what will you believe -- the reality that lies right under your nose, or the more pleasing fictions of progressive utopianists?
A private economy run by a progressive governor of Connecticut is not normal; it is ruinously abnormal. A libertinism that does not wince at partial birth abortion is not liberal or libertarian or humane; it is the very definition of irresponsible extremism. A welfare system that encloses in wonderfully constructed gilded cages the poor in our cities cannot guide the oppressed to a larger and more expansive liberty enjoyed by free men and women. A state that plunders its entrepreneurial class and distributes the revenue it has obtained to preferred businesses is a crony capitalist venture bordering on fascism that has no inkling of the inestimable values of a free market. A politics that perversely refuses to recognize constitutional limits – or, indeed, any limits at all – is a politics that invites the cleansing contempt of men and women who know what honor and justice mean.
These are the truths that lie under our noses. And it is the whole point and purpose of politics to point them out.
Here is a note from Julianna:
The Barkhamsted Republican Town Committee invites you to join us for our Biannual meet the candidate party, Tuesday, September 30th at 6:30PM at 20 River Rd. Political speakers: Jayson Veley, William Simanski, Kevin Witkos, Matthew Corey for Congress, Peter Lumaj Don Pesci Dave Walker for Tom Foley for Governor and Rob Simmons, Food and beverages along with a great crowd always ensure a good time at this event. Speeches will be taped by AMERIBORN NEWS. Donation: $20.pp