Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is Elizabeth Esty Turning Into A Mud Wrestler?


Connecticut’s 5th District has always swung like a pendulum between Democrats and Republicans. This election year, Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty will be facing Republican challenger Mark Greenberg in what promises to be a bruising contest.

Democratic Party ghouls already have put together a campaign dirt book on the inoffensive Mr. Greenberg. No doubt the load of dirt already has been sifted by the Esty campaign; in every political pig heap one may expect to find at least one salient point of information.

Investigative journalist for the Hartford Courant Jon Lender got hold of the dirt bag and splashed some of its contents in the paper. We discover from Mr. Lender’s account of the Democrat’s dirt bag book that Mr. Greenberg is Jewish, apparently not a good thing, although past Attorney General and current U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal is also Jewish, apparently a good thing. We discover that Mr. Greenberg, a successful businessman, made much of his money in real estate, apparently a bad thing. Mr. Blumenthal – who recent dropped from the fourth to the seventh richest man in the U.S. House – also came by his riches through real estate; his lovely wife, Cynthia Malkin, is the daughter of Isabel Wien Malkin and Peter L. Malkin. The Malkin family owns 10 million square feet of real estate, including the Empire State Building.

A little less than a year ago, according to a Daily News story, “a group of stakeholders in the world-famous tower had filed a class action suit alleging that the Malkin family, which manages the skyscraper, had cost them more than $400 million by ignoring lucrative cash offers before going public.” 

Mr. Blumenthal, who came by his fortune the easy way – by marrying into it – is not yet the most prominent Jewish politician in Connecticut, a lot that falls to Abraham Ribicoff, who had the good fortune of being a Democrat in ultramarine blue New England. Mr. Ribicoff's service was varied: He was a U.S. Congressman, the 80th Governor of Connecticut and President John F. Kennedy's Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. Former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, also Jewish, has a long record of service in the U.S. Congress as well as the State Attorney General’s office.

Alas, Mr. Greenberg is not a progressive Democrat. He is a right of center Republican; therefore, his path to office will be strewn with mud balls.

Democrats are much better than Republicans at slinging mud. “Throw enough mud,” said Cardinal John Henry Newman, “and some will stick – stick but not stain.” In political campaigns, mud throwers are content with the mud that sticks. A temporary blotch is more useful than no blotch at all.

Connecticut Democrats vying for re-election this year are going to have a tough row to hoe for several reasons.

The Democratic lodestone, President Barack Obama, the titular head of the Democratic Party, has lost much of his magnetism, partly as a result of near comic blunders in foreign policy. How did we arrive at a point in foreign policy in which ex-KGB agent and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose principal Middle East clients are Iran and Syria, now stands to benefit from an attack by the U.S. military on ISIS?  The sense among most Americans these days is that events are in the saddle riding Mr. Obama, the Congress and all the members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation.

In Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy -- whose progressive program, replete with favors handed out to mega-billion dollar companies, eerily resembles the progressive giveaways of Mr. Obama – continues to dip in the polls. While the nation recovered from the recession more than five years ago, Connecticut has recovered only about half of the jobs it lost during Mr. Obama’s stunted and long delayed recovery. In a speech given to the New York Economic Club in 1963, President John Kennedy taught us how properly to recover from a recession: unchain entrepreneurial activity by reducing regulations and taxes. This is not the trumpet being blown by Connecticut progressives.

Mud throwing will always be the default position in politics. If your political jihad is not wafting you into office – mud will do. If you cannot beat your opponent by an articulate defense of your record, beat him up.

Most recently, Ms. Esty had clumsily attempted to tie Mr. Greenberg to the Democrat Party’s perennial tar baby, former Governor John Rowland, now on trial in New Haven.

Through her spokeswoman, Laura Maloney, Mrs. Esty called upon Mr. Greenberg “to immediately tell voters of the 5th District the whole story about his extended involvement with an ex-felon. If Mark Greenberg can’t stand up to John Rowland, how can voters expect him to stand up for them?”

Evidently, Mrs. Esty has not been reading newspaper accounts of the Tar Baby trial in which Mr. Greenberg had testified AGAINST Mr. Rowland as a PROSECUTION witness.

In what may be the gentlest put-down in recent campaigns, Mr. Greenberg’s attorney wrote in response to Mrs. Esty, “As you should be aware, Mr. Greenberg's testimony was as a friendly, cooperative witness for the government. Any attempts to undermine the credibility of Mr. Greenberg, as a witness for the government, might have the inadvertent effect of actually assisting Mr. Rowland in his defense. Presumably, that is not your intent."

That last line will lay upon Mrs. Esty’s heart like an anvil for the duration of the campaign. Presumably, Mrs. Esty’s intent was to reach into the Rowland trial muck pit, fetch out a handful of gunk and tar Mr. Greenberg, a witness for the prosecution.

Nice try, but no cigar this time.
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