Monday, October 20, 2014

Republican Chances: Hopkins-Cavanagh in the 2nd

Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh ,  a Republican running for the U.S. House in Connecticut’s sprawling 2nd District, is uniquely situated to unleash a thunderbolt against supporters of President Barack Obama such as U.S. Representative Joe Courtney, who wrested the seat from former Republican U.S. Representative Rob Simmons in 2006.

Mr. Simmons lost to Mr. Courtney by a heart thumping 167 votes of more than 242,000 cast. An automatic recount concluded early in November showed Mr. Courtney winning by a slender 91 votes. Since then, Mr. Simmons has moved on to other pursuits: Yes, Virginia, there is life after Congressional politics. Now the Chairman of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, a flickering conservative-libertarian candle in Connecticut’s bleak mid-Winter, Mr. Simmons  recently was appointed to the Board of Selectmen to fill a Republican vacancy in his beloved hometown of Stonington.

The 2nd District, not yet gerrymandered by ambitious incumbent politicians, has tossed aside both Republican and Democratic Representatives with equal fervor. Acreage-wise, the 2nd is the Ponderosa of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional districts. An aerial view of Connecticut would show the 2nd covering nearly half the state. Containing a portion of Connecticut called “ The Quiet Corner,” the district is rapturously the sort of place in which “throw the bums out” signs might gaily sprout on every lawn, if the folk who live there were not quite so quiet and safely removed geographically from the hurly- burly of Hartford politics. A “throw the bums out” mood can only help Republican Congressional Delegation challengers, since the entire delegation is Democratic, and progressive -- and tied to the apron strings of a president whose foreign policy is a wreck from without, even as his domestic policy is a wreck from within.

On the continuing mortgage crisis, Hopkins-Cavanaugh speaks authoritatively. She has been for years a licensed real estate broker and owner of a successful real estate brokerage company in New London.

During their most recent debate in New London, Mr. Courtney damned with faint praise the efforts of the Obama administration to bring the nation out of its housing  mortgage death spiral; he remarked that the real estate market was showing “signs of life.” Connecticut Commentary noted many moons ago that if Mr. Obama had during his first term in office devoted his energy to settling the mortgage crisis that had caused the national financial collapse at the tail end of the Bush administration, he would today be sitting in fields of clover, impervious to nagging Republican criticisms. Instead, Mr. Obama reached for an old progressive brass ring – health care nationalization. The new way of nationalizing an industry in America is through excessive regulation.  In November, shortly after the election, insurance companies, attempting to satisfy the requirements of Obamacare, will be dumping millions of people from their rolls, as the housing recovery limps into the future.

“Eight years after the housing bubble burst,” Mrs. Hopkins Cavanagh noted following New London debate, “the 64 towns and cities in the Second Congressional District have yet to see a housing recovery, and that is indefensible. The housing market in the District is dire. Pending sales statistics, underwater homes and foreclosed inventory paints (sic) a gloomy picture for the long-term. All six counties in the second District were relatively flat instead of declining only because the Federal Government withheld a sizable inventory of foreclosed homes during the summer in order to stabilize the declining market. This is not ‘a sign of life.’”

Crossing her “t’s” and dotting her “i’s, Mrs. Hopkins-Cavanaugh produced a Zillow interactive map showing the percentage of homes in the 2nd District that were “in negative equity”; the value or equity in such homes is less than the total mortgage owned by the householder, not the happiest of circumstances. These are real lashes felt on the backs of Mr. Courtney’s constituents. “Mr. Courtney,” said Mrs. Hopkins-Cavanaugh, through his support of defective presidential programs, relentlessly continues “to destroy the American Dream in Connecticut.”

“Well over a quarter of the homes in the 2nd District,” Mrs. Hopkins Cavanagh pointed out, “remain deeply underwater.” The distress is more profound in the District’s inner cities. All over Connecticut, cities get the flu when the suburbs have the sniffles.

A woman – and therefore immune to the imputation that she, like other Republicans, is conducting a war on women – Mrs. Hopkins-Cavanagh would be, if the 2nd District were to send her to Washington, a rarity among public servants. She is Republican from the top of her head to the tips of her toes, while all the current members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation are Democrats serving at a time when the U.S. House is nearly certain to remain in Republican hands. This election season, Republicans also have a strong chance of capturing the U.S. Senate. Mrs. Hopkins-Cavanagh is at least as energetic, and far less a bully, than that fiery ball of misplaced energy, Governor Dannel Malloy. And within the 2nd District, she very well may be yet another Claire Booth Luce, the 4th District Republican Congresswoman whom Franklin Roosevelt once dismissed as “a sharp-tongued glamor girl of forty." The witty Luce, rarely at a loss for words, returned fire, characterizing Roosevelt as “the only American president who ever lied us into a war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it," a shoe that very well may fit the foot of the current president.
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