Could she be remarking on his spiffy new look? Or perhaps she is congratulating the recipient of NARAL’s (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws) attentions at having escaped the prosecutorial noose that hanged his campaign finance director and other staff members who worked on Mr. Donovan’s failed U.S. House bid in Connecticut’s 5th District.
The reporting on Mr. Donovan’s fall from grace into the clutches of an FBI sting operation has left a bad taste in the mouth of uber-progressive Democratic operative Tom Swan, Mr. Donovan’s former campaign manager. According to a report in the Hartford Courant, Mr. Swan has refused to speak with the paper in the absence of an apology for what he has called the Courant’s “character assassination [of Mr. Donovan] and lack of journalistic integrity” with respect to its reporting on the FBI sting operation.
Mr. Swan came late to the Donovan campaign for the 5th. He arrived on the scene after the FBI had sprung its trap, catching in its unforgiving jaws Mr. Donovan’s former campaign manager who, having determined not to cooperate in the FBI sting, was duly sent up the river.
A small book might easily be written about the 5th District races. Mr. Donovan was not alone in being swept up in the euphoria of election.
The FBI has been more than fair in its tortuous prosecutions. On the Republican side, former Governor and felon John Rowland, then a radio talk show host, was prosecuted and found guilty of corruption charges after Lisa-Wilson Foley, running on the Republican ticket for the U.S. House in the 5th, decided to cooperate in the FBI investigation and fed Mr. Rowland to the same sting-operators that had left not a scratch on Mr. Donovan’s Teflon coated reputation. Ms. Foley emerged from the ordeal with a whole hide, while Mr. Rowland, then a friendless journalist, was sent up the river – AGAIN, as Connecticut’s ink stained wretches noted in their reports. No Republican of any stature has told anyone in Connecticut’s media they will not talk to the press until political commentators apologize for having failed to come to the aid of a journalist who was exercising his First Amendment rights in preferring Ms. Foley to other Democrats in the 5th District field.
Largely because of the FBI prosecutions, the 5th District seat was taken by Democrat Elizabeth Esty, the principal beneficiary of the interventions. Along the way, Andrew Roraback, the Republican Party nominee for the seat, was given the editorial boot by the same people now snubbed by Mr. Swan. Mr. Roraback, whose position on abortion is as reliably left as that of Mr. Donovan, was later rewarded with an appointment to Connecticut’s Superior Court by Governor Dannel Malloy.
Despite Mr. Swan’s brief against newspapers, there are no Democratic losers following the “Taking of the Fifth” by Democrats. Mrs. Esty has just won re-election against a Republican Party candidate in the 5th whose testimony was at least partly responsible for the conviction of radio talk show host Rowland, Connecticut’s Republican Nixon. Mr. Roraback, shuttled off to Superior Court, has been removed as a possible future contender. And the progressive rehabilitation of Mr. Donovan, even Mr. Swan cannot have failed to notice, is well underway.
In late November, Donovan was honored by NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut for his advocacy on behalf of legalized abortion and access to birth control. Along with social worker Nancy Humphreys, he was awarded the group's Catherine Roraback Award, named after the civil rights attorney in Connecticut best known for representing Estelle Griswold and Dr. C. Lee Buxton in the famous 1965 Supreme Court case, Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized the use of birth control and created the precedent of the ‘right to privacy’ later employed by an imaginative Supreme Court to rid the United States of its anti-abortion demons. Catherine Roraback was Andrew Roraback’s cousin.
Mr. Donovan – “Connecticut’s best feminist,” according to a NARAList -- told the group during the ceremony that his path to feminism was curious: “I grew up in the '50s and '60s. There were a lot of women who set me straight." One of them was an emancipated woman who one day told Mr. Donovan that, going forward, she would not be shaving her underarms. Mr. Donovan’s first reaction was outrage, but the feminist set him straight: "We were outraged as men that she could even think to do that. But she would say to us, 'Why are you so upset about it? That's my choice ...' She helped teach us what it is all about."
Such was Mr. Donovan’s Damascus Road revelation. For the committed NAREList, there is little difference between declining to shave your underarms and procuring a partial birth abortion. Since stumbling over an FBI sting operation, “Connecticut’s best feminist” has plowed valiantly forward. One door is shut, another opens. Progress never ends, and neither does progressivism, the doctrine that everything but progressive government must be reformed. Some suspect there may be a future for Mr. Donovan in academia, a secular version of the purgatorium, where old progressives are held until the grim reaper comes a’calling.