Friday, April 21, 2017

Connecticut’s Coming Primary Circus

Governor Dannel Malloy assured Connecticut’s Democratic Party, early on in the political season, that he will not be running for a third term. Democrats are rather hoping this may somewhat deflate the Republican march to the governor’s office. There are two groups that have been running against Mr. Malloy during his two terms: Republican gubernatorial hopefuls patiently awaiting the moment Mr. Malloy would throw his hat in the ring once again, and Mr. Malloy himself, whose progressive political prescriptions have curdled. His own worst enemy, Republicans will sadly bid Mr. Malloy good-bye.

Not so Democrats. Mr. Malloy’s not unexpected announcement has thrown wide the door to multiple possibilities. Perhaps the most amusing is the non-announcement of Democratic President Pro Tem of the Senate, Martin Looney, who was asked if he had plans to enter the gubernatorial race. Mr. Looney did have such plans, but they were narrowly circumscribed by conditions: if Mr. Malloy would do Mr. Looney the courtesy of leaving office before his term expired, launching Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman into the governor’s seat; and if Ms. Wyman were to decline to run as governor; and if Jupiter were perfectly aligned with Mercury, bringing in the Age of Aquarius – then Mr. Looney might consider running for governor.

That’s a no.

Mr. Malloy’s terms in office have not been Camelot. After two massive Malloy tax increases, the governor and Democrat controlled General Assembly are still struggling to discharge deficits, largely because the ruling party has pointedly avoided noticing any connection between massive increases in revenue and increased spending. Democrats are hoping that a change of riders, if not horses, may induce forgetfulness in enough voters to allow their besieged party to recover its footing. Over the past few years, Republicans have drawn even in the State Senate, and they have made alarming gains in the State House.

If not Looney – who?

Democrats need a shiny nominee whose effulgence will bedazzle wounded voters, scatter further their already scattered wits and give excessive regulation and continued big spending yet another chance.

State Senator Ted Kennedy of the 12th District, a scion of Camelot, has given no firm indication that he is willing, in the departing governor’s words, “to continue implementing [the present] administration’s vision.” When he became governor in 2011, Mr. Malloy could hardly envision the condition of his state twenty months before he is due to leave office. Connecticut is among the highest taxed states in the nation, the only state in the grand republic that has suffered a population loss, a busy beehive of deathless deficits, increasing taxation, business flight and progressive politicians and policies that have only a nodding acquaintance with economic reality.

U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal is still lustrous. But alas, he seems snug as a bug in the Beltway rug where, continuing his twenty-one year performance as Connecticut’s Attorney General, he has become the state’s first consumer protection senator. Owing to Mr. Blumenthal’s extremist and reflexive support of the largest abortion provider in the United States, he has been tagged by some “the senator from Planned Parenthood, “and his catatonic support of former President Barack Obama’s deal with the anti-feminist ayatollahs in Iran, a country that has pledged to push Israel into the sea, may have cost him a few Jewish votes. Still, he shines and continues to wear above his head the secular equivalent of a halo – a 58 percent approval rating. Mr. Malloy’s own halo is badly damaged; the lame duck governor’s approval rating is 28 percent, two points up since he threw in the sponge.

Can Connecticut Democrats bounce back from charges they have presided over the destruction of the state? The Democrat dominated General Assembly has just now entered a process in which legislators, having received a budget from Mr. Malloy, will refashion it according to their lights. Some Democrats, suffering blow-back from a Malloy measure that forces municipalities to assume a large portion of the costs of pension obligations, are kicking against Mr. Malloy’s pricks. Others are not convinced by the revenue projections baked into his budget. Democrat leaders in the General Assembly have assured the front line troops that the budget Mr. Malloy deposited in the legislative sausage grinder will be wondrously changed before the upcoming elections. Mr. Malloy, by eschewing a third term in office, has freed himself of such cares; his brothers in arms are not so fortunate.   

On the Republican side of the political barricades, there is also a great deal of motion, as well as a sobering feeling that the GOP has a pretty fair chance of capturing at least one house in the General Assembly and the governor’s office if – very big “if” – the party can put forward a slate of candidates that is experienced, thoughtful rather than utopian, and acceptable to an aroused public weary of struggling to no purpose in a sinkhole. Everyone in Connecticut yearns for a safe, sane and steady government.

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