There may be still, somewhere in this romantic world, a place for arranged marriages. The union of Ned Lamont, the millionaire gubernatorial candidate for governor preferred by Democrat leaders of the ailing state of Connecticut, and the mercurial Susan Bysiewicz – candidate, in no particular order, for governor, U.S. Senator, attorney general, governor again and lieutenant governor – is an arranged political marriage.
Uncle George Jepsen, the state’s retiring attorney general, told the Courant the banns had been arranged for months: “’There’s a lot of stuff that’s still wide open especially on the under-ticket, but at the top of the ticket, things have been falling into line and coming together cohesively for several weeks now,’ said Attorney General George Jepsen, who has endorsed Lamont. Jepsen added: ‘I hope we’re boring compared to the Republicans.’”Indeed, arranged political tickets in our day of pre-nominating convention bouts, followed by nominating conventions, which weed out some contestants, followed by primaries, political turf battles in which politicians let it all hang out for the edification of voters, do tend to be boring. But, since prearranged political contests avoid public exposure, they allow the hitched couple to sidestep the usual political media snares before the general election, when everyone marches to the polls and permits Connecticut’s electorate to indulge in the fancy that they have made a proper choice based upon rhetoric spewed from the chief contenders, the bulk of which has been supplied by the same folk who arrange political nuptials. There has got to be a joke somewhere in here for Colin McEnroe, Connecticut’s Aristophanes, and if he could separate himself from his usual ideological entanglements – Aristophanes did -- he’d find the humor lying in wait for him right under his nose.
“Bad news,” McEnroe writes of the recently concluded Republican nominating convention in his latest offering, “Deplorables Lost, Dockers Won At GOP Convention.” McEnroe had discovered among Republicans who chose Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton as their gubernatorial nominee “a perceptible enthusiasm gap. This convention was like shopping for a sport jacket at Marshall’s. Nobody was expecting anything great. They just wanted to get out of there with something not too loud or funny-looking.”
The enthusiasm among Democrats – McEnroe, one suspects, is an unaffiliated Democrat – is more palpable. No dockers for them. They went shopping and came home with a fetching “Lamont and Bysiewicz” sign bought at a store that long since has gone out of business -- so progressives, addicted to primaries, had hoped.
The most inconvenient shotgun marriage arranged behind closed doors by Democrats was the hitching of Franklin Roosevelt to his vice president John Nance Garner of Texas. Asked how he was getting along as vice president, Garner replied that the office “wasn’t worth a warm bucket of spit.” Actually, the plain spoken Garner used a word different than “spit” to describe his adventures in Rooseveltianism, but in the age of #metooism and suits brought by porn stars against sitting presidents, ink-stained wretches must be careful how they deploy adjectives. Stormy Daniel’s lawyer, who appears to have an advanced case of Blumenthalitis , which causes the afflicted to insert himself as often as possible before 24-7 television cameras, has now threatened a news service with a lawsuit if the service does not stop tickling him with unacceptable disclosures.
Bysiewicz is likely to find her new digs as lieutenant governor worth little more than a warm bucket of spit. In office, she will have nothing to do but reel out on official occasions the political party line of the moment and present herself at the funeral services of some renowned political official everyone else in the state has long forgotten.
“The news of the two one-time rivals forming a ticket,” the Courant reports, “stands in contrast to the disharmony on the Republican side, where at least six candidates will compete in a gubernatorial primary. The top two vote-getters at last week’s Republican state convention — Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst — have already been trading barbs.”
Uncle Jepsen, once chairman of the state Democrat Party, assures us there will be no barb trading within the arranged marriage – and very little frank and open discussion on the more important issues of the day. The more significant contrast is that between a well-oiled Democrat political machine, a plodding hegemonic political organization very strong in Connecticut cities that will be relying on its voter registration numbers to retain control of state government, and a Republican Party in full revolt against the progressive policies of the machine. In a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two to one margin, political dissent is most easily suppressed behind closed doors in secret conclaves beyond the reach of the tribunes of the people.