Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2005

Jodi Rell, Saint or Sinner

"This is not, I think, what any of us would have expected,” said a disappointed Lieutenant Governor Kevin Sullivan, “from a governor who has set a very high standard for everyone else.” Sullivan, a Democrat, said he withheld comment on what some are calling Moodygate for a couple of weeks so as to give the governor an opportunity to clear her head, but Rell simply had not measured up to her own high ethical expectations of the behavior of other politicians, mostly Democrats. The governor’s Chief of Staff, Lisa Moody, may have broken the law when she distributed fundraising invitations to several of the governor’s commissioners. Investigations by Chief State’s Attorney Christopher Morano and the State Elections Enforcement Commission are underway. The governor has suspended Moody without pay for two weeks, a sanction characterized by New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, one of two Democrat candidates for governor, as “a holiday vacation.” “I have been very reluctant to comment on th

Thanks Andy: How Sauer and the Democrats Achieved Compromise

Andy Sauer is the executive director of the Connecticut chapter of Common Cause, which bills itself, according to an introductory blurb provided in a recent interview, as “a non-profit lobbying group that says it promotes responsible, accountable government, and has long fought for campaign finance reform.” Part of this is true. Common Cause is a liberal lobbying group that has aggressively pushed campaign finance reform. The whole gaggle of liberal lobbying groups was there, according to Sauer, at the birth of the campaign finance reform bill, and their influence cannot be overstated. They shaped the bill voted into law by the legislature. Praising Gov. Jodi Rell, Sauer remarked in the interview, “One of the first things she did was [to] meet with campaign finance reform advocates. I was there ... Tom Swan [of Connecticut Citizen Action Group], Karen Hobert Flynn as the chair of Common Cause was there, the League of Women Voters, CONNpirg ... We were the first, and to the best of my

Lisa Moody's Blues

In handing out invitations to state commissioners and inviting them both to contribute to Gov. Jodi Rell’s campaign and to solicit funds, Lisa Moody, the governor’s chief of staff, was violating a well known regulation. Her claim that the violation was inadvertent is not plausible. As one commentator pointed out, Moody has been attached to Rell by the hip every since the governor’s more uneventful days as Lieutenant Governor and she has earned a reputation as a detail hawk. The open question therefore is: Shall Moody be hanged; or hanged and quartered; or hanged and quartered and burned at the state capitol, her ashes to be sown over the lawn as an example to politicians that Connecticut, at long last, has become serious about ethics reform? Two Democrat gubernatorial aspirants, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, called upon Rell to suspend Moody immediately. There is no need, DeStefano said, for Rell to wait upon the completion of investigations begun b

When A Weicker Meets A Maverick, Coming Through The Rye

Here is a thumbnail view, admittedly incomplete, of former governor and senator Lowell Weicker’s political philosophy: The United States is a republic, not a democracy. In a republican form of government, the people rule through elected representatives. As a practical matter, at least for Weicker, this means that the whole apparatus of modern politics is hopelessly defective. Polls and especially referendums are useless excrescences. Politicians should conduct themselves as if they were above polls, the media, clamorous political commentators and even, Weicker does not blush to say it, political parties. The former Republican senator is notorious for having defined himself as “the turd in the Republican Party punchbowl.” Anything that comes between a politician and what the politician knows to be right, judging from his own experience, must be brushed away with a sneer and a catcall. The primary virtue of a politician, overriding all lesser virtues, is guts: Do what you think is right

After the Ball Is Over: Connecticut's Great Experiment in Campaign Finance Reform

So then, almost everyone is happy, though murmurs continue to be heard from some corners of the political barracks. After the Democrat plan for campaign finance reform passed through the legislature, minority Republicans dissenting, Democrats launched whole symphony of now familiar sound bites. Nothing in this veil of tears is perfect they acknowledged, but imperfections in the bill could be settled later on. As Bill Curry used to say, “We should not let the perfect become the enemy of the good.” Connecticut once again had shown itself to be a reformist bellwether that got the jump on other less progressive sister states in the blue Northeast corridor. Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams advised that everyone should look upon the new legislation as a learning opportunity and a grand experiment. There were bits and pieces in the legislation to dissatisfy almost every political interest group, with the possible exception of the Democratic caucus. Democrat leaders managed to secure

Shame Me Twice, Shame on Me: Rell, Democrats and Unions

In announcing her veto of a Clean Contracting Bill that contained, as Republicans believe, a legislative “rat” contrived by Democrats to aid unions and sink the bill, Gov. Jodi Rell brought to a press conference two “disabled” Connecticut citizens who stood beside her as she made her remarks. The presence of the two mentally retarded citizens caused a certain amount of discomfort among leading Democrats. Democrats had smuggled into their Clean Contracting Bill a provision triggering an audit whenever the state enters into a contract worth more than $500,000 and seeks to privatize services that are “substantially similar to, and in lieu of services provided by employees of the particular state agency.” Viewing the provision as a legislative raid on executive powers, the governor vetoed the bill. Rep. Christopher Caruso, who has gained a reputation as an ardent Democrat proponent of campaign finance reform, asserted that the two retarded citizens had been used – one might almost say