Sunday, March 19, 2006

We Are All Moderates Now

U.S. Senator John McCain, who has presidential ambitions, is the liberal Northeast’s safe Republican. His political program differs very little from that of other Connecticut Republicans he came to support during a campaign fundraiser. Yet, McCain has a better in state press than many a home grown product.

Governor Jodi Rell’s popularity, and her press, is off the scales, though lately she has received a drubbing from the state’s two Democrat gubernatorial wannabes, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy and Bridgeport Mayor John DeStefano.

The mayors and their supporters in the Democrat Party managed to land two solid punches to Rell’s solar plexus, without appreciably buckling her popularity quotient.

First, top aide Lisa Moody slipped on blood when she asked state commissioners to solicit campaigns funds from their subordinates; there are laws against that sort of thing in these parts. After much hollering from the opposition, Moody was reprimanded by Rell and sent to the woodshed without pay for a couple of weeks, while the offending commissioners were fined.

Then, elections enforcement Director Jeffrey B. Garfield provided to Rell campaign manager Kevin Deneen information concerning the proposed settlement with the 16 commissioners and deputy commissioners who had been accused of illegally soliciting money for Rell. The information should have remained private because Garfield’s investigation was ongoing.

This last story surfaced just before McCain’s appearance in Connecticut, during which the senator lavishly praised Rell for her efforts in shaping the state’s campaign finance reform legislation, an issue very close to the senator’s heart. "When we elect Jodi again, this time on her own,” McCain said, “I think we will send a message to the country that reform's time has come. It's come time in Washington. It's come time in Arizona and California. And we can look to the state of Connecticut as a model for reform."

Appearing with the senator on the dais along with Rell were Simmons and Shays. Some years ago, Shays proposed that the Bush administration had been delinquent in not pushing through Iraq into Syria, a piece of bravura that cost the congressman an election campaign endorsement from the Hartford Courant. On the Iraq war, Shays, Simmons and McCain all appear to be in the same pew. U.S senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman are in the same church. Recently, Dodd came to the defense of Lieberman, who has come under attack from arch liberals in his party.

On the question of moderation, it appears that everyone mentioned above -- Lieberman challenger Ned Lamont being the rare exception -- is a moderate. When Lamont announced his candidacy at the Old State House, Dan Levine of the New Haven Independent reported on his blog site, “Of five Democratic constitutional officers, 24 Democratic state senators and 99 Democratic state representatives, just two back benchers showed up… to hear the anti-war Lamont.”

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