Monday, May 01, 2006

Who, Whom, Part Two

Genghis Conn said...

Effective for herself, I would say. She's doing what Bill Clinton did (and did very well)--taking the ideas and issues of the party opposite and somehow making them her own. It's going to get her re-elected.

So then, a political strategy in which Rell distances herself from a coherent Republican Party message and adopts the protective coloring of Democrat Party initiatives helps Rell – and only Rell – to be re-elected. I’m beginning to sound a bit like ctkeith without the fangs. Only in politics – and indeed, only in modern politics – can a politician prosper as an island unto himself.

So, let us assume that Gengis Conn is right. A Republican strategy of adopting and promoting Democrat programs will get you elected in this the bluest of blue states. No big secret here. Gengis Conn points to Clinton as an example of a politician who prospered by exploiting his moderation, but a more apt parallel would be between Rell and former Governor Lowell Weicker, a master in the art of giving Democrats what they want. I dare say Weicker was a popular among Democrats as Lieberman is among Republicans. And, believe it or not, there were during the Weicker hegemony Republican prophets unloved in their own country roving around hurling imprecations at Lowell; I was one of them.

From a considerable remove, I now ask myself: Who did Weicker’s strategy help, other than Weicker?– and I answer, “No one.”

Where’s your proof, Pesci?

In the pudding, my dear, in the pudding.

Weicker was followed by John Rowland. As a student of Connecticut politics, Gengis Conn can attest that it didn’t take the kid long to get with the program. He came in as a rip-snorting conservative, an ax-the-tax kind of guy. Guided by his campaign literature, any reasonable voter might have supposed that Rowland, once in office, would ditch the tax – very unpopular with Republicans, Gov. William O’Neill type moderate Democrats, and that conservative banshee Tom Scott. But Rowland quickly learned to live with a tax that, in the space of two governors, would more than double the budget, and the O’Neill types were crushed under the wheels of the liberal juggernaught.

Who did Rowland’s strategy, very much like Rell’s, help – other than Rowland?

Put it another way: How long were his coattails?

Not very long. Legislative Republicans are eminently ignorable, as Gengis Conn says, because their numbers have diminished; the Connecticut Democrat Party has been taken over by liberal charioteers who seem determined to drive it into the sun; taxes are up, spending is up; and businesses are fleeing the state. It's all very curious. I wonder why? And just now Rell and the Democrats have turned in a budget that helps no one but themselves. And all this has happened under a nominally moderate regime of non-dischargeable incumbents.

Who rules, for whom?

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