Q: Mr. Schlesinger, do you understand why some people in Connecticut, even some Republicans, regard your candidacy as menacing? They think that a vote for Schlesinger is a vote for Lamont, so that voting for you would be something of a – if you’ll forgive the expression – gamble.
A: Very funny. But at least I gambled with my own money. I notice that powerful people in Washington who gamble with the people’s money are not subjected to the same critical analysis.
Q: Who would that be?
A: Harry Reid, the leader of Democrats in the Senate. Corruption, apparently, is catchy. The Associated Press now is reporting that U.S. Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid has slipped on blood. The anti-corruption pit bull has been using his campaign funds to give Christmas bonuses to the staff at the Ritz Carlton, an upscale condominium where he lives in Washington D.C. That’s the sort of sloppy accounting that that got Sen. Tom Dodd in trouble. This is strike two for Reid, according to the AP. Let me read a bit from the report – available, by the way, to most reporters covering my campaign as an underfinanced underdog:
“Reid also announced he was amending his ethics reports to Congress to more fully account for a Las Vegas land deal, highlighted in an AP story last week that allowed him to collect $1.1 million in 2004 for property he hadn't personally owned in three years.
“In that matter, the senator hadn't disclosed to Congress that he first sold land to a friend's limited liability company back in 2001 and took an ownership stake in the company. He collected the seven-figure payout when the company sold the land again in 2004 to others.
“Reid portrayed the 2004 sale as a personal sale of land, not mentioning the company's ownership or its role in the sale.”
Funny thing about Democrat leaders in Washington -- they have more strikes in them than a cat has lives. Connecticut’s crusading media has not yet caught up to Dodd the younger to ask him when he plans to offer a bill of censure in the Senate, so that we can get rid of these power hungry corruption pustules.
Q: Well, in your next debate with the two Democrats, why don’t you ask both if they would encourage Dodd to support a censure of Reid?
A: Good idea! I think I will.
That would enliven things a bit. Of course, an honest answer to the question would not be forthcoming from either Democrat. The point in political campaigning is not to bring the truth on the stage – that is the province of a free, non-partisan, energetic press -- but to inconvenience an opponent. Lamont thought to do this recently by sidling up to Sen. Dodd in his opposition to the nomination of John Bolton as a United States delegate to the United Nations, a laughable international oxymoron.
Bolton was placed in his present position as an interim appointment by President George Bush over the insistent objections of Dodd and others, who claimed that Bolton was a bully, an incompetent and a liar. Since Dodd launched his assault against Bolton on the floor of the senate and in several press interviews, Bolton has acquired what politicians call “a record in office.” In concert with others in the Bush administration, Bolton has been able to convince China, a large trading partner with the United States, to publicly censure North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Il, no small achievement. China is North Korea’s chief patron, and any diplomacy that left China out of account in dealing with the international scofflaw would be doomed to failure.
The diplomatic effort involved in bring China to the bargaining table to support a policy that, had it been applied in Iraq, would have been heartily approved by Bush critics, including Lamont, is not the work of a bully, an incompetent or a liar. Lamont and Dodd now propose to reward such efforts by refusing to appoint Bolton to a position in which he has been “successful” – as success is determined by administration critics of Bush’s policies in Iraq, including Dodd.
Schlesinger, who has nothing to lose, is just the sort of wild-card candidate who might, by dealing the cards straight – forgive the puns – turn the table on the two major players whose games have gone stale.