Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rell Hornswoggled

 It was abundantly clear, even before Hartford Courant investigative reporter Jon Lender began rummaging through Gov. Jodi Rell’s e-mails, that the lady had been hornswoggled by Democratic legislative leaders DonWilliams, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and Chris Donovan, Speaker of the state House and former union leader. The hornswoggling was done mostly for the benefit of incumbent Democrats and their union connected followers, who run the Democratic politicians on a short leash.

In the long run, those who will lose most from the hornswoggling will be employees not hired by businesses that will decline to move to Connecticut, and low caliber home grown businesses that will move out of state. High caliber businesses – Pratt&Whitney comes to mind -- will bribe timorous legislators and acquire temporary tax relief at the expense of small businesses yet hanging on by their bloody fingernails. Young people will continue to flee our tax drenched state in favor of sunny skies elsewhere. This is a partial list of the losers. Ultimately, everyone goes down on a sinking ship.

In his “Government Watch” column, Lender noted that two lawyers from Rell’s own administration had warned the governor, two days before she was similarly admonished by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, that she could not use her line item veto unless she signed the pork infested, tax heavy William-Donovan-Rell budget.

Despite these warnings, Lender noted, Rell preened before the cameras that she had intended to exercise her line item veto, until she was advised by Blumenthal – no stranger to preening in Lender’s paper – that she could not use the veto without having signed the budget.

Lender, and most Democrats on the planet, now suppose that Rell was – Gasp! – “posing before the cameras,” not considered an occupational hazard when poseur Blumenthal does it repeatedly and with shameless panache.

Pray tell, were Donovan and Williams “preening,” just a tad, when they first proposed a budget that relied almost exclusively on raising taxes to cover what they said was a $3 billion hole in the budget bucket?

The budget Williams and Donovan finally accepted, months after the fiscal year had ended, was one that raised taxes $1.5 billion, though it did contain their beloved progressive tax rate increase -- which the two may now raise, progressively of course, to cover future budget holes and drive hopeful entrepreneurs into the arms of states that have no income tax, progressive or otherwise.

But surely the two could have started their negotiations with Rell by proposing the more modest figure.

Was this an example of what Lender considers “posing before the cameras?”

Lender, and the whole bevy of liberal commentators in Connecticut, missed the hornswoggling because no e-mails were exchanged between Rell and the two hornswogglers, Williams and Donovan, when the three met together, in the absence of Republican leaders, secretly to “discuss” the budget.

In fact, no Courant reporters or editorial writers even noted the secret  negotiations between Donovan, Rell and Williams as a looming problem; this despite the fact that reporters, commentators and editorial writers tend towards apoplexy when anyone draws the curtain on important political discussions.

In concentrating selectively on the preening, we may be missing the big picture.

This is the big picture: Connecticut, like Massachusetts, politically is becoming a one horse town. And it may expect to reap all the attendant evils of a command economy. We know what they are: a servile, phantom chasing media in the camp of the victors; a moderate compromised and emasculated minor party opposition; a weak executive who dances to the tunes of a permanent shadow government; budgets and laws designed to appease entrenched politically well connected solicitors; high taxes on wealth producers; an anemic business sector and an emphasis on governmental solutions to market problems.

Rell talked the right talk, even though she failed to walk the right walk. And in this regard she is miles ahead of the Democrats.

3 comments:

Greg said...

Don, any theory as to why Gov. Rell caved and signed? I would think it would have been philosophically consistent and politically useful to veto and force the democrat legislature to follow through with an over-ride.

I think the Rell administration gained something for the capitulation, but what? And who benefits? I'd wager that it's not taxpayers.

Don Pesci said...

Greg,

That’s a great question. Technically, she didn’t sign the budget, but allowed it to become law without her signature. The starting line for the Dems was a tax increase of about $3 billion. That stiffened her resolve, though she had always been prepared to “negotiate”, i.e. cave in. Her resistance was soft from the beginning. When they reduced tax increases to $1.5 billion, she saw an opportunity to end the matter without appearing to endorse tax increases, and took it. What was it Plunkett of Tammany Hall said: “I seen my chances, and I took’em.”

Of course, all this is speculation. We don’t know what promised were made back and forth in the private negotiations between Rell and the Democrats, when the Republican leadership was out of the room. We only know – she got snookered.

mccommas said...

I also think Rell miscalculated in thinking that voters will see a distinction between her signing the budget and not signing it and letting become law without it.

What she should have done was veto it and let them over-ride it. That way the budget will be theirs and if she does run again she can say she opposed the tax increases.

As it is Rell looks both foolish and weak. She usually outsmarts the Democrats on spin but not this time.