Skip to main content

In Defense Of Lisa Moody

The question at bat is: Was Lisa Moody, Governor Jodi Rell’s chief aide, the governor’s Svengalli?

Svelgalli was a fictional character, an evil hypnotist in George du Maurier’s novel “Trilby.” Not even Moody’s most severe critics would assert that she manipulated the governor by hypnotizing her or casting spells over her.

But did she influence the governor?

It would be odd if she did not. One always hopes that chief aides are more influential than, say, the editorial board of the Hartford Courant.

There is a temptation on the part of press people to over inflate the influence played by aides, perhaps because they are reluctant in their criticisms to mortally injure the king. During ex-president George Bush’s administration, Vice President Dick Cheney was portrayed pretty much as Bush’s brain. The president was thought to be a major duffer. Since Svengalli was a fictional character, it may be more helpful to inquire whether Moody was Rell’s Cheney.

Was she?

Yes and no. Cheney’s influence over Bush has been greatly exaggerated. Moody and Rell were a pair; they played well together. And when things went wrong, Moody took the bullet for her chief. She kept the jackals at bay and performed the more disreputable chores of politics with a certain aplomb. Moody would be the first to admit that she made mistakes. In fact, she has admitted to mistakes. But she was no Svengalli. Rell ran the executive department, and Moody aided her.

There is always a danger in the misattribution of power and responsibility. Sometimes the king deserves a thwacking, but this becomes less likely the more the king is thought to be under the influence of a shadowy aide. If Cheney really was Bush’s brain, we can hardly blame the brainless executive for whatever mistake he may have made in office, many of which had been attributed to Cheney.

Moody was a Democrat whom Republicans in Vernon coxed to their side because she was useful to them. It is proper to characterize her as a person “of no certain address,” someone for whom party affections and ideas mean very little. Now, that is a note of character that most certainly is important. But you will not find it stressed in any account of the cross influence between Rell and Moody – because part affiliation is unimportant to many commentators writing on politics in Connecticut.

It is very interesting to see who, among her past political acquaintances in Vernon, came readily to her defense after it had been suggested in several commentaries that her service to Rell was, on the whole, not beneficial.

Former Mayor of Vernon and partisan Democrat Marie Herbst said, “She's very, very, very compassionate.” And former Vernon Mayor Ellen Marmer defended Moody against a charge of nastiness: “Lisa is powerful, opinionated and bright. She's in a position of power. All of those things put together in the political arena don’t make you popular most of the time. What I can say of Lisa very easily is maybe some of her actions are self-serving, but most of her actions are for the state (or), in our case, the local climate. Her ways may be problematic for some people, but she's not doing anything to be nasty.”

Accusations of nastiness have been raised in a Greenwich Time story by “anonymous state workers,” precisely the people one might expect to be at loggerheads with the governor and her aide, both of whom in economic hard times are duty bound to say “no” to the sometimes unreasonable demands of anonymous union connected state workers.

Kevin Rennie, a Courant columnist, reasonably points out that “Rell sleepwalked through the year's critical budget debate… When a wreck of a budget reached her desk at the end of the summer, she took a powder. Rell would neither sign nor veto the $38 billion behemoth; she would watch it pass into law. To distract attention from her abdication, Rell tried to veto a few million dollars in expenditures, though she'd been told she'd given up that authority when she didn't sign the budget. From her address in Never Never Land, she persisted in the silly ruse.”

All true, sadly. Rell talked the talk, but she declined to walk the walk. And she got hornswoggled.

Rennie also suspects that both Rell and Moody will attempt to sabotage the campaign for governor of Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele:

“Rell got the open race for the Republican nomination for governor off to a bad start when she stuck the knife into loyal Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele. He had quickly signaled he would be a candidate for governor and said he had Rell's support.

“Rell declined to confirm that she supports Fedele and declared there are several competent candidates. Fedele says Rell promised to support him; Rell says she did not. One of them is not telling the truth. In the credibility stakes, Rell runs far behind Fedele.

“Fedele holds a special place on Moody's long list of enemies. Had Rell sought another term, Fedele could not be sure he'd have been her running mate.”

As Attorney General Richard Blumenthal – the Democratic Party’s Great White Hope for either governor or U.S. senator – might say, “Stay tuned.”


mccommas said…
I think she is lying too.

Popular posts from this blog

The Blumenthal Burisma Connection

Steve Hilton, a Fox News commentator who over the weekend had connected some Burisma corruption dots, had this to say about Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s association with the tangled knot of corruption in Ukraine: “We cross-referenced the Senate co-sponsors of Ed Markey's Ukraine gas bill with the list of Democrats whom Burisma lobbyist, David Leiter, routinely gave money to and found another one -- one of the most sanctimonious of them all, actually -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal."

Dave Walker, Turning Around The Misery Index

Dave Walker, who is running for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican Party ticket, is recognized by most credible political observers as perhaps the most over qualified candidate for Lieutenant Governor in state history.
He is a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame and for ten years was the Comptroller General of the United States. When Mr. Walker talks about budgets, financing and pension viability, people listen.
Mr. Walker is also attuned to fine nuances in political campaigning. He is not running for governor, he says, because he had moved to Connecticut only four years ago and wishes to respect the political pecking order. Very few people in the state think that, were he governor, Mr. Walker would know less about the finance side of government than his budget chief.

Murphy Stumbles

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has been roughly cuffed by some news outlets, but not by Vox, which published on April 16 a worshipful article on Connecticut’s Junior Senator, “The Senator of State: How Connecticut’s Chris Murphy, a rising Democratic star, would run the world.”
On April 15, The Federalist mentioned Murphy in an article entitled “Sen. Chris Murphy: China And The World Health Organization Did Nothing Wrong. The lede was a blow to Murphy’s solar plexus: “Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy exonerated China of any wrongdoing over the global pandemic stemming from the novel Wuhan coronavirus on Tuesday.
“’The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, is not because of anything the WHO [World Health Organization] did,’ said Murphy during a prime-time interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.”