Sunday, June 27, 2010

Perez Falls Down: Blumenthal Falls Up

That racket on the stairs was the body of now former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez tumbling down. There seems to be little doubt that his demise as mayor was a form of suicide rather than manslaughter.

Perez’s appointed end had been visible to most political watchers soon after stories began to surface in the press concerning favors done by contractor Carlos Costa for Perez at a time when the memory of similar favors conferred upon former Governor John Rowland were still fresh in the mind of everyone but partisan Democratic politicians who had supported the Hartford mayor over the years.

Democratic politicians were a little slow on the uptake. After Perez’s verdict was read out by the jury – the Mayor is facing a possible 50 year sentence – one columnist noted that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was somewhat laggard in this regard: “I think it's fair to ask Richard Blumenthal, who has announced his intention to use the fairly new pension and benefits law against Perez, why he saw fit to endorse Perez in 2007 when the basic facts of the renovations case against Perez were a matter of record? These facts haven't changed much at all from then until yesterday, when they were good enough to make six people return guilty verdicts. Why weren't they good enough to make Blumenthal withhold his endorsement?”

Of course, Blumenthal has not been out and about in the public arena since his numerous lies concerning his military service in Vietnam surfaced weeks ago, and so he is unlikely to face a firing squad of journalists any time soon.

And indeed, why should Blumenthal submit to the indignity of media questioning: He is 20 points ahead in the polls? The usual dog-eared political playbook recommends a low profile for prospective U.S. senators who are that far ahead of their competitors six months before an election. And it has been agreed by a majority of Connecticut reporters and commentators that the attorney general has over a period of more than 20 years accumulated enough wish-you-well points to survive even stolen valor charges, a fatal banana peel for politicians less happily situated than Blumenthal.

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