Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Did He Or Didn’t He?

Both Sen. Chris Dodd and Governor Jodi Rell, two long serving Connecticut politicos, are retiring. Mrs. Rell, who made a name for herself as an ethicist following the collapse of Governor John Rowland’s administration, has been roundly criticized for tapping lobbyists to pay for her send-off, which included a testimonial dinner that raised an estimated $60,000 for an endowment to help establish a public service education center in her name at the University of Hartford.

Mr. Dodd is doubtful that departing politicians should be memorialized by having such things as bridges and roads named after them. No bridges please, he told WFSB’s Dennis House on “Face The State.” Of course, if the name is attached to something appropriate, then that would be appropriate. The University of Connecticut named a building housing the Senator Tom Dodd archives after his father.

Chris Dodd’s legacy will be christened by a leftist organization, Connecticut Citizens Action Group on Friday, December 10. The invitation honoring Dodd, according to a piece in the Hartford Courant written by Chris Keating, was sent out to pretty much everyone who is anyone in Connecticut’s Democratic Party:

“The invitation covers most of the entire Democratic hierarchy in the state most of the entire Democratic hierarchy in the state, including U.S. Reps. John B. Larson, Rosa DeLauro, Chris Murphy, and Joe Courtney. The state's constitutional officers will also be there - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Comptroller Nancy Wyman, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, and Treasurer Denise Nappier.

“Among legislators, the group includes House Speaker Chris Donovan, House Majority Leader and soon-to-be-Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, and Sen. Edith Prague, among others.

“The invitation includes a wide variety of present and former officeholders, union activists, lobbyists, and party stalwarts, including Judy Blei, Catherine Blinder, Frank Borges, Leo Canty, Nick Carbone, Luis Cotto, Scot X. Esdaile, Paul Filson, Laura Jordan, Mary Phil Guinan, Rick Melita, David Pudlin, Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, state AFL-CIO chief John Olsen, and Ted Kennedy, Jr., among others.”

One name conspicuously missing on the invitation is Sen. Joe Lieberman who, Mr. Keating notes, “praised Dodd recently on the floor of the Senate after Dodd's farewell speech.”

Tom Swan, the longtime head of CCAG and also the campaign manager of Ned Lamont’s unsuccessful bid for Mr. Lieberman’s seat in congress, was asked by Keating whether he invited Lieberman to the legacy celebration.

Mr. Swan answered, “He may have gotten an invitation,” which may be translated into anti-Lieberman verbiage as, “He may not have gotten an invitation.”

Surely Mr. Swan, knows whether he or someone in his organization sent Mr. Lieberman an invitation.

Mr. Keating, who is exquisitely polite, did not press the issue. Nor has anyone asked whether Mr. Swan’s liberal lobbying group ought to be in the business of arranging a legacy party for a politician who had in the past cut his jib to Connecticut’s progressive winds, sometimes at the insistence of CCAG lobbyists.

According to Mr. Keating, Mr. Swan characterized Dodd’s actions in congress, no doubt influenced by progressive lobbyists who in turn have been influenced by CCAG, as "’one of the most accomplished legacies of anyone who has served in that institution’ in Washington, D.C. - naming health care reform, credit card reform, and financial reform.

"’CCAG is honored that he was willing to celebrate his legacy and career with us,’ Swan said. ‘It will be a good event. We promise it will not be a boring, dull event.’”

Mr. Swan and Mr. Dodd have not always read from the same page. However, it would have been a far more interesting gathering had Mr. Swan both sent an invitation to Mr. Lieberman and publicized his invitation prior to the event.

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