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Democratic Demagoguery in Connecticut

The first shots of the 2014 gubernatorial campaign were fired by Malloyalist pit bull Roy Occhiogrosso and state Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo shortly after former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley announced at the end of November his availability for the Republican nomination for governor.

Asked by a reporter to comment on Mr. Foley’s early entrance into the gubernatorial arena, Mr. Occhiogrosso sniffed, “We don’t comment on Tom Foley’s political ambitions. He lost one race. He’s more than welcome to lose another.”

Ms. DiNardo, coloring within the lines of Mr. Occhiogrosso’s curt dismissal, said in a media release, “Tom Foley just doesn’t get it. Like Mitt Romney, he doesn’t understand the challenges that average hardworking people face. He is just another out-of-touch vulture capitalist who sees the average resident as something less. It’s a toxic world view that the voters of this country rejected just a few weeks ago. And if ambassador Foley runs again, he’ll find out exactly what the voters of Connecticut think of his economic philosophy.”

Mr. Foley lost the governor’s race to Mr. Malloy in 2010, owing to the additional votes Mr. Malloy was able to garner while appearing on the “Working Families Party” line. In a recent suit decided by Connecticut’s Supreme Court, the court awarded the Republican Party the top line on the ballot in the recently concluded elections because Mr. Foley had received more votes on the Republican Party line than did Mr. Malloy on the Democratic Party line. The race was exceedingly close. Charges during the race that Mr. Foley was a “vulture capitalist,” as Mrs. DiNardo toxically puts it, did not appear to do much damage to Mr. Foley’s prospects, who lost to Mr. Malloy by a slender 6,400 vote margin. Democrats in Connecticut outnumber Republicans roughly by a ratio of two to one.

Other Republicans who have shown interest in running against Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy are perhaps, to Mrs. DiNardo’s way of thinking, less “out of touch’ in the toxic world of Connecticut politicking.

Both the Republican House and Senate leaders in the General Assembly, Senator John McKinney and House leader Larry Cafero, as well as Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, have signaled their interests in running for governor, and all have considerably more direct experience in issues affecting the state than Ms. DiNardo and Mr. Occhiogrosso might wish.

The knock on Linda McMahon, when she ran twice for the U.S. Senate, was that she had little direct experience in politics, was redundantly wealthy, and made her millions in a way that caused some in the media to wrinkle their noses with displeasure. True, soon to be Senior Senator from Connecticut Dick Blumenthal and U.S. House fixture Rosa DeLauro are also millionaires, Mr. Blumenthal having been fortunate enough to marry a woman whose father owns the Empire State Building in New York and some few other valuable properties, and Mrs. DeLauro having had the luck to marry pollster to the Democratic stars Stan Greenberg.

Of the six richest U.S. Senators, only one is a Republican. John Kerry of Massachusetts, reported to be under consideration for departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s position, is number one, weighing in with a net worth of $238,812,296; Mr. Blumenthal is number six, with assets amounting to $94,870,116. 

Great wealth is not necessarily a bar to politicians who, ideally, serve all the people all the time. Franklin Roosevelt, after all, did not sell apples for pennies on a street corner, and George Washington, father of the early Republic, a capitalist enterprise, is still the richest man to have held presidential office. But even Mrs. DiNardo, if one could catch her in an honest non-political mood, might be forced to admit that the life styles of both Mr. McKinney and Mr. Cafero are more representative of the middle class than that of Mr. Blumenthal, who lives in a million dollar estate in toney Greenwich, as does Mrs. McMahon.

We see the future through a glass darkly, but none of it looks promising. Like California, Connecticut is broke and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Both Mr. Malloy and Mr. Obama continue in their crony capitalist ways – transferring huge gobs of tax money not to the poor but to bribable large corporations – and demagoguery will only get you so far.

Mr. Foley is supposed to be out of touch with the usual Democratic constituency because he used the expression “little people” to condemn the seeming indifference of the party of the little people to the common man.

In an attempt to balance a chronically unbalanced budget, Mr. Foley told a TV news reporter, the governor was pulling the plug on needed services: “Now they're hurting the little people in the state: Alzheimer’s funding, the children's fund, the disabled, vets. They're stepping on the brake and hitting the accelerator at the same time.”

Here is an Obama voter, a 57-year-old African-American salesman in Calera, Ala., formerly a Republican, accounting for his switch: “Democrats stand for little people, regular people, common people like myself. My daddy was a Republican because Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, but the Republican Party changed and started being for people who had money.” And here is Democratic Party hero Andrew Cuomo, mayor of the Big Apple, hoisting his flag for the little people: "We're going to do all the hard things. We're going to bite the bullet. And we're going to do the courageous thing without punishing little people or exploiting the rich people."

Even within Democratic Party ranks, the expression “little people” is a synonym for “common people.” In rhetorical demonology, the expression’s antonym is – guess what? – “the rich.” One would think the head of the Democratic Party in Connecticut and Mr. Malloy’s chief flack catcher and demonologist-in chief would know all this; but then purposeful ignorance in pursuit of election victories is no vice for such as Ms. DiNardo and Mr. Occhiogrosso .  


dmoelling said…
What strikes me most about Mr. Occhigrosso is that he sounds and behaves like a Longshoreman's Union Leader. I'm half expecting him to send some toughs to beatup Cafero in an alley.

But it's all for show. These guys don't have what it takes to be really tough and solve problems. They hide behind threats and tough talk. The GOP should call their bluff at every step.
Anonymous said…
I hope a good GOP'r finds the wherewithal to run. I read Rick Green's column in the Courant, which extoled Malloy's leadership bringing us away from a #3.7B deficit. Good, now we're only $1B underwater. I recall Malloy saying he wasn't hiking taxes, but that was a conveniently forgotten promise. The courant is simply carrying water for the Malloy admin and anyone who deems themselves "progressive' - whatever that means.

As for me, I've taken to watching MMA matches in the UFC. Here you have two individuals who respect each other, are singularly focused on their jobs, and work excessively hard preparing and executing their work. No games, no nonsense...pure honesty.

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