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Connecticut’s US Congressional Delegation And The Tea Party

Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation, the chorus of crying Democrats, is running out of active enemies. There are no longer any Republicans aboard; haven’t been since the last moderate Republican in New England, Chris Shays, fell to a young, seemingly moderate Democrat, present 4th District U.S. Representative Jim Himes.

In the past 15 years, no fewer than 3 moderate U.S. Congressional Republicans in Connecticut have been displaced by Democrats. U.S. Representative Nancy Johnson was displaced by former U.S. Representative Chris Murphy. Mr. Murphy is now a progressive U.S. Senator. U.S. Representative Rob Simmons fell to Democrat Joe Courtney.

More recently, moderate Republican Andrew Roraback lost to Democrat Elizabeth Esty. Connecticut’s Senior Senator Dick Blumenthal defeated moderate multi-millionaire Republican Linda McMahon. Mr. Blumenthal is now the 4th richest Senator in the Congress. Connecticut’s other millionaire U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro has some catching up to do.

There is a pattern here: Moderate Republicans fall to Democrats who run in campaigns as moderates and then proceed to govern as progressives.

The Republican Party mudslide began with Mrs. Johnson in 2007. By 2012, the last Republican moderate, Mr. Roraback, had been carted off to the boneyard. Following his defeat, Mr. Roraback was quickly raised to judicial sainthood by Governor Dannel Malloy, who anointed the 17 year veteran of the General Assembly a Superior Court Judge.

Mr. Roraback’s cousin, Catharine Roraback, was a civil rights attorney in Connecticut best known for representing Estelle Griswold and Dr. C. Lee Buxton in the famous 1965 Supreme Court case, Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized the use of birth control and created the precedent of the “right to privacy” later employed by an imaginative Supreme Court to rid the United States of its anti-abortion demons.

On social issues, Mr. Roraback was indistinguishable from the usual Democratic lawmaker, but his fiscal conservative instincts did not sit well with some important shakers and movers in Connecticut’s media. His candidacy presented the sole opportunity for left of center newspapers editorial boards to balance the seven progressive Democrats who sit on Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation with one Republican who was moderate on fiscal issues, acceptable to Planned Parenthood, not a member in good standing of the Tea Party movement, a politician whose service as a state legislator was both much longer and more distinguished than that of his Democratic opponent, and a politician who long since had established an agreeable working relationship with Connecticut’s left of center media.

The Hartford Courant, Connecticut’s only state-wide newspaper, endorsed Mr. Roraback’s opponent, Elizabeth Esty, a one-term member of Connecticut’s House of Representatives who represented the 103rd Assembly District. If Mrs. Esty, during her single term in the House, had produced a memorable piece of legislation, none of the editorialists who had endorsed her are likely to remember it.

So then, Connecticut is now a one party state. The governor is a progressive Democrat. Four of the six members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation are progressives. The state’s General Assembly is dominated by progressive Democratic leaders. Connecticut’s only state-wide newspaper, for years used to strangling potential conservative candidates in their cribs, has resigned itself to the radical social engineering and progressive economic experimentation that is the hallmark of the progressive up-and-comer.

Given this backdrop – a political world in which there are no more Republicans to conquer – Democrats in Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation have decided to declare war on the Tea Party.

Let’s suppose you are a Connecticut student burdened by a student loan you cannot pay off unless you secure your dream job -- which, of course, may not not exist in Connecticut at the present time. The economy has been prostrated for as long as President Barack Obama has been in the White House; so the job you hope to secure may have disappeared. But you are prepared to wait for the clouds to disperse and the sun to shine once more on entrepreneurial Connecticut. Now you have been told that you must buy insurance you do not need, and this will put a crimp in your personal budget which, unlike the national budget, is not $3 trillion in arrears.

End Obamacare, you protest. Or, at the very least, do not raise the debt ceiling to pay for current expenses. Raising taxes to pay debts would be equitable, because the cost would be more evenly distributed, but raising the debt ceiling increases borrowing, encourages profligate spending and places the burden of payment upon people like you, young upstarts.

How might such protests be received by the intemperate Senator Blumenthal?

First, you will be identified as a member of the Tea Party. You have allied yourself, the inflamed senator will tell you, with “a small minority of fringe extremist ideologues -- most in the House but some in the Senate -- who have brought their brand of nihilist obstructionism to a new height. Their position is that no programs will be funded unless some programs like Obamacare are defunded."

According to a recent report issued by staffers of Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, It is just such inflammatory language as this that may have induced IRS officials to target right of center groups for investigation:  “As prominent politicians publicly urged the IRS to take action on tax-exempt groups engaged in legal campaign intervention activities, the IRS treated tea party applications differently. Applications filed by tea party groups were identified and grouped due to media attention surrounding the existence of the tea party in general.”

So, watch your tongue! 

You are a “dead-ender,” Mr. Himes will tell you. Mr. Murphy will tell you that you have allied with a “group of 30-50 tea party-backed Republicans who want to burn government to the ground, and they have no interest in compromise."

The anti-Tea Party campaign has now begun in earnest. After all, progressive Democrats in Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation, having vanquished all moderate Republicans, have to run against something. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been sufficiently flogged, and the representatives of Connecticut’s one party state need a new Potemkin Village to burn to the ground.


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