Friday, April 11, 2014

How Could Rowland be So Stupid: Moth, Meet Flame

If this morning you moved your curser over the title of the Hartford Courant editorial, “How Could Rowland Do It Again?” another caption, apparently changed by the paper’s editorial board, appears for an instant: “How Could Rowland Be So Stupid?”

The editorial explores the monumental stupidity of Connecticut’s former governor. Mr. Rowland spent some years in the clinker awhile back, emerged chastened, was embraced by a tight circle of friends in Waterbury – the wide circle of political friends a politician acquires in the course of his career tends to constrict once the prison door slams shut on him – made his way into talk radio, a gadfly position that allowed him to slow broil over the air waves Connecticut’s new progressive vanguard, and seemed to outside observers to have redeemed himself. Mr. Rowland, and others of his now widening circle of political friends, often spoke of his ordeal in redemptory terms.

Now this: “Feds Indict John Rowland.” And the indictment is detailed and damning. The constriction begins. Worse, Mr. Rowland soon will fall into the clawing grasp of amateur psychologists. Mr. Rowland has answered the charges by pleading not guilty, and his lawyer promises an aggressive defense that, presumably, will not involve a plea agreement.

How Could he? Well, you see, it’s like this…

Joseph Pulitzer once said shrewdly that journalists should have no friends, a notion that may be applied more broadly to politicians. When a politician’s ship runs aground, only the politically fervent remain to reassemble the craft. Everyone else -- other than the politician's long suffering wife, his children and his real friends, always willing to overlook political flaws for love’s sake – heads for the exit with his pants on fire.

Said the moth, before he plunged recklessly into the flame, “In moments like this, you know who your real friends are.”

Among Connecticut’s left of center media, Mr. Rowland never had friends, or even well-wishers – for reasons that would have been obvious to Mr. Pulitzer. Political journalists are interested chiefly in the political persona, not the person.

All politicians create their own political personas through what they say and do. And in a one-party left of center state like Connecticut, they are able to create, with little interruption, their own political universe. In the face of that universe, journalists stand asking themselves the question that T.S. Elliot’s Prufrock puts to himself:

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

So then, here is Mr. Rowland besieged on all sides by those who wish him ill, knives in their teeth, snakes in their hair. And is he cautious? Not at all: He gives the besiegers the key to the front door of the castle, making it absolutely impossible for his family and his small circle of friend to defend the indefensible.

How could he be so stupid?

The attack on WTIC is stupid and indefensible. Among Connecticut journalists, a handful of radio talk show hosts on WTIC have been willing to disturb the state’s left of center political universe. Many journalists in the state are more than happy to co-operate with the present Malloyalist regime; the “friendships” between some reporters and commentators and Connecticut’s left of center hegemon appear to be fairly solid.

Mr. Rowland – It now becomes possible to speak of him in the past tense – certainly was not a conservative. He was a moderate Republican who, as a radio talk show host, belatedly discovered his state was under siege by immoderate progressive extremists mounted on the political heights. Mr. Rowland was well informed enough to contend with some of them, alienating in the process the left of center uncritical commentariat that has for decades twiddled its thumbs while the state plunged into its present downward arc.

Connecticut -- possibly the entire Northeast – is traveling the same route as Venezuela, once the Paris of Latin America, now a backwater state overseen by single party strongmen with knives in their brains. No Pulitzers will be awarded to Venezuela’s media for having disturbed the reigning political universe; all the disturbers of the Venezuelan power structure have been successfully silenced.  From under the rubble, always a unique perspective, it becomes possible to note the clay feet of all the tin pot saviors.

In the end, everyone is dispensable: politicians, reporters and commentators, friends of the reigning order, tin-pot political saviors and hegemonic political parties. But the one thing necessary is not dispensable -- liberty is indispensable.


Paul said...

Johnny Porkchop is so stupid because he is so stupid (his political skills were always more animalistic than intellectual). Either that or he's a sociopath of the narcissistic variety (aren't they all). Probably some of both.

He's already played the Jesus card so copping to mental illness might be his only defense. Egomaniacs like him generally don't swallow pills that big however. I wouldn't want to be his lawyer. As Marc Ryan used to say; "He's a moving target".

I'm guessing four to seven years.

peter brush said...

the left of center uncritical commentariat that has for decades twiddled its thumbs while the state plunged into its present downward arc
Rowland has never struck me as a bad man. If I were to need a babysitter I'd much sooner entrust my daughter's care to him than I would to eminences like Bill Klinton, Edward "The Swimmer" Kennedy, or the waitress-sandwiching Christopher Dodd. He also has chosen his enemies well, and their hatred endears him to me. My sincere hope is that he gets off at trial, and in any case that any punishment he gets may be light. He's hurt precisely nobody with his violation of our idiotic campaign law complex.
Rowland is a moderate; a neo-con whose complaint about big government doesn't require elimination of FDR's or LBJ's legislative achievements, but only a less wasteful welfare state. When he won election in 1994 he beat the best man in the race; Tom Scott. But, Scott would not have been able to get rid of the income tax given the character of the people of the State as represented in its legislature. Rowland was a serviceable Governor.

The good government puritans are perfectly content to destroy the State fiscally and morally, as long as their enemies are destroyed. We live in a state where it's ok for a pol to accept campaign contributions from public sector employees, to run up more debt per capita than any other state, but not ok to pay a radio talk show host for consulting without following police protocol.
Will the prosecution of Rowland cause fewer people and businesses to leave the Nutmeg State to escape from our gross mismanagement?
He was later elected governor in 1994 at age 37 (the youngest governor in Connecticut history) and later defeated two Democratic opponents: former US Congresswoman Barbara Bailey Kennelly (63%–35%) in 1998 and former State Comptroller Bill Curry (56%–44%) in 2002...

During the years that Rowland was in office, the state enjoyed record-breaking surpluses, state spending increased only modestly, with real spending growth rates of just over 2 percent annually between 1995 and 2003.

peter brush said...

Speaking of Chris Dodd... where were the good government guys when he was taking campaign money and funny money from those who he was regulating, those in a position to profit from lax Fannie/Freddie lending standards? His corruption was not harmless.
politicians over recent years had received mortgage financing at noncompetitive rates at Countrywide Financial because the corporation placed the officeholders in a program called "FOA's"--"Friends of Angelo", Countrywide's Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo. The politicians extended such favorable financing included the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Christopher Dodd (D-CT), and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad (D-ND). The article also noted Countrywide's political action committee had made large donations to Dodd's campaign.[1]

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