Wednesday, December 26, 2018
This means that every dollar collected and disbursed by state government should be the province of elected General Assembly members. In most states, the salaries and benefits of unionized state employees are determined by legislatures – and NOT through contractual obligations presented to the legislature by governors colluding with union chiefs to benefit an undemocratic hegemony that such contracts tend to support and enforce. In addition to depleting the constitutional authority of the General Assembly, such contracts as have been arranged between Connecticut’s governors and unions throw dispute resolutions into the state’s third branch of government, the court system, and decisions made by courts are, by definition, NOT representative choices made by the legislative branch. No governor of recent memory has had the courage to say to a union-friendly General Assembly – the state constitution assigned you, the members of the House and Senate, the obligation of shaping Connecticut’s economic future, and this is a constitutional obligation you should not be renting out to unrepresentative political factions.
Friday, December 21, 2018
After January, Dannel Malloy will belong to the ages; which is to say, he will belong to the historians, who no doubt will be amused by the gloss on his own career provided by a lame-duck governor who has provided the epitaph that should appear on his own political tombstone: “I could have been popular and ineffective, but I couldn't in this state be popular and effective." Translation: When your disastrous policies fail the state and you become unpopular, rise above your unpopularity by advancing a false dichotomy – no one who is effective can be popular, at least not in Connecticut. A book is likely on its way.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
It was one of those pictures, courtesy of CTMirror, that says more than a thousand words. The old Democrat Party chairman, Nick Balletto, credited by most progressives as having produced two of the most successful winning campaigns of any prior chairman in recent memory, is being tenderly embraced by the new chairwoman, Nancy Wyman, Governor Dannel Malloy’s Lieutenant Governor, while Governor elect Ned Lamont caresses Balletto's back, no knife visible in his hand.
Lamont’s Lieutenant Governor, the personable Susan Bysiewicz, lips tightly sewn, looks on diffidently.
Why did Lamont think it necessary to stiff Balletto?
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Documents just released years after a shooter murdered his mother, 20 students, 6 teachers and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School have been made available to Connecticut politicians and the general public in answer to a legal action brought by a persistent Hartford Courant.
The documents had been carefully tucked away for five years and clearly point to the social and mental deficiencies of the shooter.
All reports should have been released soon after the shooter’s suicide, because none of the information contained therein could have prejudiced any legal action. It is impossible to put a dead mass-shooter on trial for murder. In the absence of the necessary data unearthed above, a public trial of sorts, some of it sprinkled with absurd speculations, was conducted entirely in the mass media, and eventually one of the weapons used in the mass slaughter, an AR15 semi-automatic rifle, was pronounced guilty and banned in Connecticut.
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Is Ned Lamont, the Democrat multi-millionaire businessman who prevailed in Connecticut’s governor’s race over Republican multi-millionaire businessman Bob Stefanowski, being pushed to the back of the bus by party regulars?
governor-In-waiting is being cuffed a bit by progressive U.S Senator Chris
Murphy, among other ambitious Democrats, according to a news item in a Hartford paper.
governor-In-waiting is being cuffed a bit by progressive U.S Senator Chris
Murphy, among other ambitious Democrats, according to a news item in a Hartford paper.
The traditional party boss structure ended decades ago, but necessary functions once executed by strong party bosses such as John Bailey of blessed memory must, never-the-less, be performed by someone. And why should the power to shape the future of the State Democrat Party not fall to Murphy rather than Lamont?
Monday, December 03, 2018
The notion that Republicans this year lost heavily in the General Assembly because President Donald Trump sank them is a bit too facile.
Mark Pazniokas, a writer for CTMirror, explores the notion in a story titled CT GOP had right message, but ‘Trump just trumped it.’
The quoted portion in the title, “Trump just trumped it,” is taken from a remark made by former U.S. Representative Chris Shays, the last Republican standing in Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation. Shays, Connecticut’s U.S. Representative from the 4th District from August 1987 through January 2009, lost to current U.S. Representative Jim Himes long before Trump appeared menacingly on the presidential horizon, and his loss, as well as the losses of longtime U.S. Reps. Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons, had nothing to do with Trump and much to do with changing political dynamics in Connecticut campaigns.
Sunday, December 02, 2018
To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical – Thomas Jefferson
California, of all places, is making a stab – too little, too late -- at reigning in its Gargantuan pension liabilities. Pension reformers in California recognize frankly that certain kinds of state workers should not be invested with benefits and pensions in excess of those available to all other workers in the private market place.
California’s unaffordable pension and salary burden can be ameliorated, reformers say, by dividing government employee benefits into three types: 1) benefits already earned for completed work, 2) those under pending contracts that relate to future work, and 3) those performing work not yet performed and not covered by contracts written in stone. Under a reform regime, different levels of protection will be afforded to the different groups. Level 1 workers will be afforded full protection; pension and salary arrangements for level 2 workers will be open to revision by the state; and level 3 workers will be afforded protections similar to those in the private market place.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
We cannot know yet what a Ned Lamont administration will be like. Fate is always a work in progress. But it seems a reasonable assumption that there will be Democrat Party continuity between the Malloy and Lamont administrations; both Lamont and Malloy are progressive Democrats.
Lamont did stress during his campaign that he had run for governor against Malloy, but this was largely a feint for show. Nothing in the Lamont campaign suggests a policy break with Malloy. Moreover, the election results have returned Connecticut to the status quo ante as it existed during Malloy’s first campaign. Republicans had made some inroads to power during the Malloy administration. Prior to the November elections – a stunning victory for the majority party in Connecticut -- Republicans were at parity with Democrats in the Senate and trailing them by a few seats in the House. The election washed out these gains.
Saturday, November 24, 2018
In Bethel, Connecticut, atheists are especially interested this year in ridding the town’s P. T. Barnum Square of its nativity scene. For the benefit of those atheists who do not always follow the niceties of Christianity, it should be noted that the bones of Barnum’s family are buried in the quiet graveyard abutting the Congressional church not a stone’s throw from Barnum Square., and the name "Bethel" means "the house of God." The atheists have not yet been so bold as to petition the town to change its name.
Friday, November 23, 2018
Q: I have lots of questions.
A: I’m sure I do not have lots of answers.
Q: I’ll ask the questions anyway.
A: You always were persistent, an indispensable virtue among good reporters.
Q: You were a reporter once, right?.
A: No, a columnist. Reporters dig up the truffles, columnists make use of them in their pâtés.
Q: When did you start publishing Connecticut Commentary?
A: About 2004, thirteen years after then Governor Lowell Weicker destroyed the character of Connecticut, once a magnet for companies seeking to escape the withering hand of autocratic government, by instituting his ill-advised income tax.
Monday, November 19, 2018
Antifa: The Progressive Party in action.
Autocrat: A member in good standing of the reigning power.
Bipartisanship: A political ploy. Political parties that have been deposed by voters cling to demands for bipartisanship with all the fervor of a drowning sailor grasping at a straw.
Border: A largely irrelevant demarcation line on a map indicating the presence of a largely irrelevant nation.
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Even before he departs the state for Massachusetts, where he will teach courses at his alma mater, Governor Dan Malloy is being mythologized. But the Malloy myth has collided with Red Jahncke, who writes in The Hill that the newly manufactured myth is a tissue of half-truths: “One pre-election newspaper headline read ‘Malloy myth is dead wrong; he slashed state spending,’ and another excoriated Republicans for wrongly accusing Malloy of instituting ‘the top two tax hikes in CT history,’ as if this would absolve him of the several huge increases he imposed… This media revisionism falls apart in math class: ‘slashed’ spending would lead to budget improvements. Logically, reduced spending combined with tax hikes would lead to even greater budget improvements, yet the state is facing big budget deficits as far as the eye can see.”
Friday, November 16, 2018
Hey, working suburban women who voted for the toll guy for governor -- get out your wallets. Multiple reports in Connecticut’s media advise us that Lamont eked out a win over Republican Gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski with some encouragement from suburban women, many of whom hold down jobs to which they travel – by car, not by largely empty FastTrack windmill powered busses.
During his gubernatorial campaign, Governor Elect Ned Lamont was warm on tolls – but the tolls, working suburban women and others were told, would be levied only on out-of-state trucks, a dubious constitutional gambit. Rhode Island, the state from which Lamont lifted the idea, is now embroiled in law suits.
A little more than a week after the election, it was reported by the indispensable Yankee Institute that a new CTDOT Study Calls for 82 Tolling Gantries on Connecticut Highways. A note provided on a map furnished by the Connecticut Department of Transportation commissioned study reads, comfortingly, “Locations are for preliminary planning purposes only.” The mapped major transportation arteries are pock-marked with red dots, gantry locations, that make the state look as if it had come down with an advanced case of measles. In a somewhat sour note, the study remarks that “fairness” in toll collections should be paramount: “Fairness – tolls should be set to ensure collection of revenues from CT as well as out-of-state auto and truck trips.” But fairness, Connecticut’s taxpayers will understand lies, like beauty and truth, in the eye of the beholder.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
The Democrats have floated to the top in a state that is sinking to the bottom. Even prominent Connecticut Democrats agree that the stewardship of out-going Governor Dannel Malloy and – very important – a hegemonic Democrat power base in the General Assembly has left the state in a precarious position.
There really is no need to sound the death knell here. All the lurid figures have been paraded often enough before voters: We are among the highest taxed state in the nation; we are leeching entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial capital to neighboring states, not to mention southern economic powerhouse states; we can no longer balance our budgets because state labor costs will always exceed on-hand revenue -- unless long-term labor costs are permanently reduced, and this cannot be done because the party in power in the General Assembly for more than thirty years is tied politically to the apron strings of powerful state employee unions.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
“Lamont says Malloy has "done a lot of thinking about transition…" – WTNH News 8
After lunch, Governor Dannel Malloy and Governor-Elect Ned Lamont have a “frank and honest” conversation with each other. Throughout, Malloy – approval rating 15 -- appears to be carefree, strangely excited. The burden of governing has been lifted from his shoulders. When his term ends, he will kick the dust of Connecticut from his feet, move to Massachusetts and teach courses at his old alma mater. Lamont is restrained, his characteristic ebullience gone, now that he faces the reality of governing a state in the dumps.
Malloy: … reason to be depressed. According to one analysis, your margin of victory in the race was larger even than mine during my first campaign. Imagine that. You have in your corner the large cities, most of the state’s media and – big surprise – portions of the state that have always gone Republican. Right now, you are very well positioned. You have the General Assembly laying like a cat in your lap, purring. Why, President Pro Tem of the Senate Martin Looney can hardly contain himself. He no longer will have to deal with Themis Klarides or Len Fasano; tough customers, those two. You can do whatever you want. It’s 2011 all over again. Be happy.
Friday, November 09, 2018
The condition of Connecticut, most reliable political doctors tell us, is not good. And if the condition of the state is failing, its future health will depend upon a radical cure. The treatment of the body politic must be different if the same regimen will deliver a death blow. What are the possibilities of radical change in Connecticut?
Slim to none. A major part of the problem is that the executive department-state workers union combine, useful to both, has simply assumed powers and prerequisites that should belong to the General Assembly.
For the last thirty years, state government has been run by "strong governors" – one thinks of former Governor Lowell Weicker or present Governor Dannel Malloy, allied with obliging leaders of the General Assembly – who set our feet on the path to the future and command charge of state finances. Now all that sounds intellectually complex, but it really is simple. It means that governors, not state legislatures, are primary decision makers, and within the state political architecture, state unions exercise far too much political power. What we have witnessed during the last quarter century is a gerrymandering of constitutional powers.
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
It’s all over, but for the gnashing of teeth and the weeping of tears. The banner headlines on Tom Dudchik’s Capitol Report pretty much said it all on the day after Connecticut voters went to the polls and turned back the clock to out-going Governor Dannel Malloy’s first election win eight long years ago.
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes from A Blue State, that the off-year presidential election on November 6th would test whether people in Connecticut trusted the dubious claims of politicians or the obvious empirical evidence displayed right under their noses.
He has quoted George Orwell on the point, who once said that the most difficult thing for a writer to do is to see the thing that lies right under his nose. “To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle,” Orwell wrote in an essay titled In Front of Your Nose. “The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right...”
Monday, October 29, 2018
We are fast approaching “V Day,” vote day here in Connecticut, on November 6. Republicans are punching through the mask, Governor Dannel Malloy, to hobble the gubernatorial ambitions of Ned Lamont who, along with Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob Stefanowski, has had little direct political experience. Connecticut Commentary has styled this “the Junior Varsity campaign.”
The first string team – Malloy himself, his Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, along with other possible experienced Democrat prospects for governor such as Comptroller Kevin Lembo – is sitting on the back bench. It would not be too fanciful to suggest that Democrats have not fielded their strong team for two principal reasons: 1) Malloy has sunk to a new low in his favorability rating, 15 percent, which suggests that his policies have failed the state, and 2) it may be prudent to wait until the storm of disapproval has passed; there is always tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
No one has yet asked Ned Lamont – according to recent polls, Connecticut’s next governor – how he plans to bring the state’s public employee unions to heel.
Connecticut’s unionized, tax supported UConn Health Center is now, for all practical purposes, bankrupt. “As a public institution with a large share of unionized physicians and staff,” The Hartford Courant notes in a recent story, the UConn Health Center faces “added challenges. Pension liabilities for its more than 2,300 employees increased from $1.2 billion in 2016 to an anticipated $2.3 billion this year.”
Friday, October 19, 2018
Connecticut’s gubernatorial “debate” – Where are Lincoln and Douglas when you need them? -- between Ned Lamont and Bob Stefanowski appears to be stuck on a single “how” question: How will Stefanowski implement his campaign pledge to eliminate Connecticut’s income tax, once considered a final solution to the state’s debt problems, now a millstone around the neck of Connecticut.
The media coverage of the debates has been diverting, but most reports have been stuck in a single groove, playing over and over the same starkly abbreviated section of a larger unheard song, rather as if inconvenient questions launched in Lamont’s direction will upset the precariously balanced apple cart that has been constructed over a period of three decades by the Democrat General Assembly hegemon in charge of state finances. Stefanowski has said his pledge to eliminate the income tax within the space of eight years is an aspirational goal that will become operational two years into his gubernatorial administration, which means, yes, Stefanowski will reduce taxes and – much more importantly – reduce spending.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
National Democrats are, ever so gently, following socialist Pied Piper U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders back to the cave. Connecticut Democrats, progressive to the bone, are likely to go along for the ride. The Pied Piper, it will be recalled, was hired by the mayor of Hamlin to rid the town of rats, which he did by piping them an enchanting tune. The mayor of the town refused payment, and the Pied Piper later avenged himself by piping the town’s children to a cave, where they were never heard from again. There are two morals to the story: debts incurred must be paid, and the instruments of destruction you use against your enemies easily may be turned upon yourself.
Tuesday, October 09, 2018
Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been installed on the U.S. Supreme Court. A voting majority on both sides of the apparently permanent political barricades is breathing sighs of relief, if only because the chaotic Senate hearings are over. Most people are bone weary of the political posturing and wonder how much permanent damage the U.S. Senate, not to mention the Supreme Court, may have suffered.
Nothing on the Democrat side of the barricades will be over until the party triumvirate – U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer – says it is over. That seems unlikely. The Democrat effort here seems to be to strike at the president through his mask, in this case Kavanaugh. Blumenthal, it should be noted, pledged to vote against the Kavanaugh nomination even before he was nominated by Trump to succeed Justice Kennedy on the high court. In fact, Blumenthal was opposed to any of the candidates whose names appeared on a list of acceptable candidates supplied to the President by The Heritage Foundation, which noted in a September 2016 article, “Trump’s list of 11 potential justices includes five suggestions that had appeared in a commentary from The Heritage Foundation’s John Malcolm, director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson senior legal fellows, first published in March.”
Tuesday, October 02, 2018
Hillary Clinton, who lost the presidential election to current U.S. President Donald Trump, has been effectively sidelined as a national leader of the Democrat Party. Clinton, whose emails the Chinese were reading in real time when as Secretary of State she typed them out on an unsecured private server, likely will not make an appearance in Connecticut as a supporter of Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Ned Lamont.
But all is not lost. Lamont, running against Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski, has received a fulsome endorsement from former President Barack Obama, whose political star still twinkles in the dark heavens.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
"Hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue,” said La Rochefoucauld. The hypocrite who hypocritically says one thing yet does the opposite is paying a tribute to virtue because deep down he knows what is right, though he lacks the moral fortitude to act upon it. There likely is a Latin translation floating around somewhere; moral admonitions sound so much better in Latin.
U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal used an unfortunate Latin expression in questioning Supreme Court prospect – over Blumenthal’s dead body! – Brett Kavanaugh. He asked Kavanaugh, whose repute now lies in tatters thanks to a triumvirate of leading Senate muckrakers -- Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer -- Kavanaugh was familiar with the Latin phrase “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus,” a rough translation of which is: “False in one thing, false in all things.” The implication is that if one misrepresents objective reality even once, everything one has said previously is false; indeed, everything one may say AFTER the presumed falsehood is also false.
Friday, September 28, 2018
End Harassment At The Capitol” -- “It is almost incomprehensible that legislators in this state, known for its progressive policies, fail to adequately police their own and ensure that the halls of the Capitol are safe places for everyone.”
The editorial makes reference to a “survey conducted by the Office of Legislative Management" that shows – again I am quoting from the editorial – “Eighty six people who work in the state’s General Assembly said a legislator had sexually harassed them in a way that created a hostile work environment. Another 15 [per cent] said the harassment involved a quid pro quo for sexual conduct.”
They should not have been astonished, because editorial page editors are grown-ups who should understand that Eros is no respecter of ideologies. Both conservatives and progressives sometimes yield to what moral philosophers used to call the “sins of the flesh.” In our secular age, we’ve abandoned the whole notion of sin, partly because it is a religious concept, and progressives have progressed far beyond the boundaries of outworn religious doctrine, which they find illiberal and inhibiting. Harvard and Yale may still have chairs in moral philosophy, but the current science is not what it was when the subject was attached by a pedagogical umbilical cord to theology, once known as the queen of the sciences. In any case, most editorials are not written by moral philosophers.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
featured in a short video, a loving remembrance of her son, sometime after the country graced itself by awarding to Chapman the Medal of Honor.
We do however share a town: Windsor Locks, a mill town with a characteristic one-sided Main Street, a canal that flows parallel to the Connecticut River, full of perch and snappers in the heat of July. Chapman’s mother says in the video her son was a little Huck-Finnish growing up in Windsor Locks – nothing too serious, but there was a playful and sometimes mischievous spirit in the recent Medal of Honor recipient. When you live by a sun-spangled river and you are a boy in a town in which all eyes lovingly spy you out, Huck lives and breathes in you.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Morality through the ages has always been an OK-Not-OK proposition. Some things were just not to be suffered gladly and, before the ascendancy of the new morality, it generally had been agreed that society had a moral obligation to impose sanctions on persistent cultural deviants. This proposition was heartily rejected by the sons and daughters of the Woodstock Generation, some of whose adherents are now pontificating from the hallowed halls of the U.S. Congress.
In connection with the presumed manifold sins of prospective U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, one longs for a voice rising above clamorous moral maenads in the Democrat Party – saints Schumer, Blumenthal and Feinstein, U.S. Senators all – “Let he ( and, to be fair, she) who is without sin cast the first stone.” It is impossible at this point to tell whether any of Kavanagh’s accusers are “without sin,” chiefly because New Yorker magazine reporter Ronan Farrell has not yet searched the backgrounds – going back more than 30 years – of Kavanaugh’s accusers.
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Military procurements during the Obama administration have been slender. Connecticut is still referred to in some corners as “the provision state” because, since the Revolutionary War, Connecticut has provided the national military with provisions. It continues to do so; Pratt&Whitney, Electric Boat and Sikorsky are very much going concerns.
Obama’s military budget was considerably more modest than Trump’s, as the President never tires of reminding the country. Dollars spent on the military are, to no one’s surprise, good for Connecticut. Federal dollars spent on military procurements produce Connecticut jobs, which produce funds that replenish the state’s treasury -- all good, all the time.
Friday, September 21, 2018
the banner headlines on Tom Dudchik’s “Capitol Report” read, in screaming text.
“Capitol Report” is an aggregator site much frequented by Connecticut politicians and state political watchers that retails important stories. The lede to the featured Hartford Courant story read, “The state Bond Commission will meet Thursday to vote on borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to finance projects around the state, and the potential for a bonanza of funding for Hartford.”
Friday, September 14, 2018
What to make of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s most recent referral to the FBI? Feinstein has said, according to CNN, "’I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,’ Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. ‘That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities,’ she added.”
There was not much “there” there in Feinstein’s media release. The “matter,” according to other reports, concerns alleged inappropriate behavior on the part of Kavanaugh when he was in high school; whether a freshman, average age 14, or a senior we are not told. It’s a juicy tidbit, particularly in the era of me-tooism, but the tidbit is too little and perhaps too artificially enticing.
Thursday, September 13, 2018
We know that it will not do to overlook recent history, because recent history is armed and dangerous. It might be instructive to approach Connecticut’s economic problems from a “can’t do” perspective. What are the reigning “can’t-do’s” in Connecticut just now?
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Guest blog By Sean Murphy
This is the last part of a three blog piece
The amount of animus since President Donald Trump has taken office is of record proportions.
This is the last part of a three blog piece
The amount of animus since President Donald Trump has taken office is of record proportions.
The question is: is the problem Donald Trump or what he stands for and who he stands against?
The answer is the latter.
Sunday, September 09, 2018
“When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
And when you look into Kavanaugh, Kavanaugh looks into you. The U.S. Senate hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court began with a bang – interminable bangs by energetic protesters -- and ended with a whispered sigh. “Senate concludes Kavanaugh hearing; confirmation likely” the Chicago Tribune noted.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation was “likely” from the get-go. One of Kavanaugh's bitterest opponents in the Senate, Dick Blumenthal, admitted days before the hearing that Kavanaugh would be confirmed – because confirmation of Supreme Court justices is a political affair, a matter of votes and numbers, and the party with the most votes in Congress ultimately wins.
During his interrogatories with overtly hostile Democrats, all of whom seemed to be reading from the same scrip, Kavanaugh’s character came through the screen, as they say in Hollywood. He was personable, modest, supremely intelligent, professorial in an inoffensive and measured way, and authoritative on the law. Most important, he knew what he said and did not say on any question put to him by his Grand Inquisitors.
Saturday, September 08, 2018
Chris Powell begins his column on Nelson "Oz" Griebel with a backhanded compliment: “Griebel is a substantial guy and more familiar with state government than the gubernatorial nominees of the major parties, Democrat Ned Lamont and Republican Bob Stefanowski,” followed by a backhand, “But Griebel has gone completely establishment now and it is hard to distinguish his positions from Lamont's. They both support raising taxes again to avoid offending influential interest groups that deserve offending. They argue that economic growth is what Connecticut needs most though the state will never have it as long as those interest groups keep first claim on state government's revenue.”
The pursuit of the elusive unaffiliated vote has destroyed more politicians in Connecticut than the usual and expected corrupt political activity.
Tuesday, September 04, 2018
U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, re-elected in 2016 and not up for election until 2022, is in danger of becoming a tiresome party hack. However, in two years there is plenty of time for necessary course corrections. The political manual for slippery politicians may be found in T. S. Elliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
… And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
… And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
Sunday, September 02, 2018
Guest blog By Sean Murphy
In my last commentary, I discussed what Bob Stefanowski will face from Republican Party insiders and elected officials. Keep in mind while Republicans won all over the country since 2010, Connecticut Republicans lost every statewide elected race and could not muster control in the General Assembly.
The reason for that is incumbent Republicans always do what they see as the minimum to get re-elected. They cozy up to local town committees. They get their state grants, in many cases via bonding for some local pork project that gets them positive press. Then after they put their time in, they move on up to a high paying job and get their outrageous pensions and lifetime health insurance.
What are the key issues that need to be front and center?
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Republicans, we all know, do not know how to campaign -- which is why they lose elections. In the modern period, political jousting is either murderous or feckless. Twitterdom is full of deadly thrusts unleavened by humor, the opposite of wit.
Let’s suppose Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob “the re-builder” Stefanowski were Abe Lincoln, sans beard but with a similar sense of humor. Someone at a political rally once accused Lincoln of being two-faced – he was being rather subtle on the issue of slavery– at which point Lincoln stopped his speech and shouted back, “If I had two faces, do you think I’d be wearing this one?” The audience shivered with appreciative laughter, and laughter in politics is better than votes because it engages the stomach muscles and the thorax. Voting is a public duty most people choose to ignore, particularly in our day of snake oil salesmen. But laughter cleanses the soul and shocks the memory. Remembering a good joke is so much more pleasant than remembering a humorless politician.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Paul Bass of the New Haven Independent tells us that Mike Carter, long associated with New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, has left the building: “Carter’s personal relationship with the mayor became strained in recent months, with Carter reportedly growing openly critical of her performance. A lunch between the two failed to ease tensions.”
New Haveners cannot help but notice, as did Bass in his report, that Carter’s resignation “comes at a time when City Hall has been buffeted by bad news, from a wave of over 100 K2 overdoses in several days on the Green, to controversy over city budget deficits, credit ratings agencies, education cuts, employee theft with a city credit card, and the purchase of $4,000 [worth] of uniforms for mayoral staffers.”
There seems to be a lot of beef on that plate. And yet, Harp will survive the buffeting, largely because the Democrat Party has had a lock on New Haven since 1953. The last Republican chief executive of New Haven was William Celentano, the city’s first Italian mayor, a funeral director.
By Sean Murphy
The August 14th Republican primary left me quite confused.
In our current environment, only half of Republican voters voted for Joe Markley for Lt Governor.
We elected an actual outsider president who, astonishingly, makes and keeps promises. Americans of all political backgrounds despise double talking politicians. We can see every day how murderously the Swamp in DC behaves towards President Trump.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
In the often quoted words of former Prime Minister of Britain Maggie Thatcher, the state ran out of other people’s money.
Former Governor Lowell Weicker’s 1991 income tax was followed, taxpayers of Connecticut will recall, by two additional massive tax impositions, the largest and the second largest in state history, initiated by present Governor Dannel Malloy – disapproval rating 72 percent, the lowest in the nation, according to Morning Consult. With the additional taxes in hand, spending spiked. The last non-income tax budget in the William O’Neill administration was $7.5 billion, a figure that tripled within the space of four governors. These tax increases relieved the Democrat dominated General Assembly of the necessity of instituting permanent, long term spending cuts. That’s number one. Number two: Over a period of years, the Democrat dominated General Assembly has simply rented out its constitutional and statutory obligations, foremost of which is control over the budget, to the governor-union-bosses combine. Number three: The dominant Democrat Party has remembered nothing and forgotten everything. Democrat nominee Ned Lamont’s political program– a repeat of Malloy’s failed governance -- is 98 percent aspirational and 2 percent analytical.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
The Hartford Courant story is titled, provocatively, 'Racist' Tweet From Republican Joe Visconti Draws Fire From Democratic and GOP Leaders. The word “racist” is imprisoned in quotes to indicate some disagreement as to whether the perennial right of center gadfly, Joe Visconti, is a racist.
He is not a racist, those who know him best will assert, rather passionately. Visconti has argued that his message, appended to a picture of Democrat Attorney General prospect William Tong, has little to do with race and everything to do with political orientation.
Friday, August 17, 2018
Kevin Williamson has exploded the Warren menace in a thoughtful piece in National Review titled “Elizabeth Warren’s Batty Plan to Nationalize . . . Everything.”
“Warren’s proposal,” Williamson writes, is dishonestly called the ‘Accountable Capitalism Act.’ … Under Senator Warren’s proposal, no business with more than $1 billion in revenue would be permitted to legally operate without permission from the federal government. The federal government would then dictate to these businesses the composition of their boards, the details of internal corporate governance, compensation practices, personnel policies, and much more. Naturally, their political activities would be restricted, too. Senator Warren’s proposal entails the wholesale expropriation of private enterprise in the United States, and nothing less. It is unconstitutional, unethical, immoral, irresponsible, and — not to put too fine a point on it — utterly bonkers.”
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Political campaigns are narrow spaces; there is not a lot of elbow room in them to explain in fulsome detail proposed public programs and their consequences. But a good campaign must represent more than a string of feel-good bumper sticker sentiments.
Republicans vying for the gubernatorial race this year climbed out on a conservative limb and dedicated themselves to specific policy changes: no more tax increases; permanent reductions in spending; and, most alarming to progressive Democrats, the wresting of democratic government from powerful special interests -- i.e. union representatives.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Now that the party primaries have concluded, the substance of the play will change – because the audience will have changed.
Democrat Party nominee Ned Lamont unsurprisingly dished Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim with 81 percent of the primary vote.
On the Republican side, Bob Stefanowski hauled in 30 percent of the vote, 9 points more than Mayor Mark Boughton of Danbury, not a strong showing for a party nominee. In the hotly contested 5th District, abandoned by Elizabeth Esty after charges she had not moved quickly enough on reported incidents of harassment by her Chief of Staff against one of her female aides. Jahana Hayes upset party nominee Mary Glassman with a convincing 62 percent of the vote. State Senator Joe Markley won a resounding victory over his two primary opponents, and Susan Bysiewicz, hand-picked by Lamont for the Lieutenant Governor slot, prevailed over her primary opponent with 62 percent of the vote.
During primaries, politicians tend to pitch their messaging to the party faithful -- to progressive Democrats or fiscally conservative Republicans. Many “conservative’ Republicans avoid the snare of social issues like the plague and, likewise, Democrats will wish in the coming general campaign to skirt the obvious failure in Connecticut of progressive fiscal measures.
In the post primary general election, a rough-hewn left or right ideology tends to take a back pew, and the post primary candidates – Democrat Lamont and Republican Stefanowski -- may make both substantial and symbolic adjustments in their campaigning, a strategic move designed to appeal to a greater number of voters, many of whom are unaffiliateds.
We know very little about unaffiliateds because, for some indiscernible reason, pollsters have not probed the nature of the beast.
Groucho Marx used to say that he would decline to join any group that would have him as a member. It is possible that the bulk of unaffiliateds are anti-social Marxists. It is also possible that a goodly number of them are expats from both political parties who have alienated themselves from party politics for reasons good and bad. If this is the case, the breakdown among alienated unaffiliateds in Connecticut would pattern the general breakdown among the party faithful.
A data-driven understanding of unaffiliateds is essential in forming campaign strategies in a general election. There are no such studies, and in their absence campaigners more often than not become the victims of untested hypotheses. The first doubtful presumption is that unaffiliateds are “parties of one,” like Henry David Thoreau preparing to leave the comforts of Concord for the rude discomforts of Walden Pond. The second presumption is that unaffiliateds are non-ideological creatures – moderates rather than conservatives or progressives. Both assumptions may be wildly misleading.
In any case, it has become almost a tradition among Connecticut politicians moving from primaries to general elections to temper their primary messaging until, in a general election, its becomes a sort of ideological mush that appeals to everyone and no one. This is called winning a campaign on the cheap.
During the Democrat primary, Lamont and Byseiwicz gave no indication that their future administration would be other than a continuation of the disastrous reign of Dannel Malloy, whose approval rating is the lowest in the nation, though slightly higher than the Devil in Dante's ninth circle of Hell. The Republican program of Stefanowski/Markley has long since been hammered out in a rumbustious Republican primary.
Columnist Chris Powell noted a tectonic shift in Lamont’s “overwrought if not hysterical acceptance speech admitting that the party's eight years in control of state government have laid Connecticut low and it desperately needs to change direction.”
There are two kinds of change, quantitative and qualitative. A quantitative change involves more of the same – more rodomontade from slippery politicians, more taxes, more spending. Lamont’s former gubernatorial primary opponent, Malloy, was a near perfect demagogue. So far, Lamont is only “nearly hysterical.” Demagoguery lies at the crossroad of hysteria and power. In ancient Greece, the demagogue was an accomplished rhetorician, a populist rabble-rouser who gained the affections of the populace by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people, stirring the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation.
It may be well to bear in mind Mark Twain's sage advice: “When in doubt tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.”
Here in Connecticut, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two to one margin, and unaffiliateds, about whom we know nothing, have a slight edge over Democrats, presenting a rich field in which the demagogue may sow populist tares among the wheat.
Eventually, comes the harvest of despair.
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Herbst disputes the slur; he says he is competitive.
However, the former First Selectman of Trumbull does have a habit of fondling third rails that other Republicans running for governor fear touching. Some of those rails – a hearty defense of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, every bit as inviolable as the First Amendment; peace and security in Connecticut; the socially disruptive effects of certain Malloy-Lawlor justice reforms; the abolition of Connecticut's death penalty on social rather than legal grounds by Connecticut’s constitutionally confused, left leaning Supreme Court; serious crime ripening in Connecticut cities; a plenitude of illegal guns in a state that boasts some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country; the baneful effects of fatherlessness among young urban African American boys; and the constant chipping away of traditional morality by pretentious moral “reformists” – have gotten Herbst in Dutch with progressive social warriors.
Eric Bedner, a Journal Inquirer reporter, has been on top of the crumbling foundations story from the very beginning. Bender recently wrote about Republican gubernatorial candidate David Stemerman, one of many politicians who have made the pilgrimage to homes the foundations of which have been destroyed by the presence of pyrrhotite in the concrete mix, “Stemerman appeared to be far more knowledgeable of the issue than many of his competitors, many of whom learn the basics for the first time when speaking with homeowners.”
That is not at all surprising. Stemerman, who hopes to win the Republican primary for governor on August 14, is used to deep dives and, more often than not, he emerges with pearls in his hands.
Monday, August 06, 2018
Nearly a year ago last September, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy unburdened himself to Vox reporter Jeff Stein. Vox Media is a reliably progressive site launched in 2014 by founders Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell, and Matthew Yglesias.
Stein titled his 2017 piece “Sen. Murphy thinks he can build an on-ramp to single payer health care’ and provided a helpful single line summary: “The Connecticut Democrat will advance a plan he argues ‘may be the fastest way to a single-payer system.’”
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Abraham Lincoln gave the following example of common sense: “When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run,” and Voltaire is noted for having pointed out that nothing is so uncommon as common sense.
Proof of the theorem may be found in a document released by Governor Malloy more than a year ago that explains in some detail – but not nearly enough detail – when cops do not have to enforce Federal immigration law. The document, circulated “to school superintendents and police chiefs outlining suggested protocols on how to help these jurisdictions make decisions on enforcing President Trump's executive order on immigration,” was summarized in Bridgeport’s Daily Voice.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
After the August primaries, most major papers in Connecticut will endorse Ned Lamont as the state’s next governor. Like politicians, newspaper owners and Editorial Page Editors are victims of their past choices. If you’ve said “yes” at the altar in the presence of so many church witnesses, it becomes a chancy proposition to call it quits too soon after the honeymoon.
Lamont was the preferred candidate of former Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker. Left of center writers in Connecticut became Weicker-likers for any number of reasons. He was a manageable Republican senator. Indeed, there are some people who think, considering his record in office, that Weicker was a closet Democrat. Weicker’s left of center Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) rating during his last term in office was 90; Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Dodd’s was 85. Weicker could be depended upon to frustrate wide-awake conservatives. Generally, the left of center media in Connecticut, then and now, will gleefully strangle conservatives in their political cribs.
Monday, July 23, 2018
In Shakespeare’s King Lear, a dethroned but wiser king, about to be dragged off to prison, says to his only faithful daughter, Cordelia, “Come on, let’s go to prison. The two of us together will sing like birds in a cage. We will be good to each other. When you ask for my blessing, I’ll get down on my knees and ask you to forgive me. That’s how we’ll live—we’ll pray, we’ll sing, we’ll tell old stories, we’ll laugh at pretentious courtiers, we’ll listen to nasty court gossip, we’ll find out who’s losing and who’s winning, who’s in and who’s out. We’ll think about the mysteries of the universe as if we were God’s spies. In prison we’ll outlast hordes of rulers that will come and go as their fortunes change.”
The reporter might easily have opened his piece on State Senator Joe Markley – “Tea Partier Or Constitutional Conservative: Lt. Gov. Candidate Owns GOP Right Flank” – by noting, very incidentally, that Markley is one of the few, if not the only, state legislator with whom one might have an entertaining and profitable discussion of Shakespeare’s King Lear, which, sadly, is not often seen on Connecticut stages.
But no. Here is the lede: “He [Markley] once championed a bill to stop the state from requiring the addition of fluoride to the public drinking water – unconvinced of the efficacy of the decadeslong (sic) practice.”
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