Saturday, December 08, 2018

Democrat Power Politics, Ned Who?

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?

The 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?

Here is the lede to the story: “Coming off his overwhelming re-election to the Senate and with an eye toward 2020, Chris Murphy is pulling the levers of the Democratic machinery ahead of a pivotal vote on the next party chairman… Some say it’s a natural progression for Murphy to want to have a say in who leads Connecticut’s nearly 800,000 registered Democrats after recruiting Ned Lamont to run for governor and Jahana Hayes to run for his former U.S. House seat.”

Murphy – someone who is “more hands-on,” according to former state party chairman and past president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO John Olsen – seems deferential to Lamont: “Obviously I care a lot about the success of the Democratic Party in Connecticut, and that's one of the reasons I worked so hard to elect Ned Lamont. I'm excited to have him at the head of our party, and I know he will choose the type of leaders that both our party and our state need to keep moving forward." But senior Democrats within his party, the story notes, say that Murphy favors “a party chairman with whom he already has a close working relationship or alliance. Among the names being bandied about are two of his trusted Senate aides, Sean Scanlon and Kenny Curran.”

An important piece on the political chessboard, a party chairman drawn from his own intimate circle certainly would be able to frustrate contenders ambitious as Murphy from launching a primary when the senator, recently re-elected to office, defends his seat in six years. Clouds of presidential ambition have hung about Murphy’s head for the past few years. If Democrats are able to seize the White House in 2020 from current President Donald Trump, Murphy might make a fine cabinet head in a newly established Office of Gun Regulation, in which case, were he able to hand-pick a Connecticut Democrat Party Chairman, the lean and hungry senator might be able, by exerting a little pressure, to hand-pick his own successor in the U.S. Senate.

One wonders what Connecticut’s senior senator, Dick Blumenthal, who hails from a different time period when senators did not mettle directly in state politics, thinks of the strategic tactics of the state’s junior senator.

Murphy is not alone in his bid for power and status, coin of the realm in US politics. The Progressive Caucus in the state’s General Assembly also is flexing its muscle now that Democrats have swept Republicans from power in a) the General Assembly, b) the governor’s office, c) all the constitutional offices in Connecticut, and d) the state’s U.S. Congressional Delegation. The failed unchallenged Democrat hegemony urban dwellers have long been used to now spreads its dark wings over the entire state. Connecticut’s major cities have been struggling for years with what journalists euphemistically call “challenges.”

It is very much an open question whether the state’s media, which should perform a mediating function between the two parties, will offer any effective resistance to Connecticut’s dominant party.  As is the case in virtually all progressive New England states, the media in Connecticut is very comfortable with progressive political prescriptions.

We have been down this road only yesterday. The correlation of forces that obtained during the first of Governor Dannel Malloy’s two unsuccessful terms – the capture of the governor’s office by Democrats, and overwhelmingly superior Democrat numbers in the General Assembly – has now been restored. And Lamont, unlike Malloy is a political novice, which puts him at the mercy of professional politicians in Connecticut, Democrat long-beards such as President Pro-Tem of the Senate Martin M. Looney and SEBAC’s best friend, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, a former union president who is employed as a union coordinator by AFSCME Council 4.

Murphy the progressive will be somewhere in the mix nudging Lamont left. He will be joined by all the state’s constitutional offices, now held by Democrats, including Attorney General in waiting William Tong, whose chief ambition as Attorney General appears to be to provide Blumenthal and Murphy with assistance in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.      

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