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Blumenthal, An Achilles without An Achilles’ Heel?

Blumenthal finding shelter from the storm

“The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice”―
 G.K. Chesterton

A few months prior to the November 2022 elections, Connecticut’s media is focusing upon ideological factions within the GOP. These factions are much in evidence in the state’s upcoming U.S. Senate race, which at the moment pits three Republican challengers against present U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal. All the members of Connecticut’s all-Democrat U.S. Congressional Delegation will be defending their seats in 2022.

For various reasons, Blumenthal is considered by many commentators as the GOP’s San Juan Hill. Reading between the lines of many media reports, Blumenthal, it would appear, is nearly invulnerable to attack. He is a Connecticut Achilles without an Achilles’ heel. Blumenthal has won by comfortable margins all of his races during his three decades long stint in Connecticut politics.

In his current race against three Republican contenders – former Republican leader in the state’s House of Representatives Themis Klarides, immigration lawyer Peter Lumaj, and Republican National Committeewoman from Connecticut Leora Levy – Blumenthal has amassed a more than comfortable campaign war chest. Six months before a Republican nominating convention that chose Klarides as its preferred candidate, Blumenthal, according to an account in a Hartford paper, had “been fundraising on a steady basis and has a daunting $6.9 million in cash on hand, according to public records.”

Over the years, Blumenthal has compiled a media album of flattering poses and uncritical stories that has stood him in good stead in his past political contests. And his opponents had been unable to unhorse him. Linda McMahon, contemptuously referred to as “the wrestling lady” in many news accounts covering the 2010 campaign for a U.S Senate seat vacated by Chris Dodd, spent more than $50 million in a failed effort to unseat the invulnerable Blumenthal.

These figures illustrate, if nothing else, that the effort to “level the playing field” between incumbents and challengers through so called “campaign finance reform” has been a spectacular failure thus far unnoticed by the reformers, many of whom are uncritical reporters and commentators predisposed to support Democrat incumbents.

Money is only part of the political game. Large campaign war chests are generally used to purchase ads favorable to the purchaser and critical of opponents. It may plausibly be argued that favorable ads in Blumenthal’s case are entirely redundant. Prior news reports – most of them glowingly favorable to Blumenthal – have over the years enshrouded the darling of Connecticut’s media in political fireproof bubble wrap.

The days of contrarian journalists operating faithfully on Joseph Pulitzer’s dictum that newspapers “should have no friends” may have passed us by. The ideological dividing line now running through political parties is a dividing line as well in political reporting.

What might a Connecticut media focused upon ideological factions within Connecticut’s ruling Democrat Party find?

Just to begin with, they would find that the Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation, at one time split almost evenly between liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans, has been wholly captured by postmodern progressive Democrats. All past fiscally conservative-culturally progressive Republicans have been displaced by fiscally progressive, culturally progressive Democrats who, during election periods, know how to play to a liberal Democrat voting base that, within the last few years, has disappeared throughout much of the northeast.

The revolutionary shift from a liberal (emphasis mine) political orientation, best represented by Connecticut Democrats such as Governors Ella Grasso and Abe Ribicoff, to a postmodern, socialist tinged progressivism (emphasis mine) represented by many New England Democrat incumbents, could not have happened so rapidly without the sleepy ideological connivance of journalists who have left contrarian journalism far behind them in an effort to curry favor with the party in power.

Connecticut’s General Assembly has for nearly a half century been dominated by liberals now turned postmodern progressives. Postmodern progressivism’s triumph in the northeast has been an obvious success, however much it has been resisted by what used to be called “Kennedy Democrats,” a grouping that includes former President John F. Kennedy, but not his brother, “lion of the U.S. Senate” Edward Kennedy.

Democrats such as Blumenthal, their eyes on recent polling that shows the titular head of their party, President Joe Biden, a postmodern progressive with a nearly invisible AP approval rating of 39 percent, will be prepared during the 2020 midterm election to disappear behind the flower pots, certain that they can rely on a subservient media that will avert their eyes from a state, marching to progressive drums, that appears to be somewhat anxious over perduring inflation, an invisible southern border, and a postmodern progressive ethos uncomfortable with a political orthodoxy from which, Chesterton’s cardinal virtues have fled.

Blumenthal has never been asked to defend his own science-defying radical position on abortion. Nor has he been asked to explain why, as attorney general for two decades, he over relied on business regulations and now refuses to support modest regulations on Big Abortion. Nor has he been asked to defend Biden's reckless foreign policy positions or his permeable border. When George Jepsen succeeded Blumenthal as Attorney General, he summarily dismissed more than two hundred of Blumenthal's pending cases. Nor has Blumenthal announced which of the cardinal virtues he has, during his long reign in Connecticut politics, unflinchingly supported.

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