A political garden of verse
We’re finally getting down to the greasy nub of this loathsome, cynicbreeding election season.
And yet, it seems like just a few days ago that about half of the Republican universe was spinning around the sun, wooing convention delegates (Remember when party conventions mattered?) and reporters to listen to the big plans on what they could offer if elected governor of the great state of Connecticut.
With Democrats, it was less of wild ride, since many of the highest-profile elected officials, call them the usual suspects — Attorney General George Jepsen, Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill — bailed out of the race early. Only Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, in his endless quest for redemption — or a better deal —ended up pushing Ned Lamont into a primary.
The mayor’s million dollar — OK, $900,000 — summer vacation resulted in his losing 168 of the state’s 169 towns. That, folks, is a repudiation.
It was way back in midMarch that I saw a jovial bar owner and industrial window-washing entrepreneur, a U.S. Navy veteran named Matt Corey, talking in West Hartford town hall to the local Republic Town Committee, attacking U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy over crime in the streets. He was working toward the GOP nomination back then, and he might have uttered the least-informed quote of the year. He said Hartford and Bridgeport both had 200 firearms-related murders in 2017. In fact, Hartford had 29 homicides and Bridgeport had 22. I knew he was someone to ... ah ... watch.
Nowadays, I can’t even get Big Bob Stefanowski to stop and answer a question, he’s so “busy” trying to avoid any more vocal pitfalls, while back-loading his campaign with fresh cash. If he wins on Nov. 6 — and don’t think that he can’t — Stefanowski will become the first governor to be elected without holding a single no-holds-barred, stay until the last question is asked news conference. Oh yeah, and he still hasn’t released his tax returns, as promised for weeks.
Electors can view Stefanowski as a one-note song, in which he promises to cut taxes, but won’t say what he’ll actually propose reducing in the way of state expenditures. A governor is only as effective as their General Assembly, and the last governor who had the kind of will to go to war with lawmakers and win was Lowell P. Weicker Jr., who saw the future, smelled the billion-dollar deficit — yes it was peanuts these days — and persuaded lawmakers to enact the personal income tax in 1991.
I think that after the months and months, as we head into the home stretch, what I regret most was not taking a Sharpie and scribbling my John Hancock on the side of the RV that Steve Obsitnik relentlessly drove around the state, first winning the support of GOP convention delegates, and then some more before losing the primary.
Anyway, during my latest episode of Waiting for Big Bob and His EarphoneWearing Security Team to Walk By Me Without Comment, I started making a little alphabet book, in the style of the late Gothic prankster Edward Gorey’s
Ais for all of us, man, we’re in trouble. is for Big Bob, who worries he’ll stumble. is for consuming the winner’s Champagne. is those dollars, the milk of campaigns.
is elections and winners take all. is for firearms, Ned not at all. is for guns, they gave Bob and “A.” H is the Hollywoodstyle
EDCFBGcommercials they play.
is information: they think we’re so dumb. is for journeys and trips around the sun. is for Ken, who waits, waits and waits. is for love, the thrill of the chase.
is for money, of which pols have is plenty. is for nominations, candidate sought many. is Obsitnik, whom the Democrats feared a bunch. is for Patronage, the winner gets much. is for quality, or lacking thereof. is for the retail politics we love. is the Senate, in which there’s a tie. is Tim Herbst’s opponents would die. U is for us, political types. V for the victors, of various stripes. is this wacky chattering election parrot.
is almost what you mark on your ballot. is the question you continually ask. Zs are what’s waiting at home, in bed, at last.
Former Gov. Lowell Weicker speaks in Hartford in 1994.