CHRIS POWELL: Lamont thinks he can win by offering more of the same

Published on Thursday, 24 May 2018 18:22
Written by CHRIS POWELL

Columnist

Democrats have controlled the governor’s office and the General Assembly for eight years and polls suggest Connecticut voters are extremely unhappy with the state administration, what with the chronic insolvency, tax increases, and oppressive unfunded liabilities. So how will wealthy Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, the party’s nominee to succeed Governor Dannel Malloy, address that unhappiness?

At the Democratic State Convention last weekend Lamont didn’t address it at all. To the contrary, he seemed to promise more of the same, figuring that he can win anyway with an unprecedented degree of mobilization of state government’s many dependents, particularly government employees and welfare recipients. (Several convention speakers appealed even to illegal immigrants, one asserting that Democrats don’t care how anyone enters the country.)

Accepting the nomination for governor, Lamont acknowledged that state government’s finances are awful but pledged not to balance the budget at the expense of state employees, teachers, and the poor. But that’s where most of the money goes. Who is left? Only taxpayers.

Lamont added that in writing the budget he will have “everyone at the table,” which sounded exactly like Malloy. Having been “at the table” only to suffer Malloy’s two record tax increases, taxpayers might prefer never to sit down again. Not that any Republican candidates for governor have offered a comprehensive solution to state government’s insolvency, but most of them agree that state employee compensation must be curtailed. So there is no mistaking which side is the tool of the government class and which is not. To quell the Democratic convention’s unexpected clamor for more racial and ethnic diversity on the state ticket and the dissatisfaction of many delegates with his choice of former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz for lieutenant governor, Lamont pledged to create the most diverse administration in state history. He did not pledge to create the most qualified, competent, honest, and efficient administration, as no delegates were clamoring for that. For the diversity prattle is mainly cover for more patronage claims.

Providing the punch line to the diversity prattle was Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, who, having failed to qualify for a primary for governor by winning 15 percent of the votes at the convention, this week resumed his petitioning for a primary.

The Lamont-Bysiewicz ticket, Ganim said in a press release, was “insensitive to the diversity of Connecticut.”

That is, the ticket includes no one who has been convicted of corruption and done hard time in prison, for Ganim himself isn’t on it.

Herbst skedaddles to Stamford

Announcing this week her plan to retire next year, University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst seemed to be anticipating a Republican state administration that will be unfavorable to the university and to her personally. But Herbst won’t be leaving the university payroll. She will skedaddle into a tenured professorship at UConn’s Stamford campus, from which, presumably, she more easily can exploit lucrative part-time opportunities in New York when she isn’t stuck teaching. Governor Malloy has let UConn run wild with money and political correctness and the university’s Board of Trustees wants to recruit Herbst’s successor before a skeptical administration takes over.

Getting the university under control will not be easy. It will require replacing not just Herbst but the whole board.

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Connecticut.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Columns on Thursday, 24 May 2018 18:22. Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2018 18:24.