The King's Marquee

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Great Connecticut Republican Chairman Race

Over the last month, I've heard whispers of the names of several would-be candidates who are seeking election to become Connecticut's next GOP Chairman.  Regardless of who you support, or who gets the job, its going to be daunting task to get this run-away train back on track.  Perhaps run-away train is a poor analogy because it gives the visual impression of one bulky steam engine derailed on its side, perhaps I should use the visual of a fire-breathing seven-headed dragon unwilling to get back in its cage. Whoever takes the job is going to have to deal with a severely fractured Party; not just discontent - but seething with anger and bitterness.  Before Connecticut Republicans can strategize to conquer their mortal foes - the Democrats, they'll need to make a degree of peace within the camp so they can forge a working coalition from which to advance their goals.

The next GOP Chairman is going to have a
 rough time taming this dragon
It's worth taking a look at the field of candidates from which we (or namely our elected representatives to State Central) have to choose from.  Most of these individuals know they are in the running although many would deny it even if pressed by their own Grandmother to admit as much. And I've thrown in a wildcard or two just to make things interesting.  I'm going to try to be as fair as possible, listing the positives and negatives of each individual, and also provide basic information on their accomplishments and background where available.  As entertaining as some of you mind find this - its not my goal to rip everyone in the field and propose my own uber-candidate who will save us from our current fatalistic course of doom.  So without further ado... let's go!  The treasure hunt for a new Chairman is on!

Doug Hageman: Truly an
Authentic  Connecticut
Doug Hageman
To his credit, while other alleged candidates have taken a cowardly wait and see what Healy does approach, Mr. Hageman is the only candidate who's had the courage to stand up and openly criticize the current chairman, and challenge him for his seat.  Hageman hails from Southington, is married, and has served on his RTC for 30 years; State Central for 8 years. Its likely that Hageman has the most institutional knowledge than anyone else in the field. He's also been involved in local and state campaigns since 1975.

Interestingly enough, Hageman, who is pro-choice, has secured the public support of pro-life Moralist Peter Wolfgang. Wolfgang wrote that if Hageman is elected, "[Social Conservatives would have a place at the table -- perhaps bigger than at any point in my adult life .]"  Hageman is not necessarily conservative on social issues but hasn't shown a bias against conservative members of the Party, and has in fact, already forged working alliances with Neocons, Tea-Partiers, Moderates and Conservatives from different parts of the state.  Don't let age be a detractor, this guy has a reputation for helping any candidates near and far with campaign counsel, and marketing.
The Pros: 25+ years of hands-on campaign experience, Professional lifetime dedicated to sales and marketing; Liked and admired across Connecticut; Effective; Qualified; Pragmatic; Recognizes the key to winning a GOP majority lies with reaching out to minorities who've typically not been part of Connecticut's GOP voter strategy
The Cons: Has declared he will not be the media face of the Party, and would prefer to give younger talent face time on television; Considered by some to ramble, and talk too much; Linked as an advocate for big tobacco, a position largely unpopular with younger Republicans
Tagline: "Republican Leadership needs to listen and work on behalf of Republicans, not the other way around."

Martha Dean: Heroine of
both the Conservative
 & Grassroots Movements
Martha Dean
Widely popular and considered a natural and charismatic leader within both Conservative and grassroots circles, Ms. Dean would be an ideal candidate to mend a severely shattered Republican Party.  Her experience as a successful lawyer, prosecutor, and campaigner makes her well-equipped for the task. Dean is a strict Constructionist, and a proponent of Second Amendment.  Ms. Dean had a few unsuccessful runs at the Attorney General position, but is still considered one of the most knowledgeable attorneys by friends and foes, alike.  Ms. Dean lives in Avon, has a son and is married to husband Malcolm who often accompanies her at campaign events.  Martha is the real deal - unselfish and supportive of most conservatives who need guidance or a hand.  Of all, the proposed candidates, Ms. Dean is probably least likely to seek the Chairmanship.
The Pros: Intelligent, natural-orator, well-organized, natural leader, high energy, campaign experience; Legal guru
The Cons:  A lightning rod for the relentless left - her chairmanship could could serve as a distraction to Party goals; May not have patience for moderates; Can shoot laser beams with her eyes
Tagline: "Never surrender, Never give up."

Art Scialabba
Art Scialabba:
Fairfield County's finest?
Reported to have held the office of Chairman of the Norwalk Republican Party since 2002, Scialabba would be a huge gamble for a Connecticut GOP which needs a leader with wide-ranging experience who can balance the demands of a ragtag group of teapartiers, and caviar-sucking constituency that he usually caters to.  This guy is said to have a big heart; he serves on the Board of Directors of the Keystone House, a group dedicated to providing services for people with disabilities.  Scialabba's success is limited to Norwalk - which is barely contestable as a long time Republican stronghold. 
The Pros:  Non-Entity beyond Fairfield County who comes without baggage; seems like a nice guy
The Cons:  Non-Entity beyond Fairfield County who no-one knows and no-one trusts.  Complexity of understanding needs of districts that are typically not-Republican; Huge learning curve due to lack of experience managing large organizations and campaigns 
Tagline: "Be informed, Get involved."

Christopher Healy: we pray
he's seen the light

Christopher Healy
Well, given the history of this blog, you probably didn't really expect to see an endorsement of Chairman Chris here, did you?  Bottom line is after years of steady decline, and a dismal performance by Connecticut Republicans last year in the face of the greatest gain for National Republicans in history, its time for Chairman Healy to move on.  There comes a point in every leader's tenure where his ego eclipses his value.  Everyone I talk with say its time for him to go.  Deep down I would expect that if he wanted to, Healy could probably strke a deal amongst his long-time friends, and force a contest where he could wind up squeezing enough votes to stay on.  But the end result would be tragic for CTGOP as it would likely cause a permanent schism within the Party. Leaving Healy in place would be counter-productive to GOP goals.  The trouble and disunity would triple not subside given the resolve of his numerous enemies - a list that seems to grow every day.
The Pros:  Capable Fundraiser, In previous years brought management and organization to the Party; Probably votes Republican
The Cons: Vision-less, Endless losing record, Corruption, Rigged convention, Legacy of a deeply divided Party, troubles with the RNC, Reputation as someone who breaks his word
Tagline: "The Tea Party people are a bunch of crazy lunatics."

Al Alper
Al Alper: Wiltonian Today
Future GOP Political
Director Tomorrow
Little is known of Al Alper other than he is the current Chairman of the Wilton Republican Party.  One of his claims to fame is his decision  to remove a 10-year incumbent serving as Wilton's Republican Registrar of Voters; Alper sought a more competent official who would best serve Wilton's constituency.  Most RTC Chairs would have allowed the Registrar to just about pass away in office; Alper's willingness to challenge the status quo works to his credit.  Alper appears to have a record of engaging new talent and welcoming those seeking political change within the Party.  He may not be yet ready for the Chairmanship of the Republican GOP, but I challenge everyone to give him a listen via his town website.  If you're anything like me - you'll love this guy. I could watch him all day long. Give this guy a sword and shield and let him take the Mountain.  God help any invading army with designs on Wilton!
The Pros: Capable of making change, taking on establishment Republicans with tenure; takes the jobs seriously
The Cons:  An unknown entity for now.  Give him time.
Tagline: "I'm Al Alper, and I want to hear from you."

Catherine Marx:
Nice lady but also
known as Healy's lackey
Catherine Marx
Ms. Marx, the current Vice Chair of the CT GOP, would seek the Chairmanship.  So say the many State Central delegates who say Catherine is "burning up the phone lines" trying to build support. The problem with her ascendancy is that she is unproven as a leader, and spent most her time taking orders from Chris Healy - never bucking the broken system, or its corrupt activities.  It's understandable that she wouldn't have undermined the sitting Chairman who brought her in and served as her mentor - but take it for what's its worth.  It's too bad because even if Catherine was capable, she is tagged as Healy's lackey - never wavering, never standing tall when things went awry.  Also, good luck finding articles or stories that show her making a mark of her own; She's like a mystery woman who appeared out of thin air. Ms. Marx ran a tough campaign against State Senator Edith Prague in Connecticut's 19th District back several years ago - and lost.  It's hard to trust Ms. Marx - perhaps she'll get another shot.  But not today.  Healy's critics don't want to see her coming either.
The Pros:  Attractive, Nice lady;  Ran against Edith Prague; Has potential
The Cons:  Served as Vice Chair while the Connecticut GOP burned; Was a silent witness to Healy's antics that lead to faction-ville, and a mess that someone will be left to clean up
Tagline:  "Wasn't me. I'm not Chris Healy" Whoops!

Jim Campbell
Jim Campbell: His GOP would
be serving tar-tar and Grey Poupon
(in Greenwich, of course)
Ascended to Chairman of the Greenwich Republican Town Committee a year ago, Campbell's name is being floated by those dwelling in Fairfield County.  Campbell is a successful Real Estate Agent and Developer employed by Southport-headquartered Summit Development. Campbell previously served on State Central for two years, and unlike many of his would-be opponents has actually been elected to office serving on the Greenwich's Board of Estimate and Taxation for two terms.  Campbell appears to be very closely tied with Linda McMahon which may be why Campbell's name is being floated as his successor if there is any truth to the rumor that Healy plans to quit the Chairmanship and work for Linda full-time as her Campaign Manager in the 2012 Senate Race.  Not mentioned previously, there is some political jockeying going between those in Fairfield County who wish to see Republican State Headquarters moved to Fairfield County, leaving only a satellite office in New Britain from which to conduct meetings and give the impression of centralization.  Some credit Campbell with this idea.  This goes to the ongoing argument by those in Fairfield County who see the CT GOP as funded, bought and paid for by their donations, and see the rest of Connecticut as six county slum.
The Pros: Elected to Office; State Central experience; Successful Businessman; Connected with donors and politicians
The Cons: Wealthy elitist from Greenwich; Would move to relocate GOP base of Operations to Fairfield; May have a hard time understanding what language Republicans in the First, Second, and Fifth districts are speaking; Tea Party need not apply; Wouldn't be a full time Chairman
Tagline: "If we build it in Fairfield County, maybe the peasants from the other Counties will just go away."

Tom Scott: Opportunist
Can the GOP trust him? Nah!
Tom Scott
Served as Connecticut's youngest State Senator who crusaded on behalf of Conservative causes during his multi-term tenure.  He also ran a tough campaign nearly edging out Rosa DeLauro in 1990 winning 49% of the vote; later hundreds of discrepancies were identified but ignored by Democrats and their operatives.  Scott took to the airwaves on local radio stations such as WPOP, waging war against the state income tax.  Getting ahead of himself, Scott ran for Governor under the banner of the Independent Party which nearly cost Republicans the Governorship.  After splitting with the Party, Scott's appeal within the GOP waned; he was deemed untrustworthy by Connecticut Republicans, and he disappeared from sight. 

Those who have worked with Scott see him as extremely arrogant and difficult to work with, often taking credit for the work of others and seeking any and every opportunity to advance his own station even at the cost of Party, friends, and candidates. Recently, sniffing out a great opportunity for self-promotion, Scott returned out of nowhere to manage Len Suzio's special election which Scott deserves some credit for delivering the win; although reports are that he did very little actual work while volunteers did the heavy lifting. Of course, Scott did all the talking.
The Pros:  Respectable 5-terms representing Milford in Connecticut's State Senate; Solid Conservative; Great Oratory; Excellent Organizational skills
The Cons:  Untrustworthy; Self-Promoting; Temperamental; Has as many enemies as friends; Anyone willing to bolt the GOP to run as an Independent against the GOP can't be trusted to lead it; Bad feelings left over from his Indie Days
Tagline: "Screw them. I'll run as an Independent. Who needs the Republicans."

Justin Clark: Needs to show a solid
record of winning campaigns before
making the leap to Chairman 
Justin Clark
Clark is a young upstart having begun his political career in West Hartford in 2006.  He served as Chairman of West Hartford's Republican Party long after the GOPs glory days of holding a winner majority (what West Hartfordites call Post-Bouvier) .  Clark is an attorney by trade (employed by Pepe and Hazard), and also served as a Campaign Manager for Tom Foley during the last election cycle.  In fact, State Central delegates have informed me that Tom Foley has been busy making calls, and calling in favors to find support for Clark's candidacy for State Chairman.  My own view is that Clark wouldn't make the ideal State Chairman since he has no intention of giving up his lucrative career as an attorney. He's also very busy raising a family. 

Moreover, Clark has never managed a winning campaign of any significance. Unfortunately, his campaign experience includes poor coordination of Tom Foley's effort to win key cities (if not outright ignore them) - a decision which ultimately led to Foley's defeat last November.  Clark would be better serve in some other political support role whereby he could benefit the Party with his experience, and also mentor with more seasoned veterans and perhaps one day take the Pary's reigns.  As I've mentioned with other possible candidates, its going to take a well-equipped manager to deal with the seven-headed dragon and bring the divided Party together - Justin Clark just isn't that guy - well, not yet.
The Pros:  Works hard; Liked; Respected; Legal background; Town Chairman experience; Potential leader for the future
The Cons:  Three straight loses; Would be a Part-time leader in a full time job; Needs solid, big-time wins under his belt; Got bested by two Republican Councilmen who switched from the Republican Party to the Democrat Party during his tenure. 
Tagline: "I'm NOT the safety candidate." (only he would get that one)

Sam Caligiuri
Sam Caligiuri: Doesn't
have the personality to put
up with a lot of  BS
Caligiuri is a well-respected State Senator serving Connecticut's 16th District which includes Eastern Waterbury, Chesire, Southington, and Wolcott.  Caligiuri is career attorney with the distinction of serving as Governor John Rowland's Deputy Counsel.  He went on to the private sector where he established a successful practice at Day Pitney Firm.  He remained very active in politics being elected to Waterbury's Board of Alderman.  His high point came  when the disgraced Mayor of Waterbury, Phillip Giordano was led away in handcuffs because of inappropriate relationship with a child. 

Caligiuri struck a deal wherein he would temporarily serve as Mayor to restore order and dignity to Waterbury City Hall. He worked with Republicans and Democrats to clean up Waterbury politics, and straighten out finances putting the City back on the right track.  True to his word, Caligiuri stepped down at the end of his term, leaving the Waterbury City Hall in the best shape that it had been in years.  Caliguiri is well-regarded by Republicans and Democrats.  Sam Caliguiri also ran against Chris Murphy in 2010 but lost after a series of snafus and miscalculations by he and his campaign staff.   That failures of that campaign can be attributed to both a poorly run campaign and a disorganized strategy by current State Chairman Chris Healy.

The only big criticism is that Caligiuri is a one-man show.  Word on the street is that he isn't interested in helping some other schmuck get elected.  That isn't a suitable attribute for a Chairman who is expected to serve as an available resource for upstart politicians.  The other point is that Caliguiri tends to return calls of those who will serve his best interest - and only his interest.  Not everyone would be expected to make an appointment to see him two weeks in advance.  It's just not that kind of job.
The Pros: Well-respected; Long service of political leadership in the State Senate; Works across Party lines to get things done
The Cons: Another guy from Waterbury; May not have the personality and patience for all the nonsense that goes along with the Job; Not going to give up an extremely lucrative career to run around the State recruiting candidates and begging for money; Not going to be hands on; Make hundreds of calls or deal with the lowbrow components of  Chairmanship.
Tagline: "I get $220 an hour, the clock is running."

Rob Simmons: An American
Patriot; might be suited
for a higher calling or
"Extra, Extra Read all about
it. Healy's a louse!"
Rob Simmons
Not a lot has been said by Rob Simmons since he disappeared from sight after being raked over the coals by Chris Healy's back-stabbing machine, and a rigged summer convention which 
installed Linda McMahon as the Republican Senatorial Nominee.  Simmons is respected by serviceman and most Republicans - particularly in the Second district on behalf of which, he served as their US Congressman for three terms.  I've written at length about Rob Simmons qualifications and background, but when it comes to placing him in the role as State Chairman - I'm not sure it would be a perfect fit.

For one, Simmons hasn't shown any real desire to fight for the position - or any position for that matter.  He seems to have had the wind taken out of him and doesn't have the stomach for a fight.  The next Chairman  is going to have to be out front and center coordinating and conducting strategy, raising funds, making hundreds of calls, traveling the state to meet with disgruntled constituencies; I have a hard time seeing Mr. Simmons wanting to take on such a gigantic problem that will require a lot of day-to-day tactical coordination for that matter.  On the other hand, if he had the right lieutenants helping him with these tasks, he could serve as the face of the Party.  To his credit, he did go on Face the State and call on Chris Healy to resign.  If he wanted to really run for Chairman, that would have been the time
The Pros:  Former US Congressman; Former experience in the State Department and CIA; Veteran; Well respected, and well-regarded; High Caliber individual; Negotiator
The Cons: Has been unfairly labeled as a liberal Republican; Not big on social issues;  Would have some issues working with Tea partiers; Outwitted, and outsmarted by Linda McMahon; Hired unprofessional, inept staff to manage his campaign
Tagline: "I'm in, I'm out, I'm in."

Joe Visconti: A natural leader,
a workhorse, a unifier, and an
activist - all rolled into one
Joseph Visconti
I'm sure the idea of a Joe Visconti chairmanship will raise a few eyebrows, but only a fool would rule out one of the most articulate and resourceful political leaders in recent times. Visconti is a wildcard in the mix because his name is being floated by a number of Republican sources who want to see a unified Party focused to achieve one goal - winning.  Visconti has a history of beating the odds; in West Hartford, he defeated the old-guard political machine by winning election to the Town Council (as a Republican) bipassing a corrupt selection process, and managing his own campaign.

In 2008, Visconti made a run for the First Congressional District seat against liberal John Larson.  While Visconti didn't win, he made Larson earn every vote in a District normally considered one of the safest Democrat-held seats in the Nation. 

Visconti lost the nomination bid at the 2010 State Convention (much to do with direct interference by Chris Healy who interjected himself in the contest, and others) but instead of taking his ball and going home, Visconti rallied Republicans, Independents, and even Democrats to support Nominee Ann Brickley.  This is one of many examples where Visconti is known to be a team player, placing the interests of others ahead of his own.  Unlike many politicos today, Visconti is the real deal - he actually cares about Country, Faith, and Family.  He already has a career, and a side career as an entertainment artist so he's not in it for the money.

Many say that Visconti is already serving as the shadow-chairman; recently he brought together mainstream Republicans, Tea Partiers, Faith-based leaders, moderates, and independents together to co-host Liberty Unplugged.  The event was attended by folks with diverse backgrounds such as Linda McMahon, Sen Joe Markely, Rob Simmons, Peter Wolfgang and many others.  150+ individuals gathered to raise funds for an April 15th Tax Rally in Hartford, and to form a working coalition to help defeat the Democrats and rebuild the Party.  Visconti is working to heal old wounds, and bring the Party back to its roots. With a leadership vaccum at the top, Visconti is doing what the current Chair and Vice-Chair should be doing to get things back on track.
The Pros: Liked and admired by friends, and foes; Unrelenting; Dedicated; Proven unifyer; Held elected office; Local, State, and Federal level Campaign Experience; May be the shot in the arm a demoralized Party needs
The Cons: Carrying the title and responsibility of Party Chairman could be an albatross around his neck; Visconti's effectiveness lies in his ability to operate outside of conventional methods; his effectiveness comes in part from his creativity, passion, and disregard for the rules; Unpredictable; Might scare off olddonors not accustomed to Visconti's incredible intensity
Tagline: "Rebuild, Move forward, Don't look back!"

My friends, that pretty much encompasses the Republican field as we know it.  Perhaps there are other candidates hiding in the bushes waiting to announce - who knows.  It's hard to have a favorite in the group, but at least for now there seems to be few willing to have the courage of their convictions to stand up and publicly declare candidacy.  Not delcaring isn't a sign of respect for the sitting Chairman as some suggest, in fact - I think its a sign of cowardice.  If you see something wrong, corrupt, immoral, or failed, you don't just sit there on your rear-end and wait to see how it all unfolds, or worse - wait around while others do your advance dirty work so you can jump in and declare yourself our Savior. 

Unfortunately, Republicans won't really get the chance to choose their next Chairman.  It's left to those who've politicked their way onto State Central.  This is very unfortunate because more often than note getting a post on State Central is a payoff for loyalty, or large donations.  In short, our best and brightest usually do not sit on State Central - which is propably part of the reason its so ineffective.  There's always hope that with enough new members, and challenges by good principled people, that things could change, and we could see a whole new roster of hard-working, 3 am-types, who will fight tooth and nail for wholesale change to Connecticut's GOP structure and move toward a winning strategy for the future.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why the RNC hates Connecticut Republican Chairman Chris Healy

Proponents of embattled Connecticut Republican Chairman Christopher Healy make much ado about his alleged skill as a fundraiser for Connecticut's GOP candidates.  Much of this is overblown nonsense since the record shows that angry, motivated individuals always contribute to political candidates who promise to change the status quo.  It's no wonder, given the national climate, that Republicans have increased their donations 10-fold over the last few years - call it what you will; I call it the Obama-effect.  Despite what he will tell you, increased donations are the direct result of extreme dissatisfaction with the current trends in Washington, and have nothing to do with Mr. Healy's money-collecting schemes.

Connecticut Republicans are at a fork in the road.  The leadership provided by both Chris Healy and Connecticut State Central have been nothing short of dismal. I don't have to remind you that while most Republicans around the country were celebrating landmark victories on Election Day, Connecticut's Republicans were shut-out of every major state office, and every Congressional and Senatorial race sought. In a world that cherishes results rather than lip-service, it's more than likely that Healy would find himself sacked if he were employed in a similar role in the private sector. 

Chris Healy has been taking the CT GOP
down a destructive path for years
We are all aware of Healy's failure as a leader and political strategist. And we also know all about his scandalous approach to meddling in candidate nominations and primaries, and running corrupt conventions, but there is yet another reason to dump Chris Healy - and that is his well documented falling out with the Republican National Committee.

This past December while Connecticut Republicans were licking their wounds, Chairman Healy - apparently oblivious to his role in the slaughter - sought promotion through a short-lived power grab at the Republican National Committee Chairmanship.  While those of us in the Nutmeg State wondered whether to laugh or by angry at the notion of Chris Healy sitting atop the RNC, we knew that common sense would prevail and the Healy candidacy would go down in flames as expected - as it did, in about three days.

But Healy's arrogance wasn't limited to delusions of elevation, it extended to an extreme lack of judgement during the process that is likely to have lingering consequences for Connecticut's office-seeking Republicans, our treasury, and our overall relationship with the RNC.  After being assured he didn't stand a chance in hell at being nominated, Healy opted to endorse Gentry Collins (which in itself was not an issue), but he further went on to publicly bash RNC Chairman Michael Steele and then-candidate and now newly elected Chairman Reince Priebus in a mass email to Republican Leaders:

Healy wrote:

"...This would apply to Chairman Preibus, who was until a few weeks ago, the Chief Counsel to our Party and Chairman Steele's wingman through his stormy tenure.  At no time until he chose to run did Preibus issue any directive, memo or public utterance on Steele's disastrous tenure...his legions and supporters who have done quite well for themselves at the expense or our Party."

That's a heck of a way comment on a Republican Leader who oversaw one of the largest nation-wide comebacks in Republican history.  Less can be said of Healy's local leadership and results here in Connecticut.  And moreover, can you think of a better way to thank someone who sent Connecticut over a quarter of a million dollars to run local Republican elections? Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you.

Healy went on to bash Steele for a few fundraising mistakes, and for taking pictures on jets, etc, and took other cheap shots at the outgoing Chairman.   Then he went on to attack Reince Priebus for taking stimulus money in Wisconsin "...while Republicans were publicly opposing them across the country".  Then here comes the kicker "[taking the money] ... smacks of the kind of inside-dealing the public has grown sick of and have rightfully denounced."  Oh really, Chris?  What about the inside-dealing that left candidates Rob Simmons and Daria Novak out in the cold?  What about backroom deals for Linda McMahon, and Janet Peckenpaugh?  It's hard to find a Republican Chairman who undermines a nominated candidate, and seeks go around the back of an entire district to get permission to change the rules and fund his preferred candidate.  And we all know how that worked out.

Healy's diatribe can be read at length here.  Breaking Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment is only the subnote in Healy's litany of crimes.  It's funny that Healy dares bring up William McMaster Murdoch and his attempt to steer the Titantic before it met a fateful end with an iceberg.  From looking at Chris Healy's tenure, we've done more than hit an iceberg, we've hit a damn minefield!  And the Democrats couldn't be happier to see someone as incompetent as Chris Healy running the ship.

Well, now the gig is up.  Reince Priebus is our newly elected RNC Chairman, and you can bet he doesn't think much of Mr. Healy.  All those dollars that Connecticut desperately needs from the Republican National Committee won't likely be on the way anytime soon.  In fact, given that Connecticut has become a safe haven for liberals, democrats, unionists, and the like, its unimaginable that the RNC would want to invest a penny to boast what is obviously a failed strategy at Connecticut GOP headquarters.  If there's money to be spent, its not going to be worth giving it to the guy who publicly smeared Reince Priebus. And from the results - can't manage the resources and dollars he's already been gifted. If there is a pecking order of the 50 states - its pretty clear that Connecticut is at the very bottom thanks to Mr. Healy.

Connecticut Republican Town Committees - as Chris Healy suggests in his Steele/Priebus attack letter - have an obligation to "look clearly at the facts, the record, and the motivation of each candidate as we move forward."

I couldn't agree more.  Because when you look at Chris Healy's record, the facts speak for themselves.  And the motivational desire to be powerful and wealthy at the hands of donors and candidates is exactly not the reason anyone should run for Republican State Party Chairman.  And Healy's lack of judgement should be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back.

We've had enough.  We're sick of losing.  It's time for a change. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Malloy: The Marijuana Governor?

Ever since Dan Malloy started his campaign to tax everything in sight, I've heard the statement, "Dan Malloy must be on drugs!"  Well, while the Governor may not actually be on drugs, we at least know that he and his 60s-throwback friends in the Legislature are a big advocate of them.

Marijuana Legalizers
are McStupid
Today, with the full support of Governor Dannel Malloy, the Judiciary Committee held public hearings which seeks to decriminalize certain drugs via a series of acts, including: S.B. 1015: An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana, H.B. 6391: An Act Concerning Penalties For Certain Driving Under The Influence Offences, Offender Risk Reduction Earned Credits And Home Confinement For Certain Non Violent Drug Offenders, and S.B. 953: An Act Concerning Non-Violent Drug Possession Offenses including others.  These bills are the wet dream of those demented individuals who wish to proliferate drugs in our neighborhoods and communities to create a state endorsed dependency on drug use, leading to an economic subculture for drug kingpins who can expand their heinous trade in the open.

It's so disappointing to see Republicans like Penny Bacchiochi testify in favor of legalizing drug use based on misguided emotional appeal - "Hundreds of people have died or are in pain." she exaggerated.  All I could think is that the bad guys are realling winning when they can get Republicans to act like liberal Democrats.  It's a shame that the residents of Somers, Stafford and Union have been hoodwinked into being misrepresented by someone who is as short-sighted as Bacchiochi, and who would open Connecticut's doors to drug lords eager to intice our children into their dangerous cartel.  Bacchiochi acts as if there are no other options to manage pain.  Residents of her districts aught to really call her judgement into question. In fact, maybe they aught to just recall her and replace her with someone who puts children and families before the drug cartel.

Further disingenuous is Democrat Michael Lawlor who claims that the pro-Marijuana bills are not meant to undermine police efforts to keep drugs under control, and out of our children's hands.  Instead, just like the anti-death penalty crowd, Lawlor makes simpleton argument that its just too expensive to use police for law enforcement of drug laws, or to bring criminals to trial (and provide them public defenders), or bother incarcerating criminals, or sending them off for treatment.  Lawlor and other drug advocates simply want to avoid the larger discussion of the negative implications of drug use on society, by hiding behind cancer victims. 

The suggestion that reducing the possession of amounts of Marijuana to a mere infraction under H.B. 6391 is to surrender our values and efforts to drug lords who can't wait for an open market to conduct business here in Connecticut.  I can't imagine placing drug use into a laughable catagory on par with j-walking, cell phone use, or even blocking a side walk with motor vehicle.  What kind of message does that send to kids?  Using drugs is no big deal?  And its ok to do drugs as long as you pay the fine?  This is pure madness!

At least Republican Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, who serves as a school expulsion officer, spoke at length on the hazards of Marijuana on young people -  particularly the negative effects in a school setting.  Marijuana has contributed to poor school performance, attention issues, delinquency, theft, and truancy in middle school and high school student.  It also creates a habitual dependency that lasts on through adulthood, which will still create the desire for supply and demand, and sale of such products which lead to the use of other products for those seeking other hallucinogenics.  Cafero asked his colleagues to "follow the money" trail of who seeks decriminalization of marijuana and see where it leads.  And he is right that often times drug distribution often leads to a much larger criminal syndicate.  Cafero also made the point that the present set of bills do not even provide for age limits for drug use.  These bills are an outrage! 

Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane confirmed that despite liberal rhetoric theorizing that decriminalizing some drugs would reduce cost to the judicial system, that there would be no actual reduction in savings. Kane said that judicial cost is not going to change much because its no more than the cost of looking at a file, and generally assigning a public defender. Moreover, people who are brought to trial end up getting sent to diversionary programs anyway.  However, abdicating the state's position to force drug abusers into treatment would be counter-productive. Forced substance abuse programs may be the only opportunity for some to get help (marijuana users do not face incarceration).  If the State were to go with the mail-in fine via infraction fewer people would be directed toward help.

A larger concern verified by Attorney Kane is the problem with trying to determine whether someone was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana as its not as easily detectable as alcohol by use a breathalizer. Kane admitted that its hard to get a conviction based soley on drug use. He said it would police be difficult without proper training and new equipment for police to determine that Cannabis was the root cause for an accident. He also pointed out it was more likely that if Cannabis were decriminalized, there would likely be more people using it, driving under its influence, and failing in school, etc.

Attorney Kane stated that times have changed and the marijuana trade has become increasing violent over the years.  It's no longer people wanting to sit around and just get high.  It's a larger more serious matter - people who deal in illegal goods and services and traffic in illegal goods and services, tend to start protecting territory and forcibly collect debts owed to them, and it would create an environment for expanding violence based on territorial competition. Signalling a tolerance for the product might be further detrimental to law enforcement and the judiciary because it would lead to increased use and trafficking, and subsequently, more criminal activity.

Add campaign for anti-drug use
An even bigger disgrace is Barbara Fair, so-called Executive Director of My Brother's Keeper, a fringe racist-baiting group out of New Haven which spends its time advocating for low income programs for minority groups.  Her agenda (by her own admission) is what she calls the disperportional inequity amongst blacks being cited for drug trafficking around schools. Her testimony seeking to remove or limit penalties for drug distribution around schools should be particularly alarming to parents.  Barbara Fair is just asking the state to look the other way when it comes to drug distribution in urban environments - because her chief concern isn't children; its keeping black people out of jail.  My Brother's Keeper? More like My Brother's Crack Dealer.  What a creep!

Perhaps, people like Penny Bacchiochi  should listen to Lt. Michael R. Rinaldi, President of the Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association (NEOA) of Connecticut.  The following fact based points are relevant:
  • The Federal Drug Administration, American Medical Society, American Lung Association, and the American Cancer Society all oppose legalization of Marijuana.  Marijuana is four times more likely to cause cancer and lead to other cancer related/respiratory illnesses.
  • The FDA and AMA have deemed smoked marijuana to not be a medicine.  Marijuana has not been deemed to be beneficial as a medicine in fact quite the contrary when it comes to impacts on the respiratory system.
  • Marijuana is one the most prevalent illegal drug detected in testing following traffic fatalities involving the use of drugs; a major public safety issue
  • Most studies collected by those undergoing drug abuse treatment show that Marijuana is generally documented as the "gateway drug" to other drugs to use of other illegal drugs. Notwithstanding, the legislature's decriminalization would remove the social stigma associated with its use, and toughen the role of positive parenting through its quasi-endorsement of the drug. 
  • Social scientists agree that decriminalization would lead to increased use, increased addiction, increased workplace issues, increased healthcare costs, increased health burden borne by taxpayers, increased additional treatment costs, increased insurance premiums, and increased traffic fatalities.
  • The claim legalization would result in the elimination of the black market is clearly false, as evidenced by the existing black market for cigarettes in place today
  • Of the total prescriptions filled for marijuana only 1.5% were for Cancer, Glaucoma, and AIDS patients.  The remaining 98.5% were for soft tissue injuries, sleeping problems and other minor issues.  70% for people under the age of 40 despite that the Compassion Act was passed for the "sick and dying of the aged".
  • Massachusetts recently passed the law decriminalizing Marijuana.  It's understood that the packaging related to the distribution of drugs into smaller less than one ounce bags now causing a distribution problem for law enforcement due to the size of the bags which fall just under the illegal limit.  Moreover, there is no teeth in the Massachusetts law - no one is paying the fines, and there is no provision for following up with offenders in the current law.
  • Montana has repealed its laws on use of Marijuana because of its negative impacts on its population and labeling as a drug source state citing increase in drug trafficking and increase in violent crime. Thus its caused increased burden on state government.  Arizona and New Mexico have begun the process of repealing their new laws.
  • On average, Marijuana costs about $120 an ounce. An ounce of cannabis creates approximately 120 joints.  As demand would increase, so would the cost and that would result in an increase of activity in an economic subcultural
  • Connecticut would require additional costs to train and purchase equipment to handle Driving while Drugged enforcement which does not exist today.   
  • In California since its legalization, 90 California cities have sought repeal of the Marijuna legalization laws. 
  • As a matter of public safety, unlike alcohol which marijuana legalization advocates love to reference, marijuana remains in a person's system for between 24 and up to 4 weeks. 
  • An FDA study shows that the use of Marijuana by those infected by HIV-AIDS often leads to complications that lead to reduced defense mechanisms, form new vesicular cancer, and expedite death.
  • The Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance are the two primary organizations that wish to push drug use in the United States.  The goal of these two disgusting groups is to open up marijuana use for recreational purposes, and expand drug dependency, and set up commercial centers of operation for the marketing and sale of marijuana and other drugs.  
  • Local Connecticut Drug Treatment Centers report that over 50% are undergoing treatment for Marijuana use, and this is likely to rise if the drug is legalized thus creating additional burden for the state and community.
Other consequences of Marijuana use can be found here.   When you read the effects that marijuana has on a person, it makes you wonder why Connecticut's Governor and Michael Lawlor would wish to decriminalize drugs.  The ability to tax another product is hardly worth the pain and suffering it would cause.  I never expected our Connecticut leadership to one day try to ban smoking in bars, restaurants, and now seek to legalize pot smoking without age restriction.

Parents should really be concerned with the kind of leadership Connecticut has in place.

This original blog entry can be found at

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fare Thee Well, Mayor Jeff Wright

It's like a sad, picturesque scene - right out of an old-tyme western movie.

We waved to Mayor Wright as he
rode west toward the setting sun
The big sheriff - Jeff Wright, packing up his belongings, loading the wife and kids into the Wagon, and heading out west to make his fame and fortune.  All that's missing are the somber chords and lyrics from a Will Rogers' solo being played as the horses pull the Wright family through the Newington Tumbleweeds, toward the glimmering sunset.

I was really sad a few weeks back when I first heard news that Newington Mayor Jeff Wright was planning to resign, and take a job in Houston, Texas.  But on the other hand, and at so many levels, I completely understood the rationale for his making such a tough, life-altering decision.  It couldn't have come easy for a guy who spent all of his life right here in central Connecticut, graduating from Newington High School, serving in the United States Marine Corps, and going on to become one of Newington's finest public servants.

I think its fair to talk a little bit about Jeff Wright's role in Newington, and to set the record straight for all to see.  Before becoming Mayor, Jeff spent a great deal of his personal time committed to his community; serving on numerous committees and boards, and volunteering his time to help make Newington a better place.

In 2006, he looked around at the non-stop erosion of Newington business and run-away spending which included Democrats raising taxes 7% yearly for a record seven consecutive years.  The burden on Newington families and businesses was at an all time high with no plan in sight to reverse the trend of thoughtless fiscal mismanagment. After 16 years of Democrat abuses, Jeff knew it was high time for him to take the reigns and push to make changes in leadership.

In 2007, after a landslide victory for the Newington Republican Party - Jeff became Mayor and in his short time delivered results including putting a mandatory 3% tax cap on all future annual budgets.  And the fact remains that Wright followed through on his promise to taxpayers by delivering no increases above 3%, and working to deliver budgets requiring no increase on the town side, and minimal increases on the Education side (due to forced unfair teacher's union obligations).

Wright reduced fraud and waste by directing department heads to no longer use their vehicles for personal use - this included folks like the town psychologist, who was already making a whopping $110,000 per year and using the town vehicle as her personal transportation to and from work to her home in Canton.  The same rules applied to all town employees who were joyriding on the town's dime.

Wright also made other cost cutting savings including his effort to reduce the cost of the towns emergency vehicle fleet by winning improvement grants to install led lights in all vehicles.  And he made other improvements which cut down gasoline consumption. 

Another major accomplishment is the revitalization of Newington Center - Wright's business-friendly initiatives and planning efforts turned Newington Center into the family friendly, clean, attractive area that it is today.  Previous to Wright's tenure, the Democratic Party spent an unreported millions of dollars over the course of 30 years on studies and consultants which didn't accomplish a single thing except -  of course - to run up the tax bill.  Newington Center is now a hotspot of activity for families, single people, and businessmen who frequent the area during the day and after hours.

So here is the kicker...

Not many people realize this, but despite the fact that the Mayor's position requires a full time, 40 hour a week minimum commitment (days, nights and weekends), it is also a NON-PAID position.  Oh, yeah, that's right - you read that correctly.  So, while Jeff Wright was spending hours devoted to the betterment of Newington, he also was sacrificing time he needed to earn a living as an Estate Planner in his own practice to make ends meet in order to pay his bills and keep things on the right track for his family.  Now that's dedication, sacrifice and commitment that you normally don't see from politicians; most of whom are usually on the take!  Given this reality, the people of Newington owe Mayor Wright a debt of gratitude for his unwavering dedication to Newington taxpayers and the community at large.

Last year, after an unsuccessful run for the State Treasurer's Office (due in part by mediocre support from the State Party - fact is that once again - Jeff did more in support of the Foley-Boughton team than most State GOP candidates did for themselves), he made a decision to make some major changes in his life.  After looking at the bleak outcome of the Governor's race, and impact of the spiraling Obama economy, he made a decision to leave and go where success was more likely achievable.

Good Luck, Jeff!
Heck, can you blame him?

So with Newington in better shape now than ever before, and a final decision to uproot his family, and leave behind friends, and relatives -  he is headed to Texas to restart his journey on the path to personal success. Texas' gain is Connecticut's loss.

The King formally wishes "The Cash Cop" Jeff Wright, his wife Marina, and their three children - Happy Trails and Best Wishes for a wonderful future! If anyone deserves it - You do!

The original blog post can be viewed at

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Justice Matters: Why Connecticut needs the Death Penalty

Conservative Activism call to Action!

There are a lot of reasons for the average Connecticut resident to be angry with our new Governor - Dannel Malloy.   If you're already upset about his plans to install tollbooth barricades on every state highway, or regulate our remaining businesses right of out state, or increase taxes on everything you do, buy, see, and earn,  then perhaps this next story might really light you afire with rage.

Dr. Petit & his beautiful family
Taken circa 2006 at Harwich MA
For many months, we've all been following the horrific story of the Cheshire Home Invasion, where lurking in the shadows, one summer evening in 2007, two soulless cowards - Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky perpetrated one of the most heinous crimes in Connecticut's history.  (It's not necessary to go into further details here, they are available online for anyone not familiar with the case.) This is a story that haunts us all, particularly those of us with families, and children.

Last year, during one hotly contest televised Gubernatorial debate, Republican candidate Tom Foley asked then-candidate Democrat Dan Malloy about his commitment to abolish the Death Penalty.  As you'll recall, Malloy gave a cowardly answer by insisting that if the jury passed a death sentence on Hayes and Komisarjevsky that he wouldn't stop that decision from being carried out, but he also said that he would immediately sign a bill to abolish the Death Penalty should one come to his desk.  While I appreciate Tom Foley raising the issue, I was disappointed that he didn't follow through with more vigor about Malloy's commitment to abolish the death penalty despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Connecticut residents support it.  And I would have liked to see Foley press Malloy on the negative implications repeal would have on families of victims, and anyone wishing to see justice prevail.  

Malloy's soft answer that his stance on the Death Penalty was merely a personal decision should have been rebutted sternly.  Foley should have pointed out that Malloy's position was hardly just a personal opinion, but as a potential future head of Connecticut's Government (which includes his ability to appoint judges) its was rather -  a major public policy decision that would have implications for all of us for years to come.  Furthermore, the opportunity to illustrate to voters the flawed thinking of this alleged, big-time New York prosecutor was ripe for exposure.  How many successful prosecutors do you know that make a career out of cuddling villains, and leave victims out in the cold?

Fast forward to the present day.  Well, what's done is done.  And now we have another battle on our hands.

With Malloy winning in November, it didn't take long for his liberal friends to dust off their 2009 playbook, and re-set their scheme in motion to repeal the death penalty.  Sitting before the Statehouse is  H.B. 5036. which if passed would abolish the death penalty and replace it with a life sentence without parole.  The next step to move this bill to a vote is the plan to hold a public hearing  on H.B 5036 scheduled for March 7, 2011 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

I would urge anyone interested in speaking out in favor of the Death Penalty to attend the public hearing and speak out against repeal.  And at minimum, contact your local State Representative and State Senator and urge them to help defeat HB 5036.  Activist support of the anti-Death Penalty bill is being led by the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty (CNADP) led by liberal activist Ben Jones.  CNADP is gearing up their speakers to attend the hearing with many twisted sob stories using families of both victims and those who have been executed.  Many of these people are being mentally manipulated into siding with anti-death penalty advocates; this in itself is a tragedy at another level. It is vital that ordinary taxpayers participate in this debate and show the Statehouse that the public doesn't accept their overreaching on judicial matters.

It's also critical point for pro-death penalty advocates to note that some Universities including Yale University are organizing their little brainwashed-Marxist students to be bussed from campuses around the State to attend the hearing, and rally at the LOB. 

The anti-death penalty crowd bases its position upon their belief the death penalty is "cruel and unusual punishment" which of course make little sense to anyone other than a liberal activist since dozens have been executed for similar crimes -  including murder since Connecticut's Incorporation into the Union.  The actual history easily contradicts the claim that its unusual since its been in practice since 1789, or that it's cruel since courtrooms around the Nation (including our own Federal Government) have found the carrying out of death sentences quite just and reasonable for certain offenses including treason and murder (military tribunals included).

And ironically, I find it simply amazing that when it comes to this single issue, suddenly liberal democrats become fiscal conservatives!  They hem and haw about the yearly $4 million dollar price tag on court processes.  It's amazing how in this very limited, specific circumstance that liberal Democrats beat their chests about reducing state spending whereas, at any other time, they won't entertain a single cut in any other part of the budget.  Only warped thinking would try to find savings by keeping the most evil of human beings alive, and selling out victims.  Talk about twisted thinking! 

Perhaps if Democrats looked at reforming the Connecticut Statutes - and reducing internal costs, red tape, the number of filings, inclusion of phony experts,  and removing all of the other costly components which drag out even a single case for as long as three or four years, and for ten years after a guilty verdict - then perhaps the cost wouldn't be so prohibitive. And perhaps if criminal rights weren't the only time liberals find relevance in the Constitution, we might even take a portion of their opinions seriously.

I recognize that I've used the recent Chesire Home Invasion as a linchpin in my argument for retaining the death penalty, but I don't want people to get too caught up in using this case as the sole reason for supporting the death penalty, or to use it as the standard for implementing the death penalty.

There are now eleven people on Connecticut's death row, and others who are awaiting trial for similar murders that occurred here.  I believe that all of these sickening creeps deserve to be put down for their crimes.  I disagree that the standard of how someone was murdered, or the number of murders committed should determine whether or not a villain is eligible for the death penalty at the time of sentencing.  If this happened to me or my family, I wouldn't want someone implying that they way my loved was murdered didn't meet some liberal's threshold for what is heinous enough for getting what they deserve.

I want to end by delivering a fair warning.  As you know, the Steven Hayes case had the successful outcome that we all had hoped for - a guilty verdict, along with the sentencing of death.  But that decision is only Act 1 in what is likely to be a long drawn out drama.  We are now in Act 2 featuring Joshua Komisarjevsky, who in all likelihood was the mastermind behind the Petit murders.  His attorney, Jeremiah Donvovan, is doing everything in his power to obstruct, defer, deflect, and hamper the judicial process - which in part is being done to lay the foundation of appeal, and to aide his anti-death penalty friends in their quest to repeal the death penalty.

If Democrats can muster enough votes to repeal the death penalty, it will likely trigger an avalanche of special appeals for the eleven monsters on death row.  Further, despite that Malloy and others claim that the repeal of the death penalty would not impact previous cases, its hard for anyone of sound judgement to believe that a very liberal, activist Connecticut judiciary would not legislate from Committee and find legal loopholes to overturn the will of the people, thus sparing the eleven murderers from the sentence they so justly deserve.  And as far as Joshua Komisarjevsky and his twisted attorneys are concerned, they are banking on the Legislature and Governor to quickly repeal the death penalty, in order fast track their client from death.

Moreover, liberal activists would very quickly seize the opportunity to find some degree of unconstitutionality in the notion that Steven Hayes is scheduled for death, and his co-conspirator, Komisarjevsky would not be eligible for the same sentencing for the same crime committed in the same case.

The bottom line is that there is a lot for Connecticut residents to be concerned with.  I know conservative activists are running on fumes from a dreadful 2010 election, working on 2011 special elections, fighting the onslaught of Malloy tax increases, and now I'm asking you to spread out even further and fight to help keep the death penalty on the table.  I know its a mental and physical drain.  But if its going to be, its up to us to do the fighting and this battle is absolutely worth fighting for.  Allowing villains everywhere to know that there is not going to be a free pass for committing felony rape and murder in Connecticut is worth going to war over.

Please join this fight.  Please help people like the Petit-Chapman family who have endured the pain of the the last 3 years, and likely the next several years of the appeal process, and show them that their personal sacrifices to see justice through have not been in vain. Please, I ask that Connecticut residents stand with them, and all past and future victims of heinous crimes. Let's not allow the will of liberal activists to win another battle for the soul of mankind. 

This original blog post can be found at