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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Labriola Must Change Direction

"Dear Labriola. You've got
to be *@&$# kidding me!"
It's been only five weeks since Jerry Labriola, Jr. has taken the reigns of Connecticut's floundering and broke Republican Party, and already - it seems, he's made at least one major gaff which is causing quite a stir amongst the Party faithful, and it's giving pause to many to raise serious questions about how we can expect the CTGOP to operate under his leadership going forward.

Now, before anyone accuses me of being a Debbie Downer, I recognize that Jerry's predecessor left him one hell of a mess to clean up:  disgruntled factions, an empty bank account, angry donors, regional paranoia, and he's even operating out of an embarrassing, bombed-out, technology-less headquarters that looks more suited for entertaining the homeless, rather than our client base.  (And here's a teaser - look for a full expose from The King what most people call a world class hell-hole). So, the bottom line is that I understand that Jerry isn't to be blamed for everything.

And before I go into this, I also want to extend appreciation to at least two youngsters who are working their arses off to make the CTGOP a better operation - a pretty blond chick who fields more calls than the Time-Life girl, and a short, red-haired hellion who's doing his best to figure out which end of the sheep-dog is which (names will be omitted until they do something stellar or infuriate The King). But seriously, I hope people bring them a cup of coffee (or a protein shake), and lunch from time to time.  These kids deserve it; and you know the Party is probably paying them peanuts.

So, let's get to it....

Mr. Big is back.  You can guess
which one is Mr. Big.
On Thursday, the CTGOP sent out a press release informing us that Justin Clark was selected to become the Connecticut Republican Party's new General Counsel.  Personally, I find this selection very disappointing on a number of levels.  First of all, we all know that as a campaign manager, Clark is known as Mr. 0 for 3, having a record of back-to-back-to back loses, most notably the one that gave us four years of Governor Malloy.  His decision to ignore the cities, particularly Bridgeport, doomed us from the start.  He will forever be known as the poster-boy for how not to run a campaign given such a critical campaign error which is now leading to unbelievable public suffering.  Rewarding such a large scale failure by handing him an important Party post is incomprehensible to most Connecticut Republicans - if not downright frightening!

His record in West Hartford is equally as dismal, leading the local Party to defeat after defeat to the point where Democrats expect a walk at election time.  Things were in such a disarray, that West Hartford's GOP saw not one, but two defections of Republicans to the Democrat Party. So much for a vetting process.  Sure, he wasn't alone - he had old pal and uber-Rino Steve Adler to help him set an underwhelming level of mediocrity, which led year after year of compromises with Democrats to raise West Hartford taxes to its current astronomical level.  Of course, as long as Adler kept his seat on the Councill to feign opposition to Democrats, and hobnob with the liberals down at Grant's - all was just peachy.  It's ironic after all that an Adler is a kind of snake - isn't it? 

Do we need to go into how Clark and Adler worked to undermine Republican Party members to get them thrown off Republican Town Committee?  Or how he recruited new Republicans (including Clark's wife) to push Republican Joe Visconti off Town Council via primary, or how he helped derail his old pal's Congressional run in 2007?  All, I can say everyone is watch your backs! There's nothing worse than a two-faced, crony!

We all know that Clark is Tom Foley's boy.  But none of us can understand why their relationship is so tight.  Our guess is that Foley must be paying Clark a handsome sum to be his eyes and ears within the Party, which leaves Labriola with a new problem - having one of the key architects of the failed Aniscovich insurrection monitoring his every move, and likely running it all back to Foley for his private approval.  Now Labriola has to deal with three members of Team Cafero-AninskovichVice Chair Themis Klarides, Secretary Art Scialabbia, and now - Justin Foley-Clark. It's like being surrounded by the Queen, the Rook, and the Crook.   

I can't speak to Clark's ability as an attorney, and it would be going a bit overboard for me to do so - other than to say that he "gets around".  From my research, I've not been able to find any record of notable legal accomplishment that makes me believe he's the best choice for the job.  As an attorney himself, you have to wonder what Labriola thinks about Clark's ability.  Does Labriola think that Clark is Connecticut's best and brightest legal star?  And what vetting process was used to select him?  How many resumes where received for this post?  Heck, in the name of transparency was there even a public advertisement or legitimate hiring process which called for resumes, interviews, and a selection criteria?  Or was this some pay-off made behind closed doors, and another typical political decision to be swept under the carpet?

When will we see the cost of hiring Clark, and what's his retainer fee?  What's the price of patronage, this time?

We had high hopes for Jerry Labriola, Jr.   But honestly, with the wheeling and dealing behind the secret curtain in this questionable selection - he's quickly following in the footsteps of old Chris Healy  - who, given the news on Sunday, won't be riding Tim Pawlenty's coattails to the White House, but from what we hear, will instead be haunting Lisa Wilson-Foley's campaign on a part-time basis.

Well Jerr-Bear, I guess the Honeymoon is over. 

And this past week's announcement forces us to raise serious questions about how we can expect the Connecticut Republican Party to fill it's remaining positions?

By the way - has anyone seen a public notice which contains a list of positions that CTGOP is seeking to fill?   Has anyone even seen a timetable or "plan to get to a plan" to move from a transition team to a full time staff?  Or are we going to just float along in the dark for a year, receiving press releases from time to time about old, merit-less, retreads being named to posts to appease all the various party factions.  Hell, if you can't beat 'em - join 'em. Or in this case, let 'em join you - and take over!

If you think giving your biggest, baddest critics a seat at the table will help build Party unity, then you've really not thought this through. It's more likely to embolden dissenters and give them a platform to undermine your Party rebuilding efforts right before your very eyes.  It seems pretty clear with what's going on with the Cafero-Aniskovich mob - which is already trying to call the shots and minimize our new Chairman's authority.  Jerry will be lucky to be able to pick out a color for his dilapidated outhouse.

Look this might be rather harsh, but believe me - the same comments are coming from every direction.  We need a permanent team that is going to advance the cause of the Republican Party in Connecticut - and not just serve to pave the way for certain individuals desires for personal glory and power.  I thought when Labriola was elected that we might see a new era in Connecticut Republican politics.  Perhaps that was only a fool's dream.  So far, nothing has changed.

Please someone - prove me wrong!

Let's go! Produce a clear plan, get the public notices out for employment, provide clarity on direction, and start providing transparency on ALL activities.  Turn this ship around!  We are depending on YOU!



This original blog post can be read at


Anonymous said...

He has to lead and not be lead by lame-o larry, two faced-tom, or anyone else. We are begging for strong leadership that's impartial and not influenced by the Rino ranks at the lob who are boot polishing payroll patriots who don't really care about the cause.

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with what you've written here except that I don't believe the Party is actually broke.

Linda McMahon and Tom Foley are loaded, and could both float the CTGOPs costs. Aren't they contributing to the Party's bank account? Seems they have the most to gain anyway?

You have it wrong, King. The Connecticut Republican Party has plenty of money - you just don't know about it.

Anonymous said...

There is a maximum donation amount, so Tom Foley and Linda can't give over a whole fortune to CTGOP. The state party needs to run on more than their $15,000 year contributions.

The King said...

The three were - his own in '09, Foley's in '10, and Allen Hoffman in '11.

And for clarity, no one should draw the conclusion that Foley and Cafero are on the same team. In fact, these men lead factions which are in direct opposition to each other. Three years is a long time from now - but we could all assume a Foley versus Cafero showdown for the CT Republican Gubernatorial Nomination.

Anonymous said...

If Jerry took Greenwich money with strings attached, Party regulars would be screaming he is in their pocket. If he doesn't raise huge sums the same people will be yelling he can't do the job. It will take time to turn around the Party, refill its coffers, and find people willing to work and provide services for next to nothing or free. Where do you want him to turn? To whom?

How many of you are giving our Party a hand? From what I see there is a lot of talk but not much action in the field. You have skills the Party needs and can use this fall and next year. Human labor, technical skills, and professional specialties have value and can help with what the Party may lack in technology, etc. at the moment. Where are you? If you aren't part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

Jerry has been to more events in Eastern CT than Chris Healy ever attended. That alone indicates a difference. If Fairfield County wants to "own" Jerry and he doesn't want to be owned, then give him credit for taking a stand.

If people don't want Justin Clark then who? Any attorneys out there willing to donate time and energy to rebuilding our fledgling Party organization? Where is Jerry to turn for advice and support? Write and tell us. I hear complaints but who is standing up and offering their services? If you have done so and been turned down, let us know! But, I doubt Jerry is turning down help.

Many Republicans in CT don't trust the state party organization due to past actions of State Central and Chris Healy. Jerry has a tough job. He needs people who understand the process of doing politics, yet those in the know seem to have histories. I challenge you step up and fill the gaps. Do it because it is the right and necessary thing to do.