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Monday, October 3, 2011

Is Linda McMahon putting the Cart before the Horse?

There is much abuzz about Linda McMahon receiving the endorsements of six former CTGOP State Chairman on Friday.  On the surface, and if you didn't know better, this might seem like a big boost to her campaign, signifying a huge leap forward in her quest for the Connecticut Republican Party Senatorial nomination.  But delving a further into the details reveals a bit more about the internal strife and set of challenges ahead for our fractured  Republican Party.

Clearly, we accept that the strategy is a clever attempt to give a quick boost to the McMahon campaign, and block out her challengers - neophyte Brian K. Hill, Mayor Jason, McCoy, and presumed challenger - Christopher Shays, who we're told is set to announce his formal entry into the race over the next several days.  The timing of the announcement is a bit strange, as it would have been more strategic to release it shortly after Shays entered the race, so as to steal the limelight of his announcement and make his task appear more difficult.

Notwithstanding, Republican Party insiders, not partial to Linda and all the baggage that she brings, have come away with a bad taste in their mouth because the perception is not one of steadfast support, but of another round of dirty politics, collusion, and payoffs.  The communication was certainly a shock to current Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr, who didn't even receive a courtesy call that Linda planned to use his predecessors, and the office of State Chairman (allegedly neutral) as a prop for Linda's campaign.

For the most part, when you look at the six individuals who came together to endorse Linda, you also see a collection of mediocre to failed State GOP leaders who it could be said have done more collectively to strengthen the Democrat Party than their own.  I was most struck by seeing Linda include Dick Foley, who served hard time for a $25,000 bribery conviction while in office.  Seeking an endorsement from a felon like Foley is probably not the best decision the McMahon camp could make, and I'm sure it won't be the last foolish decision we'll see if this campaign is anything like her last.

And what about "High Flying" Chris Depino? A guy who completely bankrupt the Party.  Just a few weeks ago he went out of his way to show steadfast support for Democrat Representative Rosa Delauro because our current Chairman and some Republicans echoed constituent outrage over her decision to stay put and bask in the Italian sun while her constituents were literally drowning in seawater.  Does a guy like this help Linda appeal to our base? And besides, we wouldn't want Depino's East Haven business dealings to be compromised, would we? (details to follow at a later date).

George Gallo? Probably one of the better Chairman we've had, but let's not forget that he's the Chief of Staff of House Republicans - the group which helped to orchestrate the Aniscovich debacle led by House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, and others this past summer. And poor Herb Shepardson - probably the nicest of the bunch who inherited the Rowland scandal and was left dangling out in the wind - I'm personally disappointed to see Herb sticking his hand in Linda's cookie jar - they say Linda's pockets run deep, but so do Herb's - so there must be some other prize awaiting him down at WWE Headquarters.

And what about former State House Rep. Bill Hamzy? Who? A guy who never wanted to be State Chairman but was dragged into the role by Governor Jodi Rell; Hamzy didn't complete a full term because of so many personal issues, and as a result the Party maintained its status quo - like an old wooden boat moored in the harbor, rocking quietly by the waves of the tide.  Other than to beef up the numbers within the endorsement, he doesn't bring anything of value - not name even name recognition to the scheme.

Then there's Chris Healy, who put us in this mess to begin with and who continues to stir up trouble where ever he goes.  You can lay the blame for the Republican Party's current state of near-bankruptcy and disintegration at Healy's feet which began when he turned our last State Convention into a Campaign Rally for McMahon, and his successful effort to undermine nominated candidates, and engage in other untold financial scandals.  It's almost sad to see Healy peddle his sob story on Jim Vicevich's show; his attempts at revisionist history have fallen flat.  Just ask Jerry Labriola - who is stuck trying to pick up the pieces.  The bad news about having Healy around is that whatever he touches tends to crumble.  I'm sure Healy wants some payback for his lost reputation.

When you stand back and look at this group being put forward as a mega-endorsement, you're really left scratching your head.  Are these the Big Name Republicans who should be telling voters who to support?  Heck, the truth is that its having an opposite affect on average Republicans who are looking for a departure from our twenty year victory drought.

Perhaps now - just like in 2010, we can expect a flurry of RTC Chairmen lining up at Linda McMahon's Olde Trading Post looking to cash in their support for a golden prize, a business favor, or political appointment.  Just a wink and a nod, and an IOU to be cashed in at the State Convention. This is the kind of stuff that turns loyal Republican's stomachs, and divides our Party into shredded wheat to be feasted on by Democrats.

I know there are a lot of well meaning people out there who probably think Linda McMahon just might be best qualified for the Senate.  And many of you want to look beyond the polls that show Linda can't beat either Chris Murphy or Susan Bysiewicz in a general election.  There are reason for this, and I'm sure we can broach those again in time.  But the more immediate issue for Republicans is to take a moment and look at the long dark shadow that she will cast over the entire Republican ticket.  And what it will do to our caucus as the game of manipulation and collusion takes place within our 169 town committees?

RTC members and voters should pay close attention to who is being placed on Republican Town Committees across the state.  Find out who is being added and who is being removed, and why.  The only way for Connecticut's State Convention to be fair and equitable to all candidates and those they represent is if delegates are chosen without influence and commitment to any single candidate or agenda. Will delegates be chosen who can vote their own conscience?

It will be up to the voters of each town to get involved.  Just because the McMahon Six have been bought and paid for, doesn't mean we have to stand for it.  If you haven't seen the movie Meet John Doe.  Perhaps, its time to get yourself a copy of this old Frank Capra favorite, and you can remind Linda (our D.B. Norton): "that for every John Doe movement [she] tries to kill, another one will be born."

There is one more major obstacle to overcome. We all recognize that the State Convention is a critical part of our candidate nomination process. And given that so many key past and present CTGOP leaders are already indebted to Linda - including State Central members and RTC members (soon to be appointed as delegates) -  it's hard to image how these same people could be called upon to serve as unbiased convention committee members when their impartiality has already been compromised.  How, pray-tell, will the Chairman be able to run a convention with indivduals who have already publicly endorsed McMahon?  Because if he does chose them, it will forever affect others' perception of his impartially as Chairman of our Party.

Hold fast.  There is so much more to come.

Linda McMahon:  The DB Norton of
our time. No respect for the "little
people" who make up the CTGOP!


This original blog post can be found at


Joe Visconti said...

Dear King, please go to Linda's page on fb and witness the 27,000 plus likes to her page. One can click to see all likes and one will notice almost all CT RTC's have liked her page, most likely from last years election. I would urge ALL CT RTC's and the House Republicans whom have liked the page from the past to reserve their endorsement for Linda via page likes by clicking to unlike status until after the primary so as not to appear biased, especially since delegates and convention committee members will be chosen from their ranks for next years convention. Confusion by everyday Republican voters can be lessened by this action.Thanks

Anonymous said...

Shays may be called a "RINO" but at least he doesn't abuse women like linda. Also, she hired Tom Scott, who is a moron.

Anonymous said...

Some of these former chairmen are dopes but a couple are gentlemen I have serious respect for. Which is why I don't get them backing McMahon.

Hey guys: She's a loser who won't be reinventing herself. No way, No how.

Do you really want us to have ANOTHER Democrat U.S. Senator for 20 years?

Just because your tenures were plauged with that problem, don't wish on future chairmen, please.

She will never get above 45 percent in a general election poll. Ever.

Dan Reale said...

Linda will get the GOP nod. It's a done deal.

Time to shop around elsewhere.

PS to Naysayers: 2010 all over again. That means more "told you so".