|And we do it so well....|
With the withdrawal of Fox 61 television megastar Chris Healy, and passionate ideologue Wayne Winsley bailing out of the CTGOP Chairman's Race, the game has changed dramatically. Sadly, the big show down between Mr. Corrupt and Mr. Irrelevant will never come to pass. We've gone from Chess to Tic-Tac-Toe - a game where everyone loses. So what pray tell will become of the 32 State Central votes that Catherine Marx and Grand Old Profiteer Mary Ann Turner corralled? With the magic number being 42, and Ron Wilcox well positioned to pick up the lion's share of anti-Labriola sentiment, there's still plenty of time for Wilcox to pull off an upset (or even time for someone else to be nominated from the floor who might shake things up in a last minute stand). Too bad Mike Clark isn't available.
It's being heard loud and clear that Republican Town Committees don't want Jerry re-elected. As has been previously explained in these pages over the past two years, Labriola is considered the lapdog of House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney via his brother David. An agreement was reached long before Labriola's election to the Chairmanship; in exchange for a place in the spotlight, Labs would remain silent on the issues, and not engage in public discourse unless given permission by his political keepers. Sadly, Labs so willingly complied. When it came to issues most important to statewide voters, Labriola remained intentionally disengaged and aloof - uttering No Comment when cornered, or making a beeline for the exit at the sight of anyone harboring a pad and pen. A more courageous leader would have stood up for Second Amendment rights, or worked on behalf of Connecticut families and spoke out against perversion in our public bathrooms and elsewhere, or challenged Democrats on a dozen other important issues which apparently Labriola found uninteresting. Even when questioned by the Hartford Courant about Healy's possible coup d'etat, as if on queue - Labs volunteered the only phrase he knows - No Comment (BTW - seeing it in print brought laughter far and wide). In fact, on any issue of consequence, Labriola has been nowhere to be found - perhaps only espousing his opinions to select individuals up at the bar and out of earshot of media moguls. Leading from the rear is not the comeback strategy that anyone ever demanded.
Even the hoity-toity gang down in Greenwich don't want to see Jerry coming - it must be more than just the Miami Vice outfit and the Member's Only Jacket he adorns when visiting the local Yacht Club which puts them off. Or maybe its the whole 70s retro cover-band act that he takes on the road which doesn't fly with the Fairfield County elite. It says a lot when you get dissed by someone like Linda McMahon.
Last week, Ron Wilcox had about 12 votes, and his stock has gone up significantly with the exit of Chris Healy. Critics of Wilcox believe that he'd be unwilling to listen to opinions outside of the Tea Party faithful. However, Republicans want to see conservative viewpoints championed in light of the state Democrat's continued, unopposed push to the left - on both economic and social issues. Republicans have negotiated away basic principles for little or no gain, and thus have diluted the party's public image as a mere replication of state Democrats with a quasi-moderate bend - still unwilling to cast a caucus vote of "no" leaving GOP voters feeling bitter, and abandoned. Clearly this lack of principle has been well rewarded at the polls.
If Republicans had a spokesman in the form of a Chairman who could articulate basic policy positions, week after week in a public forum (e.g. television, radio, web, and press releases, or simple ad hoc appearances) then the Party would attract voter appeal outside of diehard GOP party activists. Today, the vacuum of leadership at the State GOP is more than self-evident, it's self-destructive. The idea that State Central Members would chose the same course of failure for two more years is truly beyond belief. In the absence of a viable candidate, a vote of no confidence is more preferable giving a mandate for two more years of the status quo.
On Tuesday, State Central Members have an opportunity to change the direction of Connecticut's beleaguered Republican Party. But deep down you have to wonder if we have the stomach to end a tenure of mediocrity and give ourselves half a chance at victory by electing real leadership. From The King's View, its hard to imagine at this late hour - anyone other than Labriola winning. That should provide no one comfort, even those who've been bought and paid to support him.
Somewhere Nancy DiNardo and our foes are celebrating.