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Ned Lamont, who won a Democrat primary against sitting
Democrat U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman in 2006, has entered the
contest. There is little reason to believe that Lamont will be able to
effect an ideological course correction within the Democrat Party.
Lamont will in part be self-financing his campaign. In a
preceding election, Lamont self-funded his $12.7 million campaign, having pledged
not to accept money from lobbyists. The temptation on the Democrat side to
choose a candidate who is not, shall we say, poor will be almost irresistible.
The Republican Party fell prey to self-financing candidates several times in
the last few elections, and the results were disappointing. Lamont claims he
has been “actively involved in this state” and points to his service on the
board of selectman and finance board in Greenwich, a background in practical
politics much less fulsome than that of Governor Dannel Malloy.
Lamont managed to wrest the Democrat U.S. Senate nomination
from Lieberman in 2006 but lost to the resilient senator, who ran as an
independent in the general election. In 2010, Lamont ran for governor, losing
to Dannel Malloy. His past in practical politics is much thinner than his past
Championing a $15 an hour minimum wage and paid leave, Lamont
is putting himself forward this time as a progressive. He is a fan of
electronic tolling. Raising taxes on the wealthy will be a part of Lamont’s
formula to “turn the state around.” State employees have already “given back
quite a bit, in particular the younger state employees have given back a lot.”
“I’m the candidate in this race who believes in collective
bargaining,” Lamont told the Hartford Courant,
“The way we’re going to get through this budget crisis is by working
collaboratively with labor.”
Lamont acknowledges that Connecticut needs “fundamental
change,” but his prescriptions on these points do not differ markedly from
those of the outgoing lame-duck governor. Working collectively with labor, Malloy
returned to the General Assembly a negotiated deal with state employee labor
unions, later approved by the Democrat dominated General Assembly, that will
prevent future governors – even Lamont, should his campaign be successful –
from laying off workers to achieve budget savings; and, of course, the budget
deal Malloy arranged with SEBAC pushes out union contractual gains until 2027.
The Lamont campaign, once it puts fourth its leaves and
branches, will likely resemble a Malloy campaign without Malloy in it. There is
no indication in Lamont’s campaign preview thus far that he will attempt to
offer a welcoming and open hand to moderate Democrat voters put in political
limbo by aggressive progressives in his party. And while Lamont may be more
popular just now than Malloy, whose approval ratings are in the mid 30’s, his
political product is not likely to appease moderate Democrats, some of whom
swell the ranks of those in Connecticut who hold Malloy in low esteem.
Among Democrats, a destructive progressive ideology has all
but replaced a pragmatic view of the economy and society. How, for example, is a
state that has yet to recover from a recession that ended elsewhere in the
nation in 2009 to pay for Lamont’s $15 an hour minimum wage and paid
leave? Through tolls, Lamont may say,
little realizing that the bulk of dollars in tolls will come from the same
empty pockets that fill Connecticut’s treasury with slowly disappearing revenue.
Is there a direct relationship between increased spending and bulging budgets?
Of course there is, but that relationship is soft peddled by soft-socialists
like Lamont, Malloy and more than half of Connecticut’s General Assembly.
Democrats in Connecticut appear anxious to hang their
election chances on President Donald Trump’s bristly character. Somewhat like
Malloy, Trump tends to throw his porcupine quills with reckless abandon. Trump, no doubt, will be a presence in the
2017 campaign. However, Trump is not running for a political slot in
Connecticut, and it is by no means certain that the much anticipated anti-Trump political
demagoguery will outweigh the consequences of largely conservative policies –
regulatory reform, business tax reductions, and a big stick foreign policy –
that, so far, have had some beneficial consequences. GDP growth is up, and
Walmart, often a target of progressives, has decided to greet the resulting
economic sunrise by boosting the starting wage of their employees from $9 per
hour to $11.
Trump’s tax cuts and regulatory reform already have lifted a
good many boats, as President John Kennedy said they would after his own similar
tax reform proposals had been adopted by a bipartisan U.S. Congress.
Author Don Pesci
. . . Good political policies are like good genes, and Lamont’s
policies -- higher taxes, more spending, union favorable deals -- are
antiquated and, in Connecticut, proven detriments to a growth economy.
To read the rest of Don's commentary, visit his web site.