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OP-ED | Fever At The Capitol: GOP In Pain

by Terry D. Cowgill | Feb 28, 2014 6:30am
(43) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election Policy, Opinion, State Capitol

istock


Last week had to be an excruciating one for Republicans in Connecticut. As the Grand Old Party gears up for a race against a vulnerable Democratic incumbent governor, the specter of investigations hangs over the Capitol City like a New Year’s Day hangover.

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, (a busy day packed with committee hearings), federal agents descended on the Legislative Office Building — a familiar haunt by now — and gave a thorough grilling to Republican lawmakers who might know anything about a legislative staff member and a Florida printing company that produces campaign material.

As the Courant’s Kevin Rennie aptly observed, it has got to be terribly humbling when outsiders march into the workplace of the political class, disrupt the day of privileged lawmakers, and ask them questions they would no sooner lie on a bed of nails than answer.

If you follow politics, you know the layers of government that comprise our great nation have a distinct pecking order. Municipal officials are looked down upon by county officials, who are in turn made to feel inferior by state officials (you can eliminate the county layer in Connecticut since we were wise enough to eliminate it in 1960).

As someone who has witnessed firsthand the arrogance of state government toward locals, I must say that it gives me great pleasure to see the staties get their comeuppance when the blue-suited feds arrive, waving their badges and legal papers and demanding answers from irked lawmakers who until then had been lords of the manor.

The very next day, George Gallo, the longtime House Republicans chief of staff and a former state party chairman, resigned after determining that he was a “person of interest” after the grilling he and others had received at the hands of the FBI.

Then out came the subpoenas on Friday. The documents, which requested letters, emails, text messages, contracts and invoices,  made it clear the probe was targeting the House Republicans — and perhaps one GOP senator. The words “Democrat” or “Democratic” were nowhere to be found.

On the same day that Gallo resigned, we learned that a key witness in the federal probe of convicted felon and former Republican Gov. John G. Rowland is cooperating with federal prosecutors. Brian Foley, a wealthy former owner of the Connecticut Pride basketball team, has agreed to testify if the feds decide to go after Rowland for campaign reporting violations.

You may recall that Foley also owns a nursing home business that paid Rowland $30,000 for a “consulting” gig, while Foley’s wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley, was running for the 2012 Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District.

The feds’ suspicion is that Foley’s payment to Rowland was really a back-door way of compensating the former governor for helping his wife’s campaign. If so, the arrangement would be a concealment of campaign expenditures and violation of federal law.

Rowland’s legal problem is compounded by a serious ethical breach. From his perch as afternoon drive-time host on WTIC-AM, Rowland blasted one of Wilson-Foley’s Republican rivals, former state Sen. Andrew Roraback, without disclosing during the interview his financial arrangement with her husband.

It all adds up to trouble for the Republicans as they head into gubernatorial and legislative races this fall. The demise of Gallo, a close confidant, must have been a devastating blow to House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, who last year had considered running for governor but had to answer for his own ethical problems.

As it did almost two years ago, the New Haven Register called last week on WTIC to fire Rowland. And the left-wing media watchdog Media Matters recently took Rowland’s ethical problems national by reporting extensively on his misdeeds.

Democrats are hardly gloating since memories of their own relatively recent brush with the feds are still fresh. Where is former House Speaker Chris Donovan when you need him?

Still, most of the electorate suffers from an attention deficit and won’t remember Ray Soucy and the guys at the roll-your-own tobacco circus, which augurs poorly for the GOP. Presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley, whose only scandal is his big mouth, must be feeling a tad uncomfortable, and so is distancing himself from the trouble in his own party. When asked by CTNewsJunkie about Direct Mail Systems, the Florida printing company at the center of the federal inquiry, Foley said he had hired them briefly in 2010:

“They didn’t perform very well so we stopped using them.”

Ouch.

Contributing op-ed columnist Terry Cowgill lives in Salisbury, blogs at ctdevilsadvocate.com and is editor of The Berkshire Record in Great Barrington, Mass. He has appeared on Rowland’s show several times. Follow him on Twitter @terrycowgill.

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(43) Comments

posted by: RJEastHartford | March 1, 2014  12:40pm

Although the facts here are disturbing, more so is you have to wonder what happened at WTIC. A fill-in host selling his church, political views and advertising for political fundraisers on the air.
The traffic reporter spends as much time promulgating his political views as the flow of traffic in the Hartford tunnel. The ex-Governor continues to wield some influence, despite any lack of shame, and as in the past is trying to leverage that influence. His supporters could very well be let down again. The Feds did not tread lightly on “roll your own” issue, neither did investigators believe the ex-mayor of Hartford when he told them he paid for the home improvements and headed to the bank to backfill almost immediately after leaving the interview. (they already knew the answer to the questions). Any similar outcome in this current federal investigation of the ex-Governor should cry out for some radio programming that is somewhat balanced and entertaining going forward. WTIC is bereft of integrity.
Ironically that is what the station and it’s hosts are trying to sell us.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 1, 2014  12:43pm

No comments yet?  Come on guys, here’s another juicy Hartford scandal to feast on.

Of course it doesn’t include Malloy, or the unions, or any of the other convenient whipping boys, so I guess it’s just not that interesting or important.  Funny how that works.

posted by: Terry D. Cowgill | March 1, 2014  5:20pm

Terry D. Cowgill

Hah. Long John, you are right. The usual suspects—Art Vandelay, JoeBigJoe—are nowhere to be found. Yes, funny indeed how that works.
RJ, I think your point about WTIC is well taken. Personally, I have enjoyed the people I have worked with there, including Ray Dunaway and Rowland. But they do have a problem with Rowland.
John is a charming guy. It’s easy to see how he got as far as he did. On the air, he is a pleasure to work with.
But he simply must disclose when he has a conflict or management must insist on it. And if he is indicted, they have to let him go, even if it means a loss of listeners and ad revenue in the afternoon drive-time slot.

posted by: JamesBronsdon | March 2, 2014  8:09am

Can’t think of a better replacement than Colin McEnroe. Hardly my cup of tea politically, but by far the most interesting Hartford radio personality I’ve ever heard.

posted by: Todd Peterson | March 2, 2014  11:30am

All right, a conservative voice is here to comment.

We need regime change here in CT and I’m one footsoldier trying to help with it.  This mess - the mailing snafu - if it’s legitimate, will be a real impediment that we don’t need.

As to the Rowland fiasco, I’m very disappointed with that as well.  Like Terry, I think that Rowland is very good at the job and he’s done some good work on things like mental health and addiction issues.  I was actually a bit disappointed when WTIC let Colin McEnroe go.  I didn’t always agree with him, often I didn’t.  he was entertaining and filled a niche at the station quite well.  WTIC has to be cognizant of its brand.

posted by: Lawrence | March 2, 2014  11:31am

WTIC-AM has a ratings problem.

For decades they were Number 1 or 2 in the Hartford-New Britain-Meriden market for quarterly hour share (the percentage of all people listening to any radio station in a given market who are listening to your station.)

Now, according to recent Nielsen (formerly Arbitron) rankings for the past few years, they are number six or seven.

That is stunning for the 50,000 watt ‘Blowtorch of New England’ with such wonderful past employees as Bob Steel and Arnold Dean.

(For comparison, CT Public Radio, way down at the far left end of the dial, is consistently ranked 8 or 9 in the same market!)

WTIC-AM is grasping for programming and dollars. They hitched their star to right-wing radio several years ago (hence their print advertising campaign ‘The Right Talk’) and they have to live or die with that programming.

Obviously, it has not proven popular in Connecticut, as their ratings show. IN order to keep what decreasing audience they have, they have built a local group of right-wing commenters around Rush Limbaugh.

Vicevich—a true phony conservative if there ever was one—trys to keep the right-wing base of Ray Dunaway’s show (and their are many, because Ray is not very smart) and keep them entertained until Rush comes on from Noon until 3.

Then Rowland is supposed to keep that audience listening to ads from 3pm until 6pm, and which point rational listeners tune in to hear about their beloved Huskies, Red Sox, Yankees, etc.

Rowland is kept around because CBS Radio has no other option at the moment and doesn’t want to lose what scraps of advertising revenue he may be bringing in.

But CBS Radio is trading money for reputation, and they are KILLING WTIC-AM.

Quite frankly, the station HQ in Farmington should be picketed. For a supposed “news station” not to respond to professional journalists’ comments about Rowland is unacceptable and insulting.

posted by: JamesBronsdon | March 2, 2014  12:44pm

Rowland may have an ethical blind eye but, after all, he is a radio talk show host. His effect on our lives hardly equates to that of the current governor’s. So, I’m not sure I’d consider the non-commenting by the frequent commenters to be commentworthy. Little satisfaction in venting against him. But by all means, have at it. He’s fair game too.

posted by: StillRevolting | March 3, 2014  7:56pm

As a Connecticut Republican, few names in politics bring to mind as much unprintable language as John Rowland. For WTIC to make him the de-facto voice of Corrupticut is even worse. Somewhere in my dreams, a rooster is crowing dawn through my alarm clock and Bob Steele is helping me get the sleep out of my eyes with the corniest joke I’m going to hear that day. Or, Colin who was annoying and mostly wrong, was sending me straight from my commute to my computer to research something that he made me think twice about. In addition to being annoying and mostly wrong, he is brilliant and very much worth listening to with an open mind. Shame on the station for trading credibility and integrity for ideology. I’m done with you in the afternoons and am thinking about weaning myself off of Ray who I enjoy very much in the mornings. I wonder if management will run a cord to Dirty Johnny’s microphone in whatever federal pen he is headed for next? As for Ms. Wilson-Foley, she struck me as Linda McMahon light. Too much money, too few brains, and probably couldn’t legislate her way out of a paper bag. Sorry Lisa, nobody looking to buy an election for something to do to escape the boredom of the country club is going to see a vote from me. Nobody employing Dirty Johnny and his lowball tactics needs to see another penny from me at their own country club either. Ms. Wilson-Foley owns Blue Fox Run and the Rock n’ Bowl in the Farmington Valley. Both are very convenient for me. I will patronize neither.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 4, 2014  9:46am

StillRevolting (love the handle!)—are there prominent state-level Republicans you do like?  McKinney?  Foley?  Boughton?

Malloy may be vulnerable, but I have a hard time seeing any of these guys going the distance.  McKinney is hated by the gun nuts, Foley without his $12 million is an empty suit, and Boughton is not setting conservative hearts a flutter.

You can’t beat somebody with nobody, and nobody is what the Rs have.

posted by: StillRevolting | March 5, 2014  1:12am

Hi LongJohn47, Thanks for the props and the question. I’m sorry to have to respond with a blunt no when it comes to gubernatorial candidates. Foley is an empty suit with or without his bank account. McKinney doesn’t and shouldn’t have a prayer in the primary. The specifics of SB 1160 will be the commonly cited reason. What is actually worse for me is the fact that through it, he demonstrated the willingness to do something worthless and burdensome for the sake of doing anything. Visconti is scary and Boucher is a big yawn. Boughton is the least dislikable of the bunch. In the 5th, the thought that I may at some point feel compelled to fill in a bubble next to Mark Greenberg’s name makes me more than a little ill. I will always vote for good locals of any party but, my last D for anything higher was in 2010. There won’t be another until I quit getting government rammed down my throat without demonstrably better results by a huge margin than I’m seeing now, especially at the state level. Meanwhile, I am a very dissatisfied CT GOP customer because I’m that convinced that the Democrats have failed us that badly. Did I mention that I would actually like to see some Republican gains next fall?

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 5, 2014  9:10am

Nowhere to be found? I already commented on this story numerous times when it first came out.

As a GOPer I am even more disgusted by this because it blows a golden opportunity to keep the light shining on the losers on the left and their policies. I am outraged and if people did this they should be strung up.

Now you people on the left lack the same character I have as I hear none of you talking about even larger issues which are more damaging to our country like the IRS scandal, Benghazi and the blocking still of information on Fast and Furious and what Obama and Holder may have said in emails about it.

Before one of you decides to say there is nothing there let me get you away from your public radio station or MSNBC for a moment.

TODAY it was reported that Lois Lerner doesnt want to testify because she fears for her life. Nothing there? She either did something really bad or she is going to point that finger at someone close to Obama that did.

YESTERDAY it was reported that Gen Petraeus may have some major information about Benghazi and Mike Morrell who now appears to have been the one that totally changed the talking points that seemed pretty accurate coming from the State Department. He has perjured himself already, Petraeus may have as well, and I wonder why since it wasnt a CIA failing but a State Dept failing to provide security.

As for Fast and Furious nothing new but are you people noticing that all over this country more and more people than ever are buying guns. Why would they do that? Crime has actually dropped in most places. What are they afraid of? Oh I know, a lying government on BOTH sides of the aisle.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 5, 2014  9:16am

Lawrence I have a hard time accepting what you said about ratings but you may be right. Please post a link that shows that.

Rowland is a tool in that if he is guilty its another Republican embarrassing the party while the other guys are screwing up.

Finally, Christine is no right winger. If you think that’s right wing then you really are on the lunatic left and not just the left.

I have to go now as I have to sell some Apple stock since I’m a global warming denier and my money isnt welcome there. Last I looked the laws and regulations that govern the behavior of CEO’s are all about maximizing shareholder value and not to be beholden to issues that the world is divided on.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 5, 2014  11:54am

StillRevolting -  interesting analysis, much of which I agree with.  I do like McKinney, but then I fully supported the gun legislation and wish it had been more comprehensive.  I also like the work he did last session on GMO labeling.

I think yesterday’s Q poll sealed the deal for Foley, however, and so I’m bracing myself for another vapid, content-free assault on Malloy by a guy whose only claim to management experience was the dismantling and privatization of Iraqi industry following our invasion in 2003.

Like Malloy or hate him (as many do), he’s willing to tell you what he wants and then go after it with fierce determination.  Malloy’s a leader, and I suspect that in the end enough voters will swallow their distaste and give him another four years.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 5, 2014  6:47pm

For anyone who doesn’t think Malloy is a fighter, I invite you to spend 10 minutes with this clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TLvqubOPmk&feature=youtu.be

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 6, 2014  8:38am

Long John why isnt Malloy fighting about this?

Why are people like you and Gutbomb that support Obamacare and Malloy not looking at this and saying “OH MY GOD, in the Hartford area if this comes to pass there will be huge unemployment, housing values will drop, people will have to flee the state for work, taxes will go up, and no one ever told us that the goal was to destroy health insurance companies, but just get people covered.”

Figher? I say TRAITOR to the people of the State of CT. TRAITOR!!!

From 2 days ago the architect of Obamacare in HIS own words.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116752/ezekiel-emanuel-book-excerpt-end-health-insurance-companies

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 6, 2014  10:46am

So, Joe, let me see if I can follow your “logic”.  Malloy is a TRAITOR!!! because Zeke Emmanuel thinks that insurance companies must innovate or die?

Is it any wonder that some of us on this blog think you’re a little bit unhinged?

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 6, 2014  1:18pm

Long John you got that almost right.

The architect of Obamacare, the designer of Obamacare, has stated what I said.

if you know anything about the concept of Accountable Care organizations you will know that let’s just say that they innovate successfully,the firms will be a shells of its present self.

The job of the Governor of the State of CT or the state of New York or the State of Missouri is constitutionally bound to look out for the best interests of their state. Why do you think politicians dont just all sit around and sing Kumbaya around the campfire because something may be good for one state and not your own.

Look at the battle over Subs. Congressmen and Senators of both parties regardless of their feelings on national defense spending have fought for our sub work even though it might have been more cost effective and efficient for it to be done in Newport News.

Malloy could care less about what happens to jobs in CIGNA, Aetna, United Health, Anthem as long as it happens after he is out of office.

No one has ever said that Obamacare would create more jobs in insurance but would probably create less yet he goes along with the party line.

He is a TRAITOR!

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 6, 2014  2:06pm

Joe, the flaws in your “logic” are numerous.  Let’s just consider two. 

First, Obamacare is on track to add at least 6-7 million more people to the insurance rolls (both private and Medicaid).  How could that possibly result in fewer jobs in that industry?  And if, over time, those jobs shift to Accountable Care organizations, isn’t that a sign that competition is alive and well?

Secondly, Malloy doesn’t intend to leave office for at least four years, and adding jobs to the economy and keeping people working is his primary mission.

But finally I’d like to address your language.  “Traitor” is an extreme word, one reserved for those whose conduct is so vile it often results in the death penalty.  Using it to smear Malloy just exposes your own unbalanced state.

posted by: gutbomb86 | March 6, 2014  5:15pm

gutbomb86

LongJohn you’re spot on. Extremists love to throw around terms like “traitor” as if they were potato chips.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 6, 2014  5:52pm

Gutbomb and Long John. There are two generally recognized definitions for the word TRAITOR. I am using the one that discusses betraying a trust to a person, cause or community.

As for lost jobs, those will be coming and for some at least at one of the firms I mentioned there have been a number of people let go at a number just below what is required to make a public statement about.

However thats not my primary concern. You accuse me constantly of just seeing things in black and white so I’ll agree with you this time. Why? Because in the Obamacare law there are promises to give government bailouts to insurance companies who lose significant money due to the new pool of sick people they will have to cover without having the information in advance to actuarily determine the premiums. Thats a fact not extremism. Its in print so there is your JoeBigJoe black and white. Gutbomb I said “black” so it must be that time to call me a racist again?

Do you think that the companies will get this money without shedding millions in costs first? Those costs are peoples jobs, here in the State of CT. If Obamacare goes bad, and so far it isnt good otherwise you wouldnt have another delay as of yesterday, then those jobs will be lost in CT and not Montana or Hawaii.

All we have heard from Malloy is how wonderful this law is and the poor people that will now get coverage. OK, as Governor where is the other part of that equation? What about the concerns addressed by the CEO of Aetna? Is he lying and Malloy telling the truth by omitting the issues facing our economy in this state because of this law? The CEO of Aetna is legally responsible to his shareholders and Malloy is responsible to his party in this one. I’ll go with the CEO"s concerns in this one thank you.

posted by: JamesBronsdon | March 6, 2014  6:03pm

Gutbomb, who throws potato chips?  Cow chips or poker chips maybe.  Do you live in a frat house?

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 6, 2014  8:25pm

So, Joe, because you agree with the chief of Aetna you feel comfortable calling Malloy a traitor?

Yes, Obamacare has a form of insurance for the insurance companies, to make sure that in a market where no one can predict with certainty what the risk pool will look like, insurance companies wouldn’t take a huge hit.

How is this a bad thing?  We’ve launched a huge new social program, shouldn’t we make sure to protect against the downside risk?  In my view it would have been irresponsible to do anything else.

You’re convinced that Obamacare has already failed, and I’ll agree the rollout of the website was inexcusable.  But healthcare isn’t a website, and here in CT we’re on track for 150,000 people to have coverage who didn’t before.

Last night I was sitting with a friend who sells real estate and hasn’t been able to afford insurance for fifteen years.  Now he’s covered, and the chest pains he recently experienced were examined, diagnosed, and promptly treated before they led to a heart attack. 

There will be literally millions of stories like that this year, and next, and the year after that, and by the time 2016 rolls around the next Republican presidential candidate will be talking about fixing Obamacare, not repealing it.
Obamacare is here to stay.  Get used to it.

posted by: gutbomb86 | March 6, 2014  10:56pm

gutbomb86

@joe - if the shoe fits.

You’ve gone out of your way to make so many racially offensive or insensitive or ridiculous and misinformed statements on this website, joe, that it’s pretty useless for you to make a token effort to try to turn it around on me. You put it in the public record here. Now you have to live with it.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 7, 2014  8:34am

LongJohn, there is no absolute guarantee that the insurance companies would get this money and I think you glossed over my point that the money would come AFTER costs were cut which means jobs go first.

There is tremendous risk here with our local employers. I am willing to be educated and proven wrong here, but Malloy did come into office after Obamacare was passed, yet can you give me examples where he has publicly expressed concerns about how this has all played out and it’s impact in the state that he is responsible for?

Maybe he wants single payer and as a good little disciple of the far left could care less what happens.

I am sure there are many stories like that of the real estate agents but there is also a significant attempt to mislead the people about what is happening in this plan and who is signing up.

From the Washington Post, the bastion of right wing conservatism for your reading pleasure.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/health-insurance-marketplaces-signing-up-few-uninsured-americans-surveys-say/2014/03/06/cdae3152-a54d-11e3-84d4-e59b1709222c_print.html

Finally I’m not saying Malloy shouldnt be for this program. That opinion would be his mistake, but it’s his and he is entitled to it. However, there are now grave concerns about how things havent worked out the way the plan was sold to the American people, and also being expressed by a number of the people that led the plan to pass it and know the finances we don’t, yet you hear not a word from Malloy.

You may not like the word I used but until I hear him stand up for the people of these companies and acknowledge the issues we all see, or express that he has been to HHS and Congress and has guarantees then his agenda and the trust the people of this state have put into him is not in lock step.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 7, 2014  8:41am

Hey Gutbomb, I don’t like you. I really don’t.

I have a wife, three children, two in college, homeowner, live in a town that people refer to as affluent in the Hartford area but many people here struggle to stay here. I grew up poor in Hartford, worked my butt off to get out of that life, have a brother that killed himself from drug abuse, and a sister that lives in a Hartford suburb and is doing well with her life. My father beat the crap out of us but was the product of war, and my mother was an alcoholic. Most of my friends as a kid never made it out in the real world, some dead, some prison, some who knows but it isnt great.

That’s my story and where I came from which has led to my opinions.

What is yours? Did you grow up in a suburb, dont know what its like to be chased by a gang of people that want to rob and beat you, you never have been shot at, nor had a gun held on you because you and your buddy accidentally walked in on a drug deal, you live with 2 cats…I dont know. Why dont you tell us since you seem to be the king of calling people racists and extremists.

posted by: JH_1 | March 7, 2014  10:14am

Expressing your opinions on political or policy matters or providing specific examples should never automatically label anyone as racist, homophobic, anti-women, anti-religous, gun nut, un-american, traitor or anything else.  It’s an opinion that, by the way, everyone is entitled to.  It’s a part of the freedom we enjoy in this country.


It’s unfortunate that people are so quick to throw out those labels or accusations as a way to “one up” someone in a debate.


The real shame is how many good people (conservatives, liberals and everyone in between) stay out of debates or out of public service due to fear of being labeled something they’re not.

posted by: StanMuzyk | March 7, 2014  11:02am

@Gutbomb:  You lack of concrete subject response leaves you with throwing potato chips—which won’t travel too far.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 10, 2014  12:58pm

Joe—Malloy hired a very competent guy to roll out Obamacare in CT, and the process here has been smooth and successful.  They’ve published figures on how many people have signed up for either medicaid or the private insurers, and they’re significantly ahead of plan. 

Only the Insurance Commissioner could definitively answer the question as to how many individuals were previously insured or uninsured, and it will be months before that data will be available.

BTW, there are liberal groups who think that AccessHealthCT (the CT agency in charge of the affordable health exchange) should have negotiated better pricing with the insurance companies, so from their point of view Malloy has been too generous with the providers.

At the federal level, you say there’s “no absolute guarantee” that the insurance companies will be reimbursed if enrollments aren’t sufficient to cover costs, and that any money provided to insurance companies under the risk protection provisions of Obamacare would come after jobs have been lost. 

But Joe, that’s complete speculation on your part.  First, you don’t know whether the money will be needed.  Secondly, you don’t know how the system will work if it is needed.  So to call the risk to local employers “tremendous” is, in my opinion, a little hyperbolic.

Republicans have spent the past four years screaming about Obamacare.  I’ve always wondered why they think that providing healthcare to the poor is such a catastrophic idea for the richest country on earth, but if the American people agreed with that view then Romney would have been elected. 

He wasn’t, and Obamacare is here to stay.

posted by: StanMuzyk | March 10, 2014  2:11pm

@LongJohn: Your Democratic approval of ObamaCare “has to be taken taken with a grain of salt.”  The proof in the eating—and not enough people have digested it yet.”  But you never slow down with your views of Democratic prosperity—even if there is none. Democratic

posted by: gutbomb86 | March 10, 2014  4:28pm

gutbomb86

@Joe - you don’t like me? Well that’s a relief! I was worried we were going to have to spend Christmas together. But boohoo and all that.

So… I don’t really care about your personal story, Joe, as awful as it sounds. I just don’t appreciate your willingness to throw everyone but yourself under the bus because you had it rough growing up. No thanks. For all we know you’re a brown-skinned person - doesn’t change the tenor of your comments. In a perfect world, everyone would be fine and no one would starve. But the world isn’t perfect, never has been. Issues are not black and white and public policy reflects that. And government aide in America, by and large, has been a huge success. The war on poverty has been an enormously effective by any cogent analysis. We certainly have had a rough economy since 2008, no question there. But the only people trying to re-write history about the reasons for the crash don’t seem to remember the conduct of the previous administration and seem to think those egregious can be excused or waived away with a magic wand. Not true.

You hate to hear that and feel as though you’re being ripped off in some way, but that isn’t born out by data. You’re doing well enough to spend a GREAT DEAL OF TIME commenting here. Congrats. Maybe you should be thanking the government for providing you with a country where you can waste this much time.

@JH_1 - My comments at Joe are based not on this particular thread but rather the body of his comments on lots of threads where he has made plenty of racially insensitive remarks. He knows it. But I wholeheartedly agree that forcing liberal and conservative labels onto everyone is ridiculous and counter productive. And this is often my criticism of Joe and his pals like StanM and their ilk. It’s their way, or you’re a socialist or a communist or a liberal or some other perceived evil from yesteryear. To them, the president is the boogeyman and we all know the reason. They essentially copy their comments from one thread and paste them into another, wasting all of our time. Some of them abuse the concept of spelling and punctuation to the point where it looks as though they’ve never had a day of school. Yet the so-called downfall of American society is not their fault, but rather it’s on Obama and everyone but themselves.

It has gotten old and it ruins this site for thoughtful people.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 10, 2014  5:04pm

Long John I was referring to Obamacare financial issues on a national basis. The state exchange in CT seems to be doing pretty well. Why weren’t individual state exchanges the solution rather than govt control of our lives?

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 10, 2014  5:07pm

Thanks you Gutbomb for proving my point.

I’m just telling you the prism by which I view things and where I came from.

Time to take the silver spoon out of your nose or you know where and leave your fantasy world.

I still feel bad that you were bullied. It is all over everything you write about. Victimization to the max.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 10, 2014  5:17pm

Joe—because they refused to go along.  The Feds never thought that states would actively resist the rollout and Medicaid upgrade.  One of the fed exchange problems was having to deal with so many different state combinations of providers.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 11, 2014  10:03am

Lets face it Long John, the situation is a mess in most of the country otherwise they wouldnt delay mandates until after the election, but instead speed it up.

The people who passed it didn’t read the bill which is the worst thing of all as it impacts Democracy more so than healthcare.

The Republicans do have ideas to fix it other than scrapping it but Harry Reid wont allow the Senate to take it up. Why? I’m sure there are a number of Senators that would love to stand up and say “hey we tried to do something, learned alot, and now we have gone back and fixed it.” Sounds like a winning message for Dem incumbents to me, and most of all a win for Americans.

posted by: gutbomb86 | March 11, 2014  12:41pm

gutbomb86

@joe - Once again, you’re attempting to marginalize me rather than argue the point, in effect waving your white flag of surrender. If that’s the best you can do, I suppose I should stop because now it’s starting to look like I’m bullying you.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 11, 2014  1:08pm

I don’t want to fight Gutbomb. Leave me alone…you frighten me.

You really do. You are beyond frustrating because your world view is what big tyrannical governments throughout history have stood on the shoulders of people that think like you do to get into power. 

What happened next isn’t good.

Even today Dr Ben Carson whose gun views I didn’t agree with is saying he is now against gun registration when last year he was for it. He see’s after the convenient IRS audit after he spoke out about Obamacare what is happening in government and now he’s getting exposed to more of the internal workings and says we should be more worried about martial law than registering guns.

I know you want to solve problems and we are different in that I want people to stand on their own two feet and then we can help the ones that really need it. You want to make excuses for people. I told you my background because people make choices and they need to live with them. I made choices that gave me a better life with lots of past garbage in my life so you cant convince me of how evil people are like I am for telling it like it is. I saw people make decisions like I did to go on to school that day or get high in the park and go in late or not at all.

If your story was similar I would listen more to your views, but I feel your views are just wrong in so many cases because you haven’t lived it, so you see so much sorrow when I see sorrow and lots of bad decisions.

Bigger government in our lives is something that we will both live to regret, but you have more trust in the good of government than I do.

posted by: gutbomb86 | March 11, 2014  1:51pm

gutbomb86

@joe - Ah yes, back to the gun nonsense and one guy’s anecdotal experience. With you, Joe, everything stems from just your life experience. That’s why none of it ever makes sense. The idea that other people have also lived a full life of positive/negative experiences can’t seem to enter that thick skull of yours. You’re full of assumptions, Joe. Full of ‘em. There are 3 million people here in CT. We’ve all lived and experienced everything you know and more, yet we come away with an entirely different perspective that you can’t seem to understand. You seem to think the sky is falling and you’re terrified of the government. That is a sad, misinformed way to live.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 11, 2014  2:51pm

Joe - I agree that the delay in putting the employer mandate into effect is worrisome, but the essential program of getting people insured and therefore giving them access to healthcare is working fine.  It’s a huge program and will take years before everything runs as smoothly as social security and medicare, but it will happen.

As to Republican “fixes”, I must admit that I haven’t seen any—zero—credible attempt on the part of the GOP to propose changes to improve the law. 

Instead we’ve had:

** 40-plus votes for repeal in the House

** a Presidential candidate whose primary theme was “ending” Obamacare (he lost)

** Republican State Attorney Generals fight the law to the Supreme Court (and lose).

** Republican Governors and state legislatures refuse Medicaid expansion (their poor people lose, along with their hospitals who now will shoulder more cost for emergency room services)

** other Republican-run states declining to set up state-run exchanges (partially causing the problems with the federal site as it was never designed to run the entire country)

** and finally, states passing laws making it more difficult to sign people up for the federal exchange.

All in all, a most incredible record of resistance, at every level, to giving healthcare to poor people.  Republicans will some day look back at this episode with great shame, much like Democrats in the South who opposed civil rights for so long.

And this, along with their equally stupid position on immigration, could easily condemn the party to permanent minority status for the next generation.

I’m not, by the way, saying the Democratic party is great or without blame, but compared to Republicans they shine when it comes to helping people in need.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 11, 2014  4:22pm

Long John you said: “And this, along with their equally stupid position on immigration, could easily condemn the party to permanent minority status for the next
generation.

I’m not, by the way, saying the Democratic party is great or without blame,but compared to Republicans they shine when it comes to helping people in need.”

I always get a kick out of it when Dems tell Republicans what mistakes they’re making like they really want them to correct them so they get into power. I think its more that they want someone else to drag down to the depths when things go bad so they dont take the blame themselves.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 11, 2014  4:27pm

Gutbomb if I knew a little bit more about what you experienced that made you think the way you do, maybe there is common ground and I might listen more to your side.

Nahh who am I kidding?

Seriously, I would like to know your background because without it you come across as a pompous liberal who thinks they know it all but never really had to deal in the harsh real world. I could be totally wrong and if you tell me stories that would make that wrong I’m man enough to admit it. I’m serious on that.

I know I come across at times as harsh and very black and white, but you come across with values that are really foreign to what made this country great. Maybe you had a rough road and this is your way of reconciling it, but again I dont get that feeling.

posted by: JamesBronsdon | March 11, 2014  4:51pm

Perestroika?  Glastnost?  An olive branch? I sense a virtual hug is coming.

posted by: StanMuzyk | March 11, 2014  4:59pm

LongJohn:  Why do you continue to play the race card in your very frequent commentary?  No one else but you is appearing to be fueling racial tensions that do not really exist.  Life is short.  Please give everyone a break.  Peace be with you.  Also since you are not listed in the phone book—no one cares who you will vote for, and you will not influence anyone on who they will vote for—especially when you berate them. Amen.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 13, 2014  7:45am

Stan—“race card”????