OP-ED | Leaving On A Sour Note
If I were outgoing state GOP Chairman Chris Healy and my state had been a glaring outlier in the Red Tide of voter discontent in 2010, I would have spent my remaining days in office engaging in introspection as to the cause, and working with my State Central colleagues to ensure a smooth transition for the next chairman so things go better in 2012.
Instead, he chose to spend his time filing a complaint against the Connecticut Working Families Party, claiming, “The Working Families Party has been long known to be a hollow organization which merely exists to prop up Democrats by funneling money to liberal candidates.”
Well, actually no, Chris, it is not. Like thousands of other Connecticut residents, in 2010 I voted on the Working Families Party line because WFP spoke to the issues I care about most, and I wanted the candidates who won to know that. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy owes his victory to the 26,000 votes he received on the Working Families Party line. Without voters like me, Malloy would have been the also-ran in a resounding Foley victory.
In 2010, the Working Families Party endorsed 93 candidates in the state — mostly Democrats, although there was the occasional Republican and independent. But that’s not because WFP is a “hollow organization to prop up Democrats.” It’s because the candidates they endorsed were responsive to the issues important to CT voters like me, who aren’t confident that the leaderships of the two traditional parties will remain committed to those issues once voted into office — or in the case of the GOP, even commit to them in the first place. Take healthcare for example, which as a self-employed small businesswoman facing costs rising far above the rate of inflation while I have to fight my insurer for the services I pay for, not to mention the ever-present threat of rescission, was my number one issue in the last election.
Whereas the CT Working Families Party has been an active advocate on this critical issue, the CT GOP persists in the belief that the free market is the right solution for healthcare, and what’s more has been fighting vehemently against the legislation that would provide vital protection for my family against rescission, taking donations from the very insurers that perpetrate the problems that have caused my family expense and stress. Yet Chris Healy has the chutzpah to call them a hollow organization?
“The whole thing seems poorly researched. We were very careful and we sought the advice of the CT State Elections Enforcement Commission and followed the law and the advice,” said CT Working Families Party Executive Director Jon Green of Healy’s complaint. “This seems like a bizarre sour grapes move.”
In November 2010, 73 WFP candidates won their races, including four, such as Governor Malloy — who would have lost their race without the votes cast on the Working Families line. And while nationwide, Republicans toppled Democrats in a surge of anti-incumbent discontent, the red tide barely lapped at CT’s shores.
What should this have told Chris Healy? That his party was out of touch, and the sounds that bite in Arizona or Iowa don’t necessarily resonate with voters in Hartford or Bridgeport.
But instead of doing something constructive, like trying to figure out how to make the GOP relevant, Healy spent his time on things like writing complaints against the Working Families Party, who clearly made every effort to do things by the book, or issuing factually incorrect press releases, like this one from Tuesday about the Supreme Court decision that struck down tax-payer financed matching grants in Arizona as unconstitutional, in which he declared “Had this law been struck down last year, it would have been unlikely that Gov. Dannel Malloy would have received an additional $3 million in tax dollars in his campaign against Republican Tom Foley of Greenwich, who raised campaign dollars privately.” Well, except that that provision had already been struck down by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals last July. The only reason Malloy received the additional money referred to by Healy in his release was that the state legislature voted for a fix, overriding a veto from then Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
Healy’s tenure as State CT GOP chair reminds me a quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Tea Party darling Jerry Labriola Jr. is an improvement.