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OP-ED | Morning Joe: Malloy’s National Messaging

by Terry Cowgill | Feb 9, 2012 10:34pm
(24) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Opinion

Since Gov. Malloy took office last January, the contrast in both form and substance between him and his predecessor has been breathtaking. And if you’re looking for a revealing disparity in ambition between Malloy and former Gov. M. Jodi Rell, look no further than the current governor’s appearances on cable television.

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Malloy has become a regular at the friendly confines of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, a breezy round-table discussion of political trends co-hosted by Mika Brzezinski, a former reporter and anchor at WFSB, the CBS affiliate in Hartford. Most small-state governors wouldn’t bother getting into a limo in the wee hours of the morning and driving three hours to 30 Rock just to weigh in on national issues.

But Malloy has done it more than once. He took to Morning Joe last July to stoke a nascent feud with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. And two months later on CNN, Malloy made news when he called GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul “an idiot” for suggesting the federal government shouldn’t play a role in providing relief to victims of natural disasters. And yet again on Monday, only two days before his second state-of-the-state speech, the array of far-flung topics was too much for Malloy to resist.

Ever since Malloy has sought to increase his national profile, there’s been speculation about whether he aspires to national office. That possibility gained currency when Malloy gave award-winning Connecticut journalist Ted Mann enough access to write an exhaustive — and largely favorable — series on the governor’s first year in office. Mann has since parlayed his opus into a gig at The Wall Street Journal. Will Malloy follow him onto the national stage?

Well, the evidence mounts: Malloy traveled to Afghanistan last year and, most recently, to the high-profile World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland — a trip that he managed to mention during his MSNBC appearance. The European excursion was ostensibly made in order to drum up business for the state from multi-national corporations, but the picturesque forum also allowed Malloy unique access to international media coverage.

Monday on Morning Joe, Malloy looked decidedly less impressive than he did last summer when he attacked Paul in the wake of a hurricane that devastated Connecticut. This week, Malloy looked sort of like Christie sometimes does — a partisan hack sent out by party superiors to go after its enemies and defend its most controversial policies.

On President Obama’s brazen move to require organizations run by the Catholic church to provide employee insurance coverage for artificial birth control, Malloy was unapologetic. He insisted it was “the right rule” and that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee would have a tough time criticizing it because “it’s [also] required by Romneycare.” Touché.

Ha also commented on the Chrysler Super Bowl commercial starring Clint Eastwood and extolling the rescue of the auto industry. Waxing poetic on the ad, which amounted to little more than a corporate-sponsored re-election spot for Obama, Malloy fell back on tired and discredited talking points that paint the Republicans as heartless barons who wanted to throw millions of people out of work:

“I like the ad. It reminds people that Obama saved the auto industry. 1.4 million people employed in the auto industry right here in the U.S. and the Republicans wanted it to go down.”

That last statement is ridiculous. It assumes that anyone who opposed the massive bailouts of the failing auto companies necessarily wanted them to liquidate and shut their doors. Republicans, including Mitt Romney, wanted GM and Chrysler to go through a managed bankruptcy rather than receive government largess.

Indeed, Malloy’s erroneous statement, repeated at every turn by Obama supporters, has been fact-checked by The Washington Post and was rated “Two Pinnochios.” Malloy should know better.

The governor also touted Connecticut’s somewhat improved economic condition, while acknowledging that there is “some weakness” in tax receipts — an apparent reference to the unanticipated budget deficit that no one on the show pressed him on. That’s too bad because Malloy has been touting his “shared sacrifice” approach as a contrast to other northeastern governors (e.g. Christie, Cuomo) who resisted tax increases to close yawning budget gaps. Now, after the largest tax increase in Connecticut history has failed to correct our fiscal imbalance, Malloy has, in the words of Ricky Ricardo, “some ‘splainin’ to do.”

So, do Malloy’s attempts to increase his national profile really presage a run for higher office? Hartford trial lawyer Norm Pattis thinks so. So does Patrick Scully, a Democratic political operative and communications specialist.

I’m inclined to agree. Although, like Scully, I think if the governor aspires to higher office, he should avoid sharing the stage with reprobates like Al Sharpton. I’m pretty sure that Malloy’s rival from New Jersey wouldn’t be caught dead sitting across the table from Tawana Brawley’s unlicensed legal advisor.

Terry Cowgill blogs at ctdevilsadvocate.com, is the editor of ctessentialpolitics.com and was an award-winning editor and senior writer for The Lakeville Journal Company.

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(24) Comments

posted by: ... | February 10, 2012  3:56pm

...

Well, lets give this line a bit of ‘Pinnochio test’ (no grade though, since its not worth it), with a bit of help from the WP.

Terry Cowgill - “That last statement is ridiculous. It assumes that anyone who opposed the massive bailouts of the failing auto companies necessarily wanted them to liquidate and shut their doors. Republicans, including Mitt Romney, wanted GM and Chrysler to go through a managed bankruptcy rather than receive government largess. Indeed, Malloy’s erroneous statement, repeated at every turn by Obama supporters, has been fact-checked by The Washington Post and was rated “Two Pinnochios.” Malloy should know better.”

Meanwhile, Romney’s own 2 (nearly 3) Pinnochio rating is within your own link that airs criticism of Obama’s words, stating that: “Romney is correct when he says he has been consistent on the question of bailouts for the auto industry, but he pushes the envelope when he suggests the Obama administration, after wasting billions, ultimately reached the same conclusion. By most accounts, Romney’s approach would not have been viable in the depths of the economic crisis. And certainly Romney’s prediction that a bailout would lead to the auto industry’s certain demise was wildly incorrect. On Chrysler and GM, Romney greatly oversimplified what happened to those companies as they emerged from bankruptcy and went back (largely) into private hands. That by itself might be a Three Pinocchio claim, but overall, Romney emerges with two.”

So by all means, Romney may not have wanted the auto industries to fail, but through is proposed policies, they would have ultimately. But the bottom line of your argument is Malloy should know this. I could go and say ‘shoulda woulda, coulda’, but it does great justice to read the date of the article: 2/3/12. Date of the interview: 2/6/12. I know we all hold the Gov. very high in his ability to know everything (sometimes teasing the press right back when they push random topics). But 3 days to review a WP fact as he went through several rewritings of his speech and preparing the legislative session seems to hardly fit with in the realm of ‘should know’. But then again, what answer were you expecting (or wanting) him to put forward about a superbowl commercial?

posted by: Terry D. Cowgill | February 11, 2012  8:41am

Terry D. Cowgill

Steven, so the best that can be said about Malloy is that Romney also committed Pinnochios? Not a terribly compelling defense. And Malloy didn’t confine his comment on the bailout to Romney. He tagged Republicans in general as people who “wanted it to go down.”

I do agree with you that a governor shouldn’t be expected to be an expert on all issues, but this should be a lesson learned for Malloy (and I say this as someone who has appeared frequently on radio and made his share of goofs): Don’t shoot your mouth off on an issue unless you are prepared to be accurate.

posted by: Councilman1 | February 11, 2012  11:33am

Here’s the part I like: “On President Obama’s brazen move to require organizations run by the Catholic church to provide employee insurance coverage for artificial birth control”

So brazen, it has been previously adopted by 28 states, and when challenged in court, upheld as being legal, AND, then complied with by the organizations that now seek to make it a cultural wedge issue. Even on the good-ole-Newsjunkie, we find true-believer talking points. This sort of thing harms your “analysis” of Malloy.

posted by: ... | February 11, 2012  4:17pm

...

I agree with the lesson you state Terry. I decided to (unwisely) omit it, but it sounds very similar to your own statement. Many, if not most elected officials will catch themselves saying something not fully accurate at least once. It acts as a marker for becoming a national figure and the gift of a today’s journalism machine that catches everything.

Context is important though, and my interpretation of ‘it’ was the bailout program. But you do strongly argue that ‘it’ could also be interpreted the entire industry, but rely solely on the assumption Malloy is just repeating Pres. Obama’s rhetoric. That is a very significant assumption without the input or clarification of the Governor.

Reuters has re-emphasized the fact that every Republican candidate was against the entire concept of the bailout package, opting for a private bankruptcy strategy that would have largely worked to cut costs (i.e., serious workforce reductions and pay cuts).

So now we return to Malloy’s line of 1.4 million jobs being saved. As mentioned, more jobs would have been lost under the Republican strategy when compared to the bailout. Does Gov. Malloy’s rhetoric perhaps oversimplify the issue? Yes, it does. But does the argument deserve this notion of absurdity? I would argue no, because the disputed Chrysler’s allusion to the bailout in their commercial was about sustaining the strongest and largest workforce possible. And by all accounts, the bailout did that.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | February 11, 2012  8:36pm

GoatBoyPHD

I don’t know if his support for gay marriage and trangender rights and outright union pandering with no layoffs and 43-year old lifetime pensioners will play to the Center in 2016.

How he reacts to Romney’s strangling of state funding and the SCOTUS over turn of the ObamaCare mandate will tell a lot.

I don’t think a Progressive will have a chance in 2016. Mallot is hard-nosed enough to come across OK on many issues important to Centrists.

posted by: Terry D. Cowgill | February 12, 2012  10:48am

Terry D. Cowgill

Haha, Councilman you make me blush. Obama’s move was so ill-advised that he did an about face and changed it.

If there was nothing wrong with Obama’s policy, then why did he alter it? Because he underestimated the extent to which even pro-choice Catholics and pundits like Chris Matthews and Mark Shields would object to it. To say nothing of prominent Dems such as Tim Kaine and Bob Casey. Exactly whose “talking points” were those four Dems reciting?

If you think using the word “brazen” harms my analysis of Malloy, then I can definitely live with it.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | February 12, 2012  11:34am

GoatBoyPHD

Are Obamas supporters capable of making the distinction between Condoms, Birth Control Pills, and Abortifacients?

When a Catholic hospital says it includes contraceptive birth control it is making a distinction between pre-conception methods (which require some forethought and preparation) and post fact, post-conception abortifacients.

Only one of the methods is effective against AIDS.

Why would a responsible health plan cover the least desirable alternative of all—abortifacients?

If Obama passed legislation to have all insurance companies offer free condoms this wouldn’t be an issue. Birth control pills would be dicier.

Abortifacients are out of the question.

Abortifacients are the real goal—setting a precedent of demanding abortion coverage based on White House directive and whims and fancy and setting up the slippery slope of dictating religious edicts under the guise of public health.

You can’t sell me that free abortifacients are health care policy or a good public policy in the age of AIDS.

The UCC-affiliated Obama and RCC Bishops are at odds on this in a polite religious war. Polite in that they aren’t calling it one.

posted by: Reasonable | February 12, 2012  1:44pm

Let’s not forget that Pres. Obama’s socialist involvement—gave the unions virtual control of a large segment of the U.S. auto industry.

posted by: Mansfield1 | February 13, 2012  12:23pm

Terry, Come on.  the Republicans wanted bankruptcy so they could break the UAW, shift work overseas and make the auto industry profitable for investors not workers.  People cry about the 1.8 billion that Chrysler may not pay back but never made a peep when Bush was pouring 5 billion a month into the sand in Iraq.  And I do think that if GM and Chrysler had gone down the response of R’s would have been “well that’s just creative destruction.” And as Steven points out Romney’s guess that a bailout would fail was only 180 degress off.

And as to the healthcare decision the real question is “why would a woman want to put a priest or fundamentalist preacher in charge of her uterus?”  Lot’s of us have both read history and have had history with the RC Church.  Their track record on treating women well isn’t great. Remember the “Maleficarum” or the “witches hammer,” that chruch treatise on the unholiness of women?  The slippery slope is allowing religion so much influence in public policy.

And by the way “reasonable” the virtual control of the unions of the auto industry you suggest resulted in large pay and benefit cuts to all the labor contracts. Do you believe that a country without a viable middle class will retain democracy long?  Greece is on fire.

posted by: Terry D. Cowgill | February 13, 2012  2:19pm

Terry D. Cowgill

Mansfield, sure the Republicans wanted to break the UAW. Truth be told, so would GM and Chrysler. But immediately you leap to the conclusion that they also want to ship all the auto jobs overseas.

Cars can be made profitably in the US if you don’t have the high legacy costs of the Big 3. Just ask Toyota, Subaru and Honda, all of whom have US manufacturing facilities. The hourly rate for workers isn’t a whole lot lower than the Big 3 but the Japanese makers aren’t saddled with defined benefit pensions and lifetime healthcare for retired workers.

And plenty of corporations have gone into managed bankruptcy and emerged stronger. It’s a way of reducing labor costs. You might not like that, but sometimes it has to be done.

Also, while it might suit your purposes, don’t try to lump me in with the Republicans because I’m not one of them.

posted by: Reasonable | February 13, 2012  3:29pm

Mansfield1:  If you think that Pres. Obama is doing a great job by controlling unions, that are the root of our national business decline, perhaps you should start drinking a milder herbal tea?

Union control, which has sent our U.S. jobs out of our country, has crippled our manufacturing base, and a big factor in our present demise of the middle class.  The loss of these jobs, is resulting in real estate foreclosures—where the middle class are losing their homes, causing divorce, and the breakup of our American dream. 

Yet, as a Democrat, you must keep blaming Bush.  I HOPE THAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETER, MANNY!

posted by: Mansfield1 | February 14, 2012  9:52am

Reasonable, 8% of the private sector is covered by a union contract so that means they have extraordianry power, power sufficient to bring down an enormous economy?  Did Unions create the toxic financial products that are now all absolutely worthless?  Or was it BofA, Goldman, Bear Stearns and the rest of the bright lights on Wall Street.  I get it that you hate unions but You’d beter keep an eye on your banker. 

Tery, I didn’t think I’d lumped y0ou with the R’s.  If so not my intent.  Although I would suggest that the endlss drive to lower wages for the 85% of Americans brings us to Wal-Mart.  Do you think the society survives if too many people make les than $10 an hour.  Median income in this country is what, $27,000?

posted by: Terry D. Cowgill | February 14, 2012  12:26pm

Terry D. Cowgill

Mansfield, I think we’ll find ourselves largely in agreement that stagnant or regressive wages for American workers is a big problem.

Much of the problems stems from our conversion from a manufacturing economy to service-based economy.

I’m not sure what to do about the off-shoring of jobs to cheap-labor countries. We can tax companies that do it, but I don’t think it would have much effect when you consider the labor costs: US ($20/hr); Mexico ($2); China (50 cents).

As I stated earlier, the high labor costs probably wouldn’t be a barrier alone. But the legacy costs do make us less competitive. And I think unions need to realize that when they take the short view and successfully bargain for gold-plated benefits, they ultimately run the risk of pricing themselves out of the market. That is not an anti-union observation (my wife is a union member) but what I honestly believe to be the truth.

I guess the question is: how do we tackle this problem? A $20/hr minimum wage? High taxes on the wealthy, which would then go into a fund to subsidize the wages of the manufacturing workers that remain? Or maybe if we had a single-payer healthcare system, then companies would be more inclined to open factories or stay in them because benefits would eat up less of their payrolls?

I’m not sure there is much of anything we can do. The train has left the station.

posted by: ctanony | February 14, 2012  5:10pm

I actually found Malloy to come across quite impressively in this interview.  Wanting to argue that a bankruptcy would have been a better alternative for the auto industry is a hard place to argue from given the success of the bailout. 

Malloy praises Obama, Eastwood, and Reagan, and you call him a partisan hack?  I think the term would apply better to a person writing misleading political characterizations about an elected official on local news blog.

posted by: Mansfield1 | February 14, 2012  5:16pm

Terry, I like the idea of providing healthcare since Europe does it as well as Canada and so it’s not an issue with business development.  Although we need to get people on a model that makes them responsible to go to the Dr. and deal with whatever their health issues require.

No question on the pricing, it’s a torpedo headed for Higher Ed, where I work and can’t be sustained since the prospects for students on the other side are dicey.

I’m watching the caboose leave the station too!  We have to find an answer though. Best.

posted by: Reasonable | February 14, 2012  5:41pm

Mansfield1:  Pointing the finger at bankers, who now appear to be focused in the right direction, is no way to to suggest that unions are blameless.  you brand me as a “union-hater” incorrectly, just because of the fact that unions, I feel, are responsible for their share of the economic decline of our country.  And, don’t kid yourself Manny, 8% of the people can easily influence to result of a national election.

posted by: Mansfield1 | February 15, 2012  12:01pm

Reasonable, so if Unions didn’t exist then the good paying middle class jobs wouod have not existed?  And they lead our decline by helping create a prosperous middle class?  Wal-Mart type employment models will do what for the country?

posted by: Reasonable | February 15, 2012  1:38pm

Mansfield1:  Middle class jobs have been lost BECAUSE unions have forced manufacturers to go other countries to stay competitive, leaving us with Wallmart jobs, that sell 70% Chinese merchandise.
Unions are at the root of this evil!

posted by: gutbomb86 | February 15, 2012  4:44pm

gutbomb86

Lots of misconceptions abound in some of the comments above. Is it really about unions or is it about technology?

Hint: It’s not about unions and the majority of products that Americans buy do not come from China, according to AOL DailyFinance, which post a story this week titled 3 Economic Misconceptions That Need To Die.

Read it and weep. America manufactures more stuff than it ever did before, but simply employs a lot fewer people to do so. Machines are doing the work now, and believe this - it wouldn’t have mattered one bit whether the labor was union or non-union because greed knows no boundaries.

posted by: ... | February 15, 2012  7:22pm

...

Terry, I want to apologize for completely destroying your argument about Malloy’s national aims by sparking the debates about the auto industry bailouts.

posted by: Terry D. Cowgill | February 16, 2012  6:09am

Terry D. Cowgill

Hey, that’s OK Jonesey. It’s been a fun and interesting debate anyway.

posted by: Reasonable | February 16, 2012  10:56am

Terry Cowgill:
It is almost amusing that we have such “infighting” between pro-Democrat and pro-Republican supporting writers—when Congressional representatives of both parties, together, just buried this country into $100 billion dollars of debt, without the necessary budget cuts, and taxes, to offset it.  WHY?  Because members of both parties have sold out our country, in their interest only, of being reelected to office. 

It’s time to scratch off, voting for Democrats and Republicans, Terry, as both parties, continue to sell our country, down the river.

However, Tea Party candidates, have not buried us, and offer us the only reasonable voting choice, to save our national bankruptcy-driven direction, given to us by our Dem-GOP, “good-old-boys club.”

People should not have to be smarter than fifth graders, to vote for Tea Party candidates.

posted by: Mansfield1 | February 17, 2012  3:40pm

Reason, sorry but the enduring Tea Party image is the elderly woman at a TP rally holding up the sign “Get your government hands of my Medicare.”  TP’rs are just looking for a cliff to drive off.

posted by: Reasonable | February 18, 2012  11:27am

Mansfield1:  Nice try, but it was Democrats and Republicans, not the Tea Party, who JUST DROVE US ALL—OFF THE CLIFF—with a $100. billion dollar budget deficit.

If you plan to vote Democratic or Republican, why even bother to vote. Your elderly woman pun, is a poor attack against the Tea Party—while the Dems and GOP are burying this country to oblivion.

Pres. Obama forced the Republicans to vote like Democrats, as the GOP was afraid they would lose at the polls on Election Day, unless they voted along with Obama lunacy, which has and is burying this country—and a very intelligent Terry Cowgill—is well aware of this devisive strategy.