CT News Junkie | OP-ED | Rowland, Malloy Cause Buyers’ Remorse

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OP-ED | Rowland, Malloy Cause Buyers’ Remorse

by | Jul 14, 2011 8:08pm
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Posted to: Opinion

Last week, as I cleaned up a puddle of coffee spilled in shock upon learning that former Gov. John. G. Rowland had called Gov. Dannel P. Malloy a “pathological liar,” several thoughts ran through my mind.

First, “Pot, meet kettle” rolled trippingly off the tongue. As a convicted felon who lied about his own corruption, Rowland would have been wise to keep quiet about Malloy’s alleged dishonesty. Nothing could be more obvious than that. When you’ve spent a year in jail and insist you’ve emerged a changed man who has found God (see video below), it takes a mountain of testicular fortitude to blast a new governor who has never been charged with wrongdoing.

Second, as someone whose work includes public relations, I knew that even the shameless Rowland would feel compelled to make amends. Rowland eventually issued a mea culpa but in the most cowardly fashion imaginable. The day after the news broke on July 6, he declined to show up for his afternoon radio gig at WTIC. Instead he sent his co-host, Meriden pastor Will Marotti, out to inform his audience that the former governor had apologized to Malloy. No statement issued, no radio appearance that same day to show some humility and remorse. Just a second-hand apology and a craven retreat behind a man of God. Same old Johnny.

My criticism of Rowland is especially painful. I voted for the man—twice, if I recall correctly. I foolishly ignored the dire warnings of former state comptroller Bill Curry, who all but predicted in his run against Rowland in 2002 that, if re-elected, the governor would be brought down by presumed corruption — whether it be the Bantam Lake cottage, the illegal $220 million loan from the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority to Enron, the sale of his Washington, D.C., condo at an inflated price or taking bribes in exchange for state contracts. Turns out the trifling cottage is what sent Rowland to the clink, but it was probably just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

As an aside, Rowland’s were not the only votes I’ve regretted since moving to Connecticut in 1984. In 2000, I was still an admirer of the centrist Sen. Joe Lieberman when he was tapped to become Al Gore’s running mate on the Democratic ticket. But Lieberman’s selfish insistence on running simultaneously for re-election to the Senate drove me into the arms his Republican opponent, then-Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano, who was later convicted of performing cruel sexual acts on little girls right in the mayor’s office.

But I digress. One of the most remarkable outcomes of the Rowland-Malloy kerfuffle is the level of agreement among Rowland and his apologists on the one hand, and die-hard labor union supporters on the other.

Jonathan Pelto, the former state legislator, public relations consultant and left-wing gadfly, has been hammering Malloy daily on his snarky but informative blog, Wait, What? In a classic illustration of the old maxim about politics making strange bedfellows, Pelto defended Rowland against criticism that the former governor’s negotiated 20-year labor agreement was the root cause of the current impasse with state employees — though, to his credit, Pelto wasn’t quite sure whether Malloy is a sociopath. Indeed, he offered a Clintonian hedge.

“Now I’m not saying that Rowland is right that Malloy is a pathological liar (I guess it depends on one’s definition of pathological). And I certainly never imagined I’d make an effort to defend John G. Rowland on anything — but that said — here goes.”

Now, just as I felt terrible after voting for Rowland in ‘98 and ‘02, so too does Pelto want to take back his vote for Malloy in 2010.

I’d say if you’re a new Connecticut governor and you succeed in pissing off Rowland, the libertarian Yankee Institute, SEBAC and strong progressives like Pelto, then you must be doing something right — buyer’s remorse or not.

Terry Cowgill blogs at terrycowgill.blogspot.com and was an award-winning editor and senior writer for The Lakeville Journal Company. He is host of Conversations with Terry Cowgill, an hour-long monthly interview program on CATV6 on Comcast’s northwest Connecticut system.

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(4) Archived Comments

posted by: Disgruntled | July 17, 2011  8:59am

I moved to this backwater of a state a few years before you did and immediately smelled the rot.While NYC(and other places I have lived) is corrupt they almost seem to self police by the self interest of the many various groups who want a piece of the pie.
Not so in Connecticut.
The state wants to play DivisionOne when they are DivisonThree at best.Their two votes in the senate give Nutmeggers a false sense of importance when it comes to politics on a national level and it also seems to infect just about everything in the state.
An example might be,without Yale and Frank Pepe’s,New Haven would be very much like an open ThirdWorld wound subsisting on handouts.
The fact that John Rowland mananged to dodge serious charges and spend serious time in lockup is proof that something is seriously wrong with this state. Joe Ganim is passing out money to pave the way for his next campaign! Giordano is suing for vacation pay and will one day be welcomed back to Waterbury. And the town I live in is as corrupt as the day is long,making RhodeIsland look good in comparison!
Dan is just more of the same.Slightly smarter.More slippery. A slightly different tack but generally maintaining the same course. And that is want Connecticut seem to want.More of the same.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | July 17, 2011  10:03am

GoatBoyPHD

Curry’s problem: he never learned to speak to the fence sitters. Speaking to the dingleberries isn’t what wins elections. They are already ‘in the bag’ so to speak.

Or to restate a well worn phrase: Hold your dingleberries close but hold your moderates closer.

It’s why I think Romney/Cain has a legit shot in 2012. They get it. The Palins, Bachmanns and Obamas don’t.

What noone in the CT press notes is the favorable aspects of the Enron deal when it was negotiated. Presumably every Democrat in CT is now a mult-millionaire as they sold naked Enron calls over and over as the stock plunged. These same brilliant Democrats were in a position to short the mortgage derivatives market in 2008 and outperformed the Fabulous Fab. Hindisght is such a gift!

The ENRON deal actually made sense when it was cut. It’s what makes “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” a good read and good documentary. The title doesn’t work as well when distilled to “Rowland is a Corrupt Coward” which comes off as sourgrapes and another ‘authored by dingleberry’ work that failed to make the NYT best sellers list by a mile.

posted by: hawkeye | July 17, 2011  3:58pm

Disgruntled:  It’s time to forgive the bad political actors that have damaged the State of Connecticut—and slready start forgiving Gov. Dannel P. Malloy—who currently holds the lead actor’s role—and already needs forgiveness!

posted by: victim's revenge | July 19, 2011  10:37pm

victim's revenge

Terry, You seem to have it in for our ex-governor. In that video I thought Governor Rowland gave us an honest assessment of where he went wrong, as he explained how he became arrogant, as many politicians do. My own view on Gov. Rowland’s behavior has always been that he should have seen it coming, because of the political climate in our state. You could see that the Democrats put a bounty on his head, just by what was going on in the local media(they wanted him out of there). In all fairness to Gov. Rowland, Gov. Malloy has slammed him and his administration on several occasions. The apology that was given may have been something he was forced to do, so he did it in a way that would show that he had to comply, and that he’s not really sorry. I can sure understand that!