OP-ED | What’s The GOP Smoking?
There was an interesting - some might say fitting - juxtaposition of headlines at CTNewsJunkie when I started to write this. In the right hand column, “Blooming Dead: Corpse Flower expected to Blossom This Week” and on the left a link to the Courant’s story, “Adulterous Past Taints GOP Chairman Candidate”.
Given the pretty dismal record of the Connecticut GOP under retiring Chairman Chris Healy, one would think that the party would be looking to give it their best shot now they’ve got the opportunity to find a fresh face. Instead, for reasons it’s hard to fathom, they came up with William “Wild Bill” Aniskovich as the frontrunner.
Leaving aside his adulterous past, which as long as it didn’t involve underage interns is between him, his wife, and his Lord, the stench of his dubious connections with the corrupt ex-governor John Rowland, and the disturbing allegations of at-risk teenagers being “assaulted with needles” while in the care of the Stonington Institute, of which Aniskovich is Managing Director and CEO, made Ansikovich a strange choice. I mean, he’s hardly the kind of figurehead I’d choose for the party that appears to be trying to be building a platform around government waste and accusing the current Governor of making cozy deals. Okay, he’s got the hurting the disadvantaged part of the GOP vision down pat, but . . . still. Seriously, guys. What the heck were you smoking? Remember, SB 1014 doesn’t take effect till July 1.
Whatever it was, it wore off quickly, perhaps hastened by Kevin Rennie’s cold splash of water in the Courant. By Thursday afternoon, Aniskovich did a “Weiner,” and stepped down for the good of the Party.
Clearly there’s infighting within the Republicans about the direction of the party, and they probably don’t need the advice of a “terrorist-loving socialist communist America-hating liberal.” (Trying to think if I’ve left anything out.) But this TLSCAHL was, until 1999, a registered Republican, and doesn’t just read the GOP leaning spin that Quinnipiac University Poll director Doug Schwartz seems to relish putting on his news releases, but rather looks at the results in the cross tabs. These tell me that Republicans might be deriving a little too much of a sense of security from that latest poll on Malloy’s approval ratings, and this might be something to consider when Republicans think about what kind of leader they want to elect, as well as their platform.
Let’s dig into the numbers a little shall we? But first, how Schwartz spins them: “Many voters say they are dissatisfied and some even say they are angry. They think the budget relies too much on tax increases and not enough on spending cuts.”
Right. Well, the first thing that I found glaring in item 17 in the cross tabs is that only 28 percent of the people surveyed actually knew “a lot” about the state budget. The majority, 67 percent, knew “some” or “not much”. It does make one wonder how angry and up in arms people really are when they aren’t actually even worked up enough to learn about what’s happening.
And here’s a great example of how out of touch people can get if they allow themselves to just read Schwartz’s spin without looking at the numbers. In an end of session news release, Chris Healy railed against paid sick leave, among other things passed in the 2011 legislative session. “Democrats…passed every destructive piece of legislation without a GOP vote… And now, they own every page of it.”
Well, thanks for pointing out that only one Republican voted for Paid Sick Days, Chris — because it’s really popular with voters! You’re doing Nancy DiNardo’s job for her.
According to the Q-Poll, 72 percent of voters overall supported the measure, including 50 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Independents — a group of voters the GOP must be able to connect with if it is to ever become a relevant force in Connecticut.
Another interesting part of the Q-poll? Across the board, there was support for more spending cuts. Also across the board – support for higher taxes for the wealthy, including 49 percent of Republicans. Which tells me that despite what Healey says about voters not buying “shared sacrifice,” they are buying it. But as with most people who are forced to make sacrifices, they don’t like it very much.
Sarah Darer Littman is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers and an award-winning novelist of books for teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.