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OP-ED | What’s The GOP Smoking?

by | Jun 17, 2011 1:08pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Opinion

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.

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(2) Archived Comments

posted by: Lawrence | June 19, 2011  9:28am

Sarah—excellent column. You and Terry Cowgill helped make my Sunday morning that much better. 

I will point out that one Republican—Senator John Kissel of Enfield—did vote for paid sick days, so let’s give him credit for representing the wishes of most CT residents and doing the right thing.

It’s good of you to note the GOP support for higher taxes on wealthier CT residents, something their own elected party leaders claimed would lead to a mass exodus of millionaires from CT.

That’s a theory that not even the conservative Wall Street Journal believes; a columnist there noted some months ago that the decision-makers in relocation are generally the wives/mothers, who generally decide that maintaining their social connections and the kids schooling and social connections in CT are worth the price of paying an extra $7,500 or whatever in income taxes instead of moving to the cultural hell-on-earth that is Florida or Texas or what have you.

Finally, another fine example from the Q-poll about how far out of touch Republicans are with the CT populace and their own party members is the marijuana decriminalization bill. It garnered a total of 11 GOP votes (all in the House—give them credit) while earning the support of 66% of state residents and 49% of Republicans statewide.

Unfortunately,CT GOP leaders tried to portray these bills as Democrats being ‘soft on crime’ and ‘anti-business’ and engaging in ‘class warfare.’

But the people of CT do not believe it, and neither do half their own party members.

So, yet again, the CT GOP puts political rhetoric and the desire for November 2012 campaign mailer material above solid public policy making.

And they wonder why they are in a continual politicial minority in CT.


posted by: GoatBoyPHD | June 19, 2011  4:25pm


We lack moderate GOP members who accept CT’s general left leanng economic drift but challenge the old school Democrats on the method of accomplishing their so- called agenda.

To be fair the agenda has become so union laden I’m not sure the two can be separated anymore.

The more inefficient a programs is and the worse it fulfills its progrmatic social goals, it gets full Democratic Party support *IF* it is pork filled with union SEBAC labor.

Renaming the Democrats the SEBAC Inefficency Party would be much more honest in CT. Then young Democrats wouldn’t get confused over the real mission of the Democratic Party in CT.

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