Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Democratic Contenders Just Say “No”

Democratic Party gubernatorial hopeful Ned Lamont has refused a public debate in New London with primary challenger Dan Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford.

Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate Richard Blumenthal is in deep cover and shows no sign, any time soon, that he may pop out of his hidey hole to confront Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate Linda McMahon and Peter Schiff, a Republican primary opponent. In addition, Blumenthal’s senatorial campaign site is light on many pertinent campaign issues.

For instance: In a major decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that the second amendment pertains to individuals rather than state militias. Does Blumenthal agree with that decision?

Some economists hold that the roll played by the Federal Reserve in boosting or lowering interest rates has distorted the market system and sent confusing signals to major lenders and investors. According to views propounded by economists who cleave to the Austrian school of economics, these distortion have created temporary booms and busts in the market place, producing “malinvestments,” the fundamental cause of our boom-bust cycles. Does Blumenthal agree with this view? Would Blumenthal agree to a debate on economic issues with his two Republican opponents prior to a primary vote, so that his economic views can be properly ventilated in advance of the primaries?

President Barack Obama has just cashiered General Stanley McKristol for incautious remarks made by the general and his staff in a left leaning publication, appointing General David Petraeus to fill the leadership void in Afghanistan. There has been great deal of resistance all along in Democratic Party ranks to both the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan. When Obama agreed to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, he was sharply criticized by the peace wing of the Democratic Party. Some in the Republican Party believe that current troop levels are too low to sustain in Afghanistan the strategy adopted by Petraeus and employed successfully in Iraq. What is Blumenthal’s view on the matter of troop levels and announcements of time-lines for the withdrawal of troops in both theaters?

A rational discussion of such issues would more easily allow Connecticut voters to choose who may best represent the interests of the people of United States on these matters in the U.S. Senate. But in order to have a proper discussion, Blumenthal would have to make himself available for questioning in venues familiar to him as attorney general, where he faced the media and responded to important questions . Even now, as attorney general, Blumenthal permits himself to respond to issues affecting that office through his subalterns. He has not done the same as a prospective U.S. senator. If references to his activity as attorney general are boiled out of Blumenthal’s official senatorial campaign site, the remaining pap makes a very thin soup. And at this point in his campaign, even newspapers that have been exceedingly obliging to Attorney General Blumenthal are beginning to murmur darkly about Blumenthal’s motives in secreting himself from those who might be expected to vote for him as U.S. senator.

In the meantime, Lamont, taking a page from Blumenthal’s book, has refused an invitation by the New London Day to debate Dan Malloy on issues important to Connecticut, prompting Malloy to issue the following statement:

"The Day said today that they are disappointed in Ned's decision. I think it's worse than that. This debate is a tradition. It's a chance for voters to see and hear each candidate only days before heading to the polls. It's when primary voters are most tuned in and most ready to hear from candidates about their values, their experience, and their vision. And Ned Lamont is denying them that chance. What a shame.

"If this is an indication that Ned is going to refuse to meet me in any televised debate between now and the primary, I think it's an unprecedented situation. No statewide debate in the closing weeks of a campaign this important? What a shame."
Lamont has said he’d rather campaign against Malloy than debate him. No one need wonder why. Like Blumenthal, Lamont is far ahead in the polls over his challenger. When the hare is so far in advance of the tortoise in the race, he cannot be expected to pause for debates, and this is the great failing of primaries. For primaries to work properly, an honest confrontation on important views is a necessity. By avoiding the necessity, the incumbent or the leader in a primary frustrates, knowingly and purposely, the whole point of a primary, a craven acknowledgement that debates are far less important than political status.


  1. love those Fed rolls

  2. Too smart by half. No guts, no glory.

  3. There is no significant difference on any of the issues between Lamont and Malloy - so a debate is pointless.

  4. >>no significant difference on any of the issues between Lamont and Malloy

    We don't know that. A one on one debate would help clarify their positions.

  5. I do know that - I've read their position papers and followed previous debates closely.

  6. Jonathan - I hate to disagree with you but there are some differences between Lamont and Malloy. One example is the paid sick leave proposal that Malloy favors and Lamont does not. I agree that both are main line Dems with Malloy a bit to the right and Lamont a bit to the left. The biggest difference is in how they would carry out their tasks as governor. IT is more that stands on policy, it is also the ability to maneuver the levers of power to get the job done. Malloy has a better understanding of the manipulation of those levers and working with a legislature and an entrenched bureaucrcy than Lamont. That difference would come out in a debate. I understand why Lamont does not want to have a one on one with Malloy. He is ahead in the polls based on the name recognition he gained in the 2006 Senate race that sucked all of the oxygen out of the 2006 governor's race so Malloy did not get the same name recognition. If all of the DEM voters were able to compare Malloy and Lamont side by side, Malloy would come out on top. Lamont wants to prevent that from happening. That is understandable if disappointing. It appears that the race will be decided by thirty second commercials instead. That is a loss for the Connecticut Democratic voter.

  7. I don't think the differences are as sharp as all that, even on sick leave - Ned has indicated he would sign a CT sick leave bill but he prefers a national approach. In any event, that's hardly a major state issue.

    I disagree with you on which would be more effective - someone with "a better understanding of the manipulation of those levers and working with a legislature and an entrenched bureaucracy" or someone who doesn't give a damn about the way things have always been done and is willing to go out on a limb - the current fiscal situation in CT requires someone other than a consensus builder in my humble opinion - (which hasn't helped Obama much, has it?)

  8. You would think Lamont would be a little more civic minded, his ducking the debate speaks to his character. I guess he's counting on the hard left combined with the uninformed to get him to 51%. It may work, time will tell...