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Blumenthal And The Advantage Of Incumbency

September 28, 2022
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Dick Blumenthal is the most “appeared” candidate for office in Connecticut history. He himself has joked that he has been “known to appear at garage door openings,” one of the infrequent jokes he’s told during his three decades in office, first as a consumer protection Attorney General and now as consumer protection U.S. Senator.

Facing the public is an important part of politics. Over the course of years, Blumenthal’s public face has been obligingly presented by a soft-core media determined not to play the devil’s advocate with him.

Part of the Blumenthal-Media-Complex is business related. Blumenthal gives the nation’s left of center media what it wants, progressive hard copy, and the media throws at his feet fresh bouquets of unfiltered copy Blumenthal has pre-assorted for them. His media releases are richly detailed and bursting with self-praise. The Blumenthal media has only to paste these direct and indirect encomiums in their pages and adopt a non- threatening posture to insure that its non-combative, thirty year, amicable relationship remains unimpaired . Blumenthal tends to shut down disagreeable reporters -- i.e. pretty much anyone who persists in asking him hard questions.

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Some few reporters who properly resent political manipulation will have noticed that Blumenthal has tended in the past to make himself scarce when he meets a reportorial opposition that is not easily intimidated. On these occasions, Blumenthal vanishes. And on rare occasions when reporters throw a hardball question his way, he adroitly dodges the question.

Artful dodging is a staple of the practiced incumbent politician.

Facing a non-critical media and the kinds of poll numbers that would make a stone smile, Governor Ned Lamont already has foreshortened gubernatorial debates with Republican opponent Bob Stefanowski. The Governor has announced he is pleased to allow no more than two debates. One of the debates will present three debaters, Lamont, Stefanowski and Connecticut Independent candidate Rob Hotaling .

As in times past, the debaters will field questions from the media. Unlike the Lincoln-Douglas debates , in which the political contestants shaped their own question and debate format, a patient media allowing the debaters enough time to ventilate fully their positions on issues of the day, the postmodern “debate” resembles nothing so much as the usual media availability. During the upcoming 2022 gubernatorial debates, both Stefanowski and Lamont will be encouraged to answer questions framed by Connecticut’s non-contrarian, presumptively objective, left of center media.

And since the second debate will feature three rather than two contestants, it may be said, with due apologies to third party candidates, that the second of the two debates Lamont has graceously permitted will be reduced, time wise, by a third, an undoubted benefit for Lamont who, as an incumbent, already has enjoyed the kind of media good-news bonanza showered on Blumenthal.

Few will disagree that Lamont’s media stage during his three years as Governor has been extraordinarily friendly and infinitely larger than Stefanowski’s. Blumenthal’s media stage over a period of three decades dwarfs that of any other politician in state history. The man’s media immodesty knows no bounds.

In the absence of a critical contrarian media, incumbents, allied with an obliging media, pre-shape debate narratives. This should surprise only politicians who show, for political purposes, astonishment at demonstrable truths.

“Where’s the proof?” someone will be certain to ask.

The proof is in the reportorial pudding, and what is not in the pudding – reports in Connecticut’s media, for instance, on Special Counsel John Durham’s recent pretrial motion – is every bit as important as the usual pudding’s usual ingredients.

Durham’s most recent pretrial motion in limine shows that the same FBI that raided ex-president Donald Trump’s plush estate in Florida had, according to a commentary published in September 21 issue of the Epoch Times – “FBI Put key Dossier Source on Payroll in Apparent Effort to Conceal Dossier Fabrications” – draped a cloak of invisibility, Confidential Human Source (CHS) status, around Igor Danchenko, in order, as the column put it, to “conceal FBI malfeasance from Congress, from the FISA court, and from the public.”

Danchenko is the primary source for the notoriously fraudulent Steele dossier – actually, an opposition research document purportedly showing that Trump had colluded with an unnamed Russian communist agent to deny presidential nominee Hillary Clinton her rightful place as the nation’s first female president.

The most recent Durham filing shows that Danchenko had been awarded CHS status by the FBI in March 2017 – after Danchenko “had disowned the Steele dossier in a January 2017 FBI interview.”

Is this a story, or is this a story?

Durham was, before he retired, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut from 2018-2021. His record as a corruption prosecutor – Google it -- is unimpeachable.

So, crank up Connecticut’s presses, and ask Blumenthal to comment on Durham’s recent explosive filing. If he dashes off, catch him around the bend and wait for an answer.

Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.

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