If you lop off California and New England, you’ve got a pretty damn good country – Barry Goldwater.
Governor Ned Lamont, a small businessman before he became chief executive of a state now suffering an acute identity crisis, has made it plain to both Democrats and Republicans on the left that Connecticut is not New York or California.
Lamont may have been former Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo’s fishing buddy (see pic above), but, even so, the historic differences between New York and Connecticut have been obvious to dispassionate observers for decades. In the northeast, New York was and is an advance guard of the nation’s neo-progressive movement, a slow march to a glorious future in which we all shall be equal at last in intelligence, talent and, most importantly, in income.
Historically, Connecticut was – note the past tense -- a state that sanely maintained its head when all others were losing theirs.
There were, of course, scores of neo-progressive legislators in Connecticut, some of them with revolutionary knives in their brains, but these did not command popular assent. Political changes usually inch forward on padded cat’s feet. Here in Connecticut, there were enough historically minded politicians, reporters and news editors to prevent a headlong rush into a post-Marxian, Antonio Gramsci nirvana that would end, as most leftist revolutions do, in a crack-up in which political liberties are sacrificed on the altar of efficient autocratic governance.
In the end, of course, autocratic governments, unrepresentative of the public good and not creative, demand of the governed that they surrender essential liberties to a false security. All such governments impoverish their people and extinguish any hope of a general movement towards true self-reliance, independence and liberty. The hallmark of all quasi-socialist governments is the dependence of the governed upon a parasitic and absurdly incompetent central state that could not create a hairpin or an IPhone if its life depended on it.
There are some indications, however slight, that Lamont does not favor a revolutionary repositioning of Connecticut that would tie the state to the ideological dispositions of neo-progressive New England. In fact, if sane legislators were to follow the lead of center right Republicans and Democrats, Connecticut may well escape the undertow of New York and California, becoming once again a modest, self-abasing exception to the self-destructive tendencies of ungovernable neo-progressivism.
It is questionable whether Lamont, a neophyte politician, can long hold out against a powerful phalanx of neo-progressive politicians and an intellectually exhausted administrative state. Powerful state unions, a propagandistic pedagogy, a media blithely unconcerned with the history of the state or foundational documents undergirding our republic, yielding often to the temptation to support a left of center body of politicians, together create a force that tends to undercut the most rational and beneficial centrist positions in matters of culture and politics.
It will be generally agreed that Democrats in Connecticut are better able than Republicans to round up votes during election periods. That has been evident in urban and state elections for the past 30 years.
Democrats now claim a super majority in the General Assembly. In addition, they have controlled the state’s constitutional offices and membership in Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation during the same period, the last fiscally conservative, socially liberal Republican member of the delegation being U.S. Representative Chris Shays, swept out of office in 1987 by present Democrat U.S. Representative Jim Himes.
It should be recalled that all the fiscally conservative, socially liberal Republican members of the U.S. Congressional Delegation fell to socially liberal, neo-progressive Democrats. And indeed it may plausibly be argued that Connecticut has been in the grip of left leaning Democrats, especially in its murderous large city welfare trap-gates, for the last three decades.
H.L. Menken reminds us that democracy is that form of government in which the people get what they want – “good and hard.”
We do not know at this point whether Lamont’s nascent efforts to carve out an exception to the general New England rule will be successful. Within his own party, Lamont is surrounded by neo-progressives, and while his limited business experience makes him, at least temperately, averse to destructive political meddling from the left, temperament is a paper wall. The best that may be said of Lamont is that he is former U.S. Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker without the P.T. Barnum pyrotechnic bluster. Weicker was Lamont’s political tutor and mentor.
Connecticut is desperately in need of a push-back Republican Party rooted in sound small “r” republican principles, both economic and cultural, that have shown themselves to be far more long lasting than savior politicians.