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Love And Loathing On The Campaign Trail

October 26, 2022
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Rennie — WNPR

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Kevin Rennie’s op-ed piece -- Two Connecticut Republican campaigns. One inspiring. One nauseating – appeared on October 22, about 20 days before the 2022 off year elections.

Rennie finds Republican Larry Lazor’s campaign in the 1st U.S. Congressional District against John Larson, who has held the seat since 1999, “inspiring.”

However inspiring, political bookmakers very likely would call the race in Larson’s favor. The last Republican to have held office in the 1st District was Edwin May in 1957, and Larson has held the seat in a gerrymandered district for 11 terms.

Lazor is quoted in the Rennie piece to this effect: “We cannot reap the benefits of discourse and negotiation afforded by our two-party system while promoting the false and misleading narrative that the Presidential election was stolen.”

It may be helpful -- and inspiring -- in the next few weeks before Election Day, if Republican candidates for office who appear to imply that current Connecticut Republicans office holders are “promoting the false and misleading narrative that the Presidential election was stolen” should be required to name the Connecticut Republicans currently running for office who cling to this view.

Rennie himself, a judicious writer and a former state Republican Senator, might find it somewhat difficult to discover any current Connecticut Republican office holders -- following the seemingly endless, politically useful public hearings concerning the riot at the U.S. Capitol -- who maintain that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” due to ballot fraud. Pretty much every current Connecticut Republican officeholder would give an affirmative answer to the question: “Is Joe Biden the President of the United States?” The notion that there are huddled masses of Connecticut Republican office holders “promoting the false and misleading narrative that the Presidential election was stolen” is a pre-election campaign myth useful to Democrats and foam-at-the-mouth anti-Trump Republicans.

Some Republicans may continue to believe that ballot fraud was in evidence during the 2020 election. Indeed, it would be surprising if no ballot fraud could be found. But Connecticut Republican office holders generally would agree that ballot fraud was not so extensive as to deny Democrat nominee for President Joe Biden the presidency. However, it should be pointed out that ballot fraud is only a small part of election fraud.

There are Republicans – and in recent days others, including Democrats and unaffiliateds -- who now know that former President Donald Trump did not collude with Russian Communists to deny Democrat candidate for President Hillary Clinton an opportunity at becoming the nation’s first female President. Election fraud is a wider category than ballot fraud.

The charge of Russian collusion, now exploded, took up a great deal of newspaper space during and after the 2020 Presidential election. And it had been false data that led to FISA court findings on the basis of which a bill of impeachment was passed, by one vote, in the US House. The bill failed to pass in the Senate, and Trump remained in office.

The impeachment proceedings rested in part on the FISA court findings, rooted loosely in a casual conversation between Steele and a Communist connected “source” in a bar. Under threat of possible prosecution, Steele later admitted to the FBI that he could not vouch for the accuracy of his second hand and unreliable information. This, however, did not prevent upper crust FBI officials from offering Steele a cool million should he be willing to support assertions he had made in his fanciful oppo-research document. Steele wisely declined the offer. One is never on one’s oath when producing oppo-research documents for use in political campaigns. The impeachment proceedings took up a great deal of space during and after the election.

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It has now been convincingly shown that the so called Steele “dossier,” a jumble of fanciful tales – No, Trump did NOT pay ladies of the evening to soil a bed once slept in by President Barack Obama -- was, as Trump had colorfully suggested, an overblown fiction paid for in part by the Clinton machine. Some would argue that the use made of Steele’s oppo-research document constituted election fraud?

One wonders whether Rennie considers the “dossier” soap opera and its unfortunate aftermath more or less nauseating than former State Senator George Logan, who is challenging U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes in Connecticut 5th District.

No one who ever has had a moment’s conversation on politics with Logan would regard him as nauseating for having welcomed Elise Stefanik to Connecticut to pitch for his campaign. And even if Rennie does regard Stefanik, “an upstate New York moderate young Republican representative who transformed herself into a poisonous presence in national politics” by co-sponsoring “a resolution to expunge Trump’s impeachment,” only a post-McCarthyite tar-brusher would regard Logan as inescapably tainted by the Trump stink.

In nearly the same graph in which Rennie tars and feathers Logan’s “nauseating” campaign, he writes of Logan “He is an energetic campaigner with a lot of personality. He exudes goodwill…”

Something wrong there, no?    

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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