The 2022 elections in Connecticut are about a week away. Many political commentators agree that nationally Republicans may take charge of the U.S. House of Representatives, depriving California Representative Nancy Pelosi of her well worn gavel once again. The U.S. Senate is up for grabs as well.
Here in Connecticut, Democrats are the dominant party by far, and have been so for many years. The governor’s office has been held by Democrats Dannel Malloy and Ned Lamont for the past eleven years. The General Assembly is solidly Democrat. All the members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation are Democrats, and all the state’s constitutional offices are held by Democrats. The state’s largest cities have been in the grip of a rusting Tammany Hall like Democrat political machine for about half a century -- and it shows.
How did this Democrat Party hegemony take hold, and is Connecticut’s Democrat Party fortress unassailable? Can it be successfully breached --- and, if so, how?
Connecticut Democrats bought their hegemony by shuttling tax money to Democrat special interest groups. They’ve won elections by pleasing the kinds of people who determine election outcomes more often than Republicans, and Connecticut’s media has followed along blithely with ideological blindfolds on.
This writer has in the past criticized Connecticut’s media for being insufficiently attentive to the party in power. William Randolph Hearst used to say, “News is what people don't want you to print. Everything else is ads.”
If most news accounts of the doings and sayings of U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, continuously in office for 37 years, appear to be political ads, it may be because they are political ads or, to be more precise, artfully contrived media releases more or less untouched and channeled through Connecticut’s largely pro-progressive Democrat Party pipeline. Blumenthal is not alone. The same may be said of most Democrat Party office holders in Connecticut.
What would William Randolph Hearst think of the fawning media coverage of Blumenthal? In one sense, you cannot blame large media chains for bending the knee to hegemonic party systems. In Connecticut, the media gets its printable news from the state’s Democratic Party hegemony. Just as you cannot wring water from a rock, so too you cannot wring news from a minority party that has been out of power for -- let’s say, just to put a number to it -- the last 31 years.
How is it possible to overcome such vast and entangling money and media advantages?
One way is to change the media message. Another way is to make appeals in political campaigns to what the voting public already knows is true. Speaking of which, it was current presidential energy menace Joe Biden who put the kibosh on an oil pipeline running from Canada to the lower states. Not a problem, Blumenthal had assured Connecticut voters in his recent debate with Republican challenger Leora Levy.
Biden pledged during his presidential basement campaign to destroy the U.S. oil delivery system throughout the United States. And, so far, he has been true to his pledge.
Progressive Democrats, blissfully unaware of right and wrong directions, call this sort of thing “moving forward.” Owing to Biden’s destructive, costly and misplaced energy policy, the United States will soon become a net oil importer. During the preceding Donald Trump administration, the U.S, owing largely to fracking, had been a self-sufficient oil exporter.
Very recently, Biden had been forced to bend the knee to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, because The United States under Biden’s direction is now suffering from an energy supply shortage – a very expensive energy supply shortage.
Rather than lower the price of oil, as commanded by Biden, bin Salman raised the price. Connecticut U.S. Senators Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are promising retaliation. If bin Salman does not lower the price of oil, the United States will no longer supply Saudi Arabia with defensive war material. No oil, no aircraft that the Saudis might use to ward off attacks by Iran, the principal disturber of the peace in the Middle East.
Blumenthal and Murphy, one supposes, would not be averse to buying dirty oil from enemy states such as Iran and Venezuela. Connecticut’s media has not yet asked either Senator whether such a “cut off the nose to spite your face” energy policy would be wise or useful.
In addition, Connecticut’s media has failed to notice that increasing prices in Connecticut and the nation are almost wholly caused by a decrease in the supply of basic commodities. The answer to high gas prices at the pump, and high energy prices as yet another cruel winter bears down on New England, and the high prices of all services and commodities, including food, is to increase the supply of goods and services to meet demand.
Blumenthal’s Republican opponent, Leora Levy, hit the right nail on the head with the right hammer when she said during the first and last debate: “This inflation was deliberately inflicted on us by the Biden policies voted for by my opponent. The first thing I would do is stop the spending... The Biden-Blumenthal Build Inflation Back Better Act ... will not reduce inflation, and it will not affect climate change. ... We also must reignite energy production. This is an intentional attack [spurring an] energy shortage which has contributed to the inflation all of us are feeling. ... This is an intentional attack on American energy production. ... By killing our production on day one in office, canceling Keystone pipeline, canceling leases, ending exploration on lands and public waters, we have really crushed our energy industry. We have created this shortage, and everybody is paying the price.’’
“Blumenthal countered” the Hartford Courant tells us, “by saying he successfully pushed for $86.4 million in LIHEAP funding for low-income households during the upcoming winter.” The debate summary quoted Blumenthal to this effect: “I pushed President Biden to release more Strategic Petroleum Reserve. He did it… Prices came down. My opponent opposed it.”
Indeed he did. The price reduction is temporary, while the reduction in oil reserves will be long-term, so long as Blumenthal-Biden refuse to exploit the United States’ more plentiful underground oil reserves. Democrat remediation, such as Connecticut’s cut in the gas tax, will end after the 2022 off year elections.
Improvident spending, the leading cause of inflation, having long exceeded tax acquisitions, the Biden administration will at some point be forced to 1) reduce spending, not an option, 2) increase taxes on middle class voters, not an option, or 3) print and pass around to Blumenthal and other Connecticut Democrats more inflationary dollars they undoubtedly will spend to purchase more reelection votes.
“The problem with socialism,” Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Maggie Thatcher once said, “is that, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.”
And Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, has told us what the real threat to American democracy is: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money,” an illuminating proposition that has never fallen trippingly from the tongue of Blumenthal.
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.