Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back from the holiday

it was a hectic week last week, cramming eight days of work into four, the vice presidential visit to the Coast Guard Academy which I attended and then a quick day-long trip to Ft. Dix, NJ to spend some time with Connecticut National Guard troops headed back to Iraq and Afghanistan.

And now...after the long holiday weekend, it's back to the grind here in the office playing catchup.

The big news item of the day has to deal with Barack Obama's presidential campaign. It appeas that former VA Gov. Mark Warner, a Rockville, CT High School grad, is on Obama's short list for the VP spot. Warner toyed with the idea of making a presidential run himself and I spent a couple of days in New Hampshire with him about a year and half ago as he tested the waters. He later decided not to throw his hat in the ring, and instead he's been campaigning for the U.S. Senate from VA.

Warner is a pretty interesting guy and has a heck of a story to tell.

It will be interesting to see if he accepts the offer for the number two spot (if it gets offered) or if he declines and stays in the Senate race which it would appear he will win.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A couple of thoughts....

And a plug for this Sunday's editorial and my Hackett on Politics column in the paper.

There is one point that hasn't been discussed related to the legislature's and governor's agreement not to do anything with the upcoming fiscal year budget -- and that is the potential for an even larger budget deficit in Fiscal Year 2008-09 than what we're looking at now in 2007-08. If we're running a deficit now because evenues have fallen off, it would stand to reason that increasing state spending by 3.4 percent (what the second year of the two-year budget calls for) is going to call for an increase in revenues. And unless the economy is somehow magically going to turn itself around in the next 12 months, I'm not sure how anyone can believe that revenues will increase .

So what lawmakerrs and the governor did was avoid making any of the tough decisions that will be needed until after the election. Leadership? I think not.

On another matter, I'm looking forward to having legislators explain to me how they can justify doling out public money for campaigns to candidates running without an opponent. They aren't entitled to the full amount that one can get with an opponent -- but some might argtue, those who deal in common sense -- why should they get any if they have no opponent. Is there any doubt as to why it might be so hard to pass ethics reform?

Both issues are explored in more detail in Sunday's paper.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some random Thursday thoughts...

With all the talk about the slumping economy, rising gas and food costs, I must admit I am a bit surprised (although I probably shouldn't be) at the low voter turnouts we're seeing at the budget referendums. At this point they're averaging well below 20 percent -- and few are showing anything over 15 percent.

John Edwards endorsement of Barack Obama isn't going to suddenly result in Obama winning the support of those groups he hasn't yet convinced. Only Obama can do that, and he'll have to if he hopes to win in November. What Edwards' endorsement does do is pretty slam the door on Hillary Clinton with the remaining super delegates.

And, also disappointing, is the way this year's General Assembly election races are shaping up. Public financing of the campaigns was suppose to create more competitive races -- but I'm not seeing that.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Impressive win by Clinton....

But not surprising....and not making a change to anything as well.

There is now speculation that she will drop out of the race after next Tuesday's primaries. I think she is definitely out by the end of the month after the party makes a decision on what to do about Flordia and Michigan on May 31.

Then we can all take a break over the summer until the conventions roll around later.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

McCain's problem....

With all the attention being focused on the Democratic race for the nomination, Arizona Sen. john McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, has been flying under the radar.

However, it appears that things might not be going so well for McCain and what might look like an easy stroll to the Republican convention. It's being reported that supporters of Texas Congressman Ron Paul are planning some sort of display of displeasure with McCain at the convention -- aimed primarily at embarassing him.

Just when you thought the Democrats had cornered the market on new ways to shoot themselves in the foot, the Republicans step forward to see if they can out do them.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Could this be the olive branch...

and maybe the end of the road in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Barack Obama has signaled that he'd be happy to help Hillary Clinton's fundraising efforts to reduce her campaign debt. The Clinton camp has now acknowledged that it has about $20 million in debt -- apparently not counting the $11 million she's personally put into the race.

Of course, Obama has no intention of helping as long as she remains in the race. His help, and it would be significant, would come only after she quits -- and then signs on to help his election bid.

Friday, May 09, 2008

End of the week wrap up...

We head into convention time, beginning tomorrow with the 2nd District Republican convention where Sean Sullivan will be officially nominated as the GOP challenger. Former Congressman Rob Simmons will be on hand and addressing the crowd. Incumbent Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney will get his party's nod for re-election Monday.

Charlie Cook, one of the more well-respected political observers, has upgraded the CT-2 race now ranking it as "Solid Democratic," that's up from "Likely Democratic."

In Hartford, the dust is still settling from the do-nothing legislative session. Remember back in February when everyone was in favor of eliminating the Business Entity Tax? That didn't happen. Nor did Ethics Reform -- again for the fourth (or is now the fifth) straight year. The usual pre-session mantra of property tax reform echoed in Hartford earlier this year, only to fade into the night with no relief being offered. And already we're counting the days for the return of lawmakers next month for yet another special session to do what they couldn't get done during the regular session. Is this why we elect these people? To do nothing.

Happy Mother's Day to all....and here's hoping that Hillary gets a Mother's Day present that will help her find a way out of the race.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Exit strategy....

So exactly how does Hillary Rodham Clinton bow out of the Democratic presidential primary contest without looking like a loser?

That's the big question for the Clinton campaign these days. They know its over, and now they're looking for a way for her to go out "on top."

Here's an idea that I think might prove both benefical to the party as well as Clinton. She makes a deal with the Democratic National Committee to allow the Florida and Michigan delegations to be seated at the convention -- and she gets to announce it because "it's the fair thing to do." However, in the spirit of fairness it would not be fair to allow the outcome of the two primaries to be counted -- and without them, she admits she cannot win the nomination -- so in exchange for allowing the delegations to be seated, she abandons her bid.

She's the "winner," having solved the messy problem for the party -- and looks like she is putting the party first over her own intentions.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Back from vacation...

And just in time to see what should be the end of the Democratic battle for the presidential nomination.

Barack Obama's win in North Carolina, and fairly strong showing in Indiana, pretty much puts an end to Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign -- whether she wants to admit it or not (and she apparently doesn't.)

Obama is now just 185 delegates short of locking up the nomination, according to everyone's math except Hillary. There are 217 delegates yet to be decided in the remaining six contest.

Now...Obama can't win enough of those to lock up the nomination because of the way the Democrats divide the pledged delegates. So...the final decision will rest with the remaining 270 uncommitted super delegates. Obama will win over enough to be the party's nominee -- simply because Clinton 's refusal to deal with the reality of the situation will force them over to Obama's side.

Nice to be back...

And we'll see what happens in Hartford after the dust settles tonight when the legislative session comes to a close. My guess...not much. This will likely go down as one of the most unproductive and disappointing legislative sessions in years.