Question: What does it take to get invited to a “debate” at Yale Law School on the proposed state budget? Answer: Spend tens of millions of dollars of your own personal fortune running for governor (or US Senate)…and lose; in some cases, lose badly. And oh, you’re not allowed to have won any election of any consequence.
The event at Yale this week featured 2010 losing gubernatorial candidates Democrat Ned Lamont and Republican Tom Foley. Lamont got whipped by Dan Malloy in the primary and Foley narrowly lost to Malloy in general in one of the closest races for governor in state history. Both took shots at Malloy from the cheap seats; or in this case, the multimillion dollar “losers’ sidelines.” It’s nothing short of a disgrace to feature these two, who state voters rejected, taking shots at Malloy who is actually trying to do the job of balancing the state budget.
The Shad clearly has never been a fan of Lamont. But in this case, it was Foley who was more offensive. You may want to mark your calendar. This past Monday may very well be the day that Foley kicked off his campaign for governor in 2014. He charged that Malloy’s budget was “snake oil stuff” and full of “cynical deceptions” and “head fakes” according to news reports. That’s nonsense and Foley knows it. You may hate the Malloy budget, you may be able to live with it or you might think it’s fair. But it is what it is and Malloy has been extremely transparent about what’s in it and why he thinks it’s necessary.
Foley, of course, could not back up his rhetoric with specific examples. This is the candidate who claimed he could fill the $3.5 billion budget deficit without new revenue. Even the economist brought in by hapless Gov. Jodi Rell some time ago said it wasn’t possible without putting thousands of people out of work, shredding state services and passing along the burden to cities and towns which would have to raise property taxes.
Lamont, whose claim to fame is that he scared Joe Lieberman for awhile in 2008, was less critical of Malloy but still has no credibility on the issue. Where does his budget acumen come from? Granted, balancing his household budget is likely akin to some small countries doing the same. But that doesn’t qualify him to critique Malloy’s spending plan.
The Shad is not trying to say these losing candidates don’t have a right to express their opinion—they certainly do. But back-seat driving in a “debate” when the victorious candidate is doing the heavy lifting is distasteful. Part of the blame for this joke of a forum lies with the groups that sponsored the event and invited the Greenwich Gripers in the first place. Next time, let’s have some meaningful discourse.