What is the biggest pitfall for any sports team from youth to professional that has been steamrolling opponents while rolling up victory after victory? The answer, as any coach will tell you, is overconfidence. Applied to the political world and you have a team guilty of arrogance. That’s exactly what happened to Team Malloy in regard to the ridiculous flap over the potential closing of the noncommercial rest areas on Connecticut’s highways.
As just about everyone knows by now, the decision to close the rest areas to save a relatively nominal amount of money was reversed; but not without a big controversy. Everyone wants cuts when there is a budget crisis but no one wants to be confronted with the results. The Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender reported on the mindset that went into the whole process.
The top members of the team of Gov. Dannel Malloy had been enjoying a string of victories while running over the Republican opposition like they were a traffic cone blocking a parking space—rubbery and symbolic but basically irrelevant. That’s when the rest areas closings issue came about.
Numerous newspapers including the Courant seized on the issue. Lawmakers were subsequently bombarded with phone calls from people unhappy with the decision.
As things began to unravel, Malloy’s top political strategist Roy Occhiogrosso told reporters that the decision to close the rest stops would not be reconsidered. The thing is, it’s the legislature, not the governor, that decides what’s in and what’s out of the state budget. As the old saying goes, the governor proposes and the legislature disposes [the state budget]. It’s not surprising Occhiogrosso forgot; the governor’s office had been having its way with the legislature since the beginning of the session.
The decision was revisited—and reversed. Next time, keep the arrogance in check.