I love doing radio and TV. I must—I worked in radio for 15 years, as a news reporter, anchor, and then as a talk show host. I also love politics. I must—I worked for the state Senate Democrats for years before starting a communications consulting service focusing on politics and political analysis. I am honored to be frequently asked to appear on NBC-Connecticut and FOX-Connecticut as well as the WTIC-AM morning show on all things political. Throw all that in a pot and you have what I consider, a wonderful time. And so it was this morning on WNPR radio’s “Where We Live” program hosted by the usually staid (and outstanding journalist) John Dankosky.
Experienced former state legislator and now communications advisor Jonathan Pelto and I were the guests. The topic was the different views we have on the performance of Gov. Dannel Malloy in general, the concessions agreement he reached with the state employee labor unions in particular and the direction of the Democratic party You can judge for yourself how it went.
I was pleased that Mr. Pelto walked back his statement made on his blog (called “Wait, What?”) that he wanted his vote back from the last gubernatorial election and wished he had voted for Republican Tom Foley. He admitted he was just trying to make a point about his displeasure with Malloy and his belief that the legislature would have been strong in opposing Foley’s actions which Mr. Pelto believes Malloy has been close to mirroring.
One interesting thing about the show which wouldn’t be apparent by listening or watching the show (it was taped by CT-N for later airing) was Dankosky’s seeming uneasiness with the pointed debate between Mr. Pelto and me. Dankosky is used to a more measured, NPR approach. “Delicious Dish” this was not. I pointed out quite bluntly that Mr. Pelto was so intent on slapping around Malloy that he went over to the dark side—the “I want my vote back” comment and the failure to clearly repudiate former Gov. John Rowland’s labeling of Malloy as a “pathological liar.” Mr. Pelto wrote that it “depends on what your definition of ‘pathological is.’” Rowland later apologized for the remark. Mr. Pelto left it open to interpretation.
Mr. Pelto quoted from this blog when I included him in a list of “political has-beens” whose views are “hopelessly out of touch” with the average Connecticut voter. I’m not sure how he wanted me to respond. While I regret the personal characterization of him, I was thinking, “Mmmm, that does kinda sound like me.”
All of this made Dankosky uncomfortable. He is not in the habit of hosting rough and tumble debate shows (although I thought the discourse was rather mild). He told me after the show, “I need a Tums.” There’s no better journalist in Connecticut than Dankosky. But he might now stick to non-confrontational shows which would be unfortunate because I think he handled the debate flawlessly.
As far the differences between Mr. Pelto and myself, I respect his opinions and his right to express them. However, I think blind allegiance to the state employee unions, or to the governor for that matter, is a dangerous thing. I still think Mr. Pelto is guilty of the former.