The national media giveth and taketh away. While The Shad has long believed (and wrote about before anyone else did) that Gov. Dan Malloy has his eyes on higher office, he is now actually being mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential candidate by the national media. At the same time, another national outlet doesn’t even mention him as being in the top ten of popular governors. And to add insult to injury that list does contain his archrivals Chris Christie of New Jersey and New York’s Andrew Cuomo.
The two “mentions” are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Salon.com, in an article on the future of federal gay marriage and gay rights, describes Malloy as a “prospective candidate” for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Also included are Cuomo, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Ohio US Sen. Sherrod Brown, Massachusetts US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (Salon.com may be jumping the gun on this one. Prof. Warren has even won a senate seat yet).
Meanwhile, the Washington Post column “The Fix” is out with a list of the top ten most popular governors who remain so despite tough economic times. Writer Chris Cillizza list Malloy as among the governors who “have struggle mightily” in the first year-plus in office trying to balance the state budget. It probably won’t sit too well with Malloy’s people that the popularity list is topped by Cuomo with Christie coming in at number two.
Malloy’s approach to balancing Connecticut’s state budget may have hurt his approval rating but it could turn out to be better for a national run in the big picture. Both Cuomo and Christie owe their popularity in part, to demonizing state workers and other unionized employees and in fact, both took a slash and burn approach, laying off tens of thousands of them combined.
Malloy’s was a different approach. He pushed though the largest tax increase in state history (actually, adjusted for today’s dollar, Lowell Weicker’s was larger) but stared down state labor unions with a concessions deal instead of layoffs. Sure, labor took a circuitous route to finally realizing the sweet deal Malloy was offering given the alternative, but they got there nonetheless.
Malloy can truthfully claim that he did things differently, bucking the national trend of union busting. And for that, he may be rewarded in the long run.