IT’S IN TO BE OUT…AND OUT TO BE IN

We are one day less than two months away from the political party primaries and we’re already hearing the different campaigns claiming they are “the outsider” in the race. In the face of what is supposedly a sense of anti-incumbency nationwide, it now seems to be a qualification for office that the candidate not have any experience in government. And if the label of outsider doesn’t fit your candidacy, claim it anyway.

Such was the case this week when Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura announced he would force a primary against the Democratic party endorsed candidate for state comptroller Kevin Lembo. In doing so, Jarjura said in a statement, “On August 10, the voters of Connecticut can choose between an entrenched political insider or Mike Jarjura who will bring experience and proven leadership ability to help restore financial stability to the Connecticut economy.” Huh? Isn’t this the same Mike Jarjura who served 10 years in the state House of Representatives and then eight years and counting as mayor of Waterbury? Sorry, but that’s the definition of an “entrenched political leader,” Mr. Mayor. And while we’re on the subject, many people think having served as an assistant comptroller and health care advocate may actually be a big plus for Lembo.

In the same regard, many people are not going to choose Linda McMahon to represent Connecticut in the United State Senate because she has no government experience. To The Shad, that’s a strike against her; but par for course in an election cycle in which “electable” means “a candidate who can throw millions of his or her own money around.”

Oh, and before you believe we have collectively lost our minds as to what is and isn’t a qualification for office, witness yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll. Packed within the numbers of who is ahead and who is behind, the poll asked which type of candidate is preferable, “someone with years of political experience or a political outsider?” Fifty-one percent say experience; 38-percent say “the outsider.”