Pelto Drags The Shad into his Remembrance of McGovern

When former US Senator and three-time presidential candidate George McGovern died over the weekend, left-wing fringe blogger Jonathan Pelto penned a heartfelt tribute to the man with whom he says he felt a personal connection. It was a nice piece about his memory of the anti-Vietnam war leader. However, Pelto also decided to drag me into his commentary and as is his m.o., doesn’t give any context.

Back in 2011, Gov. Dannel Malloy was trying to get state employee unions to accept a “concessions” deal as part of his plan to balance the budget. Commentators like Pelto went ballistic, thinking it unimaginable that labor would have to give back anything even in such extraordinarily difficult economic times. I wrote in a Hartford Courant op-ed that labor should take the deal and run—it promised no layoffs. I also said the left-wing policies of George McGovern were no longer relevant or, as Bill Clinton famously said, “The era of big government is over.” It wasn’t a slam on McGovern who was an honorable public servant who brought valuable ideas to the public discourse. It was a slam on Pelto who lives in the 1970s and thinks government is the answer for everything and that labor shouldn’t have to sacrifice like everyone else in tough economic times (we leave alone for the moment that the concessions didn’t bring the savings Malloy thought it would anyway).

But the real thrust of our disagreement at the time was over Pelto’s myopic criticism of all things Dan Malloy. In his McGovern piece Sunday, Pelto calls me “a Malloy apologist.” Really? Tell that to some of the people in the administration who no longer speak to me or return my phone calls because I dared to challenge them on a policy issue. Malloy’s “First Five” economic development plan and the New Britain to Hartford busway are two major policy areas in which I part ways with the governor and have dropped some serious criticisms in his ear.

Pelto also doesn’t mention the debate we had on WNPR radio’s “Where We Live” program in the summer of 2011. In it, I pointed out that Pelto went so far as to say he wished he voted for Republican Tom Foley instead of Malloy in the election (he walked back the statement during the interview). It didn’t seem to matter that Foley pledged not to raise any taxes. If he kept that promise—with a looming $3.3 billion deficit—it would have meant the decimation of the state workforce and state services as we know them, the very people and services Pelto claimed to want to protect. But his hatred of Malloy was stronger than reason.

To this day, Pelto is obsessed with Malloy and will criticize anything he says or does. Why? Here’s what I wrote at the time:
“Pelto’s unremitting disparagement of Malloy dates back to when he was snubbed for any role in the newly elected governor’s transition team and then being summarily dismissed by the new governor’s top guy. Back in December of 2010, as Malloy was assembling his transition team, Pelto was all but lobbying for a role. He didn’t get one. And to add insult to injury two Republicans did gets roles. That sent Pelto over the edge. When he criticized the governor for picking two Republicans for the team, top Malloy advisor Roy Occhiogrosso slapped him away like an annoying mosquito
 “’No one cares what Jonathan Pelto thinks,’” Occhiogrosso at the time. “’He posts some comment on Facebook. Who cares? If some guy in the Midwest posts something about the Malloy transition team on Facebook, is that newsworthy? The fact that he’s reduced to making comments on his Facebook page proves his status in the Democratic Party.’” Ouch.
“When I asked a longtime political insider whether I was too harsh on Pelto in my op-ed piece, my friend replied, “’Not at all. Life on a diet of sour grapes is no fun.’”
If Dan Malloy found a cure for cancer, Pelto’s blog headline would read, “After Decades of Failure and Millions of Deaths, Malloy Finally Finds Cure for Cancer.”

Be forewarned, Mr. Pelto. We’ll be going up against each other in another important policy area very soon.
Game on.

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