Even potential gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Pelto can’t possibly be this self-absorbed and myopic. Pelto this week expressed what can only be described as faux outrage when he railed against the American Federation of Teachers’ for the group’s endorsement of Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy. The Status Quo and Malloy Foe Party Pelto was apoplectic when the AFT political action committee (PAC) recommended to the full group that it endorse Malloy. The full AFT has not yet acted on the recommendation.
Said Pelto, “The decision [by the AFT PAC] to endorse Malloy without an open process is a sad commentary on the state of politics. Putting aside the work I’ve done to speak out for teachers and their unions over the past two years, and my lifetime commitment to public education, Governor Malloy has proven himself to be the most anti-teacher Democratic governor in the country. There is not a teacher in Connecticut who has forgotten that Malloy proposed ending teacher tenure and unilaterally repealing collective bargaining for teachers in ‘turnaround schools’ when he put forward his education reform initiative.” Notice there is no mention of the largest achievement gap in the nation or the still-pathetic graduation rates. That’ because Pelto is concerned is to keep things the way there are and not in providing the best possible education for the students.
The AFT’s political people can clearly see Pelto’s mission. It’s not to win the governorship; it’s not to add to the political discourse (“raise more taxes” and “leave the failing public school system as it is” don’t qualify). His mission is to hurt Malloy in any way possible. Having failed in his quest to stop Malloy’s education reform agenda, Pelto figures he might be able to pull a few thousand votes away from Malloy in general election (assuming Pelto can qualify for the ballot). Malloy beat Republican Tom Foley by less than 7,000 votes in 2010.
The AFT PAC has no such interest in damaging Malloy even if it disagrees with some of his initiatives. You don’t have to be a political genius to realize that if Connecticut gets stuck with Tom Foley as governor, the state safety net will be shredded, layoffs of state workers will come in droves and aid to cities and towns will be in danger. Pelto doesn’t care as long as Malloy’s out. AFT—and every other Democratic-leaning group and individual—do care.
The bottom line is that if Pelto gets on the ballot for governor, any vote for him is a vote for Tom Foley or any other GOP nominee. The scary thing is that Pelto surely knows this and is pressing ahead anyway. He says he won’t be in the race as a spoiler. Hands, please—does anyone believe that? Anyone? Bueller?
Some side benefits from Pelto’s assault on Malloy include a jump in readership of his anti-Malloy, anti-improvement of public education blog. He also gets to go on WNPR radio and whine about Malloy.
Pelto has every right to run for any office he chooses, provided he can qualify. But the repercussions of such a run should be known to everyone.