Viewers watching last Thursday gubernatorial debate not doubt noticed Republican Tom Foley nonchalantly dropping in references to Democratic Dan Malloy’s honesty and integrity. Malloy eventually had enough and with about 10 minutes to go in the contest, let loose with a barrage of attacks on Foley. Nonpartisan analysis—and anyone with knowledge of the two candidates—could see Foley’s attacks were baseless and Malloy’s were truthful. Foley now wants a “truce.” Shocking.
The televised and streamed event was focused for the most part on economic issues. Malloy defended his administration’s moves to strengthen the economy. His record is clear for voters to evaluate. They can decide whether he is doing a good job or not. Foley attacked Malloy’s record as “corporate welfare” following the biggest tax increase in state history.
It is when one asks, “What would Foley do differently?” that we are stumped. Beyond the generic “cutting taxes” and “problem solving,” there is no “there” there. Foley’s nonsensical campaign can be capsulized in his attempt to explain his position on the post-Sandy Hook massacre gun control legislation. When pressed, Foley said he would not seek a repeal of the laws but would not veto a repeal if it came to his desk as governor—reminiscent of “It depends of what your definition of ‘is’ is.”
In the end, all the talk about the economy, education and transportation took a back seat to the personal attacks. The old school yard adage “he started it!” applies to Foley. The former ambassador to Ireland right out of the gate told viewers Malloy won’t tell the truth. Twice he referenced a long-put-to-bed corruption investigation when Malloy was mayor of Stamford. The probe concluded with Malloy being cleared and being praised by the prosecutor for his cooperation. Very weak on Foley’s part.
Malloy finally responded by pointing out Foley’s troubling past—from buying, bankrupting and profiting from now-closed companies to his Joie Chitwood imitation back in 1981.
Amazingly Republican commentators simply ignore how the personal attacks started (by Foley) and now compliment him for calling for a truce. Of course Foley is going to call a truce—he calculated that he should attack (with untrue or misleading accusations) Malloy personally. Malloy responded with a truthful barrage of his own. Foley is in dangerous territory if Malloy doesn’t agree to the cynical “truce” Foley is proposing.