An Open Response to the National Review

Joe Markley’s mugging of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is filled with inaccuracies, half-truths and the worst kind of ad hominem attacks. It’s beneath a state senator and certainly not worthy of the National Review which usually puts on at least a guise of journalistic integrity.

Sen. Markley seems to have a problem with both Gov. Malloy’s personality and his success in steering the state through the toughest economic times. A leader need not be your pal to be effective. In fact, the ability to make tough decisions that no one—including the governor—wants to have to make is the sign of real governance. It would been easy to kick the can down the road just as Gov. Malloy’s Republican predecessors did.

When he isn’t attacking Gov. Malloy personally, Sen. Markley claims the governor’s approach can get him elected but precludes him from governing. On the contrary. It’s the same tough, get-things-done style that both got him reelected as other Democratic across the country bit the dust and enables him to make the tough calls as governor.

State Sen. Joe Markley
State Sen. Joe Markley

Sen. Markley is guilty of rank duplicity. On the one hand, he is outraged by the governor coming in and fixing the $3 billion deficit he inherited. On the other, he feigns sympathy for the social services cuts that were part of the governor’s tough budget proposal. Which is it? Hold the line on taxes or fully fund the agencies? Unless Sen. Markley has some magic way of paying for everything, he best do his job as a legislator and leave the governing to Dannel Malloy. The governor is simply looking for shared sacrifice.

One would think Sen. Markley has been around long enough to know how the budget process works. The governor proposes a plan, the legislative committees (Appropriations, Finance) adjust it they see fit, then legislative leaders negotiate with the governor’s office to produce a two-year budget that will pass the full legislature and that will be signed by the governor. Step two of the process concludes this week.

Connecticut is fortunate to have a vigilant watchdog in Comptroller Kevin Lembo who monitors whether the state is over the spending cap. It’s not. The governor’s budget was also balanced. Sen. Markley may not like how is was balanced but his saying it’s not doesn’t make it so.

On the issue of Gov. Malloy’s tough approach to Indiana, it’s telling that several other states followed suit. He was out in front, leading nationally on the issue. The question is would Sen. Markley have stood on the sidelines and not acted when he saw an entire state treat some people as second-class citizens?

It’s really sort of sad that Sen. Markley is so bitter. I’ve always found him to be fairly amiable and a worthy critic of progressive policies in the state. But in the National Review column, he shows himself to be cynical. It probably bothers him to no end that Gov. Malloy won’t be drawn into a contest of personal attacks.

Sen. Markley should do his job as a legislator and leave personalities out of it.

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