Democratic Goons Flailing At Straw Men

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Here's something I've learned:

All of the Republicans running for governor, as well as all of the Republicans thinking about running for governor, are hypocrites, liars, degenerates and probably worse.

The reason I know this is because I — like most wretches of the Connecticut press — receive incessant and hectoring updates from the Connecticut Democratic Party in the person of James Hallinan, its 31-year-old spokesman who is presiding over what seems like an unnecessarily nasty and aggressive boiler room operation.

My favorite one of late was an email blast that seemed, visually, to implicate the Republican candidates in the recent bitter cold snap. It pronounced them "cold as ice" with regard to the plight of low-wage workers and photo-shopped their faces into anoraks, so that they looked like a race of tiny evil Eskimos. It asserted that two Republican candidates, "Toni Boucher and Mark Boughton even went so far as to attack and demean those who earn minimum wage." It backed this claim up with direct quotes from Boucher and Boughton in which neither candidate did either thing.

I realize that, in the words of Chris Christie and others, "politics ain't beanbag." Whenever I hear that phrase I think that (a) it has become pretty much the only context in which anybody ever mentions beanbag and (b) it's funny that politicians are the people saying it. You'd think the U.S. Competitive Beanbag Association would be the ones touting the disjuncture between their gentle sport and the ugliness of politics.

I also realize that, as time rolls by, the Republicans will sling their share of mud too. So far, the worst thing some of them have done is to criticize Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who isn't even currently running for re-election but apparently needs protection anyway. The state party is functioning as hockey goons, the guys who don't skate or handle the puck well and are typically sent out on the ice only to pick a fight with the other team's good player (which necessitates the other team sending out its own goon to tangle with the first goon and so on, in a process that closely mirrors the deterioration of public discourse and is the only possible explanation for the rise of MSNBC's Ed Schultz.)

This week, the boiler room operation crossed, for my tastes, a line. It went after a guy named David Walker who, possibly owing to a blow on the head, is seeking the Republican lieutenant governor nomination. Walker was for 10 years the U.S. comptroller general. I know. I never heard of it either.

Somebody asked him about gun control, and Walker answered (according to CT News Junkie): "I'm going to focus on the economy, jobs and fiscal responsibility," he said. "I will deal, as you are requesting, with certain social issues that are important to many people but in my view are not 'Priority One.'"

The first press salvo from Hallinan and state chairwoman Nancy DiNardo was headlined: "DiNardo Blasts David Walker for His Callous Comments Regarding Sandy Hook Tragedy." The second one: "Chairwoman DiNardo to Walker: Apologize to Connecticut."

Please note that Walker never talked about Sandy Hook at all. So let's make a rule: If you are the first person to mention Newtown in a political spat, then you are the one politicizing that tragedy for your own cheap and shameless purposes. I'm looking at you, Democrats.

In the second release, DiNardo said: "David Walker's cavalier, dismissive attitude is shocking." Really? Matthew McConaughey is cavalier and dismissive. David Walker is a drab fiscal policy nerd. If you were one of the six or seven people in Connecticut who could pick him out of a lineup, you'd know I'm right.

There's a consistent pattern to the Democratic goon squad press operation. First they blast you for something, whether you did it or not. Then they demand an apology, the way a schoolyard bully pushes some kid's face in the mud and demands a verbal concession.

When they do it to Tom Foley, a flailing bully in his own right, it feels like fire-with-fire. When they do it to the rest of the field, it makes you want to see if there's Australian Rules Beanbag on ESPN4.

Colin McEnroe appears from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays on WNPR-FM (90.5) and blogs at He can be reached at

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Andy Green, the opinion editor, has taken the "know a little bit about everything" approach in his time at The Sun. He was the city/state editor before coming to the editorial board, and prior to that he covered the State House and Baltimore County government.

Tricia Bishop, the deputy editorial page editor, was a reporter in the business and metro sections covering biotechnology, education and city and federal courts prior to joining the board.

Peter Jensen, former State House reporter and features writer, takes the lead on state government, transportation issues and the environment; he is the board's resident funny man and capital schmooze.

Glenn McNatt, who returned to editorial writing after serving as the newspaper's art critic, keeps an eye on the arts, culture, politics and the law for the editorial board.

Chancellor Hrabowski? [Poll]

Should UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski III, who has said he's not interested in becoming the state university system's chancellor, reconsider?

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