The Chris Powell Column

Legislators thrilled to avoid doing what Connecticut needs

Concluding the 2018 session of the General Assembly on May 9, legislators congratulated themselves on a bipartisan budget that bequeaths mammoth deficits to themselves and the new governor next year. This was no great service to a state that badly needs structural changes to its operations, but legislators could have considered it a triumph for themselves, as it postponed those tough decisions beyond the November election. No wonder they were giddy about it.

The ways Malloy resembles Clinton

With her new memoir of last year’s presidential campaign, “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton blames her defeat on everybody else more than herself — Russian President Vladimir Putin, former FBI Director James Comey, campaign rival Bernie Sanders, woman haters and so forth. 

Clinton does have a fair complaint about Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who drew away enough liberal votes to cost Clinton the three usually Democratic states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — that gave the electoral college to Donald Trump. 

Trump tweets outdo Blumenthal aggrandizing

Since Sen. Richard Blumenthal represents Connecticut rather than Wyoming or West Virginia, his denouncing President Donald Trump and being denounced by the president in turn can only build support for him in his home state, where the president is poorly regarded.

Local news will continue only with enough interested citizens

What happens to local news when there are no local news organizations? What happens to communities without local news? 

The Washington Post tried to answer those questions the other day, using as an example East Palo Alto, Calif., where many news organizations are nearby, but none pays attention to the town.

Islamic law is no issue here, so lay off state’s Muslims

Everybody knows that Islam is having a civil war between murderous totalitarians and people who just want to live and let live. Civilization’s urgent agenda must be to help the good guys. 

But as Connecticut saw last weekend, some people are determined to insult and intimidate the good guys by suggesting that all followers of Islam are bad, which can only discourage the good guys and strengthen the bad guys.

Malloy still has strength and time to slow state’s long fall

Announcing so far ahead of the next election that he will not seek a third term, Governor Malloy risks losing influence with the General Assembly, which has only begun the first of its two sessions remaining during his term. 

But even as a “lame duck” the governor can preserve his influence if he is willing to use or threaten to use his veto more aggressively. And by forswearing re-election, he has given himself more freedom to do things that strike him as impolitic but right or necessary.

Highest courts are really about political power, not the law

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate did what they had to do last week with President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Republicans had to force Gorsuch through, even at the cost of repealing the Senate’s rule favoring bipartisanship with important presidential nominations, and Democrats had to oppose him, though he was well qualified. 

‘Individual mandate’ avoided ‘single payer’

Republican leaders in Congress are boasting that their legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare eliminates the hated “individual mandate,” the requirement that people buy medical insurance. The Republicans say that under their legislation the only people who will not have medical insurance will be people who don’t want it.

But the “individual mandate,” hated as it may be in some quarters, was the price of avoiding the even more hated “single-payer” system, the government’s takeover of medicine. 

State’s public education really isn’t public at all

Democratic legislators are always most conscientious when they are playing stooges for the teacher unions, the biggest component of the party’s base. Hence the all-nighter Democratic U.S. senators pulled on the Senate floor to posture against President Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos for education secretary.

Trump should remember the fates of LBJ and Nixon

On his way out of the White House last week, President Obama assured the country that all would be well. But Obama is not returning to Chicago, which is engulfed by the violence of social disintegration, nor even to Illinois, the most insolvent of states, and if everything were well he wouldn’t be delivering the White House to anyone like Donald Trump.