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If You Ask Me

Remembering when the state was rich and Republican

Once upon a time, Connecticut was two things it hasn’t been for a very long time — rich and Republican.

The state could boast it was Republican from the start, having joined the other New England states, along with New York, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin in supporting John C. Fremont, the first presidential candidate of the two-year-old, anti-slavery party. Fremont lost that 1856 election to the man who is perhaps our worst president ever, James Buchanan.  

Happy New Year, possibly?

Happy 2019, but don’t count on it.

Don’t count on the new year being an especially happy one because it’s the year before a presidential election year. Nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished in an election year and next to nothing is accomplished in the year before. 

That doesn’t mean the year won’t be eventful. Donald Trump’s many problems may be resolved and there are signs the resolutions will not be happy ones for the president.

They could lead to his impeachment, his resignation or his reelection.

Our ancestors came here through open borders

How many times have you heard someone crow that his or her ancestors came here legally, unlike those caravans of diseased rapists, murderers and drug smugglers preparing to invade San Diego?

Actually, coming here legally wasn’t anything to brag about for most of our ancestors because immigration wasn’t against the law. Laws covered naturalization — becoming a citizen — but not immigration.

Lamont has high praise for Bush, but the wrong one

Governor-to-be Ned Lamont remembered the late President George H.W. Bush as he said, “We will miss our native son. New York boasts seven presidents, Ohio five and Connecticut boasts George Bush.”

It was a nice sentiment, but Lamont was talking about the wrong George Bush.

George H.W. Bush, who died in his Houston home Nov. 30, was raised in Connecticut and educated in Greenwich and New Haven but he isn’t “our native son.”  

Much to like about the Finns, but not forest raking

In one of my earliest grade school memories, I am lining up in the hallway with my classmates for an air raid drill in late 1939 or early 1940 when the boy next to me asks, “Who are you for, the Russians or the Finns?”

There was only one right answer and I quickly said, “the Finns.” Being for the Finns was automatic for a couple of reasons. They were the underdog in a war with Russia and they were known as an honorable people. “The Finns always pay their debts,” was an oft-repeated statement of fact.  

Did you ask for whom the tolls toll?

Having gotten elected after promising not to increase the state income tax and sales tax while still reducing property taxes, Ned Lamont has to start looking for new money.  

NRA to MDs: Gun control not your business

Little attention was paid in the media and elsewhere when the American College of Physicians and Surgeons (ACP) updated its position on gun control at the end of October.  

The new proposals — keeping people with domestic violence history from buying guns, allowing families to get guns legally taken from a member at risk of hurting himself or others, safe gun storage and banning assault weapons, large capacity magazines and bump stocks — were both reasonable and unsurprising from a group dealing with gun violence and its victims every day.  

Advantage: Dannel over Donald

In an election influenced by two deeply disliked individuals, whose names appeared nowhere near a ballot, Dannel has prevailed over Donald. 

Being another Dannel Malloy, though hardly desirable, proved preferable to being another Donald Trump in the race for governor of Connecticut.  

Best Red Sox ever, but baseball is still succeeding in hurting itself

It was a wonderful World Series, wasn’t it — with the best Red Sox team we’ve seen in seven decades of watching them.

But the games were so long.

We knew things had gotten out of hand after Game 3. It was not only the longest World Series game ever played; it was longer than the entire four-game World Series the Yankees and Cincinnati Reds played in 1939.

Before that happened, the only thing the wondrous 2018 Red Sox had in common with the 1939 Yankees was their regular season victories — a very nice 108 games.

Who will it be for governor, the has-been or never-was?

Governor of Connecticut was a job nobody in either party wanted this year so Connecticut’s voters were offered the leftovers and will make one of them governor next Tuesday.

The polls indicate the battle between the Democratic has-been and the Republican never-was could go either way, with maybe a slight edge in this one-party state to the Democrat and maybe not. It’s as if it doesn’t matter, probably because it doesn’t. Neither has gone beyond base-pleasing talk to offer real solutions to Connecticut’s serious problems.