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If You Ask Me

Fixing infrastructure before a bridge fails

If she becomes president, Hillary Clinton is expected to find a second-tier Cabinet position to reward the Democratic governors’ chairman who didn’t remain neutral and campaigned for her in the primaries.

Secretary of Transportation is the ironic/amusing patronage plum said to be reserved for Dannel Malloy, the governor of a state whose transportation system is comfortably ensconced in the middle of the 20th century. That’s now more than 65 years ago if you’re not counting.

What’s the Connecticut primary worth?

With the party caucuses and the primary in Iowa and New Hampshire almost upon us, you may not have noticed excitement building over the upcoming Connecticut primary on April 25.

What I got wrong so far in this election cycle

When I was a teenager in the election year of 1948, my elders assured me this was the big one, the year I would witness the first election of a Republican president in my 15-year lifetime. Thomas E. Dewey would definitely replace the accidental and terribly unpopular — at least in our comfortable New Jersey suburbs — Harry Truman.

Brokered conventions: They rarely have happy endings

Republicans convening in Cleveland this summer could take part in the nation’s first brokered convention in four decades. This rare phenomenon can occur only when primaries don’t produce a sure winner, and they almost always do. 

But when they don’t, almost anything can happen, except a happy ending for the party involved. 

Gotchas: some good, not so good

Most of those seemingly unfair “gotcha” questions this presidential season appear to be aimed at Republican candidates, but that’s because, like Lincoln’s common people, the Lord made so many of them. Meanwhile, the obscenely few Democratic candidates are ducking debates and even press conferences that are gotcha producers. With all that in mind, a little history and perspective are in order.

In the name of Americanism: Can it happen here?

More frightening than Donald Trump becoming the Republican nominee for president is Donald Trump being denied the nomination, running as a third party candidate, splitting the informed vote and being elected president. Can’t happen? It did once — but only in a novel written during the rise of fascism.

Another mass murder, trot out the thoughts and prayers

With word of another mass killing, this one, the worst since Newtown, the campaign consultants issued their tweeting orders:

“Send out the usual ‘thoughts and prayers’ tweet.”

And within minutes, they did:

“Praying for those impacted by shooting…” Mike Huckabee, 3:34 p.m.

“Praying for the victims, their families…” Jeb Bush, 3:39 p.m.

Esty raises lots of money, not much opposition

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is an endangered Democrat, targeted and besieged by the Tea Party, the Brothers Koch and others on the radical right. I know this because she tells me so several times a week in emails from her, her associates, her daughter and sometimes her famous friends like Nancy Pelosi.

Syria’s tired, poor, huddled masses need not apply

“Here’s the problem,” said Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio as he laid out his case for not allowing 10,000 Syrian refugees safe haven here in the land that welcomed his refugee parents from Castro’s Cuba.

“You allow 10,000 people in. And 9,999 of them are innocent people fleeing oppression and one of them is a well-trained ISIS fighter. What if we get one of them wrong? Just one of them wrong.”

Students against ableism ... etc.

Amherst students are demanding that the college’s president apologize for Amherst’s “institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latino racism, anti-Middle Eastern racism, heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma and classicism.” Everything but bad breath. It makes you wonder why these delicate flowers chose Amherst.