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If You Ask Me

Ticket balancing, now diversity

The ancient and sometimes honorable practice of ticket balancing appears to be returning to the Connecticut political scene.  It never completely went away, but as various religious and ethnic groups prospered and no longer demanded representation on every gubernatorial ticket, it subsided for a time.

Correspondents’ dinner harmful to journalism

Mr. Dooley, the wise and witty saloon keeper created by the Chicago columnist Peter Finley Dunne, advised the gentlemen of the press a century ago that it was their duty to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

He said nothing about hiring a comedian to do it for them.

When it was called treason, not collusion

The last time a presidential candidate conspired with a foreign government to influence an election, it was called treason, not collusion.

The time was 1968, the candidate was Richard Nixon.  

Fifty years ago this fall, Nixon was enjoying a 15-point lead over Vice President Hubert Humphrey until the prospect of ending the war in Vietnam in the waning days of the campaign began to erode that lead.  

Too many candidates for governor, too few ideas

Nobody seems to be noticing or, I daresay, caring that Connecticut’s Democratic and Republican Parties will nominate their candidates for governor in a few weeks. For those who do, it’s May 11 and 12 in Hartford for the Democrats and May 18 and 19 at the Foxwoods Casino for the Republicans.

Maybe it’s because we’re so distracted by the dysfunction of the two national parties or maybe the more politically aware suspect that the nominating conventions won’t necessarily be nominating the next governor.

Get the paper for news, the news channel for entertainment

I just saw “Chappaquiddick,” a retelling of the 1969 automobile accident that took the life of 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne and destroyed the presidential ambitions, but not the political career, of Edward Kennedy.  

Afterward, I talked about it with friends who hadn’t seen the film but vividly remembered the event. I described what I saw as a fascinating docudrama, which recounted the story as I remembered it but also  attempted to fill in some blanks with speculation based on both historical accounts and the imagination of the writers.

Esty upheaval could cost Democrats the 5th District in November

When I left the state for a long winter vacation in late February, the race to succeed the most unpopular governor in the Union was a mess, with a dozen or so no-names, has-beens and never-wills from each party flopping about like so many beached whales.

Nothing much has changed. We still have too many candidates offering too few ideas. Check out the content of last week’s debate among nine Republican candidates for evidence.

The funniest president in U.S. history?

By now, we’ve all come to recognize that, in addition to his genius and humility, we have a president blessed with a world-class sense of humor. Witness the levity in his suggestion that those who didn’t stand and join in applauding him during his State of the Union address were  “treasonous.”

Hilarious.

Donald Trump, we can all agree, is the wittiest president in the past century — with the possible exception of that devilishly funny Richard Nixon.

What does Putin have on Trump?

There was a lot of news about Donald Trump and Russia last week, none of it that “vindicates ‘Trump,’” despite the president’s tweeted insistence that this is the case.  Much of the news, in fact, only makes it more important than ever to find the answer of the most troubling question raised by the president’s conduct vis-à-vis Russia and its dictator:

What does Vladimir Putin have on Donald Trump?

Connecticut congressmen should learn to compromise

It was sad to see both Connecticut senators and three of its five House members vote against reopening the federal government last week.

Remembering Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee

Last week, I had the rare experience of not only seeing a historical film whose principal players I had known, but also hearing the audience applaud the history they made as the movie ended.

The film is Stephen Spielberg’s  “The Post,” the story of the role The Washington Post and its publisher, Katharine Graham, and editor, Ben Bradlee, played in affirming the press freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment against a powerful opponent, the Nixon Administration.