If You Ask Me

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.”


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.

Can the GOP fix the fine mess we’ve gotten into?

To paraphrase what Hardy often said to Laurel, “It’s a fine mess we’ve gotten us into.”

Credit for much of the messiness has to go to the Democratic Party, which has controlled the executive and legislative branches of state government for the past eight years. 

But some of the credit for the mess must be shared by the Republican Party, which controlled the governorship for 15 of the past 22 years and played nicely with the Democratic legislative majority in giving the mess its momentum. 

Could CT have a third-party governor?

Could Connecticut become the Land of Oz in 2018?  

That’s Oz as in R. Nelson “Oz” Griebel, the latest in a long line of candidates for governor.  Never heard of him? That’s no problem. We’ve never heard of most of the candidates for that open position and aren’t terribly excited about those we’ve heard of.

Trump now wants to use ‘alternative words’

Within days of Donald Trump’s inauguration, George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” became the best-selling book in every category at Amazon.com.

This 67-year-old novel about a society manipulated by an authoritarian government had been selling well since the surprise election of Trump the previous November. This was also true of Sinclair Lewis’ tale of an American fascist president, “It Can’t Happen Here.”