Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Das boots

The Groton sub base was saved today by a 7-1 vote of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Stephen Singer, an AP writer based in Hartford, reports via WaPo LINK

Also saved, but not noticed as of yet by the Singer, was the political career of Rob Simmons, the Republican congressman whose repeated narrow victories in a left-leaning district have been attributed to his vows to save the base, long in the crosshairs of the Pentagon.

In the 2004 race, over 25,000 voters evidently decided Simmons, rather than Democratic candidate Jim Sullivan of Norwich, had the mettle to save the base, not least of all because of his pedigree as a member of key committees and the fact that he is a former CIA spook with lots of Pentagon friends.

Tom Breen, an intrepid reporter from the Journal Inquirer, an independently owned newspaper in Manchester, Conn., managed to get in touch with Simmons minutes after the BRAC vote. Simmons, naturally, was "ecstatic" about the decision, wrote Breen:

"I said I was either going to come home in my chariot or on my shield, and it looks like a chariot," Simmons said.

Which obviously begs the question of how much of a mega-fucking-photo-op it would be for Simmons to ride into Groton this week like dressed like a Centurion, but let's not get off topic.

The bounce for Simmons, reported Breen, was significant, according to Jeffrey Ladewig, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Connecticut:

"With the initial decision to close it, I thought his re-election chances were in danger," Ladewig said. "This is tremendous news for him, and, obviously, the state."

(I'd link to the Journal Inquirer's online version of the story, if they had one. But they don't.)

The New London Day's Ted Mann fleshes out Simmons' bounce even more. LINK I'd quote at length from it, but subscription is required for their Web version, and I don't want to get sued.

Suffice it to say, though, that there's a fact worth pointing out again, a fact that has been previously discussed on this site. Though the fight to save this sub base was billed as the ultimate act in bipartisanship by state politicians, one of the biggest ramifications of it being saved is the revival of the political career of a powerful congressman who had been put on the brink by Rumsfeld's recommendation.

But let us of course not forget that state pols should rightly be congratulated for coming together across party lines to work effectively with each other to save the base. But, of course, this fact begs yet another, far more important question: If they can come together across party lines for the sake of the welfare of the people of the state of Connecticut, what exactly are they doing with respect to every other issue besides the sub base closure, on which such broad consensus is never reached and bipartisan teamwork is an El Dorado-esque dream?

Would it be too cynical to say that pols from both parties are just using minute political differences to wedge the public into separate camps, and by doing so keeping themselves fat off taxpayer money? Well, reach that conclusion for yourself.

2 Comments:

Blogger A Connecticut Yankee in King Beltran's Court said...

Bravo.

Ethically, I think you maybe should have mentioned your employer before making this post, but as the British are fond of saying, horses for courses.

The chariot quote is pretty sweet, but Breen is no Peter Urban. Check out this sweet quote the Connecticut Post man snagged:

"Yahoo!" said U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. "Submarine Base New London lives, and I think that it will live forever."

Oasis reference by Lieberman? You be the judge.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Rex Publius said...

In the word of John McLaughlin: "WRONG!"

Lieberman's quote, which probably came from a press release anyway, was part of an Associated Press report thrown on the wire just after the closure. The JI had it too. Yesterday.

1:52 PM  

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