Friday, August 19, 2005

A local angle

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert yesterday sent a letter to the chairman of the Base Re-alignment and Closure Commission urging him to prevent the closing of the Naval Submarine base in Groton, Conn.

The letter cited budget figures and taxpayer investment, with Hastert saying as a "fiscal conservative" he could not condone the closing of a base that the federal government had put millions of dollars into recently.

But today David Lightman, the Hartford Courant's Washington "Bureau Chief", files an unusually competent report illustrating the real motive behind Hastert's letter. LINK

Lightman says:
But a motive other than trying to keep the base open may have inspired their letters to commission Chairman Anthony J. Principi - trying to save the seat of vulnerable incumbent U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons of Connecticut.

For those outside the Nutmeg state, Simmons ran as much of a one-issue campaign as is possible in 2004, saying only he had the gravitas and political capital built up to save the base. Months after he was narrowly elected, the Groton base was put on the chopping block, and Simmons (not to mention thousands of his constituents) were gutted.

Though Lightman notes in his report that politicos trying to save the base have supposedly done their damndest to keep politics out of the issue, what Hastert's letter proves more than anything is that, despite the huge loss at stake for Connecticut, it's politics as usual in the Constitution state.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

so how do you explain former prez Jimmy Carter's letter in support of keeping Groton open? "Former Dem Presidents For Simmons?"

3:18 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Anonymous, interesting point.

Carter was a submariner, it could be as simple as that. He may share unease, as do some in Defense, that eliminating a lot of Northern bases limits the military's profile in important regions.

In any case, his support for something that is important to Simmons is by no means an endoresement of Simmons.

4:49 PM  
Blogger A Connecticut Yankee in King Beltran's Court said...

I doubt anyone will read this, but the fact that the Groton base will be relocated to Georgia, Carter's home state, made his endorsement even more confusing. Dodd and Lieberman made some phone calls, I guess.

2:11 PM  

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