Just after the announcement that the Groton Sub Base was on the recommended closure list, Connecticut's political leaders held a press conference. Governor Rell took the stage with both Democratic senators, as well as congressmen/women from both parties. The visual spoke for itself: we're going to work together to try to save the base.
Then, later that day, John DeStefano released this:
Connecticut workers have a right to ask: Where has Governor Rell been? The work required by our political leaders to prevent today’s announcement was work that should have been done over the past year. Sadly, until recent weeks, she has refused to travel to Washington to lobby on behalf of Connecticut’s working men and women. Now she says she is “shocked” at the Pentagon’s decision..
Governor Rell may be “shocked” at today’s announcement, but what’s really shocking is the lack of leadership that results in the loss of tens of thousands of Connecticut jobs. (link)
I'm not sure whether this is ballsy or just divisive and petty. I'm also not sure if what he said is a legitimate complaint. It wasn't smart of Rell to miss the conference, but was it that vital? After all, the governors of New Jersey and Maine were at the conference, and they got screwed, too.
But let's say that it is legitimate to connect the loss of the base with skipping the conference. Is now the right time to levy this kind of accusation? Other Democrats are jumping on board the bipartisan bandwagon:
"Look, I think the governor has a done a tremendous job to this point. I can't comment on what other candidates say," [U.S. Rep. John] Larson [D-1] said. "That's up to them to choose and pick their words. But I do think the governor is doing the very best job that she can. We're going to work alongside of her to try to make this happen." (Keating)
This is the time to stand together, putting the best interests of all the people of Connecticut first. Towards that end, I have called the Governor and offered her my assistance, and those of my advisors, in fighting to keep the many important military installations open. The ongoing operation of these bases and the jobs they provide is vital to the economic stability of our great State. --Dan Malloy, from his website (.pdf file).
And so on. I haven't heard of a single other Democrat who has come out taking shots at the Republicans over this. Joe Courtney, for example, is running against Rob Simmons but has not attacked him for his failure to keep the base of the list in the first place.
Yet, one has to admire DeStefano's actions. It's a gutsy, bold move, and there may be a small measure of truth to his accusation. He's proving that he's not afraid to come right after Rell on even the most sensitive of issues.
Let's see if it pays off for him.
Keating, Christopher and Mark Pazniokas. "Parties Unite Against Closing." Hartford Courant 17 May 2005.
There is a stirring reponse to this on the DeStefano campaign site.