Wednesday, August 24, 2005

BRAC: Base Stays Open!

Commission Votes 7-1 to Keep Sub Base Open

The Navy and the Department of Defense said it would save taxpayers $1.6 billion to shut the Groton Sub Base and move most of its operations to Georgia. The base was outdated and not needed by the modern military. Today, the Base Realignment and Closure commission indicated what it thought of that argument:

"It would be a tragic mistake, a tragic loss to this nation," Commission Chairman Anthony J. Principi said before the vote.

Retired General Lloyd Newton initiated the move to strike Groton from the list of 62 major bases tapped for closure or realignment by the defense department.

Newton, a Pratt & Whitney executive who lives in West Hartford, told his colleague today that "it would be a big mistake to close this facility at this time." (Lightman)

The only remaining hurdle to clear is President Bush, who could approve BRAC's entire list or require them to make changes. This would happen next month. It's seen as unlikely that Bush will intervene, although one never knows.

Today, Team Connecticut and all those who worked hard to save the base should feel proud that they have accomplished what everyone (myself included) thought was impossible. This is a huge boost for Connecticut, and today we can all exhale, just a little bit.

Lightman, David. "Commission Votes To Save Sub Base." Hartford Courant 24 August, 2005.


Anonymous said...

Who wants to wager how long it will take Simmons to take credit for this?

Great Santini said...

I am astonished. I was wrong - I didn't think it had a prayer to stay open.

stomv said...

Great for Connecticut.
(Probably!) good for the US Mil.
Horrible for the DCCC, as it plucks away a good pickup opportunity in a blue state.

Nate said...

If the DCCC was pinning its hopes of beating Rob Simmons on the closure of the Groton Sub Base, they/we deserve to lose. Luckily, I doubt that's the case.

Genghis Conn said...

Simmons does have a reason to take at least some credit, though. He and others worked pretty hard to keep the base, and they were successful. I expect both Rep. Simmons and Gov. Rell to use this next year.

It doesn't change the fact that Simmons faces another tough re-election battle next year. It may be a little easier for him, but it's still going to be close.

Anonymous said...

Simmons is all set now-- he will get (and deserves) lots of credit for this. Rell will also benefit, although her election will not hinge on it like Rob's has.

With Rell at the top of the ticket and the base staying open, I think Simmons will be off most target lists. Democrats would be smarter to focus on Shays this time around.

But for CT, this is a real win. Congrats to us all!

Anonymous said...

What's DeStefano's take on this? He was critical of Rell, when Groton was put on the closure list.

Anonymous said...

You can see what Dan Malloy thinks on his website he has a press release that he sent out today.

Aldon Hynes said...

I'm sorry I couldn't reply to this earlier. I was in New York and have only gotten online now as we prepare for our Online Town Hall Forum

I have received a copy of the DeStefano Press Release about the BRAC decision and have placed it on our front page.

Maybe when I get a chance to catch up on everything, I add some of my own thoughts on this and how it relates to the Governor's race, as well as the Second CD race.

Dave Mooney said...

CT should start looking and planning for the day when the sub base is eventually closed. We should not be so economically vulnerable to a base closure. The Rowland/Rell administration had over 10 years to prepare Southeastern CT for the inevitable closure or size-reduction of the base and were shocked, SHOCKED! when it ended up on this year's BRAC list. Only a typical Rell last minute mad scramble, and devastating economic concerns saved the base this time. Southeastern CT needs to diversify its employment opportunities.

ctobserver said...

Well, with the BRAC decision, I guess Blumenthal's choice is made.

Genghis Conn said...


That's a very good take on the situation. Frankly, we should have moved to shore up the base and the region after 1993's near miss.

I think SE CT has been doing what it can to diversify, especially since Electric Boat's production slowed down so dramatically in the 1990s, but it certainly hasn't been easy. Casinos aren't the answer, and tourism is fickle at best.

Genghis Conn said...


You might be right about Blumenthal. Of course, who really knows what he's thinking?

Slow Rheal Cormier said...

You know, my mom, who is a nurse and whose fmaily has a history of breast cancer, is alwasy remarking when Rell is on TV that she "keeps looking worse." She wonders if maybe the cancer, along with the stress from the effort to save the base, is taking a larger toll on Rell than is known.

I know it is all speculation, but I wonder if there is something to that, and maybe this is why she hasn't announced her decision yet? I know she just released those controversial mailings, but she still may not have made up her mind totally.

DeanFan84 said...

I'm a partisan, but the way I read the BRAC/Groton sub base crisis is that Rob Simmons and Jodi Rell damn near lost our sub base!

They fumbled the ball badly. I mean, how many CT people even knew the base was at risk before the initial report came out? (like no one, as Gov. Rell herself seemed surprised that Groton was on the chopping block.)

Thank god for our Democratic Senators. My understanding is that they came running to the rescue, and that it was them, along with key Democrats such as Blumenthal and DeLauro, (and Jimmy Carter, god bless him), that saved the day.

Connecticut Republicans have been shown little respect by Bush and Co. If we truly want to prosper, we turn the whole damn state Blue, and when Democrats eventually re-take Congress, we will have some genuine clout.

Ebpie said...


Are you such a blind partisan that you can't give any credit to the GOP? I don't think I am going too far out on a limb to say that if it wasn't Rob Simmons working on this non stop for the last three months, there is a good chance that we would have had bad news today. Nearly everything he has done this summer has been devoted towards saving that base. Obviously he doesn't deserve all the credit, but please take a break from the partisan snipping. Everyone deserves a pat on the back today.

DeanFan84 said...


No, I'm not going to give Simmons too much credit. He damn well should have been working round the clock on this one. And yes, I do believe the Democrats were the ones who saved the day.

The fact is that our Republican Congresspeople are weak. They hold very little sway in D.C. If they had any balls, they could be at the heart of a moderate Republican coalition, one that could break with the Hard Right when appropriate. (like the BollWeevil Dems used to do in the South.) And one that could serve as an effective counter-balance to the politics of hate and division as practiced by the Trent Lott and Bill Frists of this world.

My belief is that such a coalition would allow these CT Republicans to vote for CT interests and values, as opposed to going along with the radical Texas agenda.

Unfortunately, neither Shays, Johnson, nor Simmons are true leaders. It is always the Party line that they follow, even when it is glaringly against what the majority of us Nutmeggers want.

Genghis Conn said...

I agree with Ebpie on this one, DeanFan. Everybody worked hard. I don't think we could have done much to keep the base off the list in the first place, seeing as the DoD really wanted it shut down. They've wanted it shut down since 1993. That we turned it around is a minor miracle.

That said, there's no question that the base is still in danger from the next round of closings.

Ebpie said...

"Unfortunately, neither Shays, Johnson, nor Simmons are true leaders. It is always the Party line that they follow, even when it is glaringly against what the majority of us Nutmeggers want."

Same old Democrat attack line that has failed time after time. Clearly the people of CT do not see their representatives as right wing lap dogs. If the DCCC ever wants to take back those three seats they are going to have to come up with some new material. Otherwise it will be a long time before the 2nd, 4th and 5th CD's have Democratic represenatation.

Anonymous said...


Well said! Connecticut loves moderates-- Republicans or Democrats. That's why they love Lieberman and Johnson. (Only time Johnson came close to losing was when she got too close to Newt Gingrich).

Shays and Simmons have tough races, but their moderate views make them generally popular. The Far Right hates them as much as Far Lefties like DeanFan.

Shays and Simmons will both be safe this year. Two reasons: first, Rell will do better in 2006 than Bush did in 2004 in CT. (Even if she does not win, she will get least 45%). Second, Simmons now has the sub base issue-- which will swing lots of people. Lot of people in my area (second CD) say that they would vote for Simmons if he saved the sub base.

Shays is a better target for Democrats, but Farrell has a weak argument in tying him to DeLay. Especially when he called for DeLay's resignation. Dems should focus on a positive, moderate agenda to beat him.

BTW-- I also agree with Genghis on the sub base. Mad props to all of Team Connecticut-- R's and D's-- for pulling this one off.

DeanFan84 said...

Anonymous & Ebpie--

You two crack me up. Really, are we supposed to take your advice to heart? You remind me of Karl Rove with his "Please give me Dean" campaign. (yeah,Rove got his worst nightmare in the candidacy of John Kerry. LMAO).

Absolutely yes, CT is ready for red-meat Dems. We all know the country is off-track. W's favorability rating are in the effing 30's, for god's sake!

Nutmeggers aren't stupid. We are familiar with the tendency in New England to vote for Republican Governors-- to counter-balance Democratic Statehouses.

But we should also acknowledge New Englanders capability to say "No!" to the Radical Right,-- by voting for Democrats. It may be wishful thinking, but I foresee a trend against New England Republicans in 2006. No one wwants to further the BushCo agenda.

It's not about individual races. Instead, it is about fighting or furthering the Bush agenda. Let Simmons take a pro-New England, anti-Bush stance, and maybe I give him some chance of winning in 2006.

But given his kow-towing, I fully expect a counter-revolution in 2006. New England has seen through the Bush farce. It isn't long before we also see through purported "independence" of our Bush supporters.

stomv said...

Same old Democrat attack line that has failed time after time. Clearly the people of CT do not see their representatives as right wing lap dogs

And with Shays, they're right. But Simmons and Johnson are yes-men republicans, and there's nothing moderate about that. The fact is, they may *want* moderate, but they're not paying close enough attention to notice they're not getting what they want. Just look at the voting records of those two "moderates."

And nate: there's a difference between a "gift" issue used to demolish an incumbant and "pinning its hopes." It was Rob Simmons who pinned his hopes of election and re-election on the sub base, not the Dems. If the base got closed, Simmons would have be the house and lost. He won. There's little the Dems would have been able to do to impact Simmons' reelection chances one way or the other. He went all-in and won. All the competitors can do is tip their hat and hope it doesn't work out so well for him next time.

Anonymous said...

I hope the people running Farrell and Courtney's campaign do not make the same mistake DeanFan is making-- running on a rabid liberal, Anti-Bush agenda is no way to win. Only a positive, moderate agenda will help Democrats win. Didn't Kerry and Dean's failures teach us anything?

When Democrats run as "not Bush", we will lose. CT is facing so many obstacles-- transporation, urban-suburban disparities, sluggish job recovery-- that we can do better than this. We need a positive agenda to deal with these issues.

And let's face it, Connecticut Repubicans ARE moderates. Voters see right through the argument that they are Bush/DeLay clones. So let's not make the same mistakes we always make.

CT is a moderate state first, and a blue state second. (I think we are "purple" in Obama's words). We need moderate Dems to lead the way.

Nate said...

Horrible for the DCCC, as it plucks away a good pickup opportunity in a blue state.

I won't argue "gift" vs. "pinning their hopes", but to say this is "horrible for the DCCC" is just wrong. Rob Simmons' fate was not altered yesterday; if anything, it was altered over the last few months when he visibly and strenuously fought for the sub base, just as he should have. I'm no fan of Simmons and would love to see him lose, but yesterday was a good day for CT and a no decision for Simmons and the DCCC.

Paul Vance said...

Hi everyone, just wanted to weigh in on the BRAC vote and on the active debate on the Blog.

I am excited (like everyone else in our state) that the Sub Base was saved-- but I hope that we remain diligent and continually remind the Washingtonians that New London's sub base is important to our national defense as well as to our state's economy. It is a victory for all of those who worked to save it.

I am a huge fan of stand-up comedy and I think of a Chris Rock routine about the labels in politics. He knocks those who label themselves (as liberals, conservatives, or by party) and he says, "Just be an American. Think." Although I don't count Chris Rock as one of my political advisors, I like his message.

I am probably most accurately labeled a 'moderate', I am liberal on some issues and conservative on others. I think most people in Connecticut are like that politically. With that being said, I am a proud blue collar Democrat.

We need our leaders to be proactive and more, we need them to be honest and open about what they believe and how they will vote, which is why I am running for Congress in the 5th CD.

Just wanted to weigh in, hope everyone enjoys the weekend.

Genghis Conn said...

Good message, Paul. We can get very hung up on labels and get too entrenched with whatever side we've cast our lot with.

Anonymous said...


Great statement. Spoken like someone running for Congress, because I fully agree (and don't see how I couldn't!) :)

Best of luck!