Monday, August 22, 2005

BRAC Vote This Week

Political Fallout Uncertain

Sources say that the final BRAC vote, which will decide whether the Groton sub base stays open, will come later this week, probably Thursday. No matter how the vote goes, the consequences will be dramatic. What will some of the political effects of either a "yes" (base will close) or a "no" (base stays open) vote be?

Base Closes

Political observers have been saying for quite some time that Rob Simmons's fate will mirror that of the base. If it closes, he goes. The conventional wisdom suggests that the economic fallout and the general sense of demoralization, coupled with the fact that Simmons did not deliver on his signature campaign pledge, to keep the base open, will lead to a Democratic victory in the 2nd District next year. Simmons is a fighter, though, and a tough campaigner. The race will be close no matter what.

There may be other effects. The state's economy seems to be becoming more and more uncertain, as dismal job numbers and a steady stream of fleeing corporations cloud the horizon. Add the sub base to the mix, and citizens could start sensing an economic crisis ahead. If the governor and the legislature look like they're not doing enough, they could be in trouble. An economic reformer may be able to capture the governor's office next year if the sense of crisis is deep enough.

Of course, the base wouldn't really be shut down until 2010-11. So the political and economic fallout may be a long time in coming.

Base Stays Open

Things have been looking better for the base lately. Dennis Hastert and Jimmy Carter have weighed in on its behalf, and the savings the DOD has been projecting may in fact be inflated.

If the base stays, the conventional wisdom will be that Rob Simmons will stay in office. Not necessarily. Voters may find, now that the base is due to stay, that Simmons is no longer quite so attractive as a candidate. And, in what may turn out to be a banner year for Democrats, national trends and the district's own Democratic leanings may run Simmons out of office even if Groton stays open.

However, Gov. Rell and other incumbents will be able to point to the Sub Base as a sign that Connecticut is doing better than the numbers suggest.

Which way the vote will go, I can't say. We're all hoping the base stays open. Either way, though, the political aftermath will be interesting.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Conventional wisdom is right on this one...2004 was a tough year for Republicans in CT because of the Kerry landslide in the state. Even if Rell loses in 2006, it won't be by a landslide.

So Simmons is less vunerable than he was last time-- all else being equal. If the base closes, all else will NOT be equal, and he will likely lose. If the base stays open, there is no compelling reason to kick him out of office.

My gut says the base will stay, give the bipartisan momentum from lots of high profile endorsements (e.g., Carter, Hastert, etc.)

Genghis Conn said...

Anonymous,

It's impossible to tell at this point what BRAC is thinking. The base backers can't be faulted even if the base stays on the list: they made a compelling case. We'll have to wait and see.

Great Santini said...

Reading the tea leaves and the national military press, it is becoming more likely that at least one of the New England facilities slated for closing will be spared. SUBBASE has a chance because it may cost a lot more to clean it up than was anticipated. I think you can make the case that NAS Brunswick may be more valuable - and Maine has two Republican senators. In the DOD community an endorsement from Carter is next to nothing. He has no status in the community. Hastert is another story.

DeanFan84 said...

Count on Joe Lieberman to cover for Rob Simmons if the base closes. Hell, I expect him to be right there at Simmons news conference, helping to explain how everyone pulled together and tried their very best.

Simmons, Johnson and Shays have all got to go, if CT wants to help restore balance to a GOP-controlled D.C. It is really that simple.

Anonymous said...

DeanFan,

I am afraid I do not understand your comment that "Simmons, Johnson and Shays have all got to go, if CT wants to help restore balance to a GOP-controlled D.C."

Seems to me we WANT moderates in the GOP controlled Congress (which is really not going to change anytime soon because of demographic shifts). I think that CT is known as a moderate state from both sides (Lieberman is well-respected among both parties).

Just the thoughts of one moderate... :)

DeanFan84 said...

Nothing moderate about the current GOP. If Shays and our other current GOP congressmen wanted to, they could have gathered other moderate Republicans into a coaltion, that would occasionally swing away from Party leadership.

This hasn't happened.

Personally, I really believe Bush and Co. are out of control, and that if we want to reign them in we must say goodbye to our three Republicans, no matter how benign they might otherwise seem.

The bottom line is that the Radical Right must be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Elected Democrats will not "stop the Radical Right". Electing moderates will-- especially moderate Senators.

Moderate Republicans in the Senate have been the "check" on the far right. Olympia Snow, Lincoln Caffee (and his son whose name I forget), John McCain-- these guys have been the "saucer that cools the cup" in the Seante.

Our House Republicans are all of the same type. Electing Democrats in their stead will do nothing to change the Republican agenda...only take away a much-needed moderate voice.

I would also like to see more moderate Democrats elected in the Joe Lieberman style. Dodd and DeLauro are too liberal for my moderate tastes. Far right and far left are dangerous to the Republic.