Sunday, June 25, 2006

Malloy on the Primary

Part One of a Series on Dan Malloy

Bloggers from Connecticut Local Politics and My Left Nutmeg met with Mayor Dan Malloy of Stamford, the endorsed Democratic candidate for governor, on Saturday for an informal question-and-answer session.

Each of the four bloggers from this site who was at the meeting will be providing their take on part or all of the experience. These will not be long articles, as they are intended to allow you to get a basic idea of who Malloy is and what he's about. Today I'll be focusing on some of the horse-race aspects of the meeting, and on my general impressions of Malloy.

The Primaries

Malloy was quick to point to the fact that the Senate primary "is sucking all the air out" of the gubernatorial race. He believes that people are just now starting to pay attention to these races. He's basically looking to July as the real start of the gubernatorial primary: "July through August 8th will be a sprint," he said. Right now "we're in a bit of a lull."

Perhaps the most interesting part of the primary discussion was Malloy's defense of his progressive credentials. When asked about which way Lamont supporters might break, he said, "My hope is that they’ll take the progressive candidate. That’s me."

When civil unions first came up in 2003, he stated, municipal officials were invited to testify in favor of the idea. "Only one showed up. Me." He also said that he "would sign a marriage bill," is "against the death penalty" and, perhaps most importantly to many primary voters, is against the war.

"Where’s John [DeStefano]'s voice on the war?" he asked of his opponent. "I’ve had numerous debates with John. ... I don’t know what his position on the war is. Do you?" (Malloy also defended his membership in the centrist Democratic Leadership Council or DLC--see his remarks here.)

When asked why people ought to vote for him instead of DeStefano, Malloy said "The real difference is that I have a far better record than John [DeStefano] does." He pointed to Stamford's record on crime, (" of the 5 safest cities in America"), affordable housing and the economy as points in his favor. He also mentioned that his plan for universal health required the federal government "to pay its fair share" of the cost.

The Convention

"We knew that he didn't have 804 [votes], despite what John [DeStefano] was saying," said Malloy, when asked about his convention victory. He went on to state that the DeStefano campaign "was trying to decieve people," and that "they didn't understand that we had solidified our support."

Malloy said that delegates began changing their votes after the 1st Congressional District was called, "because we won that district" and because they didn't like being decieved. He accused the DeStefano campaign of "typical politics," in which everyone is kept guessing. He referred to the fact that the DeStefano campaign waited until after the votes were done to announce Scott Slifka as their LG choice, and made allusions to the fact that "people in Litchfield" (presumably a reference to Audrey Blondin) were kept guessing. By contrast, the Malloy campaign announced Mary Glassman's selection before the convention began.

Jodi Rell

Malloy, when asked about the remarkably high popularity of Jodi Rell, said, "Everybody in the country thinks that public education needs to be reformed, but they think the public school they send their kids to is great. Think about it.

"I think people in Connecticut have suppressed their true feelings about the failure of government and have decided not to associate that with Jodi Rell because ...she's not John [Rowland] ...and she's a nice person. Therefore, we should like her. And I think that dynamic changes come September."

He repeated several times that the Rell administration has been "a failure."

"I spend more time worrying about what will happen if we don't change directions," said Malloy when asked what he thought a Connecticut following his governorship would be like.

"I can't wait to have a real debate with Jodi Rell," he said.


Malloy is a knowledgeable man with a knack for framing the debate. He's also a little more defensive and sharp than I expected, but that may just have been a certain intensity. This is a man who is desperate to wake Connecticut out of what he sees as a bout of self-pity and depression. He believes, strongly, that we can be better than what we are.

The proposal of his that I'm interested in the most has to do with the separation of education funding from municipal property taxes. I'll let someone else talk about this in more detail, but Malloy does at least recognize what may be one of our most serious problems.

Of the two, DeStefano seems like slightly more of a policy wonk than Malloy, but DeStefano has never really played to this strength. His proposals seem less detailed, less concrete and more vague than Malloy's--at least on the surface. There may be more to the DeStefano proposals that we don't see. Actually, there's a lot that we don't see about that campaign. Maybe that's the clearest distinction between the two.

Malloy also may be correct that people have somehow suppressed their feelings about the failure of Connecticut's government--simply because we don't expect much out of government to begin with. This is especially true following the Rowland scandals. I'm not quite convinced that Rell's popularity is due only to mass delusion or to her grandmotherly persona, but that's a discussion for September, not June.

More reactions, reporting and commentary on the Malloy meeting will appear over the next couple of days. Thanks to Dan Malloy and Brian Durand for proposing, setting up and attending this meeting.


BRubenstein said... i have said before...Malloy doesnt provide a sharp enough contrast with Rell and the things he needed to do in terms of knocking down her popularity % so that he can win havent been done in over the year he has run for the job. I highly doubt he wins in August...but if he does..he cant do in the remaining 3 months what he failed to do in the year and a half he announced his candidacy.

Furthermore his 2 main arguments are;

1 " i am the only one who can beat Rell"...are belied by the poll numbers which have both Dems tied against her...with JDS ahead of DM in a head to head race.

2. " i am the progressive in the primary"..are belied by his DLC membership...lack of union support ( except for a few small local's) and lack of the progressive base of the party for him.

Rell is going down said...

Did anyone question him about his campaign's false endorsement this week? Or the fact that he would revert to using the term "thuggery" when talking about his opponent's campaign? Everyone on this site, regardless of who they support, has pointed to the fact that if the primary turns negative, the biggest winner would be Jodi Rell. And yet he gets a pass when his campaign throws out personal attacks without ANY proof. And if you don't think that it was intentional that they chose the word 'thug' to describe an italian from New Haven, then you are blind. It's disgusting, and even Malloy supporters should agree that he should apologize for his campaign's choice of words.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Does anyone really see any scenario where Jodi loses?


Seems like a lot of effort by a lot of people using up a lot of cash, and all for no real reason.

Genghis Conn said...

It seems pretty unlikely that Rell would lose. Anything can happen, of course... but I don't think she's in serious danger unless she's either lazy or manages to seriously screw up.

Patricia Rice said...

Rell's ratings are declining and a lot can happen between now and November but the left wing of the Democratic party is more consumed with beating up people in their own party rather than focusing on Jodi Smell.

Chris MC said...

The differences between Malloy and Rell on both policy and personality will become clear beginning about Labor Day, when Malloy will trail Rell 45 - 55 in the polls. If the polls reflected that today, the view that Rell is unbeatable wouldn't seem so safe, right?

Right now, Rell is running, as far as most people are concerned, against Brand X. When the average voter gets a good look at Malloy, they will see what many of his supporters see, a real alternative to business as usual; someone to vote for.

BRubenstein said...

Pat're post simply isnt true...

Both DM and JDS have been in this race over a year....far before " the left wing of the party got involved with Lamont"..

Since their respective announcements,neither DM or JDS has done what it takes as of yet to knock her ratings down...If they havent done what is needed to be done in over a year of campaigning I highly doubt either will bring her down in the 3 months remaining after the August primary..

You're attempt to bring down the left wing of the party for errors in strategy and tactics by DM and JDS is deceiving the public who watches this blog and does nothing to build party unity after a bruising primary,except make the possiblity for unity worse.

In addition, Rell's positive numbers went from close to 80% DOWN to 73%, hardly a seismatic difference.The fact is her numbers have been consistent since both candidates since the inception of their respective campaigns either have not attacked her much or been absolutely ineffective in attacking her.

Put YOUR blame where it belongs..on DM and JDS themselves.

Anonymous said...

except to clean up a few loose ends some of which Rowland would have eventually embraced anyway, state government has failed to change course since Rowland resigned. If that means failure to Malloy then Ammann who supports Malloy is a failure and Williams who supports JDS are failures too... I would just say thet everybody is risk averse and playing politics myself...

BRubenstein said...

Chris Chris Chris...that's wonderful spin but it assumes DM wins the assumption that is yet not in evidence given that JDS is ahead of DM in ALL polling to date.

Furthermore, exactly HOW would DM's numbers tighten up to just 55-45%? What new strategy or tactics are you privy too that he hasnt used yet in his over 1 year of campaigning?

Frankly of the 2 candidates DM is most like Rell to me and would have the hardest time making a distinction for the public to vote for him.

Anonymous said...

BR: you are absolutely right, there is no difference between Rell and Malloy except that I think Jodi might be a little more principled and little less vindictive when she doesn't get her way...they will both go with the wind...

Chris MC said...

Your psuedo-scientific scenario building is nothing more than spin if it isn't a campaign strategy, and we both know it.

I've been right about Malloy for three years, and I'll be right about this too.

The thing is, netroots/grassroots people like me believe that while the nitty gritty analysis of campaigns is important, it should be about more than that. You don't have to accept it, that is just the way it is for us.

You're entitled to spend all your time spinning here if you want. I'll continue to talk about what really matters. And do a bit of prognosticating of my own. You don't have to accept it, that is just the way it is going to go.

BRubenstein said...

chris chris analyis is based on scientific polls and data..your analysis is based on " feelings" and a subjective subliminal relationship of sorts with a particular candidate and with no understanding of how a campaign in the 21st century actually is run.

Having said that Chris, you should acknowledge that there are no objective standards as to who is a netroots/grassroots person or not...anyone like YOU can call themselves anything...but go ahead and cloak yourself as that if you wish. too your PROGNOSTICATING....would you care to make a wager on the outcome of the DM/JDS primary? I will take JDS to win and you can have any amount you wish...say $1000? to be paid in cash on the next day after the primary.

Anonymous said...

I think it is telling about the way Malloy is viewed by Stamford voters when he came as close as he did when challenged by a virtual upstart for Mayor last fall. On the other hand the JDS race for mayor told me nothing as far as trying to look at things from another angle. And on this grass roots thing are you talking about the band or the stuff I accidentally pulled up with the weeds the other day? and how does that play into a race for Governor.? just curious...

Mr X said...

My thoughts are Dan Malloy and Mary Glassman will defeat John DeStefano and Scott Slifka.

The Malloy Campaign is working hard throughout the state and I truly believe they will come out on top at the end of Primary Day.

DeStefano has suddenly developed "Litchfield County Amnesia" He knew where it was a few months ago when he put Audrey Blondin on his short list.But yesterday his campaign did not send anyone to the breakfast in Litchfield which proves to me that DeStefano and Slifka and their campaign staff have forgotten where Litchfield County is??? Well we will remember that they forgot on primary day.

Go Malloy/Glassman!!!!!!

Mr X said...

My thoughts are Dan Malloy and Mary Glassman will defeat John DeStefano and Scott Slifka.

The Malloy Campaign is working hard throughout the state and I truly believe they will come out on top at the end of Primary Day.

DeStefano has suddenly developed "Litchfield County Amnesia" He knew where it was a few months ago when he put Audrey Blondin on his short list.But yesterday his campaign did not send anyone to the breakfast in Litchfield which proves to me that DeStefano and Slifka and their campaign staff have forgotten where Litchfield County is??? Well we will remember that they forgot on primary day.

Go Malloy/Glassman!!!!!!

BRubenstein said...

Bilko...the same wager that i proposed to Chris...applies to to put your money where your mouth is?

Anonymous said...

JDS has Litchfield County amnesia and Bilko has blogger repeatitis :-))

Mr X said...

No I decline thats not in my Budget.

Dan and Mary have spent a lot of time throughout the state and their campaign team is working everywhere in our state and making the committments.

Since the convention I havent heard or seen John or Scott anywhere in Litchfield County or in the 5th CD.They have a disorganized campaign organization Now Bruce if you were running it Then It would be great But the people he has advising him are not doing what they need to be doing.Where Dan Malloy is all over the place and is doing what he needs to do Maybe he doesnt have as much Labor Support as DeStefano But he is working,going to events,making phone calls(actual live phone call not a recorded message)He called me at home on a Sunday afternoon while I was watching Nascar. I just believe Dan and Mary Will win when all is said and done.

Chris MC said...

Bruce -
Your "scientific" scenario is just a more complicated schtick, and nobody should be swayed by it. There isn't much about the "21st Century Campaign" below the level of the campaign manager in a statewide campaign that can't be understood in a weekend training, and practiced effectively with a couple of campaigns of volunteering. It ain't rocket science. And I'm testimony that anyone with the data and the willingness to sit down and study it can do the number crunching.

Whether you like it or not, grassroots / netroots people like me - and we have post after post from you ardently emphasizing that that is all I am - are committed to the role of ideas and to the participation of average people in civic life.

There is a place in campaigns for professional "operatives" like you, of course. Just no place for you, evidently.

Not that when you offer substance it isn't welcome. But very little of what you offer is substantive, despite your claims to the contrary.

Anyhow, knock yourself out.

Genghis Conn said...

Speaking of Litchfield County... I can't get the image of Audrey Blondin in tears at the convention out of my head.

Here's what happened... It was after the vote was done, and I was talking with her, we were shaking hands and talking about the site. She was such a nice person. Great hat. Then DeStefano came up, put an arm around her shoulder, and took her off the floor. I followed them. They were talking intensely over in a corner. I wish I'd had my camera with me just then, because I guess that was where he told her she didn't get it. I headed back and overheard DeStefano staffers talking about Slifka, and how he was the choice. "Is that true?" I asked. They took a look at my media badge and shut up.

The next time I saw her, she was pretty upset.

So I can't blame him for staying away.

Anonymous said...

Bilko - I thought only Bush supporters watched NASCAR; I know Howard Dean thinks all southerners drive pick-up trucks but I'll bet he doesn't know the preferred brand...

BRubenstein said...

chris...with all due dont have the experience to know what it takes to run a campaign in the 21st century since you havent been a campaign manager or senior operative in any race.Since you have no experience you can't judge what "substance" is needed to effectively run a campaign and for that campaign to be effective or not.

I also believe in the ability of the netroots to draw in average people in our democracy and many are posting in this web from time to time.Fortuneately for them, they dont pretend to be anything they are not..unlike you who pretends to be experienced..but has none.

BTW Chris I turned down a strategy and operative role in 2 time....ive a busy law firm and 15 employees to run...though i can take 15 minutes and blast in CLP and blog a response to your simplistic nonfactual uneducated spin very quickly and easilly. Statewide candidates call me every day for advise..and i have asked them about YOU..and no one knows you. Are you getting paid or are a part of any race? Tell us Chris, which campaign do YOU have a senior role in?

BRubenstein said... other words, your dont have the courage of your convictions.

BTW Audrey was very pro iraq war, supported Lieberman for President..and would have been a lousy choice for LG. Not that Slifka ( DLC Member) is any better.

I will say this...the way Audrey found out about not getting the horrible and a real stupid thing that the JDS campaign did...she should have been told before the convention and i deplore the act of telling her AFTER the was chickenshit of the campaign to do use her and then abuse her and you all in the 5th CD have every right to be mad at JDS and his campaign.