Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Urban Leaves GOP

Kevin Rennie at Hotline reports:
More proof that New England Republicans are in danger of taking up permanent residence at the margins comes this morning when a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives switches from Republican to Democrat. North Stonington Republican Diana Urban, elected to a fourth term two weeks ago, often voted with Democrats in the legislature. Her departure from the ranks of the GOP reduces their number to 44 of 151.

I can't imgine the Republicans are going to miss her very much. But I suppose Rennie has a point, sort of. Is there a place in Connecticut's GOP for liberal Republicans?

Speaking of Republicans, the Courant ran a decent piece by Rick Green on the future of the state's Republican Party. He interviewed Mayor Ryan Bingham of Torrington, as well as Sen. Andrew Roraback and others. There's a lot of individual talent in the Republican ranks. Here's a quote I like from Sen. Roraback:
"We have done a poor job articulating why it is a New England Republican is a desirable animal."

They have. Perhaps if Republicans run hard as fiscal conservatives and social moderates, they could become a credible alternative to the Democrats again. For now, though, the failings of the national party are hurting them badly.

Source
Green, Rick. "Searching For A GOP Pulse." Hartford Courant 21 November, 2006.

Update 12:33pm: Check out Colin McEnroe's blog for more information on why Urban switched. Seems like it was more about committee assignments than anything else. Go take a look.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, the fiscal conservatives and social moderates gave us this: Juvenile Justice’s Tangled Web

Anonymous said...

GC--

Good thoughts, as usual.

Key question: is there a Republican party beyond Governor Rell?

I think there is, but they were squashed by two things this year:

1) The anti-Bush vote (let's face it...most people don't think about state legislative candidates. They were voted against the President)
2) Republicans didn't stand for anything in this election.

Republicans have a pretty strong bench in the State Senate-- Roarbach, Capiello, McKinney. Smart, young guys with a lot to offer. Newcomers Debicella and Caliguiri fit this mold too.

But they need to stand for something in order to win. Fiscal conservatism and social moderation is a good place to start. But what does that mean? What are they going to do?

Republicans are not dead yet, but they will be in 4-6 years if they don't start standing for something.

(Note I think that CD5 will be competitive in 2008 given the strong Republican bench. CD2 will only be competitive if Simmons runs again)

Colin said...

i should have something up on my blog pretty soon that will help explain urban's switch and perhaps moderate the bitchy tone of kevin's post.
i also hope to have urban on the air with me today.

Anonymous said...

Republican or Democrat, they are all managerially inept.

Anonymous said...

Yawn - It doesn't matter - what difference does 44 or 45 matter, when the one flipping screws them over at every opportunity? She wouldn't vote with them even when they needed her on part line stuff. Then she wants to be rewarded with a powerful committee assignment? What does Cafero tell the poor schlubs whose vote he can count on? Sorry, I know Diana works against us all the time, but she really needs to be on Approps - Please. At least now the D's can't claim every piece of junk bill they will pass is "bipartisan". Good riddance, Ms. Urban.

Anonymous said...

Diana Urban - A true Profile In Courage. When she realized she wasn't a key vote to the R's, she flipped. If she was swinging the balance of power, you can bet she woulde have held out for a better deal. If I'm her constituent, I'd be mighty pissed off today.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, the Republicans didn't want labels. Today, they wannabe called fiscal conservatives and social moderates. I think Rowland was one of them and certianly Rell would claim those labels. 12:17 is right asking: But what does that mean? but to suggest the voters confused Bush with a state legislator is just dumb (12:17's point 1); to say the Republican legislators didn't stand for anything (point 2) gets closer to it becasue the Republicans wanted us to beleive they were the anti-dote to the D's but we didn't buy it because they had no platform - execpt getting rid of the car tax and opposing gay marriage;;SNORE.

Anonymous said...

As long as Rell continues to sign off on virtually every bill the D's pass regardless of the R vote, then the bills will be "bi-partisan" as far as the general public will see. Jodi Rell is NICE!!!! and that's what she stands for, she wants to be liked.

Anonymous said...

If you take Colin's reasoning, she jumped because she might not get a seat on Approps to the WHAT subcommittee??? "Results-based Budgeting" Are you freaking kidding me???? This is a hopelessly nearsighted group and for all her high-minded talk, what has she accomplished in the time she's been in Hartford???

Diana's high-wire "watch me" act is tiresome, and it ONLY worked if there was a Republican around who gave a darn that she was hanging with the Dems. Now she's just one of 106, and she will HATE the obscurity it will bring her. Get in line, sister.

Anonymous said...

Anon 127 is getting to the route iof the issue and as a republican it is very frustrating. Until Jodi stands up to the legislature on some key issues everything will be seen as bi-partisan. While that is good, it is bad at the same time. There winds up being little to no debate and alternatives are non-existant. That may work for a while but in the long run it hurts the state. Bottom line is that if Rell keeps up the lovey dovey crap with the GA she will remain the republican party's own worst enemy.

cgg said...

Wow I should have held off my my switching parties post. Who knew I'd have an actual example from CT.

Again, if I'd voted for her I'd be pissed.

Anonymous said...

Me too CGG. Guess we can all but guaruntee a GOP pick-up there in 2 years...lol.

Anonymous said...

Get in line sister is what the Republicans say to their members and that's what Cafero said to her. The GOP is the party of the big tent as long as you're one of the elphants that wraps your nose around the head honchos' tail. Bad whiff, too.

Anonymous said...

She wasn't going to get a seat on Approprtiations, which is undoubtedly important to her consituency. She'll probably be able to bring more pork home to her district as a Democrat because more than likely Ammann will make it worth her and her voters while.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

OK, so in the past two weeks the R's have 'gotten rid of' both Lenny Winkler and Diana Urban....something Bob Ward could not do in his years as leader. Nice work, Larry--we're down to brass tacks now, 2008 sounds like a good time to start the rebuild.

Anonymous said...

As the author of "get in line sister," at 1:41, I meant it as the 106 Democrats telling Diana to get to the back of their line... not as the GOP telling her to "toe the line."

Altho, Anon 1:52, your point is well taken.

This is not about the ills of the GOP, or the virtues of the Democrats. Both are seriously overplayed. This is about someone trying to get noticed.

And just maybe Colin has shown us that it's about irony, too: The same people gleeful about Diana sticking it to the GOP are stewing over Lieberman doing the same to them.

Slow news week.

Anonymous said...

Urban gets a seat on Appropraitions by becoming a D. Don't know how that means she goes to the back of the line since she wasn't even in line with Cafero.

Anonymous said...

Urban's webpage is already shut down. Cafero and his thugs didn't waste any time did they? Won't be long before they propose legislation to defend marriage and other important issues, too.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps if Republicans run hard as fiscal conservatives and social moderates, they could become a credible alternative to the Democrats again."

Indeed, one thing that does get me acutely pissed off about Bush.

Anonymous said...

Cafero isn't placating anymore like Ward did... he doesn't have a fragile minority to protect either. 50 legislators or two, House GOP is now essentially useless in the GA. Cafero had nothing to lose in telling Urban to take a hike, she was practically a Democrat anyways.

The only bad thing to come out of this for House Republicans is the further slight reduction in their budget based on the loss of an additional member.

Anonymous said...

In a state where Democrats have a super majority in both houses, other R's would be crazy not to leave. Diana just became relevant with the switch of a letter. You think she's not smart? The super majority is super bad for Rell and the Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Urban, along with a handful of conservative Democrats, will become awfully powerful when the leadership wants to override a Veto. She didn't move to the back of the line, she went from not even being in line, to moving towards the front in certain situations, and she'll get all the pork benefits that go along with her new position.

Anonymous said...

It's up to the dems to solve all of our problems. And there's no problem they can't solve with higher taxes.

Matt said...

Here's a question - why stay? What do Republicans in the CT State House believe that makes being one so special?

I don't mean this as snark, a lot of people have pointed out that Rell hasn't done a lot to distinguish a GOP agenda for the state from the predominant Democratic one. Plus, when you add in things like extra regulation on robocalls (as was mentioned yesterday), I was just curious what the GOP governing philosophy round these parts happens to be.

Oh, and Diana Urban for Senate in 2012 - because one good turn(coat) deserves another!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Rs can get Rep. Russ Morin (D-28) to switch. He flipped from R to D on the town Council right after he was elected and that was a volunteer position.

Anonymous said...

She had left the party years ago, every important vote the last fours years she voted with the Democrats.

FYI, she has been dated Rep. Steve Fontana- D North Haven for years.

She definitely didn't carry the mantle after Rob Simmons left that seat.

Her ill fated U.S. Senate run showed she was a nut and belongs in the leftist Democratic part of the party. Amann is to the right of her.

Anonymous said...

It says a lot more about Kevin Rennie than the CT Republicans that he mourns the defection of Diana Urban and also mourns the election of a Republican with a hundred times more promise, Sam Caligiuri.

Rennie says he wants a GOP that fights but only praises the defectors and noncombatants

Anonymous said...

This is really not the big deal some are making it. I don't blame the GOP for telling her she wasn't getting anything. She never, ever was willing to "take one for the team." If I'm a back bencher on the Democratic side, I'm going to be mighty pissed if she jumps ahead of me in line.

Don Pesci said...

Can anyone name one Republican who lost this year who was not the usual New England Republican -- socially liberal and fiscally conservative? That description would seem to fit Johnson and Simmons. On a statewide level, moderate Republicans appear to be a vanishing species. This year, the Republican governor -- also fiscally conservative and socially moderate, lost her veto. Maybe there's a message in here somewhere. The message cannot be that Democrat and Independent voters have grown tired of conservative Republicans; there are none serving in the state.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 7:53 - You hit the nail on the head. Urban is not much of a legislator - pretty average. She had little political future as a republican; and has zero as a Democrat. She can't run for State Senate or Congress as a Democrat. Moreover, she isn't being given a seat on Appropriations Committee based on her talent or as a carrot to switch; rather, she is only getting the seat because she is dating Steve Fontana, who happens to be one of the higher ranking Democrats in the House. If I were a younger Democrat State Rep. and I didn't get a seat on that committee because it went to her I would be pissed! There is no way Amann can hold this thing together - chaos is coming!

MikeCT said...

Here is Colin McEnroe's interview (mp3) with Diana Urban.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Fontana CTDEM Vice Chair?

TrueBlueCT said...

Diana was always too nice to be a Republican. Just not much hate there, and she was always much more the uniter than the divider on stupid wedge issues.

Has anyone remarked that Diana was collecting signatures to be on the ballot against Joe the war-monger? (In the case that Lamont lost?) I signed her petition outside of the Dem gubernatorial debate in New London, --even though I had pledged to support the winner of the Dem primary.

And I don't think her constituents will mind the switch, as she has always been honest about where she is coming from. Fiscally conservative, and socially who gives a hoot. Just like Howard Dean.

Anonymous said...

There are numerous conservative Republicans listed here.

Anonymous said...

Of course Diana wants to play on a winning team. Give her credit for being smart and she is now in a position to do more for her district than before. The super majority is the end game for the Republicans. Congratulations Diana and welcome to the winning team! I wonder how many other Republicans are smart enough to make the same move?

Anonymous said...

I watch Urban's votes all the time, where did this notion come from that she is fiscally conservative. Her voting record does not support that label. Her voting record looks more like a socialist.

The idea that Results Based Accounting will help get rid of inefficiency in government is ridiculous and Urban knows that. The Dems will use RBA as an excuse to throw more money at programs. They already do for failing schools.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is this: does the GOP in CT really want to win?

If it continues being a bunch of free lancers running bullet campaigns it most certaintly will not.

Diane Urban is a symptom, not the illness. She wasn;t gonna do jack for any other Republican and until the party recruits candidates who actually believe in building a party I expect more flailing around.

Grumpy said...

Good for Diana Urban. She is indeed a symptom of what's wrong with the GOP. But, not in the way anon 6:46 and others seem to think. The "illness" is that the party nationally was hijacked long ago by radical conservatives. Even in "moderate" Connecticut, there has been a shift in a more inflexible, radical direction. These same radical conservatives have done so much damage, that more reasonable traditional Goldwater conservatives should be concerned about the future of the party. Certainly, they should be concerned that there is no longer room in the GOP for liberal Rockefeller Republicans like Diana.

This liberal Republican refugee within the ranks of the Democrats says welcome to the party Diana!!!

Anonymous said...

Wonder if she'll still be a "maverick” or she'll just vote with democrats every time?

Begs the question, is it better to be a Republican maverick, or a democrat sheep, if you’re a self-serving attention seeker like Urban.

Shadow said...

> The idea that Results Based Accounting will help get rid of inefficiency in
> government is ridiculous and Urban knows that

Would you care to elaborate?

From my perspective, not basing spending on the actual results we get is one of the reasons why we WASTE so much money. Government accounting needs to be run more like a business if we want to stop wasting taxpayer money; businesses would go under if they operated like our state and federal goverments do. The Republican party nationally has proven in recent years that it's more about big government than the Democrats are, so it seems to me that if we're stuck with all these government programs either way, our best shot is to promote efficiency and reduce waste by using the same standards and methods an actual business would use.

Diana Urban's defection speaks more to a national shift than a statewide shift; the Republicans as a whole have gotten so entrenched in the neo-con/social conservative dichotomy over the last several years that there's no room for Goldwater conservatives, Reagan Democrats, or Rockefeller Republicans, and no place for social moderation and fiscal restraint. The GOP has pushed them away, and now they are pushing the GOP away; Diana Urban is just the latest example. If the Republicans keep pushing this realignment in their own ranks, they are going to find themselves in the kind of long-term Congressional minority that existed for most of the second half of the twentieth century, and the ripple effects in state legislatures will be more pronounced than before due to the continuing nationalization of our media.

Mirror said...

The reality is that Urban is nothing but an opportunist and simply doing what comes natural. The only reason she was a republican was the local dems would not let her play when she started. The state and local republican parties is cluttered with these self absorbed opportunists, who have pushed aside real republicans for years to get at the banquet.

MikeCT said...

This in the Courant:

Amann told reporters two other House Republicans had approached him about becoming Democrats, but he refused to reveal their names.

Cafero said he was unaware of that, adding, "The speaker must know something I don't."


Who are they?

Genghis Conn said...

I've been wondering that, Mike.

Anonymous said...

Noujaim, Bacchiocchi, Hovey or Giuliano. But my guess is that Amann was just twisting the knife for sport.

Anonymous said...

scribner and/or hovey

MikeCT said...

On the 2003-04 CCAG legislative scorecard, those Rs score like Rs: Bacchiocchi - 50%, Hovey 11%, Giuliano - 0%, Noujaim - 50%, and Scribner 0%. They don't seem to have much trouble with their party.

Anonymous said...

Noujaim, no way. Maybe Klarides?

BrassBoy said...

I would be shocked if Selim Noujaim ever switched parties.

Anon10:30, do you have any reason to include him in that list?

Anonymous said...

the correct quote is that Ammann had been approached in recent years by two R's not "recently" as Urban just did.

Anonymous said...

MikeCT is right on the money. Bacchiocchi and Hovey come from long lines of Republicans and will never switch. Guiliano and Scribner are both Family Institute endorsed candidates. Selim...well who knows and who cares. Amann is just being Amann. This kind of crap is just blogger fodder. Urban's gotten more public attention from her abortive Senate bid and this meaningless party switch than she has on any substantive issue in her entire career. Just remember Diana as you move over...everybody loves a rat, but nobody trusts a rat.

Anonymous said...

Selim wants to be Mayor of Waterbury and a party switch won;t aid in that