Preferences in governor’s race should transcend party lines

To the Editor:

Because political dialogue on campus these days tends to be myopic and one-sided, I take most student editorials with a grain of salt. But Alyssa Rosenberg’s column on Connecticut politics (“Most gov. candidates have big funds, little creativity,” 10/5) smacks of downright ignorance.

Rosenberg dismisses Republican interim Governor M. Jodi Rell’s 77 percent approval rating, saying that “– [Rell] has done little that is new or surprising to earn those numbers herself.” She then takes aim at a number of Democratic party gubernatorial hopefuls, suggesting that their records and campaign promises make them unfit candidates. Finally, Rosenberg gets to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr., who, she thinks, has what it takes to bring “a fresh breeze of new ideas and optimism” to the state’s leadership. DeStefano has, after all, taken a stand in favor of equal rights for gays and lesbians, improved community policing and implemented an innovative magnet school system in New Haven. In other words, he is a liberal Yalie’s natural choice.

Has Rosenberg really done her homework, or is she just taking potshots at those who do not share her spot on the political spectrum? Does she know that Rell, who supports abortion rights, opposes a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage, and favors embryonic stem cell research, is not your average Republican? Does she know that the new governor, in the three months that she has been in office following the resignation of John G. Rowland, met with state union leaders in an unprecedented show of bipartisanship? That she has made the politically unpopular move of ousting top Republicans (and former Rowland cronies) from key state posts? Or that she has responded to the wishes of the Connecticut people to make the capital more accessible, transparent and ethical?

Likewise, Rosenberg fails to note that DeStefano is one of the few candidates to have reached the $1 million mark in campaign fund-raising. Blumenthal, meanwhile, whom she casts off as opportunistic, deserves the governorship perhaps as much as anyone: In his long stint as Connecticut’s attorney general, he has taken to task HMOs, Midwestern power plants and big tobacco companies and is wildly popular with the state’s residents.

What I take issue with, here, aside from the inconsistency of the argument, is what I see as the major problem with political debate on this campus. It is characterized, even monopolized, by those who see politics in terms of extremes. Exaggeration, shock value, ignorance of the facts and blind adherence to the cause have no place in reasoned political discussion. Maybe, just maybe, we can concede that those who do not share our political ideology can, from time to time, make a good point.

Greg Hamm ’05

October 5, 2004