The Middletown mayoral campaign debate last evening at Wesleyan’s Crowell Hall between incumbent Mayor Sebastian Giuliano and challenger Dan Drew attracted an audience of perhaps 100 interested, and I suppose mostly partisan, spectators. Unfortunately, nothing really new, and nothing that had not been already known through newspaper articles and Facebook postings was discussed. There was nothing to cheer about; in fact no cheers were heard and the only applause occurred at the conclusion to thank the candidates. The collegiality and respect between the two speakers was apparent and one took from the event some satisfaction that the “old civility” still rules in local politics.
Civility in political discourse is of course a good thing. But when civility devolves into acquiescence, and when the minority party submits to, and is co-opted by the majority party that is not a good thing. We have a one party state in Connecticut and a one party city in Middletown. This condition leads to cronyism and corruption. What sort of response should Republicans offer? Columnist and blogger Don Pesci suggests (Oct 20)
“… a resistance posture. The point of a party surely is to offer resistance to the reigning power. History has not dealt kindly with parties that have cooperated with the prevailing regime. The one party state, like a rolling stone, gathers no moss, but the single party state is an invitation to corruption…Because Republicans have too often cooperated with the prevailing regime. You cannot cooperate without being co-opted… The Republican resistance has been washed away in Connecticut. Here and there, one finds brave blades of grass shooting through the concrete. During the last elections, two Republican conservatives – state senators Len Suzio and Joe Markley — won office, both of whom may be considered part of a resistance vanguard.”
The February 2011 special election that brought Len Suzio to the Connecticut Senate was an early sign of dissatisfaction with long term Democrat domination in Connecticut. In the case of the district (Senate District 13) won by Suzio it had endured Democrat control for 36 years according to the Hartford Courant’s calculations. At the time of Suzio’s win I wrote;
“One can only hope that Suzio’s election is a harbinger of reform to come. Recent developments in other states suggest that a nationwide retreat from reckless spending, unfunded mandates, and impossible entitlements is in the offing. The turnout for this election was remarkable for a special election and I imagine that taxpayer concerns here and the news from other states spurred voter participation yesterday.”
The hope today among Middletown Republicans is that the movement away from Democrat domination in local politics can continue with the election of a full slate of able candidates on Nov. 8, 2011. The Republican slate for Middletown is headed by incumbent Mayor Seb Giuliano who has been in office for six years during which time he has been faced with a Democrat majority on the Common Council and Board of Education.