2008 Year in Review: Part 1

It’s time once again to go back and review the year that was.


1/3 – Iowa caucuses. Chris Dodd’s presidential campaign expresses hope that he’ll do well. Dodd does say that if he doesn’t finish higher than fourth, he’s done.

He doesn’t, and drops out. I take a look back at why his campaign failed.

In retrospect, this was Chris Dodd’s high water mark. It’s been all downhill for him since.

1/4 – TONG ENDORSES OBAMA and becomes an instant superstar.

1/7 – Criminal justice reform is high on everyone’s to-do list, as Democrats and the governor try to work out a package of reforms as a response to the Cheshire home invasion. The majority leadership submits a letter to Rell outlining their reforms.

1/8 – The governor unveils her own reform package the next day, and a special session at the end of the month to pass something seems likely.

1/15 – Gov. Rell says: “My goal this year is very simple – to preserve Connecticut’s character. …We’re in stable shape here in Connecticut, and I want to protect that stability.” A year later, we’re a little less stable.

As part of her tax package, the governor proposes no tax increases, and a 3% cap on property tax increases. Municipal leaders aren’t amused.

1/15 – Special election in the 32nd senate district, called to replace outgoing Sen. Lou DeLuca. Republican Rob Kane defeats Democrat Ken Curran by a wide margin.

1/16 – Chris Shays apparently doesn’t know baseball.

1/18 – Connecticut starts to realize that it may actually matter in the presidential primaries, as the Obama campaign announces its intention to put ads on the air here. The Clinton campaign follows a week later.

1/18 – Tony Nania dips a toe in the 5th district race.

1/19 – Hillary Clinton leads the field in Connecticut by a wide margin, according to a Courant poll.

1/22 – Special session. A criminal justice reform package, which doesn’t include GOP-backed three-strikes proposals, passes.

1/22 – He’s back! John Rowland is hired on as an economic development adviser to the city of Waterbury.

1/23 – Presidential campaigns in Connecticut start to heat up.

1/25 – Connecticut Republicans hold a straw poll. Romney wins.

1/27 – The Courant goes 0-2 by endorsing Clinton and Romney.

1/28 – To my great surprise, Hillary Clinton turns up at the place where I work to speak to a huge, overflow crowd. She’d visited Hartford earlier in the day, and received a similarly enthusiastic welcome.

1/29 – A new poll shows Clinton and Obama tied in Connecticut.

1/30 – Jim Amann announces the formation of an exploratory committee to run for governor.


2/4 – Obama plays Hartford. 17,000 greet him at the XL Center at the most incredible political event I’ve ever been to in Connecticut.

2/5 – Super Tuesday. Obama and McCain win–Obama by a little, McCain by a lot.

2/7 – Rell gives her budget speech. It isn’t much for inspiration, and the highlight may be the proposal to break up the DOT (which doesn’t happen).

2/8 – Gov. Rell, without warning, bans highway billboards on state property. Hands smack foreheads all across the state.

2/11 – Sen. Thomas Herlihy joins the increasing list of GOP retirements.

2/23 – Joe Visconti announces his run against John Larson. It ends the way you’d expect.

2/23 – A rift grows between Democratic House and Senate leadership.

2/24 – Nader!

2/25 – Dodd endorses Obama.

2/27 – William F. Buckley dies at his home in Stamford.

2/29 – Ned Lamont makes an ad for Barack Obama. It’s really bad.


3/5 – Jodi Rell is still going on about billboards. Seems frivolous now, doesn’t it? Well, it did then, too.

3/6 – Roll Call presciently identifies Sean Sullivan as a dud.

3/7 – Tony Blair is set to teach at Yale.

3/10 – The Elliot Spitzer thing happens, and Connecticut breathes a sigh of relief that it isn’t us this time.

3/11 – Republican Rob Russo wins a special election for Democrat Bill Finch’s senate seat, ending the Democratic supermajority for the rest of 2008. It isn’t missed.

3/19 – Joe Lieberman is making himself useful to John McCain.

3/19 – The Judiciary Committee kills three strikes again.

3/24 – Urban mayors propose a local sales tax. That doesn’t go far, but it highlights the crunch cities face then and now.

3/25 – Jim Amann picks up an endorsement for governor. Yes, in 2010.

3/26 – Democrats propose a budget that is less than Rell’s. Consternation and uproar ensue.


4/2 – Connecticut businesses are in trouble.

4/3 – Jim Amann threatens to go “toe-to-toe” with the governor on criminal justice reform. Uh?

4/4 – Rell gives up on three strikes.

4/8 – Tony Nania pushes that toe in a little farther, allowing Headless Horseman to create an awesome title for a post.

4/9 – It turns out that the Lamont campaign didn’t hack Lieberman’s website back in 2006 after all. *cough*

4/11 – Broadwater sinks, Gov. Rell is giddy with joy.

4/15 – Sean Sullivan has fundraising problems. More on fundraising for Q1 2008.

4/16 – Speculation that Joe Lieberman may speak at the GOP convention makes the rounds.

4/18 – Gov. Rell apparently forgot that she knew that the rail center project in New Haven was going to be way, way over budget. Kevin Rennie says her credibility is damaged, except, of course, that it isn’t.

4/22 – Rell nominates a public transportation guy to be the head of DOT.

4/23 – Amann to retire! We all fall over. Gov. Rell says, and I am not making this up, that she is “crushed” to see him go. Heh.

4/25 – George W. Bush visits the state of his birth to raise money for David Cappiello. By all accounts, it’s a successful visit.

4/30 – The surplus disappears.


5/1 – A constitutional amendment allowing certain 17-year-olds to vote in primaries passes the senate, clearing the way for it to be on the ballot in November, where it passes easily.

5/3 – Everyone’s response to economic decline is to hold perfectly still and hope it passes by. Republicans response to the “do nothing” budget is a “do something” budget. Politics at its finest.

5/7 – Lots of retirements in the General Assembly, and who can blame them?

5/7 – The short session ends. Lots is left undone, as usual. Gov. Rell heads home early instead of delivering the traditional end-of-session speech. To be fair, it was past her bedtime.

5/8 – Tony Nania retracts that toe, dropping out of the race and backing David Cappiello.

5/9 – Joe Lieberman reports that he has “personally checked John McCain’s bearings.” Um.

5/11 – Familiar face Boaz ItsHaky challenges Rosa DeLauro.

5/18 – Jodi Rell threatens to veto a minimum wage hike. Republican Sen. Sam Caligiuri says he may side with Democrats to override the veto.

5/19 – Insurance companies threaten to raise rates if the state employee health program is opened to towns and nonprofits.

5/21 – Dick Cheney gives a speech at the Coast Guard Academy. A debate ensues about whether or not his hat is silly (it was).

5/21 – Republicans push their budget proposal to be taken up during the scheduled special session.

5/22 – As Ted Kennedy couldn’t make it to a scheduled commencement address at Wesleyan due to his health, Kennedy’s pal Barack gives it for him. Wesleyan students mask their disappointment with an explosion of joy.

5/22 – Bill Dyson retires, touching off a primary battle in New Haven.

5/24 – Abe Giles runs in Hartford.

5/27 – Rell vetoes a minimum wage increase.


6/2 – Chris Caruso defied the Bridgeport DTC and ran against Bill Finch. His reward? A primary challenge.

6/3 – Gas prices head upwards during a time when they were starting to reach the $4 mark.

6/5 – The Cook Report lists the 4th district race as a toss-up. None of the other districts are listed as being close.

6/8 – Truck inspections were down in 2007, despite terrible crashes on Avon Mountain.

6/11 – The legislature meets in special session. Bills on ethics, cash discounts for gas, and a delay of gas tax increases pass.

6/11 – Lee Whitnum petitions her way on to the ballot against Jim Himes.

6/13 – Gov. Rell vetoes health care pooling. She vetoes six bills in total.

6/13 – Chris Dodd’s mortgage is front and center after a piece is published in Portfolio magazine alleging that he and several others got preferential treatment. During a mortgage crisis, the revelations are particularly damaging for banking committee chair Dodd. His popularity starts to sink.

6/17 – Dodd declares that he had no idea that he received preferential treatment.

6/18 – Actually, Dodd did know he was part of a “VIP” program.

6/23 – The legislature overrides Rell’s veto of a minimum wage hike.

6/25 – The Courant announces cuts as print media in Connecticut enters a very rough patch.

6/28 – Gov. Rell misses the annual Republican bash in Stamford. Republicans are not pleased.

6/30 – Charter Oak Health Care comes to life, and begins accepting applications.

The rest of the year in review will appear soon!


3 responses to “2008 Year in Review: Part 1

  1. AndersonScooper

    Anyone know if Michael Sohn is back in Connecticut?

    I should have included you guys in my pool, in which the options were, Yes, Next Year, and Never, (Not Next Year).

    AS — Next Year
    TB — Never
    CM — Yes
    CC — Never
    RV — Never
    GB — Yes
    Ma — Next Year

    And then there was the wise-ass at the table, who suggested Sohn will come back, only to point the finger at his flat broke ex-Boss….

  2. Great work! Looking forward to part two…

  3. A debate ensues about whether or not his hat is silly (it was).

    Exactly one person finds a Westerner in a Stetson “silly”.

    Odd considering the totally inappropriateness of almost everyone’s mode of dress in this photo, and most especially the hat.

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