Democrat Power Grab Continues in Senate

To the outside observer, it might seem shameless and brazen for the State Senate to reject the creation of a permanent ethics committee just days after Senator Joe Crisco was fined $4,000 for forging a signature on sworn documents and weeks after Sen. Tom Gaffey was punished with a $6000 fine for double billing the state and his PAC for travel expenses.

In fact, the average person could be forgiven for thinking that something is really wrong here.

But that regular Joe would be mistaken because shameless and brazen waited around in the State Senate until this morning, when the members of that body passed the Senate Vacancy Bill by a vote of 21-12.

CT News Junkie’s Christine Stuart – a reporter with far too few colleagues at the State Capitol – properly described the moves in her headline on the events: Senate Approves Power Grab, Declines Ethics Rule

It remains, as described in the past, a very poor idea.

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50 responses to “Democrat Power Grab Continues in Senate

  1. Thomas Hooker

    How in the world can an act to permit the people of this state to elect their own United States senators be construed as a “power grab”? A power grab would have been Republican governor Jodi Rell’s naming a Republican to the senate seat Lieberman might have vacated had he been named to a Bush administration cabinet position, or had he (heaven forbid!) been elected as McCain’s vice president. That would have been a “power grab” in highly Democratic Connecticut.

    But amongst Republicans, black is white, up is down, and giving power to the voters is a “power grab”. But frankly, I can’t believe that Christine Stuart would have parroted that Republican talking point. I have watched Ms. Stuart on “On the Record” on CPTV, and was nonplussed by her desultory comments.

  2. Yes, the direct popular election of Senators is a “power grab.” How about repealing the entire 17th amendment?

    It continues to amaze me how the GOP so openly admits they would stand no chance in any special election for Senate.

  3. Thomas Hooker

    John McKinney, of whom I am growing less fond by the day, actually asserted that the Slossberg bill was unconstitutionial, because it violated the17th amendment. Senator Slossberg pointed out to attorney McKinney (who should have known better) what the 17th amendment actually said:

    “When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.”

    In other words, though it goes on to give legislatures the authority to delegate power of appointment to governors, the first part of the amendment talks specifically about “elections” to fill such vacancies. So much for Senator McKinney’s understanding of the constitution!

  4. It continues to amaze me how the GOP so openly admits they would stand no chance in any special election for Senate.

    Isn’t this bill also an admission that the Democrats stand no chance of electing a Governor?

  5. The Democrats should just come right out and say it: they have a supermajority in the State Senate and House, and don’t want the Republican governor appointing a Senator should one of our two Democratic Senators leave office.

    In Massachusetts, in 2004, there was fear that if Kerry won the Presidency, Mitt Romney would get to choose the successor. So Massachusetts Democrats passed a bill over Romney’s veto that would cause there to be a special election.

    Fast forward four years to 2008. Now there’s a Democratic governor. Obama wins the Presidency. There’s talk of Kerry became Secretary of State, or Teddy resigning for health reasons. So now Massachusetts Democrats start openly talking of giving the power back to Deval Patrick, the governor.

    The reason that most states have governors fill Senate seats is because Senate races are expensive, and there should be a fair amount of lead time, so candidates can raise money and campaign in the primary and then the general election. So if you have an immediate special election, you aren’t going to give the candidates enough time to campaign, and if you lengthen the process out, you are going to have a vacancy for a while, and Seante seats shouldn’t be vacant for too long. In the house, it doesn’t matter as much (435 vs. 100, cloture, etc).

    The appointed Senator would serve for a maximum of two years, at which point there would be an election. It’s not like the appointed one is a Senator for life.

    I am not opposed to allowing the state party leader to submit a list of names to the governor. This is done in a few states like Wyoming and Arizona, and ensures that there would not be a party shift.

  6. AndersonScooper

    Hey, last fall when it looked like Lieberman was leaving to join a McCain administration, Jodi was already taking offers from people wanting to be appointed the next U.S. Senator from Connecticut. (Blagojevich wasn’t the only one looking to cash in.)

    So of course Rell’s going to veto this law which will take something valuable away from her.

    At a minimum Grandma’s going to want assurances that her son Michael will have a cushy State job for life, or at least until he qualifies for a fat State pension….

  7. AndersonScooper

    Ohmigod GMR, this Democrat doesn’t want State Central picking our next Senator any more than I want Governor Rell to.

    Elections used to be run in three months, and there is no reason at all, particularly in this small state of ours, that it couldn’t go directly to the people and produce a fair result.

  8. scanman1722

    The Democrats should just come right out and say it: they have a supermajority in the State Senate and House, and don’t want the Republican governor appointing a Senator should one of our two Democratic Senators leave office.

    Or perhaps it’s because a special election is the most democratic (small d, people) thing that can happen when someone who had been elected can no longer fill the position for whatever reason. After the Blago and Caroline Kennedy fiascos I would expect a lot of states are going to jump on this bandwagon.

  9. AndersonScooper

    Hey, that seat was Caroline Kennedy’s birthright.

    Which brings us to the real plot.

    Michael Rell for U.S. Senate!

    (Hey, it worked for the Murkowskis up in Alaska…)

  10. Thomas Hooker

    The reason that most states have governors fill Senate seats is because Senate races are expensive, and there should be a fair amount of lead time, so candidates can raise money and campaign in the primary and then the general election. So if you have an immediate special election, you aren’t going to give the candidates enough time to campaign, and if you lengthen the process out, you are going to have a vacancy for a while, and Seante seats shouldn’t be vacant for too long. In the house, it doesn’t matter as much (435 vs. 100, cloture, etc).

    Of course, cost is apparently no object to national Republicans who are bankrolling the legal costs for Norm Coleman, the Minnesota Republican who’s lost his seat, but who continues with his legal challenges just to keep Democrat Al Franken out of the Senate as long as he can.

    Of course, cost doesn’t bother Illinois Republicans who feel they have a better chance at the seat there than they had with a Democratic governor making an appointment. Slossberg pointed out that the gubernatorial nomination system has been changed in five states, and that it is under consideration in several more.

    The Democrats have proposed a sensible, democratic change. It’s fair, and it deserves to be signed into law.

  11. Thomas Hooker

    One more thing, Heath. Please stop using “Democrat” as an adjective. That is the sort of snide, insulting usage that is typical of right-wing Republicans, but that is indefensible. It’s grammatically wrong, it’s a deliberate slur, and should not be used. No excuse.

  12. One more thing, Heath. Please stop using “Democrat” as an adjective. That is the sort of snide, insulting usage that is typical of right-wing Republicans, but that is indefensible. It’s grammatically wrong, it’s a deliberate slur, and should not be used. No excuse.

    What’s the difference between saying “Democrat Al Franken,” “Republican Norm Coleman,” and “President Barack Obama”?

  13. “Democrat” is a nominative; “democratic” is an adjective. We are all democrats now. The United States is a democratic nation; here the word is used as an adjective, modifying “nation.”

    “Democrats led the fight for Peace, Justice and the American Way” — nominative.

    “Democratics led the fight for Peace, Justice and the American Way” — grating on the ear.

    You must tryu to be more euphonious there Hooker. And rememner, Heath has a musical ear.

  14. Thomas Hooker

    That’s fine. But “Democrat Party”, “Democrat majority”, “Democrat power grab” is wrong. No reputable newspaper uses that form, and it shouldn’t be used here. Republicans are well aware of proper forms for Democrats and the Democratic Party, but prefer the sneer “Democrat Party” to insult and demean. It’s not hard to understand, and adults should be able to use the proper and respectful form in civil debate and civilized conversation.

  15. Thomas Hooker

    You must tryu to be more euphonious there Hooker. And rememner, Heath has a musical ear.

    It’s used as an insult, and you have used it as a slur in your opeds. It’s wrong; and no one for a minute believes that you don’t know that.

  16. Thomas Hooker

    What’s the difference between saying “Democrat Al Franken,” “Republican Norm Coleman,” and “President Barack Obama”?

    Are you all truly that ignorant? Do you really expect us to believe that you can’t understand how “Democratic” is supposed to be used? Have you heard Democrats talking about the “Democrat Party”, about the “Democrat majority”? Have you read that usage in any reputable newspaper? Does anyone use that form except conservative Republicans intending to demean Democrats? Of course not.

    Stop it.

  17. AndersonScooper

    http://opencrs.com/document/R40421/

    Four states have same party replacement rules, AZ, HI, UT, and WY.

    Five staes call for special elections, — MA, OR, WI, OK, and post-Murkowski Alaska.

    Connecticut will become the 10th state to embrace reform, Jodi Rell’s dream of sending son Michael to join Senator Lisa Murkowski, be damned.

  18. Please stop using the name of an honorable man as a pseudonym.

    That is the sort of snide, insulting usage that is typical of …
    It’s…., it’s a deliberate slur, and should not be used. No excuse.

  19. AndersonScooper

    Hooker, just for you four minutes of solid gold YouTube lore:
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wsqprEihjXg&client=mv-google&gl=US&hl=en

    Anthony Weiner rips the “Republic Party”!

  20. The Connecticut Democrats call themselves: The Connecticut Democrats

    When they put up a sign that says: The Connecticut Democratics we’ll let you know.

  21. Are you all truly that ignorant? Do you really expect us to believe that you can’t understand how “Democratic” is supposed to be used? Have you heard Democrats talking about the “Democrat Party”, about the “Democrat majority”? Have you read that usage in any reputable newspaper? Does anyone use that form except conservative Republicans intending to demean Democrats? Of course not.

    How does it demean them? What’s the difference between “Democrat Al Franken,” “Outfielder Joe DiMaggio” and “Host Keith Olbermann”?

    You’re reaching, you’re whining, and you’re pathetic.

  22. AndersonScooper

    Yeah, well we also call it the Democratic Party, and when you Republic assholes refer to it as the Democrat Party, with a big emphasis on “rat”, — you know exactly what you are doing.

    Me, I choose not to take it personally. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Hannity and Limbaugh these days..

  23. Thomas Hooker

    You’re reaching, you’re whining, and you’re pathetic.

    I’m pathetic? Kiss my ass.

  24. Thomas Hooker

    When they put up a sign that says: The Connecticut Democratics we’ll let you know.

    Well, I guess you really are that ignorant. Sorry, I thought the insult was deliberate. But I guess it was just out of simple ignorance. I feel sorry for you.

  25. Mr. Reality

    I really have a lot of repect for Sen. McKinney. I read how he brought out the ethics reform package last night. How and why did the Dems defeat this? It just doesn’t make any sense. With all that is going on you would think that everyone would support such a measure ESPECIALLY when the Dems supposedly made this a priority last year. What happened? Then to have those two miss the vote? Is this just some kind of game that is being played here?

    From what I can tell no one has been more sincere about ethics than McKinney. He actually made the tough call regarding a member from his caucus. The same cannot be said for Williams and Looney. Very disappointing, the sad thing is that they know exactly what they are doing.

  26. Are you all truly that ignorant? Do you really expect us to believe that you can’t understand how “Democratic” is supposed to be used? Have you heard Democrats talking about the “Democrat Party”, about the “Democrat majority”? Have you read that usage in any reputable newspaper? Does anyone use that form except conservative Republicans intending to demean Democrats? Of course not.

    I understand why you don’t like the “Democrat Party”, but I think that in many cases, “Democrat majority” can be acceptable grammatically. This is because you can say things like “the Senate’s democrat majority”, which means that the majority is comprised of Democrats. Even just “The Democrat majority voted against this bill” sounds more correct than “the Democratic majority voted…”

  27. scanman1722

    How does it demean them? What’s the difference between “Democrat Al Franken,” “Outfielder Joe DiMaggio” and “Host Keith Olbermann”?

    When you say “Democrat Al Franken,” you are using the word properly. When you say “Democrat Party,” you are using the word in a negative way. That is the difference. We’re called the Democratic Party and members of said party are Democrats.

  28. Elections used to be run in three months, and there is no reason at all, particularly in this small state of ours, that it couldn’t go directly to the people and produce a fair result.

    We are a small state geographically, but our candidates need to buy in the #1 media market to reach Fairfield county voters on most TV, except for some local cable buys.

    Three months to do fund raising, then a primary, then more campaigning agaisnt the winner of the other primary, and then a general election? That seems like a really compressed time schedule to me.

  29. scanman1722

    I understand why you don’t like the “Democrat Party”, but I think that in many cases, “Democrat majority” can be acceptable grammatically. This is because you can say things like “the Senate’s democrat majority”, which means that the majority is comprised of Democrats. Even just “The Democrat majority voted against this bill” sounds more correct than “the Democratic majority voted…”

    There is a reason there is an upper case and a lower case version of the letter “D.” Let’s not be childish. Using the lower case version of democratic refers to the political theory of democracy, the upper case refers to the name of the party.

  30. AndersonScooper

    Hooker, just start referring to them as Chris Healy’s Repub-lic Party, with a big emphasis on “lic”. As in, “your Repub-lic superminorities can lick my Democratic ass!”

    And what are you ‘wingers going to do about the new Senate Vacancy law? That is beyond your usual whining?

    Is Governor Rell really going to veto this reform, on the basis that she should have the right to pick a replacement Senator, maybe even her son Michael?

  31. Democrat party or Democratic party? Who cares? What’s important is that here in Connecticut they have become corrupt and incompetent.

  32. Hooker, just start referring to them as Chris Healy’s Repub-lic Party, with a big emphasis on “lic”. As in, “your Repub-lic superminorities can lick my Democratic ass!”

    Scooper, forget to take your meds today?

  33. scanman1722

    Democrat party or Democratic party? Who cares? What’s important is that here in Connecticut they have become corrupt and incompetent.

    Coming from a member of the party of John Rowland and George W. Bush. Ahh the irony.

  34. There is a reason there is an upper case and a lower case version of the letter “D.” Let’s not be childish. Using the lower case version of democratic refers to the political theory of democracy, the upper case refers to the name of the party.

    That was a typo on my part…

  35. AndersonScooper

    The Repub-lic Party is now the party of clean government and accountability?

    LMDAO!

  36. It’s used as an insult, and you have used it as a slur in your opeds. It’s wrong; and no one for a minute believes that you don’t know that.

    Okay, now I have seen some classic whining in my time… but this may beat all.

    I note the parity of your outrage when that Donkeydick guy calls Republicans “Repubics.”

    If someone called me a Democrat, I would most certainly be insulted! But I don’t think these people meant it in such a way. So you should just congratulate yourself on being a walking St. Martin’s Handbook and move on.

    As for me, when I want to insult you, you won’t need to dig through subtext.

  37. AndersonScooper

    My understanding is that the ethics committee might have happened, except for Republic John McKinney’s grandstanding.

    However I understand that’s all the Republic Party is left with. Putting on a silly show for the cameras…

  38. DeLuca would never run and hide like those two cowards did last night.

    I don’t know who are more corrupt, Crisco and Gaffey, or Williams and Looney for running interference.

    Integrity means nothing to the Connecticut Senate Democrats.

  39. My understanding is that the ethics committee might have happened, except for Republic John McKinney’s grandstanding.

    Right. It wasn’t Crisco’s or Gaffey’s fault for lying or forging. It was McKinney’s fault. Got it.

    This conversation is absurd. The following sentences are gramatically correct:

    Republican John McKinney is a registered Republican, and supports the party that calls itself the “Connecticut Republicans.” Democrat Joe Lieberman is a registered Democrat, and supports the party that calls itself the “Connecticut Democrats.”

    What’s the point?

  40. scanman1722

    Integrity means nothing to the Connecticut Senate Democrats.

    Ed Meyer was the only Democrat who voted with the Republicans. Where has the praise for him been on here?

  41. Coming from a member of the party of John Rowland and George W. Bush. Ahh the irony.

    I don’t know if you read the papers or follow the news but both Rowland and Bush are out of power. Of course, the Democrat Mayor of Waterbury gave Rowland a nice job so yes, the irony.

  42. Y’know, PoopyScoopy, the Mike Rell jokes weren’t all that funny the first eight times you dropped ’em here today.

    But since you’re clearly a zealous foe of favoritism and family connections, let me ask you a question.

    As we know, you’re the proud recipient of an Ivy League education from a fine New Haven institution. How’d you get there?

    Anyone in your family have any connections? Or was it your good grades? Your obvious charm and good looks?

    Just curious.

  43. AndersonScooper

    Hey Red5, like Michael Rell I had my Mommie pull a few strings. 😉

    And yes that kind of nepotism irks me. $70,000/year for doing exactly what?

    As to my joking around about Rell being able to name her own son as a replacement Senator? Well that was no joke. It’s a very scary possibility, and it could happen. Just ask any Alaskan about 2002.

  44. Joe Sixpack

    John McKinney, of whom I am growing less fond by the day, actually asserted that the Slossberg bill was unconstitutionial, because it violated the17th amendment. Senator Slossberg pointed out to attorney McKinney (who should have known better) what the 17th amendment actually said:

    Hooker – I think your blind hatred and rage gummed up your vision. It was Sen. Kane, a non-attorney, who questioned Slossberg about the 17th amendment. And I think his point was that the amendment gives the “temporary” power to appoint to the Governor, while giving the people the right to elect at the next state-wide election. That is a system that assures some continuity of representation in the US Senate in a timely manner, and without the expense of a special election that will leave us one short in the Senate for months. Even a non-attorney like Kane could see that our current system follows the Constitution, the proposal delays the right of the citizens to be adequately represented in the Senate.

    McKinney, who I can only assume is crushed that you have become less fond of him , proposed an amendment that the Governor must fill any vacancy with a member of the political party of the previous Senator.

  45. McKinney, who I can only assume is crushed that you have become less fond of him , proposed an amendment that the Governor must fill any vacancy with a member of the political party of the previous Senator.

    Nice for Hooker there. If I were him, I’d press my legislators to vote for the amendment, since the entire congressional delegation is composed of Democratics.

  46. Hey Red5, like Michael Rell I had my Mommie pull a few strings.

    Scooper, if you have to attack Mike Rell because you don’t like Jodi Rell, you’ve already lost your argument.

  47. AndersonScooper

    Who’s attacking Michael Rell?

    I’m don’t like nepotism, although in this state people treat it as no big deal.

    You don’t agree that it’s a posh political job? (and people have the right to know.)

    What I’m worried about is Rell appointing a family member to the U.S. Senate. Which would be her right under the current law, if a vacancy occurred. Do you think that should be allowable?

  48. Who’s attacking Michael Rell?

    You are.

    I’m don’t like nepotism, although in this state people treat it as no big deal.

    Nepotism is defined as “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.” Do you have any experience working with Michael Rell? I’m guessing “no.” What’s your basis for assuming that he doesn’t deserve his current job, or that he was given the gig based on his name and not his qualifications? If you’ve got no proof, just say so.

    What I’m worried about is Rell appointing a family member to the U.S. Senate. Which would be her right under the current law, if a vacancy occurred. Do you think that should be allowable?

    If you honestly think that Gov. Rell would even consider nominating Michael Rell to replace Lieberman or Dodd on account of their retirement/conviction/death/resignation, I don’t know what to tell you.

    Regardless, yes, it is allowable under current law, just as it would have been if the Democrats were capable of winning a gubernatorial election in the last 20 years.

  49. Hey Red5, like Michael Rell I had my Mommie pull a few strings.

    And I’m going to go ahead and guess at least some of those strings were connected to financial aid.

    So you scooted through Yale — where you really had no business being in the first place — on a more or less free ride. Yet you have the unmitigated gall to criticize Rell and her son? You really are the soulmate of Don Williams, Joe Crisco and Tom Gaffey, aren’t you?

    It’s like Pornstachio and Nancy DiNardo mated (I know, I’m pouring bleach in my own eyes right now) and the hideous, mutant offspring got a BlackBerry.

    Sickening, but you can’t turn away because it’s so damn horrible

  50. Yes, the direct popular election of Senators is a “power grab.” How about repealing the entire 17th amendment?

    OK. Let’s repeal the 17th amendment with add-ons to repeal the income tax and Federal Reserve!

    Let’s just repeal 1913 while we’re at it. I think I can live with that compromise.

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