( - promoted by ctblogger)
Does Tom Foley resemble Linda McMahon, Mitt Romney, or Grover Norquist? The correct answer is all of the above.
In terms of his electoral resume, Foley seems determined to end up exactly like Linda McMahon: an out-of-touch, twice-failed Republican self-funder from Greenwich. Like Mitt Romney's excruciating six-year long campaign for president, the campaign for governor Foley began in 2009 never really ended. Less than a month after Dan Malloy's inauguration in January 2011, Foley told the CT Mirror that he wanted a rematch. Now that Foley has unofficially announced (for the fourth time) that he is running "again" on a platform of fiscal responsibility and reducing the size of state government, will he finally tell us exactly which government programs he intends to cut?
In 2010 at the height of the state's budget crisis, Foley insisted that he would solve the state's $3.5 billion budget shortfall without raising taxes, even when independent analysts declared that a mathematical impossibility. Foley brushed off a March 2010 analysis overseen by former Lowell Weicker's budget director William J. Cibes Jr. that projected no more than $1 billion likely could be cut without eliminating basic education, public safety, health care and road maintenance services, and ran a series of breathtakingly cynical ads criticizing Dan Malloy's refusal to pledge not to raise taxes, while touting his own fealty to tea party orthodoxy on fiscal policy. Private equity mogul and outsourcing pioneer Foley has come under criticism for his resemblance to Mitt Romney; but with his crass disregard for arithmetic and obsession with tax pledges, he actually looks a lot like Grover Norquist.
Foley's cynical and vapid campaign in 2010 (on which he spent $11 million of his own money) went above and beyond the usual refusal of GOP candidates to provide specifics about promised spending reductions. While mouthing the usual platitudes ("I'm not somebody who is bound by the status quo or afraid of... upsetting the applecart a little bit and goring a few sacred cows") and refusing to offer any specific ideas for spending reductions besides the usual GOP calls to eliminate such bodies as the Asian-Pacific Affairs Commission (savings of $100,000 per year), Foley was adamant throughout the campaign that even a slight uptick in income tax rates on millionaires to protect vital services and the social safety net would harm Connecticut's "competitiveness." Of course, when asked if he would sign legislation abolishing the death penalty (estimated savings of $5 million per year), Foley said no, because Republican budget-cutting simply does not apply to prisons or waste in the criminal justice system.
After his failed 2010 campaign, Foley created a think tank, the Connecticut Policy Institute (CPI), to "improve Connecticut's policy direction and help citizens stay informed," a.k.a. further his own political ambitions. The CPI has published a series of "white papers" promoting discredited ideas like supply-side economics and other standard right-wing fare: rolling back regulations, undermining public sector unions, etc. But as far as I can tell none of its reports actually suggest any specific budget cuts that would help balance Connecticut's budget in the short term.
Fast-forward to 2013 -- does Foley have any new ideas or is he running once again on the basis of a Norquistian pledge never to raise taxes and vague promises to cut spending? Will he finally let voters in on his Nixonian "secret plan" to balance the state's budget? In 2010 Foley may have tricked 48.9% of Connecticut voters in the most GOP-favorable election year in generations into casting a ballot for his dishonest vagaries about the budget, but it seems unlikely voters will fall for his fakery again in 2014.