Got an email today from a Donovan supporter angry about this column. She ended it “Bye. bye, former friend,” even though (a) we are not friends and (b) some time between the ages of ten and twelve, most of us realize we will not always see eye to eye with our friends.
But I did reply and it helped me clarify my own thoughts on the race.
As a Congressman, Chris Donovan would probably vote, most of the time, the way I want members of Congress to vote. I have no such confidence about Elizabeth Esty. Dan Roberti’s candidacy is ridiculous. He has recently tried to liken himself to Chris Murphy, but he’s Murphy’s polar opposite. Murphy has a long record of civic engagement and of learning the ropes. Roberti is much closer to Linda McMahon in that regard: a person with no real record of caring about how government works, a person who woke up one morning with a big dream and the money to move it forward. Kaspar Hauser with a trust fund.
I really should support Donovan, but I can’t. For about two decades I have trumpeted the ideals of clean government and clean elections. I have made a point of holding elected officials and candidates responsible for the actions of their subordinates. I considered Rell responsible for Lisa Moody and Rowland responsible for Peter Ellef. I hold Lisa Wilson-Foley responsible for whoever set up the deal with Rowland, even if that wasn’t her.
I can’t support Donovan. He did the right thing by firing the errant staffers promptly. But there is no doubt in my mind that campaign contributions were made illegally and that the legislative process was subsequently tainted. I don’t see how that earns him a promotion.
There really is no good outcome(for me) in the Fifth. 15 years ago, I would have been very comfortable supporting a Republican like Andrew Roraback. Good guy. Honorable. Not a zealot. Now, of course, he’ll vote a lot of the time with a caucus that I regard as having been hijacked by extremists and poseurs. Roraback has a conscience, but moderate who try to vote their consciences are punished in that climate.
Unlike my correspondent, I see this complicated field as one where people are going to sort things out for themselves and where it is possible for good people to come to very different conclusions.