Politicians: listen to the weatherman
Recently weather prognosticators across the state predicted the "snomageddon" that paralyzed our nation's Capitol was on its way to Connecticut. Schools were canceled a day ahead of the wintery assault. Travel plans changed. Businesses shuttered. Workers told not to report. Everyday life as we know it was ending and it was best to be home as doom approached. Nutmeggers sat by their stockpiles of bread, milk and toilet paper and waited. And waited. Nothing.
We were promised several feet of snow and hurricane-like winds suited only for the last few polar bears left after all this global warming. The guys and gals who have more technology at their disposal than NORAD and are paid very well to Doppler and microcast a forecast down to your street were wrong.
Then something happened from which our politicians could learn. The meteorologists admitted they were wrong. In particular, Geoff Fox for WTNH Channel 8.
In a commentary in The Register Citizen, Fox wrote: "I went on TV Wednesday evening and apologized. The video of that apology has gone viral. One Web site for TV professionals wrote: 'Here's a switch! Weatherman says he was wrong and sorry for bad forecast. ... Apology leads the news.' "
Can you imagine if our politicians decided to be as forthright and honest as Fox?
The tea party movement and the historically low approval ratings for both the Republican and Democratic parties boils down to one word, trust. From Republicans railing against the stimulus and then running home to their district with a check for the new community center, paid for with stimulus dollars. To Democrats supporting, in lockstep, a surge in Afghanistan while excoriating President George W. Bush for the Iraq surge.
The hypocrisy and shallowness with which our politicians are treating the voter is at epidemic proportions. Even in campaigns the political ruling class can't muster up the courage of a lowly weatherman to be honest and straightforward.
Not one gubernatorial candidate has been specific about what taxes they would want to raise or services they may try to cut. And both will happen.
Look at Richard Blumenthal, the presumptive favorite in the state's race to fill a U.S. Senate seat. Democrat Blumenthal, the state's attorney general, was interviewed last week by MSNBC's Joe Scarborough. Asked if it was wrong, if it was unethical for incumbent Sen. Chris Dodd to accept special treatment from Countrywide mortgage, Blumenthal bobbed and weaved.
And that's exactly why voters don't trust politicians. Many, many voters believe Dodd got a sweetheart deal, but apparently Blumenthal either thinks voters won't notice his evasive response or that they don't care. They will and they do.
Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is bobbing and weaving herself. After an abbreviated run for governor, Bysiewicz is now a candidate for attorney general.
One of the requirements is that any candidate for attorney general be in the "active practice" of law for 10 years. There are numerous examples that indicate Bysiewicz hasn't. One of the most obvious is offered by the candidate herself.
According to the Hartford Courant, Bysiewicz took a 50-percent exemption for an annual $110 legal fee. She claimed the exemption by stating she didn't practice law as an occupation from 2006-08.
So why can't Bysiewicz simply say what everyone knows? She made a mistake and is going to begin her campaign for the 2012 U.S. Senate seat currently held by Joe Lieberman. Doing that would give her what she's looking for: Support based on admiration, not by political calculation.
In his apology, weatherman Geoff Fox concluded by saying: "I suppose I could have walked away from the forecast as if nothing had happened. Over time, you would have forgotten. Like I said, it's all about trust."
Political leaders have been walking away from their forecasts, promises and obligations for years as if nothing has happened. The problem is, a lot has and little of it good.
Like Fox said: "It's all about trust."
Ben Davol is a veteran of numerous local, state and federal political campaigns. Once a Republican organizer, he is now registered as unaffiliated.