Connecticut shuddered under horsemen's hooves

According the Book of Revelation, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear with the opening of the seven seals that bring forth the cataclysm of the apocalypse.

The first horseman rides a white horse, which scholars sometimes interpret to symbolize Christ or the anti-Christ; the second horseman rides a red horse that symbolizes war and bloodshed; the third rides a black horse and that symbolizes famine; and the fourth horseman rides a pale horse and represents pestilence and death.

Which got me thinking, who are “The Four Horsemen of Connecticut’s Apocalypse?” Given Connecticut’s perpetually chaotic situation, who are the four individuals who rode in and destructively impacted Connecticut’s economic, political, and social well-being?

Boastfully riding atop the back of the white horse sits former governor John G. Rowland, the Republican golden boy who some believed destined for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He couldn't beat back his all-consuming demons and lust for greed and power. Always the smartest most politically savvy statesmen in any room, Rowland in the end represented everything we all despise most in our political leaders. He lied, he stole, he cheated.

On Dec. 23, 2004, Rowland pleaded guilty to corruption and depriving the public of honest service. He was sentenced in a New Haven courtroom on March 18, 2005 to one year and one day in prison. He was arrested again on Sept. 19, 2014 and eventually convicted in New Haven federal court of all seven counts, including conspiracy, falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission, and causing illegal campaign contributions. Rowland fell the hardest and furthest from grace.

Riding fast on the red horse is former Democratic governor Dannel P. Malloy. After promising not once, but twice, not to raise taxes, Malloy pulled a 180-degree change and delivered devastating double knockout tax blows — one in his first term another in his second — to an already faltering Connecticut economy.

Businesses packed up and left the state for greener pastures. Connecticut became one of the few states that have begun to see declines in population numbers. In all, Malloy's tax increases cost upwards of $2.5 billion. In 2018, this horseman had the dubious honor of becoming the country’s least popular governor with an approval rating falling below 15 percent.

While Rowland hurt the state with his corrupt behavior and Malloy effectively threw a stone to a sinking economy, it was the policy decision of another governor that summoned the apocalypse upon Connecticut.

Appropriately mounted on back of the black horse is former U.S. representative, senator and 85th governor of Connecticut, Lowell P. Weicker Jr. In every interview I've watched featuring Weicker, he seems like a wonderfully authentic, honest man; however, he can’t escape his biggest political sin.

In 1991, the state was faced with a monstrous, projected $2.1 billion budget deficit. Weicker, a former Republican elected governor as a third-party candidate, went back on his campaign pledge and force fed a 6 percent income tax on Connecticut residents. Accounting for inflation, it was the biggest tax increase in state history (Malloy’s increases were larger in pure dollars).

The tax has been an albatross around the necks of Nutmeggers ever since. Low growth and ratings near the bottom of almost every fiscal metric can be traced back to Weicker’s colossal tax blunder.

The final horseman is in a class by himself. He didn’t just go back on a campaign promise; he went back on his country.

Riding an English saddle on the top of the pale horse is Norwich-born Benedict Arnold. That name is synonymous in American history with the word traitor. He was in command at the final victory for the English during the Revolutionary War. On September 6, 1781 British Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, a former general for the Continental Army, gave the order to burn New London. Arnold’s forces also attacked and captured Fort Griswold in Groton, slaughtering the Americans after they surrendered. These brutal, treasonous acts cemented Arnold's reputation as America’s most notorious turncoat. Even 238 years after his nefarious acts, Arnold is still the benchmark for double-crossing treachery. Only Judas is more infamous for his disloyalty.

So, imagine, the sun disappearing beneath the curve of the Earth. The red/orange glow gives out the illusion that the horizon is on fire. There's shaky, blurry silhouettes coming right towards you. They are getting bigger by the second.

It's not until you hear the hooves galloping against the clouds that your brain comprehends what you are witnessing — “The Four Horsemen of Connecticut’s Apocalypse." John Rowland, Dannel Malloy, Lowell Weicker and Benedict Arnold.

Who would you put on your list?

Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.

 

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