Tong calls out duck and cover by Connecticut GOP on Kavanaugh

Not long after Christine Blasey Ford had finished her testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Democratic nominee for Connecticut attorney general, William Tong, dropped a news release in my email inbox.

"I believe Dr. Ford," Tong said in the release about the allegations by the California professor, who claims she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In addition to calling for Kavanaugh to step down as nominee — a pretty weak entreaty, coming from an attorney general candidate in Connecticut — Tong also pointed out the silence of the state GOP on the topic.

Indeed, Kavanaugh, who we see clinging angrily to the nomination as some kind of divine entitlement, is hardly going to jump at the suggestion of a Democrat running for office in Connecticut. But I think Tong's timely reaction to Dr. Ford's wrenching and convincing testimony is an interesting challenge to Republicans running for office here in the state.

Indeed, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bob Stefanowski, pointedly refused to answer a question about the Kavanaugh nomination during a debate last week, asking for a "pass." We should all just take a pass on his candidacy.

Tong's opponent, Susan Hatfield, an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump and his policies, including separating children from their parents at the border, didn't return my messages last week, so I couldn't ask her about Kavanaugh.

Still, I think Tong is right in that candidates for statewide office in Connecticut need to address the laws, policies, regulation changes and court nominees being pursued in Washington by their party. There are credible and serious allegations pending against Judge Kavanaugh, who, if confirmed, eventually could cast a deciding vote on women's reproductive rights here in Connecticut.

"In my view, the Kavanaugh nomination is another opportunity for the candidates to choose Trump or to choose Connecticut," Tong told me Friday, when I caught up with him on a campaign swing in eastern Connecticut. "I think people across the state feel very strongly about this."

I think he's right.

Tong and his bid to become attorney general is indeed where the rubber meets the road in Connecticut for opposition to Trump and his policies.

His opponent, a Trump delegate at the 2016 convention, is a genuine Trump sycophant.

Tong, on the other hand, has pledged to continue the opposition to Trump policies by Attorney General George Jepsen, who is working with other Democratic attorneys general around the country to build a firewall against the reality show president.

The issues are important to Connecticut residents, like preserving health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions (beware, candidate Stefanowski misleads on this, saying it isn't necessary because it is written into state law but that protection is only for people moving to new employers' coverage), protecting us from upwind air pollution and trying to preserve federal deductions for state and local taxes.

By Tong's count, 40 actions are pending against Trump administration policies.

Let's vote to keep them in place.

"We link arms with other attorneys general to protect and defend, when so many of us feel like we have a target on our backs," he said. "Our way of life is under attack by this president."

An election is at hand, and Trump is indeed all over the ballot here in Connecticut.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

d.collins@theday.com

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