Gov.-elect Dan Malloy was the marquee speaker at a forum today in Washington on divided government, sponsored by Politico and the Democratic Leadership Council.
The event was a little odd. For one thing, there were no Republicans, just Malloy and ex-Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, talking about the way forward after the GOP’s sweeping election gains in the House. And it wasn’t quite clear why Malloy was tapped for the session (he introduced himself by saying, “most of you don’t know me” and referring his 14 years as mayor of Stamford).
In any case, Malloy had a few choice words for his Democratic allies in Washington, particularly those in the White House. He said the Obama Administration did a “weak job” of telling the public about its legislative victories, from the stimulus package to health care reform.
And right before the election, when Democrats in Congress were moving to let the top-tier Bush-era tax cuts expire and renew the lower-bracket breaks, “the Administration started to tell its story on taxes and that effort lasted, by my reckoning, about 72 hours and then fell apart,” Malloy said.
He said there was a “total lack of discipline” within the White House in communicating a coherent political message. That same mistake should not be made now, he added.
“A marker needs to be laid down that if this recovery stalls, slows, or reverses itself, that it will because of the election” as Republicans move to unravel the last two years of Democratic achievements.
Asked about how Democrats move to rebuild in 2012, Malloy said that if there’s slow economic growth, that could bring rapid and short swings in politics as voters express continued discontent. “We’ve got to wrap our minds around what that means,” he said