Don Pesci: Of Republican and Democratic yachts

A few weeks ago, Democrats and their sounding boards in the increasingly irrelevant news media fired a shot across Republican presidential candidate Mario Rubio’s “yacht,” hoping to sink his candidacy. It turned out the yacht was a fishing boat; but, no matter, Democrats had made a point.

Republicans are rich – therefore insensitive to the vast yachtless middle class.

Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley suffered the same scrutiny last year -- with this difference: Foley really was rich, and his yacht did not resemble the creaky boats used by Mr. Rubio’s Cuban forebearers to escape the remorseless tyranny of the Castro brothers, both communists who long ago had declared war on yacht owners and political opponents and gays and others who opposed their brutal autocratic regime. Fidel Castro had a yacht. Mr. Weicker, former maverick U.S. senator and governor of Connecticut, also had a yacht.

The Castro regime is now being given a leg-up by President Obama, who, consulting his Ouija board, has willy-nilly decided to end a blockade against communist oppression supported by all his presidential predecessors, some of whom were Democrats.

Now, it so happens that Democrats in Connecticut who wish to tar Republicans as redundantly rich have a problem, because two members of Connecticut’s all-Democrat congressional delegation are redundantly rich.  U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal is among the four or five richest members in Congress. And Rep. Rosa DeLauro – Whether she will retire her seat to progressive heartthrob state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. is yet unknown – is also “comfortable,” largely owing to the money grubbing efforts of her husband Stanley Greenberg, pollster and political consultant to Democratic stars. Ms. DeLauro has a multimillion-dollar mansion in Washington, D.C.,  where the lights of the national Democratic Party gather from time to time in a salon-like setting to discuss how their might improve their good fortune.

Few know whether Ms. DeLauro or Mr. Blumenthal keep yachts, but both can well afford boats larger than Mr. Rubio’s “Old Man In The Sea” fishing boat.

Themis Klarides, the state House Republican minority leader,  did  arrive in the General Assembly from the middle class; and, oh yes, she is a woman. Her father owned a restaurant; her forbearers were Greek proletarians. Perhaps some of them were fishermen. She is not conspicuously rich, unlike Mr. Weicker, whose grandfather founded Squibb, the pharmaceutical company that recently decided to bolt Connecticut for more promising opportunities in other states. Like Mr. Castro’s boat people, businessmen across Connecticut – from Aetna, Travelers, General Electric, Stanley Works, Sikorsky,  just to mention a few -- are threatening to leave the state, perhaps in their yachts.

Ms. Klarites recently stumbled into the politically-correct tar pit when she said of Connecticut prickly governor and his relationship with Democrats in the General Assembly, “Every Democrat up there distanced himself from the governor the whole session. And then the governor tried to distance himself from the legislature. It's like a battered spouse support group."

This “story,” first reported by Neil Vigdor in the Danbury News Times, has produced a backlash from offended groups such as the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, whose chief executive officer Karen Jarmoc remarked, “To compare a political body that is divisively debating a budget to a domestic violence support group completely negates the effectiveness of this element of service, which helps thousands of victims in shelters and communities across the state.”

Actually, no.

Here is Mrs. Smith, my ninth grade English teacher in Windsor Locks presiding over the proper understanding of metaphors: “The word 'like' does not signify identity but similarity, and similarity, like love, is in the eye of the beholder."

Surely the too easily offended among us owe Ms. Klarides an apology for suggesting, however tenuously, that she favors domestic violence, a slur one might expect from Malloy the porcupine – but not from groups that have yet to protest that Mike Lawlor’s Get-Out-Of-Jail-Early program does NOT exempt from early release  convicted rapists and arsonists.

Along with most other Republicans in the General Assembly, Ms. Klarites --   a volunteer with The Umbrella Domestic Violence Group, working to assist victims of domestic violence and providing volunteer legal assistance to women and children at the shelter for victims of domestic violence -- has strenuously opposed including convicted rapists among prisoners awarded early release for having participated in Mr. Lawlor’s seriously flawed program.

It is still not too late for women across the state to add their voices to that of Ms. Klarites and other Republicans who are courageous enough to  identify rape and domestic abuse.

Don Pesci ( is a political writer who lives in Vernon, Conn.