To the Editor:
One of Trump’s favorite campaign tactics is to project his own base weaknesses onto his opponent. Got a problem with Trump’s vulgar behavior towards women? Time to talk about Bill Clinton thirty years ago. Trump Foundation under investigation? Denigrate the life-saving work of the Clinton Foundation. Being sued for fraud at Trump “university” and still refusing to disclose your tax returns? Deflect to emails. Lack a coherent foreign policy? Let’s talk Benghazi. You get the idea.
Now behold Art Linares, running for the 33rd District senate seat. Given Linares’s affection for Trump — Linares was a Trump delegate and actively supports him – it should be no surprise that Linares is now mimicking his role model. Linares has repeatedly said that his opponent in the current race, Democrat Norm Needleman, is “bankrupt of ideas”. This would be amusing if it were not so flagrantly untrue.
Needleman has a proven record of results both as a successful businessman and a distinguished First Selectman of Essex. In that role, he has balanced the town budget every year with bipartisan support, while keeping taxes in the bottom 15% in the state. In the current race, he has laid out a series of specific proposals – cutting estate taxes, rolling back unfunded mandates, freezing state spending, reducing overtime for purposes of calculating state pensions, among others – to restore fiscal discipline and foster economic growth.
Meanwhile, Linares is awash in platitudes and vagaries. He repeatedly calls for cutting taxes but without telling us where he will find matching spending cuts. This implies more debt, which his support of Trump tends to confirm. Linares praises Trump for having “the best economic plan” when in fact it is projected to increase the national debt by $5.3 trillion. A related issue is Linares’s standing in the General Assembly. Even if he had a plan, he lacks the stature to implement it. His own party voted resoundingly against him (13-2) on the recent budget compromise.
A few days ago, Linares inexplicably called Needleman’s supporters “mean and deceitful”. Here’s my response. Recently, Linares voted against a bill (which thankfully passed anyway) to protect battered women from gun violence by abusive partners. The bill required legislators to chose between protecting a woman’s life and removing firearms for no more than 7 days while a court considered a protective order. Linares thought access to guns was more important. Meanwhile, he has received the NRA’s highest rating on the basis of a NRA questionnaire that Linares refuses to disclose to voters.
Now that’s what I call mean and deceitful.