Thursday, August 26, 2010

You CAN'T Yell Fire in A Theater; And You Shouldn't Build a Mosque at Ground Zero!

I've heard the phrase "freedom of religion" to justify plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero in New York City a zillion times in the last two weeks, and frankly, I consider it a copout used by weak-kneed, spineless apologists who are in denial and won't face reality.

The so-called Cordoba House, named after an infamous mosque in Spain which had been a Christian church until Islamist invaders conquered that area and "converted" the building to their beliefs, has no place at the site of an attack on the United States by Islamist invaders. Referring to our Constitution and its guarantees of religious freedom as an excuse to allow construction of an in-your-face monument to the 9-11 attacks on our country is sheer cowardice, there is no better explanation for it.

Associated Press photo.

Our Constitution documents rules of behavior for our government, outlining its limits - although it is doubtful the Founding Fathers envisioned an all-powerful bureaucracy - as well as the freedoms guaranteed to US citizens. That includes the right to worship as you please, so long as that worship isn't imposed on others who don't share your beliefs and it doesn't break reasonable laws of morality - some people have pretty strange ideas as to what constitutes "religion."

But nowhere in that freedom to worship does it say "freedom to attack the United States in the name of your religion, kill 3,000 people, and then build a monument to your barbarity at the site of your attack and confront the outraged citizenry with outlandish claims of religious freedom."

People representing the cretins who attacked the US on September 11, 2001 have no business insulting the memories of the people who died, the survivors, their families, and the remainder of the US citizenry. They certainly have no Constitutional "right" to build a monument crowing about their alleged superiority. In the opinion of most Americans, the people who organized those attacks should be killed, along with their supporters and sympathizers - who, after all are no better than the people who planned and executed the attacks.

I hear all the time that there is a vast ocean of Islamists who do not agree with their militant brethren - there is no point is saying anything about sisters because Islamist women rank lower than livestock in their point of view - but I never see or hear from these phantoms. So, I have to believe that building a monument to savagery is universally accepted in their faith.

But their faith is not the dominant faith in the world, and especially not in America. (I saw a news report last year that said Islamists outnumber Catholics, which was spun as outnumbering Christians, but that ignored the Protestants, Episcopalians, etc., etc.) In fact, if you line up Christians along with Hindus, and secularists, atheists, and so on, you find out that Islam is the religion of choice for only about one in five people world wide.

In the United States that ratio is far more in favor of non-Islamists so frankly, I don't see what the big deal is about. The Constitution doesn't give them the right to build a monument to themselves or their brutality and that is that.

We have Freedom of Speech in this country, but you still can't yell Fire! in a crowded theater. You can't libel someone either.

We have the Second Amendment giving us the right to keep and bear arms, but not to go about shooting people without a good cause.

Why is it that every time a difficult issue arises on the national scene, we are confronted with wishy-washy, gutless reactions from people who call themselves "leaders?" We seem to be deteriorating in this country, at least in the Backbone of Our Leaders Department.

Think not? Check out these photos from World War II. First the attack on Pearl Harbor. This is the USS Arizona exploding during the attack. Thanks to the US Navy archives.

Then we have this poster, which was produced within months of the Japanese sneak attack on us that left more than 2,000 dead.

It says "we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain." That comes from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Below that it says Remember December 7th!

In World War II America went on to smoke out and hunt down our attackers on two fronts, committing the entirety of our populace, our economic and our industrial power to bringing the Japanese militants and the German Nazis to their knees. We weren't sensitive about it, we didn't apologize for it, and until two generations later you didn't hear people whining and wringing their hands over how we went about it - and most of that was about using the atomic bomb on Japan. (I can't help but wonder if weak, pacifist cave people back in the Stone Age whined about the development of the spear. Just a thought.)

When we wanted to make a point about taking over someone else's land on the way to defeating the government of a people that believed in savagery as a way of life, we were upfront about that too. We didn't make believe we were building a "community center" or some other public relations ploy. America and our allies freed Europe, and in the Pacific Allied armed forces took islands either owned or controlled by the Japanese one by one and when they were successful they planted our flag on them and said, "Now this belongs to us!"

This is Joe Rosenthal's Associated Press photo, of the second flag-raising on Iwo Jima in February 1945.

What are we going to have in America to commemorate the bravery of the members of our Armed Forces, men and women by the way, who have bled and often died forcing the Islamist militants back into their caves? Will there be a similar photo of a victory for our country, our way of life and the real meaning of our Constitution?

Or will it be a group photo of millions of Americans following the example of President Obama, subjugating themselves before conquerors who ultimately prevailed simply because the weak and spineless never understood the concept that it is better to die a free man than live as a slave?

The choice is ours, but if that monument to savagery is permitted at Ground Zero or anywhere in the United States for that matter, then the fight will become much harder than it has been thus far, and the casualties will be much higher, and measured in categories far more insidious than body counts.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Semper Fidelis? Or Simply Forgot Us? What Happened to the Haditha Marines? Bush Owes Them An Apology!

Lost in the uproar over comments critical of the Obama Administration in Rolling Stone magazine that were blamed on Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal and led to his early retirement in late June, another career American officer, Marine Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani also was forced into early retirement recently, with a lot less fanfare.

Remember Lt. Col. Chessani? He was the Marine battalion commander in Haditha, Iraq back in 2006 whose troops did an exemplary job of cleaning out a nest of terrorists after the Islamo-fascists hit the Marine patrol with an improvised explosive device, killing one Marine and wounding two others. The Marines battled in and around the town of Haditha all that day, but a few months later a left-wing pro-terrorist stooge wrote an article in a left-wing pro-terrorist media outlet charging that while clearing two houses where terrorists were hiding and shooting at them, Marines indiscriminately murdered two dozen Iraqi civilians in retaliation for the bombing.

The American Terrorist Media - along with members of Congress and apparently some members of the Bush Administration too - immediately convicted the Marine Corps along with all other members of the Armed Forces, because obviously if an American military person is charged with anything, they must be guilty! Right?

Well, not exactly. As it turned out, even though the goons in the military criminal investigation branch convinced - by serious coercion I might add - two members of the squad of Marines involved in the firefight to turn on their brother Marines, it was all to no avail. Seems there was a video of the firefight taken by an aerial drone that was flying overhead, and it showed substantially different activities than what was claimed by the high command.

Lt. Col. Chessani was not directly involved in the firefight, but he was charged with dereliction of duty, which upon reflection seems very odd since there should have been some kind of finding that the squad was actually guilty of something before the commanding officer could be charged. Interesting.

The criminal charges against Chessani were dismissed in June 2008 when Colonel Steven Folsom ruled that Chessani was the victim of undue command influence - meaning higher ups had preordained his conviction before the evidence was in. After two appeals courts refused to overturn Folsom's ruling, Chessani was ordered to go before a Board of Inquiry which would determine whether he could retire as a Lt. Colonel or if he would be demoted, effectively screwing over his retirement as well as his career.

Last month Chessani was forced to retire after Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus accepted the December 2009 ruling by the Board of Inquiry that essentially cleared him of all charges. However, (there's always a however in these cases) the board also ruled that Chessani must retire anyway because of alleged substandard performance, based on the claim that his followup investigation of that day's fighting should have been more detailed.

I should mention here that in the days after the firefight in Haditha, Chessani and others in his command were lauded by their commanders for their exemplary performance. It wasn't until a politically motivated hack wrote his assassination piece months later that anyone began questioning the Marines' actions during the fighting in Haditha.

At least Chessani retired with his rank intact, and his reputation among the people who count is as solid as it was before this travesty.

Along the way, all the other Marines who were charged were cleared, with the exception of one enlisted man, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, the squad leader who led the counterattack. He was charged with a dozen counts of shooting people and breaking things, and his court martial was scheduled to begin September 13 at Camp Pendleton.

However, I learned today that Wuterich apparently was released a couple of months ago and all the charges against him were were dropped! Oddly, considering the hue and cry that was raised when Wuterich and other members of his squad were detained and convicted by the media and a bunch of left-wing lackeys posing as members of the American armed forces, I can't find a damn thing about this on the Internet! I did a Google search for Frank Wuterich and the most recent article was back in March. Wikipedia's entry for Gen. McChrystal is updated to refect his retirement and the reasons for it. But the page for Wuterich is old. Interesting.

I also was told that Wuterich received four years of back pay, keeps his stripes - meaning no demotion - and the charges have been removed from his Service Record Book. Wuterich apparently is still in the service and stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. Unfortunately, none of this has been confirmed by official sources. I hope it is true. I'm trying to get some more updated information and I will pass it on as soon as I do.

In the meantime, former President George Bush, who initiated the war in Iraq, which I supported when he did it, and still do, owes these Marines and all others who have been so viciously attacked by the media and spineless simpletons in the military, a full public apology!

This happened on his watch, he was the Commander in Chief, he could have been a hell of a lot more supportive instead of ruining these men's lives, and Bush owes them an apology!

The attacks on the Marines who fought for us and gave us victory in Iraq are so reminiscent of the attacks on Vietnam veterans 40 years ago it makes me sick. There is obviously a determined effort within both the civilian and military leadership to undermine and discourage our armed forces, probably with the long-term goal of discouraging enlistments in the all-volunteer army. It is obvious from what we continually see in the White House and Congress that there is a concerted effort to destroy America from within, and these attacks on our military are just part of the overall strategy.

All we ever hear about our servicemen and women is that they are stretched too thin, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, can't readjust to civilian life, can't get jobs, lose their houses, get divorced and kill themselves. While all these things do happen to some degree, and whatever counseling, medical aid or other services that are needed should be available free of charge to our returning veterans, I would like to hear a lot more about the success stories.

This has been going on for nearly three generations and it is high time we put a stop to it. We need people in Congress, people in the bureaucracy, and people in the White House who understand the need for a strong military if we are to stay intact as a nation. The story of the Haditha Marines is but a visible example of what is going on behind the scenes to destroy our country, partly by gutting our military, and this travesty never should have happened.

I sincerely hope that Lt. Col. Chessani enjoys his retirement with his family, and that the worms, slugs, and mouth-breathing bottom feeders who conspired to ruin his career all experience slow, painful, cowardly deaths and an afterlife where they spend eternity working as sex slaves for Islamo-fascist martyrs.

Semper Fidelis.
Monday, August 09, 2010

Daria Novak for the GOP Nomination in Connecticut's 2nd District

Republican voters in Connecticut's 2nd Congressional District Tuesday will have a choice of three candidates who want to face incumbent Democrat Congressman Joe Courtney in November.

Of these, Daria Novak, the sole survivor of a year of campaigning that preceded the sudden appearance of her two rivals only weeks before the May convention, has the best chance of making a respectable showing against Courtney. Novak declared early, worked hard, and survived the insider manipulations that many say were intended to destroy her campaign as well as then-frontrunner Matt Daly's.

Daly was ousted at the convention when the combined votes for the two other candidates, newcomers Doug Dubitsky and Janet Peckinpaugh, sapped Daly's support to below the threshold for an automatic primary bid. Ironically, recent financial reports showed that Daly raised more money prior to the convention than all three of the surviving candidates combined have raised in the months since.

Regardless, Daly is out, and neither Dubitsky nor Peckinpaugh has Novak's grasp of the issues facing the district, nor her history of meeting with Republican voters in myriad appearances going back to 2009.

Of the other two, Dubitsky would appear to have a political future if he wants one. At this point Dubitsky is a novice, and has not held office previously. He is an attorney, and owns a farm in Eastern Connecticut. His legal practice specializes in agricultural and equine issues which could be a major asset for him in coming years especially in rural eastern Connecticut.

Dubitsky declared his candidacy only weeks before the May GOP convention and had little time to spread his message or meet the party delegates, much less the rank and file voters. I don't think he has had enough time, especially considering that the primary is being held when many voters are away on summer vacation, to run an adequate campaign, especially to overcome Novak's year-long effort.

In two years Dubitsky could be a force, especially if he stays involved and works with his local party in next year's election.

The remaining candidate, Peckinpaugh, was last in the convention voting, and since then has been last in fund-raising despite the in-denial pre-convention claims of her supporters that Peckinpaugh's name recognition was the key to instant campaign riches.

Peckinpaugh used to be a TV newsreader, and decided in March of this year that it might be nice to try Republicanism for a change. A few weeks after she signed up as a new Republican, only weeks before the convention, she also decided that she wanted to run for Congress too. Despite instant media attention due to her past notoriety Peckinpaugh did next to nothing after the convention to gain the support of 2nd District Republicans and I don't see how that translates to votes.

Novak's supporters are loyal, and likely to turn out to vote. In addition, even though she has not always had an easy road in this column - full disclosure, I worked on Daly's campaign a couple of times, first when he declared in 2009 and then doing news releases for him in 2010 - Novak has always been graceful under pressure and continued on with her campaign.

Her tenacity and grace certainly will have won her some support. She obviously had enough to win the nomination at the party convention, despite the best efforts of GOP insiders to unseat her.

Regardless of who wins the 2nd District nod tomorrow, they will have tough going against Courtney. I was told today that he has so much money that he wrote a six-figure check to the Democratic National Committee recently to help other Democratic campaigns across the nation. That Courtney has more money to give away than the combined fortunes of the three GOP contenders should tell you a lot.

Courtney would use Dubitsky's inexperience against him. Peckinpaugh's "campaign" is a joke and would pose no more difficulty for him than swatting a pesky mosquito. I almost choked on my bacon during Sunday brunch when I heard a local commentator claim that Peckinpaugh has been "making a name for herself" in the 2nd District. Unfortunately for Peckingpaugh and her supporters I don't think the "name" she supposedly is making for herself is the kind that translates to confidence, financial support and most importanly, votes.

She can have all the media friends in the tank for her that she can gather, it isn't going to change the fact that Peckinpaugh is a pseudo-Republican with no backing other than a handful of party insiders who obviously have their own agenda, and that agenda does not include the betterment of the GOP in Connecticut.

From this vantage point, the candidate who is best situated to give Courtney a race is Daria Novak and she will have my vote in the primary.
Friday, August 06, 2010

Schiff Happens; But Is It Effective?

With only days to go before Democrats and Republicans vote in their respective primaries the most noise on the GOP side seems to be coming from Peter Schiff who is running dead last in the race for the US Senate nomination.

Whether it is a calculated political move aiming to capitalize on last minute negativity or a simple case of too little, too late, Schiff has gone as negative as a candidate can go - aiming most of his invective at Linda McMahon. In fact, Schiff has gone so far as to call her the dreaded "L" word.

Yes, that's right, Schiff has called McMahon a (shudder) Liberal!

Schiff was last seen hovering around 14 percent in the polls and had about no chance of beating Democrat nominee and current Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal if they are the final contenders. Yet, he is regurgitating old news about McMahon, wrapping new ads around it and hoping to somehow come up nearly 40 points in the polls in less than a week.

Not only is that not likely, but it also runs the substantial risk of turning off the electorate and alienating the GOP base. Political commentators have been noting that independent voters, who comprise the largest voting block in Connecticut, are moving toward GOP candidates.

But make no mistake about it, even with the independents on your side, you still need a highly mobilized, united base behind you to win most races, regardless of whether you are Republican or Democrat. That doesn't seem to matter to Schiff.

For her part, McMahon is ignoring Schiff entirely, both in her own ad campaign and on her television appearances. She talks about former Congressman Rob Simmons who is running 2nd in the GOP nomination race, but says nothing about Schiff, as if he doesn't exist.

That appears to be enraging Schiff who has ratcheted up the vitriol in the last couple of days.

On balance, Schiff also has taken out some of his anger on Simmons. That in itself is surprising since Schiff released his convention delegates to Simmons back in May when Schiff realized he would have nowhere near enough votes to qualify for the primary, much less to win the party nomination. (Schiff ultimately got on the ballot through petitioning, although that was a squeaker too.) If any two candidates in the three-way race have issues in common it would seem to be Schiff and Simmons.

Yet, earlier this week Schiff launched a diatribe against the Norwich Bulletin after the newspaper endorsed Simmons. In his news release, while saying on one hand that he respects Simmons and his 30 years of military and government service to the country, Schiff also said Simmons' service pales in comparison to billionaires like Bill Gates of Microsoft fame and fortune.

I found that line appalling, especially since any successful statewide candidate in Connecticut needs the support of the veteran community. Going back to what I said above about needing the support of your base, in GOP circles the base includes a large percentage of veterans.

Alienating the veterans, in what really was the most petulant news release I have seen in over three decades of political involvement both as a participant and journalist, is a sure way to cut your own political throat.

Schiff's release, which was issued with the subject line Radical left wing Newspaper endorses Rob Simmons, stated "Now, I have nothing against Rob Simmons. I also respect his years of military service. But that services (sic) pales in comparison to that of Bill Gates. Bill Gates' wealth was derived solely based on the pursuit of personal wealth and self-interest, the precise motivation that the Bulletin so readily dismisses. Yet Gates did far more to improve the lives of ordinary Americans then (sic) Simmons.

Rob Simmons has spent his entire life collecting government paychecks. He has never run a business; he has never produced a product, provided a service, or created a job. Yet according to the Bulletin that makes his (sic)uniquely qualified to be a United States Senator."

I think it is necessary to point out that many of Simmons' government paychecks were earned under fire during tours of combat duty in Vietnam where he was awarded two Bronze Star medals, and another decade as an undercover operative in the CIA. Not exactly the kind of jobs where you sit at a desk playing computer solitaire and sipping coffee all day, but rather the type that enables every businessman and woman in the USA to get up each day and do what they want to with their lives!

And I can't remember the last time Gates, for all of his accomplishments, had to wend his way through a minefield on his way to watch the sunset from the lawn of his Pacific coast mansion, or was sniped at while flying around in his private jet. In fact, I don't think I ever heard that Gates had to duck rockets or mortars or small arms fire, although I think his feelings did get hurt a couple of times when he was launching his new Microsoft products and they crashed during press conferences.

Schiff also lamented the fact that he didn't get any endorsements from any Connecticut newspapers, but there are far better ways to spin that situation than to go on the attack against your opponents. Schiff doesn't seem to mind that his tactics run the risk of pushing him further out of the running, and could result in ill will against him that will last far longer than this election cycle.

Simmons didn't respond to the Schiff news release, which probably is just as well. Nonetheless, it was a perplexing bit of campaign communication and I can't help but wonder what Schiff was thinking.

When he appeared at my Town Committee meeting before the convention I was surprised to see the extent to which Schiff is "handled" by family members who accompanied him, and his intense focus on just one issue - the economy. There is no doubt that Schiff is an accomplished economist and the economy is a major point in this election, but there are myriad other issues that he seems to have ignored, and the answer to every question he is asked ends up working its way back to the economy.

While Schiff is going on the attack, both Simmons and McMahon are pushing hard with their own ad campaigns, touting their qualifications while questioning Blumenthal's. Although Simmons didn't have the money to match McMahon for most of the summer, his current expenditures are said to be nearly equal to McMahon's in the last days before the vote.

And before I forget it, I also should point out that all three candidates in the GOP race for the governor's office are on the warpath too.

Several months ago I signed up for a breaking news update from Channel 3 WFSB's political commentator Dennis House and was happy to get advance notification that the gubernatorial candidates would be debating on the air last Wednesday. I tuned in to the debate which was co-hosted by NPR and WFSB and was treated to some of the most intense political commentary that I have seen in a long time.

Former ambassador and businessman Tom Foley is leading the pack but he also is under an intense attack from Lieutenant Governor Mike Fedele, who continued the theme of his ads during the debate. Foley wasted no time or energy in countering them.

Meanwhile, businessman Oz Griebel seemed to relish the opportunity to point out that he is the only candidate who isn't bringing baggage into the race, noting that the subject matter of his opponents' ads will be fodder for the Democrats' playbook in the fall.

All in all, if politics interests you, this has not been a boring summer, and the vote Tuesday should set the stage for an equally exciting fall. But the one caution I have for all the candidates is to remember that sooner or later the primary and the general election will be over. Then there will be fences to mend and significant challenges facing the winners at both the state and federal levels.

The wise candidates will ensure that their colleagues and countrymen alike are willing to support them after the elections. Those who choose over-the-top attacks as opposed to civil debate and honest shows of differences will find that they have quickly become an asterisk in Connecticut's political history.
Monday, August 02, 2010

Simmons Ad: A Much-Needed Medical Station on a Bloody Campaign Battlefield

If you live in Connecticut and have been anywhere near a television in recent weeks you probably are aware that candidates for state and federal offices in both parties are slugging it out in competing advertisements, pulling no punches and going for the knockout in the August 10 primary.

The Democrats' gubernatorial candidates, Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont, are at each other's throats with Lamont - the convention endorsed candidate - implying that Malloy is corrupt and Malloy stating that Lamont is a lightweight and a fraud.

Republican gubernatorial (I'm sorry, that means they are running for governor) candidates Tom Foley - the convention endorsed candidate - and Mike Fedele are literally in a bloodbath. Fedele is calling Foley a criminal and hatchet man, alleging that Foley killed a town down south by closing its textile factory, while Foley is painting Fedele as a tax and spend liberal posing as a Republican.

In the race for the Republican nomination to run for Attorney General the fighting between Martha Dean and Ross Garber made it onto the pages of the Hartford Courant today, but honestly, their fight is over qualifications and actually seems polite compared to the other races.

In the middle of this fray comes Republican Rob Simmons who was narrowly defeated by Linda McMahon at the party convention in May for the nomination to run for US Senate. Since then Simmons has been running a non-traditional primary campaign, keeping his name on the primary ballot but acknowledging that he has no way to raise enough money to compete with McMahon's tens of millions, and thus eschewing huge advertising expenditures.

Nonetheless, Simmons has just released a new television ad titled Lest We Forget that is remarkable on many fronts, but mostly because it inserts a huge dose of civility and class into what has become a street brawl in the other races.

When I saw Simmons' ad I was immediately reminded of a place in Vietnam called Charlie Med. It was an advanced medical station, south of the Demilitarized Zone and southeast of Khe Sanh. It was on the reverse side of a very high hill which meant it couldn't be hit by direct artillery fire from North Vietnam, and unlike Khe Sanh it was out of sight from the Laotian border.

Although Charlie Med was built like a sandbagged bunker it had the personnel and facilities to repair a wounded Marine, and stabilize his condition so he could be transported to a hospital ship out on the Gulf of Tonkin or to Da Nang 60 miles away if necessary. It was adjacent to a base that originally was called Cam Lo, then LZ Stud, and as it grew eventually became Vandergrift Combat Base. You could land a helicopter right on the roof that was marked with a red cross. Charlie Med took fire, but not on a par with firebases closer to Laos or the DMZ.

Getting out of the line of fire and spending a few minutes getting wounded troops into the care of the medical personnel was a welcome respite, for the troops and the helicopter crews who brought them there. When I was looking over the primary campaign battlefield I couldn't help but compare the new Rob Simmons ad to Charlie Med.

In the interest of full disclosure I work as a director for the Michael J. London & Associates public relations firm in Trumbull, CT, and we did NOT work on the Simmons campaign. Lest We Forget was produced by the Cashman & Katz firm in Glastonbury, CT and from one PR guy to another, what a great job they did.

Don't misunderstand me. Simmons took the gloves off early in the campaign prior to the May convention and went toe to toe with McMahon on a plethora of issues. They fought hard and they fought tough. McMahon wrested the nomination away from Simmons initially by a small majority at the convention, which turned into a larger majority when the rules committee allowed vote switching before the results of the first vote were announced.

Delegates who were tracking the voting saw that the third candidate, financier Peter Schiff, was out of the running at the convention and with Simmons and McMahon so close, a second vote would have been interesting to say the least. Schiff even released his delegates to Simmons, but delegates who had no loyalty other than to themselves and worried about being on the wrong side when the final results were in, began switching to McMahon initially in a trickle, then in a flood, and the final outcome was a more than 100 vote majority for McMahon.

That was then, this is now. I say that Rob Simmons has been running a non-traditional campaign, but as I think about it, I guess that depends on your definition of traditional. Because what Simmons has been doing since May could well be defined as a truly traditional, old-fashioned shoe leather campaign. By that I mean he hasn't relied on the media to spread his message, instead going full-tilt on the campaign trail to let Republicans know he is still on the ballot and still in the race.

He has worked his way across the state, even appearing at events on behalf of other GOP candidates, but also leaving the message that he is in the running too.

There is a method here. Every candidate who is on the primary ballot August 10 needs the support of their party's rank and file voters. These are not people who are likely to be influenced by favors or long-held (or for that matter shifting) loyalties to party officials. They will vote for the person who they believe is the best fit for the job. In the GOP primary for the US Senate nomination Simmons, McMahon and Schiff - who petitioned his way onto the ballot - are all vying for the Republican nomination.

Thus each in his or her own way must get their message out to registered Republicans. Linda McMahon obviously has the advantage in ability to buy advertising space, although Schiff supposedly has lots of his own money too. Simmons on the other hand has been working one-on-one, meeting people face to face, engaging in debates, and spending enough media money to create and release a really well-done political ad based on the concept of "Service."

Here Simmons has the edge, considering that he has literally spent his entire adult life, from his Army days in Vietnam, to the CIA, to working as a US Senate staffer on intelligence matters, to state representative to US Congressman, to state Business Advocate, in public service. His commercial does not directly criticize either of his opponents although it does contain a line that service "can't be bought."

In conjunction with his new ad, Simmons also has picked up endorsements from the New London Day, Norwich Bulletin and Hartford Courant in recent days. Simmons' endorsements may be offset by the rumored endorsement of McMahon by Connecticut's Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell later today, but if that does occur it too can be spun a million ways.

What is really refreshing in all of this high drama is the simple fact that Simmons produced a decent, informative ad that tells you who he is, what he is bringing to the position and doesn't vilify his opponents. I won't go into Schiff's recent attacks on McMahon who is the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, which is run by her family. Simmons and McMahon went over that territory with a fine-toothed comb earlier this year and it didn't make much of an impact. McMahon for her part has run her post-convention campaign based on issues and qualifications.

Late on the night of August 10 we will know whether Simmons will be going forward as the GOP nominee to run against Democrat Richard Blumenthal, or out of the race. But either way, he can hold his head high and take pride in the fact that in the midst of political chaos and gutter fighting he has taught us all a lesson in civility, class and dignity.


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