Party Animal: Gadfly Joe Visconti throws himself into the political fray
Filed under Joe Visconti, Politics, town council, West Hartford
Go get em Joe. Let’s keep the GOP banner high and in the spotlight in town.
Now let’s consider a West Hartford Republican named Joe Visconti who said of himself, “I’d be a liberal Democrat anywhere else, but this town is so upside-down.”
Liberal Democrats don’t tend to gush over George W. Bush and vilify unions.
(The Advocate, incidentally, wasn’t going to ask Visconti about the war, on the theory that West Hartford town council candidates have little impact on American foreign policy, anyway.)
Who said the Advocate has no standards?!
Furthermore, this hard-hitting profile was authored by none other than “good time” Jennifer Abel, a self-described “libertarian guerilla” and “feral genius”.
The kind of reporter who’s content to accept that the weather is to blame for the West Hartford GOP’s rejection of Visconti.
…We basically had 11 people deciding who would run as candidates for the GOP…
Why was that a problem? Isn’t that the total number of West Hartford residents who will still admit to being Republicans?
….and furthermore, liberals tend to dump on President Bush no matter how difficult his job is, and support unions to the fullest extent, regardless of corruption, or whether or not its in the taxpayers interest to do so.
Yep, we’ve got your number Turtle.
FYI Folks, I’ll be there so get out the checkbook and come on down!
GOVERNOR M. JODI RELL
THE WEST HARTFORD REPUBLICAN TEAM
AUGUST 30, 2007
THE PROSPECT CAFÉ
345 PROSPECT AVENUE
WEST HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
$40.00 DONATION MADE PAYABLE TO THE WEST HARTFORD REPUBLICAN TOWN COMMITTEE
Does my $40.00 guarantee that you’ll do whatever you can for me at Town Hall? Or are you one of those Republicans that will only agree to such a thing if I promise to beat up your granddaughter’s husband?
Joe, do you have a Grandaughter?
We’ll see you there Joe. Anyone else, come on out meet the candidates. Before you decide you can’t stand Republicans, it might be nice if you met some, that alone should be worth $40 .After all, it is hard finding 10 Republicans in one spot in this town!
And if you don’t like them you can say hi to the Guv, she is a democrat isn’t she?
I don’t know what planet WH Voter is on, but …
Joe, why does the money have to go to the WH Republican Town Committee? Aren’t these the same clowns that tried to shut you out of the process?
How do we know that they won’t funnel the money to those running against you in the primary? Doesn’t WH Republican Town Committee money go to only “endorsed” candidates?
I could be wrong (although its not often) but it seems like you are helping to fund the arsenal they are preparing against you. Thoughts?
Why should I have to pay money to meet anyone who is soliciting my support to represent me on the Town Council?
Gary, You don’t have to pay. Just don’t go.
These same people will be stopping by your house with information at no charge.
But, running a campaign unfortunately takes funds. The incumbents have more than the GOP. So if mailings, signs, info cards are to get out someone has to pay for it. If you don’t want to help that’s your business.
The town committee as I understand can help any of the candidates. My assumption is that they have come to amicable terms with Joe, if Joe is going to the Fund Raiser.
The problem the rest of the slate has with Joe is due to State laws regarding campaign coordination. Joe had already started collecting funds for his primary run therefore he can’t combine his fund raising with the West Hartford 2007 fund raising
Oh, the unfortunate reality of American politics. No pay, no play.
And it’s really sad that this cuts both ways. I got an invitation to a “meet and greet” with three of the Democratic candidates for the BOE. $50.00 a head, demonstrating, I suppose, the relative value of a Democrat in this Town versus a Republican.
By the way King, I’m from the planet containing the country that has the state whose second most powerful Republican did just as I described in my last post. What rock have you been living under?
Or are you just hoping the DeLuca story will go away before the next election, so voters won’t be reminded about how sleazy the Republican Party has become in this state?
How’s the DiBella resignation coming?
Not very well.
If the Democrats are standing behind him the way the Republicans have been standing by Deluca, then I would agree that both parties have slipped into a state of sleaziness that turns off independent voters like me.
I am attending the fundraiser to show support for the Party. I am not soliciting contributions for my campaign here, nor will I recieve any contributions from this fundraiser. If elected I will need to work with other Republicans on the Council and need to find harmony with these Candidates. Contrary to what others may think, I am very forgiving, besides it was only Politics.
Mr Delucca has found himself in a lot of hot water and will be judged by his peers in due season. If one bad apple has spoiled the bunch for you I am sorry.
Joe looks like such a lovable teddy bear in that photo.
I wonder why he posts such venom here.
Surely he’s more kind-hearted than he’s shown us.
The following may sound snide or frivolous but I really don’t mean it that way at all — it is a sincere question.
To what degree, and in what ways, should/must/may a person running for Town Council as a Republican be held responsible for the views and actions of the national Republican party?
Is it safe to presume that a person who calls himself a Republican does so because he agrees with most of what the national party stands for? What, if anything, does that support tacitly say about his behavior once in office?
This question troubles me because I have been thinking about the parallels between the debate in Town over taxes recently and the last Republican administration under Rob Bouvier. If my very poor memory serves me right, the Republicans won in those heady days on promises to bring fiscal responsibility and reign in spending. Then, when a gay couple tried to buy a family rate pool pass, Bouvier and his fellow Republicans manned the barricades against the gay tide. It has always seemed to me that this gay-bashing utterly unrelated to the issues the Republicans had won on, but central to the platform of the national party, disgusted many residents and contributed powerfully to the Republican defeat in the next election.
I sense that after the overwhelming defeat of the budget referendum the Republicans relish new hope for electoral gains, maybe even victory. I imagine the chief issue on which they will run will be fiscal restraint. But they are self-identified Republicans. Will they bring the national party’s social agenda in train, like Bouvier? If so, don’t the voters have a right to know that a vote for Republican fiscal restraint will also be a vote for an anti-gay Town Council? And if not, how can we be sure that we won’t be fooled again?
It should also be noted that there was a bit of fiscal sleight-0f-hand that made the budget look better during Rob’s administration. As I remember it, payments to the pension fund were deferred by a year, which balanced the budget, but had to be covered in the following year (when the Democrats had taken over). It amounted to 6 or 7 million dollars.
I don’t believe that the Republican social agenda will have any legs in this town and would kill any chance of a successful campaign for the Repubs.
Are you suggesting that Republican Town Council candidates should state their views publicly on homosexuality if they may be seeking municipal fiscal restraint?
Do you think there are any members of the public who are Gay and do not like being overtaxed or do you assume that most people that are Gay want more Tax and Spend Policies from the Democratic Machine?
Many people have been afraid of the Bush Administration stacking the deck of the Supreme court to overturn Roe V Wade and limit or remove a Womans right to seek an abortion, should we include asking local Town Councilors their stance on that as well?
Have you spoken to the League of Womens Voters on whether they think any of the above questions should be asked of all candidates during the Television debates that are usually held in the Fall?
God Bless America and all of her Citizens.
I’m just asking when you say you are a Republican, what does that mean? Isn’t that a fair question? When we look back on the record of the Bouvier administration, don’t we have a right to know?
You are right, many Republicans today are wrestling with the question of “What is a Republican?”
Pro or anti this or that isn’t the way to define oneself, nevermind a Large Group.
I will be putting out much more on my views of “What is a Republican” soon so please be patient.
If people are going to vote for Joe, it will mostly be based on his views on taxes and spending.
Very little can be gained by Joe addressing the War in Iraq, abortion, gay rights, or national railway safety, or what it means to be a Republican.
Trying to draw Joe out to talk about his view on national or global issues is a distraction. Why should Joe give you a dozen more irrelvant reasons for you to like or dislike him?
That being said, he’s probably not a cookie-cutter Republican. I probably disagree with him at least 49% of the time. But for my hot button issues, the ones he can have an impact on – taxes, school budget, and spending – he’s the closest alignment for me.
And you know what (oh, you’ll love this Gary and Turtle … it might ruin your whole warped view of me), if Joe were gay, I’d still go out there and put his sign on my lawn and pass out pamphlets for him. It’s not an issue that concerns me on this level.
The reason these things matter is what the Republican Bouvier administration did. Elected on fiscal issues, they sought to promote the national Republican anti-gay agenda in West Hartford. The voters deserve to know what they are getting. It’s disingenuous to pretend that the views the national party has been espousing for two decades are not relevant when a person says, “I’m a Republican.”
So far no one has said anything about my earlier suggestion about Newt-Gingrich style multiple, substantive debates, in Town Hall and all the elementary schools. Joe?
Bouvier was not promoting an anti-gay agenda.
The question being debated at that time and today is whether or not the relationship consititutes a family.
And the debate continues, just because you’ve made up your mind Gary, doesn’t mean everyone has. It also doesn’t make them anti-gay, despite your opinion. Legally that may have changed in CT and Mass and some other states, but I don’t think we’ve sen the end of the debate
A gay couple whom lived together applied for a family pool pass. Nothing in the regulations in place at the time defined “family.” The Bouvier Republicans faced a choice. The Bouvier administration could have said, “The definition of a family is not a matter for a Town to decide; that’s a question of state law.” Or they could have said, “Fine, you’re a family.” Instead, they took the choice promoted by the national Republican party as part of their anti-gay agenda.
I recognize the debate continues but the fact remains that the Bouvier administration choice ran against gay residents. If you don’t believe that, ask any resident who’s gay.
following Republican national policy – I don’t think so.
Plenty of non-republicans have had a problem with your definition of a family. The State had made no definite statement, that left it up to the Council. There were and are still plenty of people out there who do not consider a gay couple a family.
Obviously, “progressive” liberal dems do.
Two guys living together constitutes a family?
Is gay marriage legal in Connecticut? I didnt’ think so. And people “living together” – male and male, female and female, or even male and female do not constitute a family.
I think this was just a matter of someone trying to either rock the boat, or force their agenda, or just too cheap to pay for a pool pass.
Bouvier was right on this one.
Run away from this one, Joe. The left is up in arms, the only way they can defeat you is to detract from you sound fiscal stances.
I can see it now… Headline: Visconti: Anti-Gay candidate; Plans to rekindle pool drama
I guess I am now very confused. Are you EJ saying it is NOT national Republican policy to restrict gays’ access to marriage? That national Republican policy does not reject the idea that a gay couple forms a family? If so I have been laboring under a mighty misapprehension.
(It’s not relevant to whether the Republicans hold a policy position that non-Republicans also hold it.)
You should talk about upside down (or backwards). Don’t you know how to properly display the American flag (on your porch)?
What follows is yet another long political post from me. I apologize for wasting the blog’s electrons, but since I started the discussion about whether politicians running for Town Council should express views on issues like “family values,” I feel that I ought to explain myself more clearly.
Why does it matter whether someone like Joe (sorry Joe, I am not picking on you!) should tell us what it means to him to be a Republican, and what his views are on national issues and Republican party national positions?
1. Politicians strive to limit the debate to the issue(s) they believe they can win on. Mitt Romney would rather not have to discuss his earlier views on abortion; Hillary Clinton cringes whenever she’s asked about her vote authorizing the Iraqi war.
As citizens, it’s our duty not to let them get away with it. I can’t understand anyone’s thinking just by knowing their position on one issue — especially not if it is the issue they think makes them look best! When pressed, politicians like to talk “character” — they don’t want to tell you their views on X but rather reassure you that they’re straight shooters and decent guys. This is nothing but a version of the “trust me” argument. For my part, I’ll decline the invitation to trust from anyone who won’t tell me plainly and honestly what he thinks.
2. Whether we like it or not, issues local, regional, national, and global impinge on our little Town. (This is exactly what happened, completely unexpectedly, under the Bouvier administration with the gay-family pool pass crisis.) Here’s two notional examples:
Breast-feeding is the best form of nutrition for babies — there’s no doubt about it. But the US lags well behind other advanced industrial countries in breat-feeding rates, and within the US, the rate of breast-feeding drops with income level. Should West Hartford undertake a public health campaign to encourage breast-feeding among our residents, especially as our lower-income population increases? Should the Town amend any “public indeceny” ordinances that might be interpreted as making breast-feeding in a public place an act of public indecency? Is this a “family values” issue? Does holding to “family values” as championed by the Republican party imply a position on these questions?
As the impacts of global warming become more and more apparent on local levels, West Hartford may face some hard choices. Should the Town pay more (if that’s what it takes) to buy only “green” electricity? Should the Town fleet be replaced with hybrids? Should the Town enact “green” construction ordinances and enforce them vigorously, even if that means losing out on a commercial development? Won’t a politician’s views on the reality, severity, and importance of global warming affect his response to these questions?
3. Any debate just about taxes is really both sterile and meaningless. Taxes are not an end; they are a means. The real, prior question is, “What kind of town do we want West Hartford to be?” Then we can ask how much that will cost and whether we can afford it.
For me, all these considerations mean I want politicians who have some (dare I say) vision, and who can provide leadership. I want people who can conjure up a picture of the West Hartford they think we should strive for, convince citizens that these ideas are worth our time, commitment, and money, can listen to everyone, assess people’s views, reject the bad, incorporate the good, and explain to everyone the reasons. I want politicians who admit when they are wrong and when they don’t know something, and are happy to learn from others.
A one-issue candidate, or a one-issue election, isn’t going to get me the kind of representation I want, and that I think our Town deserves. That’s why I think these larger questions are both fair and crucial even in a little Town Council election in little ole West Hartford.
Sorry Gary I couldn’t disagree more.
I struggle with your argument. You mention Joe, who’s running locally, and then use Hillary and Romney as examples of people who weren’t forthright with where they stand on far reaching issues. Joe’s influence will be limited once elected. Mitt and Hillary need to answer all these big questions because of their immediate level of influence. I could care less what Joe thinks about whether or not NASA should be funded this year, or if there should be a ban on stem cell research.
However, you have the right to ask him any question (period), but sensibily he should only answer questions that he would be able to have an effect on and are within his span of control. Knowing someone’s stance on an issue doesn’t tell you everything about their character, only in part what and how they think on that particular issue.
Joe cannot tell you what it means to be Republican anymore than I can or EJ can. There are lots of Republicans who are members of the party for many reasons, and some for one reason. I know Republicans who hate the war, are pro-choice, but like the home-schooling plank in the party. I know Democrats who dislike Jesse Jackson and are appauled by Barney Frank, yet vote Democrat for labor union reasons.
When it comes to local elections, supporting right or left candidates takes on a totally different meaning. Perhaps “gays at the pool” borders on a quasi-national issue, but there are a lot of Democrats I’ve spoken with who thought gays should pay separately because they have to. Some will translate that to “anti-gay” no matter how you craft the argument.
I think what Gary is trying to say is what Tip O’Neil correctly observed when he suggested “…all politics is local…”
Although I suspect most of the candidates would prefer not to have to address the global warming issue (Democrat or Republican), I don’t think we should let them off the hook. And the unambiguously local issue that should kick off this debate is whether or not this Town should help reduce automobile emissions by approving a tax exemption for residents who drive vehicles that get at least 40 miles per gallon.
See Good Gas Mileage, More Tax Breaks in the August 27, 2007 edition of the Courant (sorry; hyper-link not included because of whdad’s overactive spam catcher).
The ensuing debate should put this Town’s candidates on record of (1) whether or not they believe global warming is real (rather than a fabrication by one of whdad’s “left wing wacko buddies”) and (2) whether or not they believe our Town should play an active role in addressing this issue.
I used Clinton and Romney as examples of politicians who prefer to avoid issues they know they look bad on. This is just as true of local politicians.
You misapprehend my comments about character. I don’t want to hear about character; I want to know how politicians think. I do not get an answer to this fundamental question when all I get is a politician telling me his position on his one pet issue.
You don’t care what Joe thinks about stem cell research. Suppose a stem cell research company offered to buy the old Caldors lot and set up a stem cell research facility there. They’d pay big taxes, be non-polluting, employ lots of people at high salaries. (This is not a far-fetched scenario; such high-tech companies are very attractive to and attracted by educated suburbs like WH.)
You say Joe should refuse to answer any question posed only if he could have an effect on it and it’s under his control. The pool pass issue shows first that there’s no predicting what may suddenly come up. And honestly, would you trust a politician who refused to answer a question on which he had an opinion because he didn’t like it?
You are quite right that some people are one-issue voters. That’s fine. I however expect a great deal more thoughtfulness and breadth from someone who is asking for me to entrust to him a public office.
Sorry, grammar crash. The first sentence of the fourth paragraph of my last post should read:
“You say Joe should refuse to answer any question posed unless he could have an effect on it and it’s under his control.”
This child has been left behind….
King & Gary
What would be fair is to ask all candidates the same questions. I challenge you both to make up a list of issues with questions that you both feel will affect our town, State and Country and post them here so Candidates can prepare themselves to reply.
Earlier this year Kevin Sullivan, Jonathan Harris, Scott Slifka, Andy Fleishman, Dave McClusky et al lent their names or spoke ( Kevin, Scott and Jonathan Spoke) at an Organizing meeting for the CTcow.org ( Connecticut Opposes the War) gang which included support from the Communist Party USA, the Greater Hartford Socialist Party and a host of other special interest groups and union gurus like John Olsen to organize a march on Saint Patty’s day against the war.
The funny thing is I attended the Democrat led meeting at St James Church and watched as our local elected officials blasted Bush (especially Kevin, calling our beloved President a Liar) and handed out propoganda material that headlined and read:
” Budget Problems in West Hartford”
Less money is available from the State of Connecticut
Because less money is available from Washington DC
Becasue money is being diverted to the war in Iraq
It goes on to say:
West Hartford’s share of the cost of the war in Iraq is estimated to be $186.3 Million!
It goes on and on with a pipe dream for the Teachers who could have been hired etc (151,518 additional public school teachers in CT for one year instead of the war).
So here is an example of out local leaders connecting a National issue to a local one, with a little help from the Communists and Socialists.
Little Brother is Watching!
Joe, I can’t wait to see you elected! WHCT ratings might topple CBS! I’ll think of some questions to post, but the rest of the gang, even those on the GOP side (and I know they check in here through first hand knowledge) seem too afraid to answer them in a forum like this.
Whdad, how long has it been since we’ve seen posts from Harris, Sivka, Carpenter, Sinatro, et al? Only Coursey, Captain, Sullivan, and Bye have had the courage to speak out (and we appreciate it – even those of us with opposing views). Actually, Whdad… would be nice to get a direct answer to a question for a change (ahem!)… when is the last time you saw some of the town big whigs on here posting their thoughts?
when is the last time you saw some of the town big whigs on here posting their thoughts?
I’d guess that the reason is because this blog still doesn’t strike the officials and/or candidates as a large and/or effective enough forum through which to have a reasonable dialog with constituents.
When you think about it, there is really only a handful of us that actually post on any consistent basis. If I were a candidate and/or official, I’m not sure I’d be interested in this forum as a dialog with the community. There are a lot of voices in West Hartford, but here there are only 5 or so people that drive 90% of the discourse, no matter how many watchers and/or lurkers there may be. If I were a candidate, I don’t think that I’d want to put the main posters on this board in a position to drive the debate for the rest of the town.
I’d be more interested in getting out into the community, knocking on doors, hanging by the supermarket, getting involved in live, moderated etc. than posting here. Just my take.
Last Paragraph should read:
“…live, moderated forums, etc….”
Elmwoodian is right. We’re a handful, talking to each other. That’s one reason I think we should have a series of substantive debates, in local venues, televised. I’d be happy to contribute questions, but you know, it can’t just be me and King and Elmwoodian and EJ.
On the GOPers who lurk but don’t post — why?
Talk is cheap. I knocked on hundreds of doors and had dialogue with thousands of residents of all Party affiliations at Stop and Shop and Walbaums in August and I post here. What’s your address, I’ll stop by when I’m out campaigning?
Well, look at how many people don’t even vote!
But this too is an American tradition. During the Revolutionary War, I believe it was 25% who wanted to break away, 25% loyalists and 50% who didn’t particularly care.
There are many reasons for non-participation (in politics, PTOs, the community, etc.), but IMHO the biggest is that these folks have very full plates and can barely handle their normal day-to-day.
Interesting (but tedious) read is Putnam’s, “Bowling Alone”, but also, take a look at Maslow’s , “Hierarchy of Needs” (Look it up on Wikipedia)
Talk is cheap. I knocked on hundreds of doors and had dialogue with thousands of residents of all Party affiliations at Stop and Shop and Walbaums in August and I post here. What’s your address, I’ll stop by when I’m out campaigning?
I was just analyzing why it is that most candidates probably don’t post here. Also, this is also perceived as a very Joe-dominant forum. Love ya babe, but you know very well (and revel in it, I suspect) that you are a controversial figure. Like I said, there really isn’t a lot of upside.
No reveling here Elmwoodian, I do wish more candidates, Incumbents and residents would engage this blog.
It’s time for a Roll Call for the AWOL.
Please correct the improper display of the American flag on your front porch.
Per the The Flag Code Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1:
(i) When displayed … vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left…
Our country’s flag continues to be displayed improperly on your porch. GenoS. noted this a week ago.
The Political establishement is so far to the left in this town that the Flag actually is displayed properly.
Getting desperate Harry? Come on over and watch which way I part my hair in the morning.
Folks the dems (and David Jones) are so petrified I will get in office that they are resorting to anything to try and stop me.
Joe, you’re right on one thing, I am afraid you’ll get in office, that would be a horrible thing for this town.
But please tell me what I’m resorting to. Do you mean telling people about the things you’ve said and done? Don’t you think the voters have a right to know?
“…the flag should be displayed… with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.”
Your flag displays the union on the right as evidenced by picture above.
Oh my god David, the things I have said and done. Oh you mean like telling the public of Jonathan Harris and such?
Get off it already, if you wanted to Stand Up for West Hartford and make a difference you should have run for office as I have done, your 15 minutes of fame is over.
Harry, Harry, Harry are you running for re-election this year? If not then let Schmidt and Putterman step up since Scott and Chuck have gone to play hide and seek with Kevin.
Why so stubborn? Fix the flag.
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