Point – Counterpoint: Columnists Debate at Goodwin
Election Day may have come and gone, but there was still plenty to debate on Wednesday when two of the Hartford Courant’s most opinionated columnists discussed the issues facing Connecticut.
The East Hartford Chamber of Commerce brought popular writers and government critics Rick Green and Kevin Rennie to Goodwin for breakfast and a debate. Veteran reporter Duby McDowell moderated the contest, which saw Green and Rennie take opposing views on issues ranging from electoral politics to the state deficit, sprinkling in thoughts on higher education and social media for good measure.
Rennie, a former Republican state senator from South Windsor, and Green, a senior political columnist for the state’s largest newspaper, didn’t mince words as they tackled the issues. Among other points of contention, they disagreed on the level to which Connecticut is a “blue state” and the potential for a Republican to get elected to national office.
Rennie said that in Connecticut, as a state that on the whole leans Democratic, it is very difficult for a Republican to get elected to Congress or other office during a presidential election.
“In those years, Connecticut is an impossibly Democratic state,” said Rennie.
In response, Green chided the “blue state” identity as a repetitive complaint, arguing that there were some good Republican candidates this year who just got beat.
“What gets really tiresome is to hear all the Republicans saying Connecticut is such a blue state. You’re hearing that everywhere now,” Green said. “that’s a good strategy for the future.”
While their opinions largely differed, they found common ground over media accessibility of political
“Candidates have become very isolated,” Rennie said. “Arranging to meet one of them was like trying to get a package through the Berlin Wall.”
Green agreed, saying that social media, particularly Twitter, has become the main platform for candidates to make cases to constituents.
“Twitter is the best resource for a political reporter these days,” Green said.
The debaters also squared off on issues including the state’s projected $415 million deficit and its potential impact on the 2014 gubernatorial race. Rennie and Green included some thoughts on the growth of the state’s public higher education hierarchy a being a great expense to Connecticut.
Goodwin College President Mark E. Scheinberg kicked off the event, saying it was a pleasure to welcome some of his heroes of the Fourth Estate to campus.
CT-N, the Connecticut Network, broadcast the debate, which is available to view online at http://www.ct-n.com/CTNplayer.asp?odID=8458.