The 2014 gubernatorial election may boil down to this: Is Connecticut a terrible place to live? The election should be named after Paul Sypek, who infuriated many Courant readers last week by insisting that he is happy here.
What a freak. Sypek's letter to the editor was a manifesto of abominations. He said he doesn't mind paying more for a sandwich if the counter person gets a living wage. He claimed to be happy about the expansion of Medicaid, the existence of food programs for the poor, clean air and water and sensible gun laws. Let's not kid ourselves. This is a dangerous man who will not stop until he has destroyed America.
The letter was the prose equivalent of stuffing a piñata full of fresh human brains and hanging it up in a zombie-infested area. As of this writing, it had attracted almost 500 comments, which is a lot when you consider that many of the commenters were in restraints and were typing with their foreheads.
I did not read all the comments because I was offered the alternative of tapping a fluted masonry nail into the side of my head, but I read enough to detect a pattern.
Many of the comments could be distilled into the following: "Paul your crazy you been living to long in a welfare state stupid I moved to Oklahomma four years ago and now I have an ingrown pool."
In other words, judging from the comment thread, we may be getting some kind of bill from the other states for exporting so many people with unpleasant dispositions and rudimentary grasps of their own pidgin dialects.
Nevertheless, the Sypekian conversation is one worth having and one that, judging from the early ad swarms, may dominate this campaign.
First let me attempt to sum up each campaign's position.
Republican Tom Foley: "Connecticut in 2014 is a dreary counterfeit of reality, indeed a valley of nearly constant agony created by the miserable failures of the Malloy administration. If I am elected I will restore Connecticut to vibrancy by ending its current toxic anti-business practices, although the only one I can specifically cite is mandatory paid sick leave. So even though the person waiting on you at Denny's may have viral hemorrhagic fever, you will be doing better in other ways. I'm Tom Foley, and I hate you."
Democrat Dan Malloy: "Connecticut in 2014 is a dreary counterfeit of reality, indeed a valley of nearly constant agony created by the miserable failures of the Rowland and Rell administrations. Since inheriting their messes, I have worked around the clock to preserve and create jobs. This has necessitated a wholesale transfer of assets from average citizens to big companies. That is just a first step. I am very close to thinking of a second. I'm Dan Malloy, and I have conflated you with someone who was mean to me as a child."
I know! They're both more fun than a barrel of monkeys. This is why we want Pelto and Visconti at the debates.
Here is where I come out: Connecticut is a tough(ish) place to live, at least in the sense that earning power doesn't keep pace with the cost of living. If you lived in South Dakota, you wouldn't earn as much, but you might be able to afford a better house and still have money left over to eat at M.B. Haskett, a former Sioux Falls brothel, now a deli run by a Culinary Institute of America alum. You might even be happier.
Me too. I'm about 75 percent certain I would be a happier person if I lived in Chattanooga, Tenn.
But who wants that? We're from Connecticut. We like being cranky. This state has been an irritable place since its founding. There's a reason we have the same two unappealing soreheads running for governor every cycle. Remember when R. Nelson "Oz" Griebel ran for governor in 2010? Of course you don't. He is a happy, genial, optimistic person, so he got slaughtered. A person like that has no business leading our state.
Now can we all shut up and go back to brooding on the injustices and deprivations that plague us? Probably not.
Colin McEnroe appears from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays on WNPR-FM (90.5) and blogs at courantblogs.com/colin-mcenroe. He can be reached at Colin@wnpr.org