Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Eleventh Commandment, Greenwich-style

Ronald Reagan was the author of the so-called 11th commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican." He'd obviously never been to Greenwich.

A few years ago, as Jimbo Lash was first getting his hands dirty in politics, a three-page document in the form of an Excel spreadsheet began to find its way onto the faxes of some of the Republicans in town. A cover sheet addressed to "Dear Greenwich Republican" read, "Please read the attached grading of local Republicans, recently prepared for and with Jim Lash."

At the top of the document were a series of abbreviations: "P - Principled / C - Other"; "D - Dangerous"; "HI - Highly Intelligent / I - Intelligent / A - Average / S - Stupid". You will note, dear reader, that all of the letter codes make sense except using "C" for "Other"- oh, my, do you think that "C" perhaps originally stood for "Corruptible"? Well, it *is* the opposite of "Principled", so that's probably a good guess. But wait - could a fellow Republican possibly be considered corruptible, let alone stupid? Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave.

For the list that followed did in fact include the names of most of the active Republicans in Town, including members of the Republican Town Committee and elected officials. Each name received from one to six ratings, suggesting that there were a number of "raters" who participated in this effort. Who, one wonders, were they? The cover sheet supplies us with a clue:

"...please note the absence of certain names: Erf Porter, John Raben, Ed Dadakis, Bill Nickerson, Lloyd Hull, etc. Wonder why?"

Well, throw in Jimbo himself, and you have a total of six names that did not appear on the list of prominent local Reublicans. Could they be the mysterious "raters"? You may draw your own conclusions, gentle the cover sheet clearly invites you to do.

OK, let's get to the nitty-gritty. What kinds of comments did these "raters" make, and about whom did they make them? Perpend, and read on....

Fred Camillo was for several years the local party chairman. One might think that the "raters" would be kind to him. Were they? Well, of the six ratings Fred received, three of them regarded him as a "friend", and three as an "enemy". He was unanimously rated "C", and "D", and "S". Ouch! Unprincipled, dangerous, and stupid. Ronald, thou shouldst be living at this hour!

But wait, there's more. Each name also had a verbal comment placed next to it. Fred's read like this: "Flatter him and he'll tell our lies for us." Hoo, boy, what does *that* tell you about these party insiders, these "raters" of their fellow Republicans? "Our lies"?! Is that how they view themselves? Apparently so.

Let's move on. Bob Tuthill, long-time RTC and RTM member, fared no better: "Flatter, Flatter, Flatter. A blowhard." Republican Registrar of Voters Ronnie Musca garnered this comment: "Likes to imbibe. Needs friends." Mary Ferry, Chairman of District Five: "Useful for propaganda." David Hopper, the Town's Probate Judge: "Remind him who his friends are. He who giveth can taketh away."

Sort of like the way your scribe's breath was taketh away the first time he read this document. What a mish-mash of nasty, mean-spirited, vicious comments! For shame! Is this what the inner circle of Greenwich Republicanism is all about?

Listen to some of the other comments these "raters" made: "Make him think he is more important than he is"; "Keep him stupid"; "A good gofer, when made to feel important"; "Appeal to her sense of Republican duty/loyalty. Keep her in the dark"; "Eunuch"; "Make her feel stupid to talk"; "Easily persuaded. Not important"; "A hungry animal"; "Ambitious. Will betray her grandmother"; "Muzzle him"; "Give her enough rope...."

Well, that's just a sampling - there's lots more in the same vein. Time does not permit, dear reader, to share them all with you. But you get the idea. Do you remember the "Wicked Bible" of 1631, in which the seventh commandment read, "Thou shalt commit adultery"? Well, naturally that version would have been immensely popular here in Greenwich, founded as it was only a few years later. And now, in our own 21st century, we have apparently updated the eleventh commandment to read, "Thou shalt speak ill of a fellow Republican." Makes you proud to live in this wonderful town of ours, doesn't it?

And isn't it great to have a First Selectman who governs with the assistance of these helpful "ratings"? If your name is one of those on this list, at least you know exactly what he and his cohorts think of you. Always nice to know where you stand, isn't it?


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