We don’t do a lot of religion in electoral politics here in the Land of Steady Habits, so when it’s introduced into a race for public office those of us in the biz take note. Thus, I offer for your consideration Martha Dean, who yesterday beat out a moderate Republican and became the GOP candidate for state Attorney General. She went to Phillips Andover, Wellesley College, and the UConn Law School, where she made law review. She does regulatory law and is a big wheel in the local branch of the Federalist Society.
Dean, who gave AG Richard Blumenthal a small run for his money in 2002, was the only Tea Partyish candidate who prevailed in the CT primary. Her views are, well, on the idiosyncratic side. A native of “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire in the days when it was as rock-ribbed as they come, she thinks the Second Amendment is the most important item in the Bill of Rights, supports the right of anyone to own any firearm, and stirred up some controversy by advocating gun instruction in the public schools. She also opposes the death penalty, wants to open a discussion about decriminalizing drugs, and says she’ll defend Connecticut’s same-sex marriage law (though she doesn’t like it). Ditto for abortion. Color her pretty darn libertarian.
Dean’s platform is the Three F’s: Freedom, Faith, and Fortune–“pillars
of a prosperous and desirable State.” I’ll leave it to you investigate Freedom and Fortune for yourselves. The Faith pillar has to do with what “the Judeo-Christian values” teach, to wit: “tolerance for others, a
higher duty owed to God’s law when it conflicts with the laws of government,
and the importance of private acts of compassion.” What will that mean for her conduct of the AG’s office? A striving “to demonstrate and encourage”
- appreciation of, and respect for, the Judeo-Christian
underpinnings to our free society
- acceptance of other cultures and faiths, without
denying the significance of the faith foundation upon which our freedoms
as Americans were built
- an understanding among public officials, education
officials, and the public that separation of church and state does
not mean, and has never meant, eliminating recognition of
Judeo-Christian faith heritage from public ceremonies (prayer; pledge
of allegiance, etc), public places (Christmas trees; nativity scenes, etc),
or public things (“In God We Trust” on our money, etc)
- an understanding among all in Connecticut that government
did not create our rights and government cannot take them away
In fact, these days we Nutmeggers bear witness to our Judeo-Christian heritage by not letting convenience stores sell beer, or liquor stores sell anything, on Sundays. Heck, on Sundays even supermarkets can’t purvey lager. But Dean’s against all that. Fortune dictates that such “unseemly” practices cease.
Ms. Dean’s own personal religious commitment cannot be determined from her website. My son Ezra, who last night was reporting from Dean headquarters for the Hartford Courant, found one supporter who described her as “Sarah Palin with a resumé.” Palin didn’t advertise her specific religious affiliation either. But here in Connecticut, we like resumés.