A final note on Rob Simmons
By Tom Evers
May 28, 2010
Like most of you, I was sitting at work on Monday when I heard the news that Congressman Rob Simmons had quit the race for US Senate. I think it took me by surprise because it seemed only forty-eight hours prior, that Rob was telling a select few of us in his post-convention war room that he intended to fight on to the bitter end. The shenanigans in the convention hall seemed to reinvigorate him to the point where he said he would not allow (and I'm paraphrasing) the night's backroom deals and payoffs to stand; that he would take his case to the voters through a primary. Out of respect, I leave his private comments at only this, since it was a closed door discussion and what I've posted here he also pretty much said publicly.
I have to say I'm not necessarily bitter about it. And I'm not going to belly-ache about the state of his campaign in this essay (that's water under the bridge now). But I do believe that at that moment, Rob did want to take his case to the voters and not give up the race. But whatever happened between Friday at 10pm and Monday at 9 am, altered his viewpoint and he reluctantly withdrew. I do not know what the main rationale was behind the decision, and I'm not close enough to the man or his family to ask. It very well could have been the complexity of trying to overcome the millions of dollars that Linda McMahon was willing to invest in her own campaign (she had already blown $16 million on the primary), or maybe it was the anger at betrayal by party kingpins who were busy colluding with McMahon cronies, and pulling strings behind the curtain, or maybe he just didn't have the energy or fire to go the distance in what clearly would have been a blood-bath of a primary. Maybe it was all three plus a number of other things that haven't been disclosed. I don't know.
In a way, you have to appreciate that Rob Simmons took the initiative to stop. Just stop. We know he could have gone the distance with a lackluster campaign and in a half-hearted manner just to make a go of it - but for what? That would have been far worse for him, his family and for supporters. He did the noble thing and made a call to end his campaign. By this gesture, Rob put the public first.
Rob Simmons spent a majority of his life in public service. He served his country admirably for nineteen months in Vietnam, continued military service and rose through the ranks through merit and dedication, and worked for years keeping American safe as an Intelligence Officer in the CIA. He has served as council to Presidents and leaders on foreign policy and military affairs directly and indirectly for most of his life. As a Congressman, he fought tooth and nail for Veterans. And was a relentless advocate for Connecticut, and in particular worked night and day to keep the Groton Submarine base open, and by that - keeping thousands of Connecticut residents and companies like Electric Boat who rely on projects and contracts - on the job. Linda McMahon may have created 500 wrestling jobs (so she says), but Rob Simmons saved 500,000 Connecticut jobs which is a matter of fact that cannot be denied. And the people in the second district, and in Connecticut are grateful.
I hope this isn't the last we hear from Rob Simmons, or his family. (One day I'm looking forward to working on fiery Jane Simmons' campaign!). Rob has the potential to offer so much more, and it would be unrealistic to imagine that someone isn't going ask a man of his caliber and experience, cares and says what he thinks, who isn't afraid to buck the trend or party line, to take part in some future public service endeavor. He's a brilliant resource just waiting to be tapped.
Congressman Simmons - Rob, if I may - thanks for your service and patriotism. Thanks for making Connecticut strong. History will show that you were one of our best leaders during some tough times. Until that next time, I wish you and your family Godspeed!