For the record, Milford's DTC (with our chairman Rich Smith) allowed Alpert to speak, and he was treated with the courtesy that every candidate deserves. I have a video of his talk on the sidebar.
UPDATE: I heard from one of my sources after I posted this, and they reported that Alpert did indeed address the Hamden DTC some time in April, which was after I first heard reports of Alpert's rejection. I apologize for the wrong information.
I think the practice of censoring any declared Democratic candidate is a terrible thing to do in our "big tent" party. I wish I could say this is setting a precedent, but I remember similar difficulties encountered by Ned Lamont four years ago when he first started his landmark run for Joe Lieberman's Senate seat.
Of course, Merrick Alpert is no Ned Lamont. When he started his campaign, Alpert spoke mostly about the issues, and some of his views were very popular with the progessives in the party.
But shortly after his memorable debate victory over Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Alpert seems to have abandoned his focus on the issues and pursued a bizarre tactic that included a man dressed in a chicken suit stalking Blumenthal events. This ridiculous and childish stunt has largely alienated the few Democratic supporters he may have had to that point. In my opinion, he lost whatever political capital he had by turning himself into a joke with no punchline.
That being said I still think its reprehensible that, before he became a joke, ANY Democratic town committee would refuse him the opportunity to speak for five or ten minutes at one of their open meetings. It goes directly against the philosophy of our party and reeks of "machine politics", where all the big decisions are made by a few establishment power brokers.
As a party we need to do better. This election year is going to be tougher than any we've seen in many years. We can't afford to sit back and assume any seat is "safe", especially an open seat like Chris Dodd's vacated seat. Alpert did Dick Blumenthal a favor, by getting him some obviously needed experience in a debate. I'm sure our Attorney General is working on his debating skills, and will be better prepared in the future.
But I feel we generally benefit as a party from hearing diverging opinions. We seem to work best when we're presented with several views on the issues and then select the one we agree with. I think we need to avoid anything that resembles the lock-step mentality that the GOP is so comfortable with. Just look at how they're purging all their candidates that possess even a trace of moderate views. Utah is a fine example. We won't win anything by adopting their tactics.
Alpert is waiting to see if he'll be allowed to speak at the State Convention next Friday. The Day has the details. I'd like to see him address the delegates, if only for the reason that he was denied the opportunity to speak before nearly half of the DTCs. In my opinion it will do us good to hear progressive ideas being discussed at the normally staid event.
...at least, as long as that moron in the chicken suit doesn't make a nuisance of himself.
From the post-debate Q&A: