February 17, 2010
By Ken Krayeske • 10:55 PM EST
It's political season - hide your babies. This is a still from a Foley for Senate ad. Times change, and so do candidates chasing office. h/t to Political ad guy
Ed’s Note: This is Part II of a four-part interview with Tom Foley, Republican candidate for Governor of Connecticut. After a short interlude next week in which I will write about Spring Awakenings, a musical coming to the Bushnell, I will print the third and fourth parts of the interview with Foley on March 3 and March 10, 2010.
Part I, published the week of February 1, 2010, featured some of Foley’s ideas about voter participation, being an ambassador to Ireland, and UConn’s tuition increase.
This week, Part II of the conversation heads into the other area of Foley’s past that many have expressed concern about: his participation as the Director of Private Sector Development for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq from August 2003 through March 2004.
Much was written about Tom Foley and his task at the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. In the fog of war, you can't always tell what is true.
The right-leaning press lauded Foley. "Characters are the backbone of any good story, and the Americans working in Iraq are the finest I have ever met," wrote Noah D. Oppenheim in "Flacks and Hacks in Baghdad: What it's like to Report from Iraq," printed in the December 15, 2003 issue of the Weekly Standard.
Oppenheim praised "People like Col. Nate Slate, a man trained his entire life to fire artillery, now doing a miraculous job rebuilding the town of Taji. People like Tom Foley, a multimillionaire financier, now walking the lines at Iraqi shoe factories, helping get an economy off the ground."
Obviously, the left-leaning press was harder on him. The socialist People's Weekly World suggested in a November 10, 2003 story that Foley invited "14 Eastern European finance officials to Baghdad to give advice about privatization."
In the story titled "As Iraq Death Toll Rises, So Do War Profits," writer Tim Wheeler, quoting the Moscow News, wrote that Foley met in Iraq with Yegor Gaidar, the acting Prime Minister of Russia for much of 1992.
Gaidar, a widely respected and criticized politician and economist, laid the foundation for the mass privatization of Russia’s planned Soviet economy. While Gaider averted a civil war, there was also much suffering during this transition to a "free market" system.
Foley has no recollection of the meeting with either Yegor Gaidar or the former Soviet Bloc officials.
"I think that is erroneous," Foley said, noting that sometimes his name is mistaken for Washington state Democrat Thomas S. Foley, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives in Congress during the first Bush administration.
"I don't remember meeting Yegor Gaidar," Foley said. "We had a lot of VIPs who came through from various places, and as a courtesy we would meet with them. That would not have been someone we would have looked to for advice.
"We wouldn't have been looking to the Russians to advise us on transition issues in a transition economy," Foley said. "It is possible, if I did meet with him, it didn't have anything to do with policy."