August 25, 2005

Laffey and the Lieutenant Governorship

Carroll Andrew Morse

Charles Bakst has a follow-up column on the state Republican party’s $500,000 question. He mentions that Governor Carcieri may be involved in trying to get Steve Laffey to run for lieutenant governor. This is a bad idea, for at least two reasons.

First, it is a waste of effort. There is no way Steve Laffey will run for lieutenant governor.

But, for this post, I want to focus on a second reason. Even if the state Republican establishment could get Laffey to run for lieutenant governor (which they can’t), it would still be a bad idea for the party in the long term.

Lieutenant governor is a good move for a local pol seeking to achieve some statewide name recognition. But Steve Laffey doesn’t need to be lieutenant governor to draw attention to himself. And if he were to run and win, he would be taking away the chance for another Republican to generate statewide attention. The Republican “dream scenario” – Laffey winning lieutenant governor in 2006, and then running for governor in 2010 is actually a nightmare. In that scenario, chances for any new Republicans to develop statewide credentials are seriously reduced, and the party stays in exactly the same position it has been in since the election of Lincoln Almond.

In the long run, rather than putting all its effort into trying to strong-arm Laffey into running for the lieutenant governorship, the party would be better off focusing its efforts on finding some fresh-faced, candidates with future potential to run for lt. gov and secretary of state. The party needs a better plan for finding candidates than waiting for retired businessmen to enter Rhode Island politics.

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Since there are so few Repubicans in Rhode Island doesn't it make far more sense for a city mayor with a mere 3 years political experience to run for an open seat like Lt. Gov rather than challenge an incumbent US Senator??

Of course it does!!

But we all know Steve Laffey is all about Steve Laffey and the only consideration among Laffey and his faithful flock (that's you Andrew) are what will satisfy the political ambitions of Steve Laffey.

The above scenario that I've spelled
out is what should happen if party building were a true priority with the Laffey crowd but we ALL know party building is not a priority at all.

In fact we've seen 500,000 examples of Laffey's priorities since May.

I actually feel bad for Governor Carcieri. He's got all he can handle in trying to deal with the motley crew of Democrats at the state house and now he needs to open a daycare center for the immature self absorbed 3 year olds who call themselves RI Republicans these days.

And you guys wonder why people like me never join your party??
It's kindergarten!!

Posted by: Tim at August 26, 2005 12:03 AM

Sounds like the words of a bitter union hack, who's been on the short end of he Laffey stick LOL. I think our party will manage just fine without you!
Laffey is in this for us: not him. If this was truly all about Laffey, he never would have bothered to come back to RI in the first place!

Posted by: GB at August 26, 2005 3:28 AM

No Tim, it doesn’t make sense. The lieutenant governor does nothing for party building. Steve Laffey would bring more attention to the lieutenant governorship than the lieutenant governorship would bring to Steve Laffey.

All a Laffey lieutenant governorship would do for the RI Republicans is deny someone like Scott Avedesian a chance at state-wide spotlight.

And by your logic, Don Carcieri with 0 years of political experience should have stepped aside for Bernie Jackvony in the 2002 governor's race.

Posted by: Andrew at August 26, 2005 7:57 AM

GB, what should really bother you about my opinions, and others who've come to see the REAL Steve Laffey over time, is that not only am I not a union hack but I vote Republican 99% of the time here in RI even though I'm an unaffiliated voter.
People like me are a big problem for Laffey because he very much needs our votes in a state where he, being a Republican, has very few natural constituencies.

I heard Dan Yorke briefly on the radio yesterday. Dan had the best one word description of Steve Laffey that I've ever heard: sinister
Dan was not laughing, chuckling or goofing around when he said it.
The way Laffey has manipulated Rob Manning to screw the state party has opened a lot of eyes to what Steve Laffey is really all about.
In fact his game playing has inspired me to do something I don't usually do, vote in the Republican primary.
I will next year and I'll make sure I inspire others to do the same.

So what happens to your master plan for party building when Laffey loses, Andrew?

Enjoy the Kool-aid while you can.
The supply is going to run out sooner than you think!

Posted by: Tim at August 26, 2005 9:12 AM

Tim, you need to stop spreading mis-information on this board.

Steve Laffey is not "screwing" the state Republican party. The national party is free to transfer funds to the state party anytime it wants UNLESS it is demanding that the money be spent on particular candidates. The national party has no right to do that before the voters have made their choice.

And speaking now as a Cranston resident, NOT as a Laffey-for-Anything-but-Mayor supporter (because, as you have pointed out, he is not a declared candidate for anything), Laffey does have a natural constituency. They're called "taxpayers".

Posted by: Andrew at August 26, 2005 9:55 AM

Andrew, when are you going to give me an answer?
I'll ask again.
Why shouldn't the RNC earmark certain monies to go towards incumbents like a Governor or a Senator or a state rep or senator and why should that money be held up since May when the incumbent Republicans remains unopposed??
And you keep trying to tell us this isn't about Laffey?? lol
That's a lie and you know it!

A little advice for Laffey. If I were him I wouldn't use the "friend of the taxpayer" angle too much in his campaign. He raised taxes how many times in his first two years in office?? While I understand the need for him to have done so in terms of the solvency of the city it doesn't change the fact that he raised taxes numerous times nor will it diminish the power of the political ads that are coming his way because of it.
Laffey is not running in Cranston, he's running statewide. BIG difference!

Posted by: Tim at August 26, 2005 10:32 AM

The Cranston taxpayers have been screwed by union contracts and leadership corruption - from both parties. The ONLY option was to raise taxes and only the uninformed think otherwise. He went after the unions first and was shot down - anyone want to be a crossing guard for $100+ an hour? BTW - don't count on voting Republican because there ain't going to a primary unless Chaffee has the same blinders on that Laffey's few but vocal naysayers have on.

It is amazing how society will turn on the very people who are trying to do the right thing. I think the other Tim has spent too much time drinking Garabedian's self-pity Koolaid and not enough time accepting intellectual honesty.

Posted by: Tim at August 26, 2005 5:50 PM

"Why shouldn't the RNC earmark certain monies to go towards incumbents like a Governor or a Senator or a state rep or senator and why should that money be held up since May when the incumbent Republicans remains unopposed??"
Because the RNC's job isn't to determine the Republican Party's nominee, prior to the GOP electorate making that determination. The RNC's purpose is to get Republicans elected, not to bias the process. The reason why the money has been held up, is because the party was initially (though I do not believe intentionally) deceptive, as to how the money was going to be spent. An "unwritten" condition of the money is that it only be used to benefit Sen. Chafee, and specifically exclude any potential GOP challenger to him, thus unfairly biasing the contest between Chafee and a potential challenger. There is nothing in the written RNC rules that allows for this, which is why Mr. Manning won't sign the "waiver." The waiver only comes into play, BECAUSE there has not yet been an endorsement. As a safety mechanism, to ensure that the RNC does not insert itself into local races, a waiver is required for RNC expenditures in states, prior to an endorsement or a primary.
By the way, it turns out that there really isn't "real money" being talked about here, as in actual "cash." It's all in "assistance" from the RNC. Also, there will be no actual money going to local candidates, such as General Gssembly, etc.. The "selling point" of the RNC help to RI Republicans, is that as a byproduct, it should help the RI Republican Party in the long run, by helping it become better organized, etc. However, the real reason for money is really to help Sen. Chafee, because the RNC knows he is extremely vulnerable. I don't even really know if it matters at this point, as if there is a primary, I do not expect the Senator to win it anyway, no matter what the RNC tries to do.

Posted by: Will at August 27, 2005 1:24 AM

Will, why is Laffey handpuppet Rob Manning holding up money since May when NONE of the incumbents, including Sen. Chafee have challengers??
Save your disingenuouis talking points, Will. We've heard them all and nobody is buying.
Will, you can spin and spin and spin all you like but the truth of what's going here has been thoroughly exposed and in a very public way.

TimII, a word of caution.
never use the words "intellectual honesty" in reference to anything involving Steve Laffey.
That train left the station for good this week.

Posted by: Tim at August 27, 2005 8:24 AM

Tim, do you have anything but insults to offer? Both Will and myself have explained the issue, in various levels of detail, several times now. We support having state voters choose their candidates. You support having the national party appoint candidates. At the moment, the rules are on the side of those of us who support voter-chosen candidates.

Posted by: Andrew at August 27, 2005 9:19 AM

Boy, this guy really has an ax to grind! Maybe he's a former crossing guard or something! Probably a disgruntled Gary Reilly supporter! Unlike you Tim, I actually know Mayor Laffey quite well. He's one of the best things to happen to this party in a generation. He's not perfect, as none of us are, but he would be infinitely better than what currently passes as our GOP senator now. I do really hope he'll choose to run for Senate, because I believe he would be the strongest GOP candidate in the race, both in the primary and in the general election.
As for Mr. Manning, he's just asking the RIGOP and RNC to abide by their own rules. The reason why there has been an impass isn't becuase of Mr. Manning, it's because the RNC wants him to do something that he considers to be unethical -- to sign a "waiver" of the requirement to wait until after an endorsement for the RNC to assist a specific candidate. Lest anyone try to muddle this, it's all about the RNC helping ONE candidate, not the party as a whole. They want to treat Chafee as the endorsed GOP candidate, even though the endorsement will not occur until July 2006. The irony being that if Chafee is already considered "endorsed," a waiver by Mr. Manning isn't actually required. Not everyone in the RI GOP is enamored with the current Senator, and don't necessarily want to preclude others, including Laffey, from possibly jumping into the race. The reason for the delay in the release of funds or whatever the heck it is, is that the RNC attached major strings to its contribution, for the sole benefit of Sen. Chafee, that would bias the process, and set a bad precedent.
As for talking points, do you think there's a "Laffey fax" going out each morning, telling us robots what to say? Go focus your anger somewhere else. Get a life!

Posted by: Will at August 28, 2005 2:52 AM

Tim and Andrew, you two have written volumes on this RNC issue but the one thing you have not done is tell the truth.
Rob Manning has been holding up $500,000 earmarked for the RI Republican party since May because he's interested in protecting the turf of his undeclared candidate buddy Steve Laffey.
That is the only reason why Manning is screwing the party the way he is.

Nobody is buying the Laffey propaganda any longer and it's not going to go unchallenged any longer.
Guys, the jig is up!
You want to post disingenuous crap?
Fine, but it's going to be exposed for what it it.

Guys, hope you read Jim Baron's column today in the Pawtucket Times online and I hope you heard Dan Yorke on Friday.
Laffey is the best thing going in the RI Rep party?
Actually only Laffey Kool-aid drinkers believe Laffey cares about the party.
The rest of us understand what a crock that is.
Laffey cares about Laffey and only Laffey.

Posted by: Tim at August 29, 2005 8:30 AM

Sorry, I meant to address my last post to Will not the other Tim.
My apologies!

Posted by: Tim at August 29, 2005 9:41 AM