October 14, 2006

Whitehouse Supports Carcieri?

Justin Katz

While running errands on my way home from work yesterday afternoon, I heard Sheldon Whitehouse explain to Dan Yorke's radio listeners that balance between the parties is important in the federal government (from part 2 of Yorke's streaming audio):

... right now the Republicans have a monopoly on power in Washington. They do not provide any significant check on George Bush and his administration. They're trying to create what is essentially an accountability-free zone down in Washington for George Bush's policies. And it's the most partisan and toughest, meanest group you've ever seen. And the only way — you know, for six years people have had a chance to have them listen to other ideas, or to have them come and work with the Democrats on solutions to problems, but when they have all the power, and they don't want to listen, and they don't want to work with people, there's only one way back. And that's to make sure that the institutions of government in Washington are balanced, and in fact that there's some Democratic aspect to this.

One very disappointing observation about Whitehouse's performance — especially in context of the broader Democrat message — is that the Democrats are not asking why American voters have taken all majority power away from them. Oh, you get the standard allusions to fear-mongering on the part of the Republicans, but that only emphasizes the absence of any admission of the responsibility that an active opposition party inherently must claim. It only emphasizes that the Democrats are essentially fear-mongering in turn, with, as Yorke pointed out, the Republicans as the villains.

He may do so only out of necessity, but at least Chafee is willing to discuss the trends and shifts within his own party and explain where he sees his role as being. The fact that the Democrats won't even hint at the possibility of evaluating their own trends and shifts explicitly to "bring voters back" within their fold — nevermind correcting problems within their own party — is worrisome.

My second observation of Whitehouse's appeal to the distribution of power is that, in taking up such a message, Rhode Island Democrats are walking a very fine line. To the extent that it has merit with respect to the federal government, it has at least an equivalent degree with respect to our state government. If they succeed at implanting that principle — that mode of political thought — in voters' minds, they will undermine Charlie Fogarty's campaign for governor.

Personally, I think that would be a positive development; for Rhode Islanders, Governor Carcieri's loss would be much more damaging than Senator Chafee's.

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Charlie has no shot. His ex campaign chief, Frances Driscoll, just got convicted of federal corruption charges. Can't wait for the commercial. And it's not just that...

Posted by: Mike at October 14, 2006 9:52 AM

Quick fact-check of Mike's comment: Charles Bakst has made reference to Frances Driscoll being a Fogarty "fundraising consultant" in the past, though not having any role as high-up as campaign manager.

However, Mike's central point remains valid.

Posted by: Andrew at October 14, 2006 10:41 AM

On Dan Yorke it was said "campaign finance head" but that may be off. In any event Driscoll is a close friend per today's Projo and now we learn that Urcioli gave cash too. Of course we know sleaze merchant Guy Dufault is behind him.
And it's not just that...

Posted by: Mike at October 15, 2006 8:36 PM

Between Dufault, the mobsters who contribute to Mollis and the corporate overlords who back Carcieri, is there a statewide candidate of either party whose contribution records we can peruse without finding at least 10 sleazy characters?

Posted by: Rhody at October 16, 2006 12:17 AM

On that note - I regularly drive by a house with two political signs - Whitehouse and Carcieri.

Posted by: Jon at October 16, 2006 10:40 AM

Jon, let me guess - a serious Laffeyite's house.

Posted by: Rhody at October 16, 2006 12:11 PM

"...but at least Chafee is willing to discuss the trends and shifts within his own party and explain where he sees his role as being..."

Yes, but, as honest as he describes his positions, his most recent TV ads are, at best, nauseating, at least to this Republican.

After Laffey lost, a number of posts to this blog from center right and right Republicans stated that they might sit out the race entirely, or worse, actually vote for Whitehouse. I disagree with that approach, but I am gravely disappointed in Chafee. He hasn't even offered so much as a twig of an olive branch to middle - right and right of center Republicans.

I'm telling you, if he continues placing TV ads that say, "hey, I opposed Bush, and I'm just as liberal as Whitehouse" He will lose an important constituency he may need for the slight margin of victory he'll need in a few weeks.

Posted by: Chuck at October 16, 2006 8:26 PM

Very apt title of this thread - after all, Whitehouse (and his coterie) essentially supported Carcieri in '02, didn't they?

Posted by: Rhody at October 20, 2006 1:34 AM