September 26, 2007

Edward Achorn on Governor Carcieri's Popularity Plummet

Carroll Andrew Morse

Edward Achorn took his shot in yesterday's Projo at explaining Governor's Donald Carcieri's major drop in approval rating, from 59% at the start of the year to 44% now, according to Brown University Professor Darrell West's latest polling…

The Republican governor’s leadership, unfortunately, has been AWOL this year. He started off 2007 with an absurdly rosy State of the State address, and then submitted a budget that used one-time fixes and projected enormous out-year deficits — thus surrendering the moral high ground he might have occupied over the Democrat-run General Assembly.

When he finally talked about trimming his executive-branch workforce — seemingly, in a fit of pique when the Assembly promulgated a budget that failed to solve the long-term deficit problem — he did so without any apparent idea of the details: who would be cut, and why. Months later, he is reportedly still trying to figure out how to trim the state workforce.

That’s an important first step, of course, but it inevitably raises a question: If there were so many positions the state did not need, why did Mr. Carcieri wait until five years into his governorship — with massive deficits staring him in the face — to economize that way?

I suspect there are a substantial number of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in the state who agree with much of this.

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Don is Linc Almond without the couch. Don is asleep on his feet. Maybe next time we won't elect a man who should have been put out to pasture 15 years ago and can actually stay awake through a day's work.

Posted by: Greg at September 26, 2007 10:45 AM

I don't know for sure, but would hypothesize that two contributing elements have been that in his first four years he pulled some punches due to the need to be reelected, and second that he's tried to some extent to deal in good faith with the General Assembly leadership - taking them on, but not nearly as adamantly as he could have (or should have, IMHO).

Plus, let's face it, he doesn't have a lot of backing from the "Republicans" in the General Assembly, who are largely self-neutered, go along to get along types (Trillo perhaps being an exception).

So he's a General with hardly any troops, confronting an experienced, well-manned and well-funded army of union hacks and poverty pimps.

I know that there's been much criticism of his staff / those he surrounds himself with. It's been going around long enough, and from enough sources, that perhaps there's validity in it (I have no idea).

Considering what has come before him for the past several decades - Chafee; DePrete; Almond (not to mention that embarrassment Sundlun) - Carcieri is the best we've had in a long, long time.

Personally I wish he'd go to the mat with the corrupt Democrat General Assembly and flush them out with bright-line policy distinctions and exposure, but he doesn't seem to be so inclined. But I have to give him credit for doing more than any of his recent predecessors, and in general being "right on the issues" (though he's much too supportive of illegal immigration and much too comfortable with the RI's welfare system).

Posted by: Tom W at September 26, 2007 11:49 AM

Yes, Republicans - real Republicans - are very fed up with Carcieri. I am one of them.
Here is one little example of just why that is. The Insurance regulator that was appointed by Carcieri, is Christopher Koller. Why in the hell this guy ever got this job is beyond imagination. He is a communist with comments who believe that competition is bad. He believes that there should be ONE insurer - Blue Cross. So please tell me how Republcians can make the argument that Warwick and other communities should have gone with United to save money for their communities, when Carcieri is undercutting them with a regulator that makes exactly the opposite argument?
That this guy was appointed to this position by Carcieri is indicative of a) Carcieri's severe shortcomings and b) the weak, weak nature of the staff Carcieri has assembled that allowed this guy Koller through whatever vetting process they had.
Quite simply, Carcieri is not a fighter, and not going to do what has to be done to change the course of this state. After FIVE years, I think I have given him a fair shot to do something. He has shown me NOTHING!
I am done with him.

Posted by: Francis R. Kessinger at September 26, 2007 11:56 AM

While I do have my issues with this governor I would simply ask why do the people of Rhode Island expect Carcieri to kill himself on this job when the people of Rhode Island elected absolutely no one who could help him out last November? What message did last November's elections send to Carcieri? The people want change and reform? Is that why a party machine dirty boy like Ralph Mollis was elected? Is that why a corrupt party grunt like Paul Moura can switch districts and easily beat a upstanding guy like Lloyd Monroe for the state Senate? Because people want change? They hunger for reform? Simply laughable!!
The governor lacks energy because the people sent him a message last November. The voters let this governor down not the other way around.
Know this about Ed Achorn. He's in bed with some big time insiders which is why he's had a years long news blackout in his column r/t 'good government' hot topics like Beacon, CRMC etc. Achorn is a media double agent and not to be trusted. He's also much like his newspaper i.e. quite irrelevant.
By the way I've heard Ed vacations at a different container port each summer. Poor guy! lol

Posted by: Tim at September 26, 2007 12:48 PM

After nearly ten consecutive years of Republican Governors, don't you think we should have more of an opposition in the General Assembly?

What needs to be done:

1. Between the House and Senate, pick two dozen Dem. seats that have potential for Republicans (e.g., Carcieri carried the district), recruit strong candidates to run in those districts, raise $ for them and campaign for them. I understand that it's a small number, but you have to accomplish the possible before you can dream the impossible.

2. Do the same with the top Dem. leaders in both House and Senate -- put each one of them in a contested race, even if the opponent has an uphill battle, make them face opposition.

3. Articulate a five- or six-point program (something like the Contract With America) that you plan to accomplish when you have more help in the GA.

4. Lead.

Posted by: brassband at September 26, 2007 12:48 PM

The way I see it, the state GOP and Carcieri won't take on the Dems who most need to be booted out of the Assembly (if a ham sandwich ran against Montalbano, I'd vote for it). Patricia Morgan against Murphy? Get serious.
The GOP could probably put reasonably attractive and competitive candidates up against these guys, but Carcieri probably isn't interested in going after any Democrat who backed the tax cut for the rich or would support a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
I'd vote for a Republican who ran against one of those jackals...the GOP fares best when it demonstrates a little flexibility on social issues. Put up some candidates in North Providence, puh-leeeeze!

Posted by: rhody at September 26, 2007 3:02 PM

as much as the state needs drastic changes...there are no more tomorows.... nobody wants to make changes ...teachers, police ,fire, ga, dems, etc,

don is trying to make some chnages to avert the collapse.everyone else is in denial and worreid about how it affexta them and to hell with the state as a whole.

perhaps we could have elected fogarty governor, or myrth york. the state would be in a shambles........

Posted by: johnpaycheck at September 26, 2007 6:07 PM

As a long time GOP activist get involved if you can in your Republican city/ward and town committees.The GOP needs a good infrastructure on the grass roots for future victories.Every place in different with the strength of their local GOP organization.
What is interesting is West Greenwich.In one of America's strongest Democratic states West Greewich does not even have a Democratic Town Committee, not even on paper!
I agree the state GOP has to target state legislative districts and give the candidates real support.We all may disagree who may make a viable candidate but a candidate that really knows their district is always probably best.RI State Rep.Amy Rice of Portsmouth appears the weakest Democrat legislative incumbent.I assume she will be greatly challenged in 2008, obviously because of the closeness of her 2006 win.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at September 26, 2007 7:15 PM

One excerpt:

"Nor did Mr. Lynch mention the egregious damage being done by the Democrats’ bedfellows, the powerful special interests that pull the strings at the Assembly — the public-employee unions and welfare industry, which seem to have no qualms about taxing Rhode Island into Appalachia to support unsustainable benefits and giveaways, while damaging such crucial public institutions as our schools."

Rhode Islanders are not thrilled at the havoc wrecked by decades of Democrat control of the state: seventh highest taxes, 46th worst schools, business climate near the bottom of the list, tax dollars unnecessarily diverted to generous and destructive social programs. (Did I hear today that they are even the source of this misguided b.m.i. program in Warwick?) But they erroneously apportion blame equally between the Governor and the legislature.

Of course, it is the General Assembly which has far more power. And as Ed said, Democrats are not inclined to correct this, even if it means defying both the Constitution and 80% of Rhode Islanders.

"CRMC, RIRRC, the Lottery. You can pry them from our cold, dead hands."

By the way, I wonder if we could sue the House and Senate leadership to implement separation of powers? There are one or two good government attorneys in this state ...

Posted by: Monique at September 26, 2007 10:05 PM

... that should be:

"CRMC, RIRRC, the Lottery. You can have them when you pry them from our cold, dead hands."

Posted by: Monique at September 27, 2007 7:26 AM
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