November 1, 2008

What "Moderate" Means...

Justin Katz

... would seem to be precisely what skeptics thought it meant when Ken Block launched his party of that name about a year ago — namely, susceptible to pressure and manipulation. At the time, Block wrote an Engaged Citizen post in which he declared:

All ridiculous culture war issues aside, the time is right now for those who believe that what ails Rhode Island can and should be fixed. There are many disparate groups which have overlapping goals, and the need is critical right now to ignore ideological differences, pool resources and advocate together for specific changes that should be palatable to all. My strong suggestion is to push all out on separation of powers, disallowing one time payouts to be used to balance the budget and disallowing the settling of ethics charges by paying off the Ethics Commission. These ideas have popular appeal and immediate relevance.

The Web site of the Moderate Party of Rhode Island proclaims that the "hot button social topics of our times (abortion, illegal immigration, etc) necessarily must take a legislative back seat while our economy is repaired and the erosion of the tax base reversed." And yet, in an email announcement just released, Block explains that it withdrew its endorsement of Republican David Anderson because some statements that he made in a private email "do not reflect the brand or style of politics that the Moderate Party of RI believes should be practiced."

Well that didn't take long! A local political operative — whose profession and public standing depend on Rhode Island's continuation down its spiral — declares as racism concern about the affirmative action mentality — which is clearly within the realm of "hot button social topics" — and the Moderate Party rushes for distance. That doesn't instill confidence in the organization's dependability when the fight is truly engaged for the soul and well-being of our state.

In a response that Block emailed me when I inquired about the matter before he'd sent out his statement, Ken used the passive voice to avoid acknowledging his apparent alignment with the crowd whose smears he had rewarded with action:

It is unfortunate for David that his private email has gone public in this way. He is a very bright person who has worked hard on his campaign, and who agreed with many of the central tenets that underpin the Moderate Party of RI.

As many have argued, moderation and centrism ought not be taken for a surfeit of principle. The six Republicans whom Block still endorses could give a small indication of their seriousness about building a principled organization to rival the RI establishment by withdrawing their Moderate affiliation.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

"whose profession and public standing depend on Rhode Island's continuation down its spiral"

Justin, please, just because your site got scooped again doesn't mean you have to get snippy.

don't worry, I'll link to your post so that people will, maybe, read it.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at November 1, 2008 6:02 PM

Oh, I forgot that you're a journalist now. Dirt isn't our trade, Crowley. Scoop away.

It's ironic, by the way, that you've cited this post on RI Future as the source of your information regarding the Moderate Party.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 1, 2008 6:07 PM

The real irony is that you don't ever get the joke.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at November 1, 2008 6:37 PM

Reading the context of Anderson's email, it's clear that he's stating the obvious. Of course there is a segment of the electorate that is going to vote for Obama primarily because, if not solely because, he would be the "first African-American President."

He also in effect decries using race as a determinant of voting preference. In effect, what Dr. Martin Luther King wisely stated as "judging a man by the content of his character, rather than the color of his skin." Dr. King's words are the antithesis of "affirmative action."

Pat Crowley obviously posted on RI Future as a dubious attempt to discredit a Republican. While it's legitimate to try to discredit the "other side" if one uses factual information / information in actual context. As has been noted many other times on this blog, Mr. Crowley's adherence to those standards is, well, variable.

Ironically, Mr. Block / the "Moderate Party" and its purported reformist mission have proven to be "useful idiots" in aiding Mr. Crowley and his agenda of preserving the decrepit status quo.

Posted by: Tom W at November 1, 2008 6:38 PM

Oh, if anyone knows about "scooping," it's Pat.

If the "endorsement" if a supposed party can be taken away on a whim, based in whole or in part on what is said about someone in the gutter over at RIF, it isn't much of a party, is it? I rather liked Dave's response:


Moderate Party of Rhode Island Acquiesces to Labels of “Racist”

General Assembly Candidate David Anderson labels Moderate Party immoderate.

(Providence, RI – November 1, 2008) – The Moderate Party has withdrawn its endorsement of my campaign in Rhode Island’s 4th Assembly district.

Have they done this for a principled disagreement with my platform or statements? The answer is “no.”

Rather they have done this after the left-wing blog, RI Futures, labeled me a “racist” because of an email I sent to acquaintances in New Jersey in which I presumed that Obama may win, in part, because of the generous motives of voters who want to give a minority person “a break.”

My own vote in that election will have nothing to do with either candidates racial or ethnic characteristics but will depend on their records, statements, and political philosophies.

The leaders of the Moderate Party seem to implicitly accept the RI Futures contention that I am an immoral person not deserving of election. What seems more evident to me is that they are falling in line behind others in the Obama campaign who cry “racism” every time something happens that they don’t like. Rather than criticize events on the basis of facts they think they make progress by accepting RI Futures labeling me a “racist.”

The Moderate Party, if they were truly moderate, would have discussed the issue I presented: Whether and to what extent various kinds of racially motivated factors influence the way people vote? Instead they acted rashly and immoderately.

I accepted the Moderate Party’s endorsement when it was made in good faith. Now I regret but accept their removal of it. I am sorry they were unwilling to have a fair-minded discussion of the issue.

For additional information, contact David Anderson at or 401 793 0421

Previous news releases are available on our campaign website at

Posted by: Will at November 1, 2008 6:51 PM

To say that a vote for Obama is an affirmative action vote, as a black man, is very offensive. I'm sorry it is.

I think many black people are voting for Obama because he is black. Is that racist? Sure. I think many people are not going to vote for Obama because he is black. Is that racist? Sure.

But to say that the country is making some kind of affirmative action vote - in part or otherwise - is ridiculous at best and completely asinine at worst. To say that the majority of Americans plan to vote FOR Obama as some type of reparation is crazy. What is clear, you're going to have a large number of African Americans voting for the first time or in a long time all over the country. Many of those are voting for Obama because he represents a chance for one 'us' to get into the White House.

To presume the rest of America is guilt ridden or wants to for lack of a better phrase, help a brutha out, isn't the case.

Again, a comment like this amongst friends should be discussed and if you hold such a view, you're entitled to it.

Does it have a whole lot of relevance to your race? I don't think so. Could I vote for you? Possibly. It's sad to see the Moderate Party didn't give you a chance to discuss the issue prior to the withdrawal of their endorsement. In as much as you made a comment based upon conjecture, they too took action without doing their due diligence.

Mr. Anderson you made a comment amongst - what you thought - were friends. I think you're comment is wrong and wrongheaded but while

Posted by: don roach at November 1, 2008 8:31 PM

"others in the Obama campaign who cry “racism” every time something happens that they don’t like."

Senator Obama's supporters, even more so, are guilty of this.

I really like Martin Luther King's words. Content of character is the way to judge someone. [... well, in the case of a candidate, also their proposed policies and their stances on issues.]

The racism charges in this campaign have become as credible as the warnings of the boy who cried wolf.

Posted by: Monique at November 1, 2008 8:38 PM


In fairness to the Moderates, Block and Anderson did have a telephone discussion before the endorsement was withdrawn.

As for the content, well, that's always been one of the points against affirmative action: that, at least in when it comes to perceptions, it takes away from actual achievements.

I'll note, too, that David didn't say that "the majority of Americans plan to vote FOR Obama as some type of reparation." He said that Obama "might win, not based on his platform and record, but on the generosity of voters who think it is time to give a 'minority guy a break.'" I read that as indicative of a decisive swing segment of voters. And frankly, I think there's more than a little truth to it.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 1, 2008 8:43 PM

I pointed out on RIF that Geraldine Ferraro had said essentially the same thing and drew no response over there.It would be hard for them to explain that one since she's supporting Obama now.I don't think she brought up the term "affirmative action"-as I recall it was more of a negative(paraphrasing)"if this man were White,we wouldn't be hearing about him with his minimal experience"-if I am not exact,sorry,but it's the best I can recollect.
I don't know who Anderson is in any event.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 1, 2008 11:27 PM


You likely wouldn't hear those complaints about people like Geraldine over at RIF, because they don't apply the same standards to Republicans, as they do Democrats. Do they ever? Whenever I've visited there, which is extremely infrequently, I have never seen anything remotely approximating rational thought or even the slightest amount of philosophizing (such as what occurs on AR for instance). They just sling around a lot of crap and hope some of it sticks. Some of them are more reasonable than others, but it's still unsavory as a whole. It's unfortunate, but what would you expect? It's kind of like a miniature version of DailyKos. As such, they don't have a clue about how the world really works. If ignorance is bliss, they must be very happy people indeed -- although it doesn't translate well into what they actually write. Some of them are just hateful people.

Obama's campaign has been a triumph, if nothing else, of symbolism over substance. As such, there's no reason to doubt that many people, both pro and con, will be voting for him based on what they "hope" about him, rather than on anything having to do with his record or accomplishments, or what he will actually do if elected.

As it happens, I know Dave fairly well. Not sure if he's run for political office previously, since he's not originally from Rhode Island. I'm not saying he's correct or not. However, he made what I'm sure he believes to be a wholly valid point in private, which he then stood up for in public when asked about it. That alone is commendable. Of course, when you're running for elective office, there really aren't a whole lot of "private" forums. I'd chalk it up to a learning experience.

PS Dave's easily the smartest person running for any office in Rhode Island this year, and I'm including all the incumbents (with the possible exception of John Loughlin). I'm not sure how many PhD holding nuclear research physicists we have in the General Assembly, but I'd guess it's a rather small number. ;)

Posted by: Will at November 2, 2008 2:14 AM


I take offense to: "PS Dave's easily the smartest person running for any office in Rhode Island this year, and I'm including all the incumbents (with the possible exception of John Loughlin). I'm not sure how many PhD holding nuclear research physicists we have in the General Assembly, but I'd guess it's a rather small number. ;)"

While I may not have the educational background of Dr. Anderson (whom I consider a friend and ally, whom I invited to the Press Conference I ORGANIZED, and whom I invited to speak at said Press Conference, which, by the way was about the only thing the media picked up on in our GOP Challengers races...) I certainly can go toe to toe on Political savvy/smarts. Ive got a 14 year incumbent running TV ads because he's worried that he might actually lose. I dont see Gordo sweating too much there in the "upper east side." Last time I checked, no one is comparing SAT scores at the swearing in ceremonies in January. So before you throw all of us under the bus, think before you speak.

Robert A Paquin III

Posted by: Robert A Paquin III at November 2, 2008 5:33 AM

Let me as the author of the original email to folks in New Jersey try to elaborate a little on what I said to put it in better context.

I presume that most voters take many facts and other information into account before making a choice. All I'm saying is that I think there is, this year, a significant number of Obama voters who are also weighing his race as a positive factor in that analysis. When you give someone from a disadvantaged ethnic/racial group "extra points" for those characteristics, it's very much the same idea as Affirmative Action.

In the email I was sympathetic to those who are basing their votes for him on his race as acting on a "generous" impulse. Of course, those who think this issue through realize that favoring one person on account of race indirectly disfavors those not so chosen.

Given the highly self-righteous response of the Moderate Party, I wonder how many of them are supporting Obama this year and how many of them are doing it more out of that "generous" impulse than based on his unimpressive resume.

Finally, as I said to someone yesterday: Reverse the racial/ethnic attributes of these candidates and I'm still going to vote for the guy with the policies I like.

Posted by: David Anderson at November 2, 2008 7:13 AM

"I'm not sure how many PhD holding nuclear research physicists we have in the General Assembly, but I'd guess it's a rather small number. ;)"

What about Tim Williamson and Grace Diaz?

Posted by: Mike at November 2, 2008 7:36 AM

Tim Williamson is actually an attorney,so he can't be that dumb,he only acts that dumb.
Grace Diaz is a blithering idiot in two languages.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 2, 2008 9:24 AM

>>I'm not sure how many PhD holding nuclear research physicists we have in the General Assembly, but I'd guess it's a rather small number. ;)

What do you mean? We have a whole bunch of rocket scientists in the General Assembly, don't we?

Uh, wait, I guess not.

That's why Rhode Island has:

1. A public school system that is below average even by the already mediocre performance of public education in the United States. Rocket scientists certainly appreciate the critical role played by having a world-class educational system.

2. Roads and bridges that are collapsing, in some cases literally, due to lack of maintenance. Rocket scientists understand that steel bridges in proximity to salt water require maintenance, lest they prematurely fail and have to be replaced at far greater expense.

3. The highest unemployment rate in the country. Rocket scientists understand that having a welcoming business climate is a prerequisite to having a vibrant job market, which in turn is a prerequisite to enabling citizens to pursue the American Dream of upward mobility.

4. A national reputation for political corruption, aided, abetted and enabled by the silence of rank and file Democrats more concerned with playing nice with the leadership than in doing what is right. Rocket scientists understand the corrosive effect that corruption has upon the polity, and how it discourages business / employers from locating in a state.

I guess what we really have in the General Assembly is PhD’s in Corruption and Incompetence. Perhaps those are offered as majors at RIC, perhaps under the auspices of the School of Social Work / Poverty Institute.

Posted by: Tom W at November 2, 2008 9:43 AM

Dear Joe:

Your comment that "Grace Diaz is a blithering idiot in two languages" is ignorant.

I know, I know, you are "the expert" when it comes to ALL matters relating to Latinos because you were INS blah, blah, blah and you have a Guatemalan wife blah, blah, blah, but my guess is that you have never had a conversation with Representative Diaz.

If you would like to actually have a conversation with Rep. Diaz, why don't you email me at mjerzyk at and I will arrange that conversation (in english or spanish or both - you're call).

After that conversation, I would invite you to revisit your comment.

Since you are interested in the truth, I am assuming that you will take me up on this.

Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at November 2, 2008 11:26 AM

"Your comment that "Grace Diaz is a blithering idiot in two languages" is ignorant."

Does Grace Diaz know more than two languages? ;)

PS Robert, when I said "smartest" I was specifically only (intending to) refer to "book smarts"... i.e., the ability to assemble a nuclear reactor from memory, not anything having to do with politics, legislative know-how, common sense, or other things requiring savvy. It was not meant as a put down to anyone, especially yourself, so no "under the bus" stuff was implied or intended. You've obviously got your opponent quite concerned, which is always a good thing. Best wishes for success on Tuesday! We certainly could use more people like yourself in the G.A.

Posted by: Will at November 2, 2008 5:10 PM

Matt-I have never claimed to be an expert on all things Latino.My experience as an INS agent,which predates your birth has given me a considerable amount of knowledge about immigration issues at the ground level,and yes,a lot of that involved Latinos,and a lot of it didn't.
My wife,for your information is an American,born in New York,and not "Guatemalan".her background is Honduran/Purto Rican.
I have never spoken to Grace Diaz,but I have heard her speak on numerous occasions in the GA,always in English.I heard her address groups once or twice in Spanish.
Her legislation is idiotic in my opinion-specifically the omnibus set of 9 or 10 bills she co-sponsored trying to turn RI into a virtual sanctuary state-I also thought David Segal showed utter stupidity in pushing that legislation,and as far as I know,he isn't Latino.
Diaz co-sponsored a bill to make day care workers virtual state employees entitled to the same health care plan as state workers.That was idiotic legislation,thankfully vetoed by the Governor.
She introduced a bill to outlaw cellophane!She could perhaps use some ESL.I heard her speak in person before the Judiciary Committee in the house and she was barely comprehensible in the English languaue-an accent isn't a problem-it was her word usage that made her sound nonsensical.She rants and raves about Broad Street being gripped by fear of ICE sweeps and stores being deserted.I haven't noticed any ghost town ambience on Broad Street,or Chalkstone Avenue,or Olneyville.She lies for effect.She spends an inordinate amount of time crrying water for illegal aliens.Does she feel she represents illegals?I guess the oath she took as a legislator to uphold the laws of the US and RI meant nothing to her.
Another thing,Matt-I recall you taking this same lady to task on your blog when she supported Hillary Clinton-you whined about being disappointed in her after you managed her campaign and all.
What a patronizing,racist attitude you copped on that one.What's a matter?Your trained Hispanic political protegee didn't perform as the"handler"wanted?
She showed some independence?What an ingrate.You as much as said that in your screed.
No-I don't have any desire to speak with her in writing or in person because we have nothing to say to each other.
By the way,I know quite a few Hispanics who find her an embarrassing buffoon.
I haven't heard the same about other Hispanic lawmakers,the few that there are.
I can tell you one thing-if you or I wanted to serve in a legislature in a Hispanic country(if that were possible)we'd have to make ourselves better understood in Spanish than Grace Diaz does in English.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 2, 2008 5:34 PM

Will, I will have you know I assembled 3 nuclear reactors just this week - kidding, thanks for the clarification :)

And Joe, as a former DHS employee myself - your comments were ignorant. You retract now by saying her legislation is idiotic, yet you specifically attacked HER in your comment. Im the "whitest" Irish/French guy you will ever meet - but fluent in Spanish - what does that make me?

Who cares about her ethnicity - shes a poor legislator who needs to go.

Posted by: Robert A Paquin III at November 2, 2008 5:48 PM

Mr.Paquin- I never worked for DHS.I worked for INS(Border Patrol and Investigations)-thankfully I was retired seven years before DHS existed.
I didn't retract a thing-nor do I care about her ethnicity-it behooves a legislator to be fluent and understandable in the language of the country they hold office in.
And if I attacked her personally,so be it-she is one of numerous legislators in this state who sounds like an idiot.The proof is in the pudding because this state is in the dumper.
This woman accuses ICE of racial profiling,violating people's rights,etc ad nauseum.She's irresponsible and is using ethnicity to push herself ahead like so many ward heelers of every ethnic stripe in this country's history.
Sometimes watching the legislature is like observing recess at a home for the feeble-minded.

Posted by: joe berns at November 2, 2008 6:19 PM

Just wondering where your Duty Station was?

Posted by: Robert A Paquin III at November 2, 2008 6:57 PM

Border Patrol Academy 110th Session (1976)
El Centro,CA Border Patrol Station
Chicago,IL Investigations
Providence,RI Investigations
1987-96 assigned to New England Drug Task Force(OCDETF)
I retired in 1996 after almost 21 years.
I also was a NY State Court Officer for
4 1/2 years and have a BS in Criminal Justice from John Jay College(not a bad school for the field).
I was also in the USMC and USAF.
Matt may not like what I say and maybe you have some problems with it-fair enough-I'm just stating my opinion,but I'm not ignorant.If I were ignorant I'd hold forth on subjects I know nothing about like the economy and math.
I hope you win.My son in law is Irish-French also,but I won't hold it against you.(Just kidding-I like him).

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 2, 2008 7:14 PM

I meant the comment was ignorant, not you.

I was accepted into the BPA but declined, thats why I asked. SD was my Geo Pref. With that resume (and correct me if im wrong and you already have) why arent you running for office?

P.S. i lol'd at the last line of your comment :)

Posted by: Robert A Paquin III at November 2, 2008 7:18 PM

So, Matt, will you instead send us the leadership of the House and Senate so that they can explain why they have orchestrated the current very poor state of affairs in Rhode Island, as outlined above by Tom W?

Posted by: Monique at November 2, 2008 7:37 PM

Mr.Paquin-my health situation thanks to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam makes me too physically unreliable to take on a job where other people might depend on me-my family can depend on me til I'm taking a dirt nap,but I don't think I could serve effectively as a politician-plus the fact that I don't have any party affiliation,and I live in a district where I have as much chance of setting elected to anything as I do of starting as a pitcher for the Red Sox.
And I am pretty much incapable of compromising with people I can't stand.
I sooner have a drink with an NVA soldier who was firing mortars at me than spend two minutes with a turd like Art Handy(who makes Grace Diaz look like Einstein-seriously-she at least wants child molesters tracked ).

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 2, 2008 7:59 PM

Will-I posted comments at RIF for awhile,but for the most part they don't seem to want to debate point by point-they either use a drive by putdown(considering the source who cares?)or make troll/agitator allegations.Not everyone there indulges in this tactic,and some of their contributors are not afraid of an honest exchange.
There seem to be ongoing disputes over there that I have no interest in anyway.
When Matt jumped on my case over Grace Diaz here,I simply reminded him of how he treated her in a very condescending manner on his blog when she dared to stray from "accepted behavior" by supporting Hillary.He hasn't been heard from since on that issue.
Now I know that Matt is not a racist,although he throws the word arund loosely,but the way he came down on Diaz had a(probably unconscious)racist undertone.i.e she couldn't think for herself.
I just flat out called her an idiot-I also include Handy,Ajello,Segal, and some others in that category.I don't know any of their IQ's but when they act like dopes I call them on it.I don't see an ethnic dimension to it.
On another topic,I saw the Jim Vincent Show the other day,and Sen.Harold Metts was on.They both made the point that people who don't want to vote for Obama because they say he is "socialist" or because of his association with Wright are just trying to make an excuse for voting against him because he's Black.What trash!And Vincent is a big wheel in RI Housing.Apparently if a White person dislikes Obama it must be about race.So where is the racial agitation coming from?Decide for yourselves.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 3, 2008 3:14 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.