April 3, 2009

Anchor Rising's Top 10 Right-of-Center Rhode Islanders: 2, 1

Justin Katz

It isn't until one attempts to score people's influence and power that it becomes clear what separates the tiers — and what an opportunity and responsibility having the spotlight can be. By virtue of their offices, our top 2 are well ahead of the rest of the pack, and unless conservatives (or otherwise right-of-center players) begin claiming new positions — or creating them — it's difficult to imagine much change.

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin is unique on this list in that he's much stronger in social conservatism than in economic, largely because we adjusted for his position on immigration in the latter category. Still, one can hardly deny that he belongs on the list, and once that's admitted, the rest is simple admission of reality. The bishop is frequently mentioned in the news — most substantially in a week-long Projo spread a short while ago — and both his influence and direct decision authority span parishes, schools, religious organizations, charities, and even the diocese's own newspaper.

As much as some of our fellow frustrated RI conservatives may wish to deny the obvious, Governor Don Carcieri clearly sets the top-end conservative benchmark in the state. Rail against his style, strategy, and effectiveness, if you must, but the governor is undeniably a right-wing stalwart in the social and economic positions that he states, and his influence and direct power are unmatched among the state's conservatives. That he leads our navy blue state sometimes seems to be a quirk of modern history, and with the political field as it currently appears, we aren't likely to repeat the miracle when his term is up.

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.

I'm 100% behind Carcieri and this blogs choice for number one.

Can you imagine what this guy could have done if backed by the General Assembly?

Posted by: Roland at April 3, 2009 8:49 AM

I certainly agree with #1, but have to disagree with #2. Although Bishop Tobin has been an eloquent defender of the right to life, the traditional family, as well as an opponent of euthanasia, I'm not sure that he's done nearly enough to keep nominally Catholic politicians in line with either church teachings or even basic morality.

He seems too often to give them a pass, mainly by saying nothing. Case in point, nearly the entire General Assembly leadership and the occupant of Congressional District seat #1. He's also lost credibility when he's tried, whether intentionally or not, to blur the line between legal immigrants and illegal aliens. It comes off as pandering, not leading.

As far as I know, he's not an economic conservative at all, correct? If he were to be in the Top 10 list at all, he'd probably be a 9 or 10, except perhaps to someone who is a faithful Catholic ... which frankly, most of our politicians in RI are not.

Posted by: Will at April 4, 2009 1:50 AM


I don't think there's any question that the bishop is right of center when social issues are taken into account. That being the case, given our methodology, most of your objections would apply only if there were more right-of-center Rhode Islanders in similarly powerful positions.

Posted by: Justin Katz at April 4, 2009 8:24 AM

Will, Bishop Tobin has savvy political skills. I think he realizes that if he put every Catholic politician whose views he disagrees with on Wafer Watch, it would backfire. During the '04 presidential campaign, Jim Langevin (who pretty much toes the church line) criticized the Baltimore bishop who tried to put Kerry on WW.

Posted by: rhody at April 4, 2009 11:47 AM

So, RI's top conservative has been Governor for over 6 years, and we're much worse off then we were when he took office.

I know, I know. It's the assembly's fault. Then why such a wide band for "Opportunity to influence others" and "Native power of position"?

Posted by: George at April 4, 2009 5:43 PM

Tobin?Are you sh*tting me?He is for open borders and for ignoring Federal statutes.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 4, 2009 8:36 PM

The Governor is the logical top choice but as far as the miracle goes- he did not campaign on a rightwing conservative platform. He hid that from the voters. Maybe thats why he has been so ineffective. The rest of the list? You really think WPRO is that influential? Three picks? And why aren't your people(Anchorrising) on this list?

Posted by: David at April 4, 2009 8:57 PM


The list of notable right-of-center Rhode Islanders is not long, and I'm not sure I can think of any in (for example) television, where they closest they seem to come is being "objective."

As for Anchor Rising, we really don't see ourselves as that prominent, yet. And in any event, we're currently having a (mostly abstract) discussion of whether it would be appropriate to include ourselves even if we objectively believe our inclusion to be accurate.

Posted by: Justin Katz at April 4, 2009 11:24 PM

It's interesting that your list does not include any private sector business owners. Carcieri comes closest having once been a businessmen. He was second on my list.
Three of the talk radio hosts make the list though. Big drum makes big noise. ( and big banner on your site) How much of their right of center rhetoric is only entertainment and they are only entertainers. If they had muscles they would be wrestlers with colorful outfits.
Four politicans made your list. So the old government is the problem argument goes out the window. Laffey is not in the state anymore (see RIFuture) I had this problem too. I included Craig Price but was pretty sure that he was residing somewhere else. But he will always be known for the crimes he committed in RI.
Your list is of all white males. Mine included a minority member and a non human. Sorry that I did not search harder for females for inclusion. I am upset that you did not consider inclusion of the Big Blue Bug. (8th on my list) Insects are most likely to continue on after people are no more on our planet. That oversized termite seems to me to be a perfect symbol of right of center conservatives. First the massive bulk of its body is cared for by human attendants whose other job involves exterminating the Big Blue Bug's fellows and it cares not. Promoting that lethal business is just fine as long as it is taken care of. Secondly the Big Blue Bug is mounted atop a building next to a major highway. It stares down at all that human activity beneath and witnesses many automobile accidents and has never raised a claw to help. Not one 911 call. Nothing.
Third. I don't believe it is actually blue. I think that the bug has taken on that hue to camouflage itself in a blue state.

Posted by: Phil at April 5, 2009 7:19 AM
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