October 22, 2009

Last Word on Smith... From Me... For Today

Justin Katz

Here's my bottom line: Under no circumstances will I support or vote for any Republican candidate who would enter the State House in any more mild a manner than with figurative guns blazing. It isn't sufficient to correctly identify the state's problems and offer a plan that would probably fix them. A candidate for governor must declare whose heads he or she will knock and whom he or she will chain to the ship so that they'll be sure to go down with it.

A style of Republican such as Smith threatens to be will fail to enact his plan (with failure inversely proportional to the degree that it would actually work), spread the blame for that failure to the powerless party, and let all of those "less important" issues about which conservatives care tilt to the progressive winds. I also question the wisdom, as a political matter; commenter Rhody offered the following earlier today:

I'm torn. On one hand, Rory's got a raging sense of entitlement, but on the other, he's not Phil Leotardo like the currently presiding CEO from EG.

And if it lessens the chance we'll ever have to utter the words "Governor Laffey," it's all good.

Not so fast. It's conceivable that, if both Chafee and Laffey were to run as independents of some kind, the latter would be the only conservative in a field with four shades of liberal (Democrat, Moderate, Chafee, Smith). The tea party wing of the Rhode Island right may not be that big, but it could be decisive in such a race, especially if suffering Rhode Islanders of all political stripes are in the mood to make a protest vote.

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I guess I don't understand the uproar. We have about 12.5 months until the election and some are already deciding what Smith and maybe other, are all about? The guy is a political newcomer. If you want someone who knows how to work the RI political system straight from the womb, look at your choices. You want a Watson, an Algiere, a Trillo.

Heck, if we want a real Republican, and someone who isn't afraid to ruffle feathers, then why not ask Nick Gorham if he's interested in running. No idea what he's up to these days, but there was never any question about his level of disdain for House leadership.

Posted by: Patrick at October 22, 2009 8:07 PM

I want Rory Smith and Joe Trillo to have a baby, cook for 25 years and then we'll have something here.

I understand what you are looking for in a candidate. Carceiri is a brilliant mind but he kind of lacks some animated gestures.

What we really want is Laffey or for Smith to go to John Wayne School of Patriotism and graduate Magna Cum Guns A Blazing.

Posted by: Roland at October 22, 2009 8:24 PM

Maybe it is just being practical, but I have wondered why only Republicans worry about "moving toward the center".

I overheard a Massachusetts candidate's ad on 96.9 today. It was a litany of liberal buzz terms. He was for gun control, he was for a ban on "assualt weapons", he was against George Bush's war in Iraq, he was for closing Gitmo (I didn't know that Mass. had a foreign policy)he was for protecting abortion, etc., etc. It was just a listing of his left wing bona-fides.

No moving to the center there

Posted by: Warrington Faust at October 22, 2009 8:50 PM

This Smith character sounds like Lincoln Chafee, albeit with some financial acumen.

He'd make a great Moderate Party candidate.

But the last thing the RIGOP needs is a RINO at the top of the ticket, and therefore titular head of the party.

So long as RINO's control the RIGOP it, and its candidates, will be a waste of time.

Of course Gio Ciccione is embracing him because:

1) he's a warm body, and
2) can self-finance his campaign, and
3) won't offend the RINO faction of the RIGOP, i.e., the controlling faction that has engineered the party's growth and vibrancy all these years (insert sarcasm here).

It will be better to have a Democrat win and avoid the "blame it on the Republican governor" game as this state goes into its fiscal death rattles, particularly since it would be a "Republican in Name Only" so the party's name would be besmirched under false pretenses.

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at October 22, 2009 9:11 PM

Patrick the only people throwing this temper tantrum over the candidacy of Rory Smith is Laffey's crowd. Please note the Obamabot-like tendencies and behaviors with this group. Quite funny really! Their boy savior is running around the state looking for a ready-made army (tea party folk) he can buy into because this visionary, this leader of leaders, this dynamic personna is incapable of building a grasroots movement on his own.
Some "messiah" huh? lol

Posted by: Tim at October 22, 2009 9:53 PM


It can hardly be said that I'm a Laffey sycophant.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 22, 2009 10:05 PM

A four or five way race would be a free-for-all. There is no doubt that the passion of the tea party crowd could make all the difference in who ends up in the big office on Smith Hill. You can take it to the bank that they will not support anyone who does not come out guns ablaze.

Posted by: Madmom at October 22, 2009 10:35 PM

I seriously doubt Chafee is really in the race. He's in his comfort zone at Brown, being all aloof and "professorial".

If Laffey jumps in, Chafee will definitely get out. He could not mentally or emotionally handle the intensity Laffey would bring to the race.

Posted by: George at October 23, 2009 12:34 AM

I will not make any wisecracks about circular firing squads.
I will not make any wisecracks about circular firing squads.
I will not make any wisecracks about circular firing squads.

Posted by: rhody at October 23, 2009 12:36 AM

I would like to interject a little on this topic. I’ve herd two different things about who Governor Carcieri wonts to replace him. One is that Rory Smith is the Governor choice to replace him. The other is that the Governor has permitted his staff to begin working for Frank Caprio. So who does Governor Cacieri real wont to be the next governor? I would like to know if Mr. Smith is just a cash cow that Mr. Cacieri picked to keep Laffey out of the race. Mr. Laffey has already been burned in a primary when several thousand Democrats crossed over to vote for the “moderate” Chafee who just turned his seat over to Whitehouse. I’ve also herd on the radio that the cost of a primary before what would be an expensive general is of great concern to the Laffey camp. The question I would like answered is Mr. Smith just another Chafee put in place so Mr. Carcieri’s real choice wins the election.

Posted by: Dave at October 23, 2009 12:48 AM

Despite my obvious pro-Laffey bias, I'm going to withold judgement in regard to Rory Smith for the time being. I've met him at several GOP events. Other than minimal biographical information, I know virtually nothing about his style of potential governance or positions.

I understand that Rory, in regard to his appearance on Dan Yorke's show on Wednesday (which I did not hear live, but heard enough clips on Thursday afternoon to get a feel for it), was trying perhaps a little too hard to "control the message" -- to the point that he commited the cardinal talk radio sin of getting Dan Yorke really miffed at him. Trying to see it from Rory's perspective, he probably couldn't understand what was getting Dan so worked up -- since Rory is not a political professional, and most likely, not an avid talk radio listener. What happened on Wednesday, which definitely didn't help him, is unfortunately something which happens when one lets their handlers do all the handling, instead of just responding instinctively. I very much got/get the feeling that he is being handled at the moment.

Note to handlers: let him be himself.
Note to Rory: Get new handlers ASAP.

PS In response to Ragin', you're mostly right. Gio's thinking here: warm body who can self-finance ... in other words, a gift from the Republican gods to a Republican Party which doesn't have two wooden nickels to its name. When your a beggar, it's hard to be a choser ... and the RIGOP is very much the beggar. I don't think Gio is so much concerned with what one might call "RINO appeal," as you might think. There aren't enough left to appeal to.

Posted by: Will at October 23, 2009 2:02 AM

It's already clear that too many small groups are thinking of their own candidate, instead of figuring out how to work together to win and make change.

Lincoln Chaffee should be encouraged to use his financial resources to support a viable candidate and told not to run for office again. He had no loyalty to his party and, worse, he has proven himself a boob, nationally no less. He is of the "entitled to an office" class. If his ego requires him to hold office, let him hold office in the local Rotary club.

The GOP may have a great guy in Smith, but no one knows him, he's very much another Carcieri. Carcieri didn't work out, ideals not being able to be translated to getting anything done.

It's this division that is leading many conservatives to support Caprio. We can wait a while to throw in financial support, to see what the GOP is going to come up with, but if it's Smith it's not going to fly.

Caprio has a record. It includes standing up to the GA dem leaders when he was in the GA, he's a brainiac, he's honest, he's likeable, he's known, he is able to make decisons, and he is not a political novice.

Now is not the time for a political novice. Been there, done that, goodbye Carcieri.

Nick Gorham? He has a record, he has backbone, he's not a novice, he knows the issues, now he might be a candidate the GOP could support and bring other Republicans back with.

Posted by: riborn at October 23, 2009 8:00 AM

They have cut the throats of the poor and the middle class.

They have looted our national treasure.

They have abandoned their constituency in favor of a multi-national corporate behemoth and an out-of-control military industrial complex.

They have created a global, geo-political catastrophe in the Middle East that will take at least a century to remedy.

They have shoveled a generation of American children into an untenable slaughterhouse in Iraq.

They have engendered an economic nightmare so immense that generations yet unborn will still be bearing its burden.

They have sold our nation's soul to the highest corporate bidder.

They have made a mockery of the First Amendment.

They have squandered a trillio-plus dollar surplus with a tax cut for a class of people who didn't need it.

They have gutted vital social programs that aid the poor and the elderly which have been in place for over seventy years.

They have gutted laws meant to protect working men and women.

They have plundered the environment.

They have depleted our educational system.

They have hijacked this nation's political dialogue.

They have ruined our international reputation.

They have handed our domestic agenda over to religious fanatics.

They have stolen two national elections.

They have trampled on our constitution.

They have sent our Bill of Rights through the sausage grinder....

They must never - EVER - be allowed to govern our country again.

The grand old party is over.


Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Posted by: Tom Degan at October 23, 2009 8:14 AM

Tom, why so angry?? lol
After 4 disasterous years of Barack Obama and his bizarre mix of paranoia, arrogance and amazing incompetent, the Grand Old Party is going to be quite appealing to independent and moderate Dem voters in 2012.

Posted by: Tim at October 23, 2009 8:41 AM

Hmm, how'd "Tom Degan" get past the anti-spam code? If that wasn't an auto-generated spam comment, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Patrick at October 23, 2009 8:46 AM

Wow, looks like someone has been watching a lot of MSNBC's primetime lineup.

Posted by: Chris at October 23, 2009 12:50 PM

This gubernatorial election will be one of the most interesting elections in my lifetime.
One can assume it is anybody's race and the winner will win with less than 50% of the vote. I see scenarios where a Chafee or a Laffey could win and others.
It appears the Democrats will have a divisive primary, but then again Rhode Island is a Democratic state and the Democratic primary winner has experience in government as a general officer. Chafee could engender some support from those who feel guilty they voted against him in 2008,. Laffey could win as he has a following has both business and government experience.
Money is important but not overly crucial in R.I. campaigns,. Visibility I think is important and candidates can get around the state with ease.
As a Republican leader, I do hope Mr. Smith addresses his lack of Republican history and no government experience. Even if one is successful in one field does NOT make it transferable to another.
Government is NOT a business although there may be some similarities.
While Mark Zaccaria is running for Congress, he would be a good potential GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at October 23, 2009 12:56 PM
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