December 10, 2009

Keeping Republicans Republican

Justin Katz

Hooray to Raymond McKay, president of the Rhode Island Republican Assembly, and the other members of the State Central Committee who insisted that conservatives should still be able to call the RIGOP their political home:

Most glaring to some was a final paragraph that says the party, in "the long-standing tradition of New England Republicans," respects "the right of all of our candidates to hold and express their own considered views on social issues."

"If you take a look at the Moderate Party's platform and you take a look at our platform, they're pretty much one and the same," said McKay, who made the motion to send the statement back for further review. "If we're going to be a party and we're going to differentiate ourselves, we should stand apart from the others and not be a Democratic-light, or something like that."

In opposition, Platform Committee Chairman Robert Manning notes that "a large percentage of the voting population are registered as independents," but there's no reason to believe that group to be made up of fiscally conservative social liberals. The fact that the Democrat Party, for example, is increasingly exclusive of pro-lifers could mean that pro-life Democrats have changed their minds about being Democrats, not about being pro-life.

Indeed, a platform that cuts out social issues under the presumption that conservatives are wrong may very well result in fewer registered Republicans. (I can think of at least one.)

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As a memeber of the committee that drafted the platform I have a few comments. 1. The conservatives members ended up not attending the last 4-5 meetings. 2. Their should be a statement on the social issues.

I would ask all of you here to please send your suggestions to . They will then be distributed to the committee.

We need a platform that is reflective of our values as a party. But it should also reflect the Rhode Island Republicans. As some suggested at the meeting that the document should have refelected the RNC one. I disagree. The RNC has abandoned us. With the smallest percentage of registered voters, we need to do more to attract a broader base to our core fiscally conservative values.

I am pro life, pro civil union, anti big government fiscally conservative candidate for Senate District 26. I will stay out of your business and you should stay out of mine.

I have a rule in life. If you want to talk a bout a problem, Then make sure you have a solution in mind.

Should we continue the path of a super minority in the GA? Should we have a litmus test test in place for candidates?

I think not.

Sean P. Gately

Posted by: Sean Gately at December 10, 2009 8:51 AM

>>Robert Manning notes that "a large percentage of the voting population are registered as independents,"<<

Yeah, and there is also a large percentage of the voting population that is registered as Democrats. Should we try to attract them too? This is the REPUBLICAN party. Try to keep what you got, or even try to woo back some of the more recent members who have drifted away, exactly because of this mentality. The platform should tell what the party and and what it stands for. Not every Republican has to agree with all parts of the platform, and not every plank needs to be contrary to the other parties, but it should be definitive of what Republicans are. Even New England Republicans.

Posted by: Patrick at December 10, 2009 10:29 AM

Here's a novel thought - maybe the Republicans have had such a meager showing precisely because they try to be this "big tent" and real Republicans don't want any part of it. In this state, if you want to act like a Democrat, they'll vote for the real thing every time.
Maybe if the Republican party started to act like real conservatives, they'd get people to step up.
You know something - it's worth a shot. Can it get much worse??

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at December 10, 2009 12:53 PM

I would like to thank Sean P. Gately for making a most accurate and telling observation - That without the Republican Conservatives present, the Platform Committee’s remaining members abandoned or provided contradictory support for the Social Issues and brought forth a document that could have been printed from the Moderate Party’s website.

Issues such as Life are supported in the opening paragraph and then in the closing paragraph the proposed platform stated there is no Party view on Social Issues. Well, if you are trying to run with that as a Platform, we will continue to be pummeled by the electorate for being incompetent.

Other issues like costly Social Service systems and illegal aliens never made it to the Platform. Other items like Voter Initiative were shot down.

The proposed Platform looked more like the Moderate Party – If that is indeed what the RIGOP wants to put forth, why have a Republican Party.

If you are Pro-Abortion, Pro-Big Government, Pro-Socialism, Pro-Big Government Health Care, and Pro-Fascism now that we own two car companies and an Insurance Company, there is a Party for you called the Democrat Party.

If you wish to have no opinion on Social issues, even though they cost Rhode Islanders and businesses in Rhode Island hundreds of millions of dollars per year, then there is the Moderate Party for you to tag along with.

I hear the soft-spine opinions that why should I push my beliefs on someone else. The answer is simple. We are a society of rules and laws that places someone’s opinion on the backs of another. Without such opinions in place (The Constitution), we would live in Anarchy. Our Country is supposed to be based on the rule of law of the majority, not the Politically Correct.

It is time for politicians to stop being politicians (oh how am I going to sneak my way into office disguising who I am), and become Statesmen: The type of Statesmen that founded the United States of America; The same type of Statesmen who wrote the Constitution that put our Rights as Americans to paper. There are no Rights in the Constitution to allow any person to take the legally earned money and/or assets from one American and give this money or asset to another American or entity, where such entity may or may not be American.

If you live in Rhode Island and you are Pro-Constitution, or Pro-Life, or Pro-Second Amendment, or Pro-Traditional Marriage or Pro-Smaller and more efficient government, or Pro-Legal Immigration and Pro-Immigration Law Enforcement of the laws on the books, or Pro-Capitalism, where do you go if the Rhode Island Republican Party is not willing to take a stand as the other two Parties have already said they are not interested.

I concur with Sean that any “Republican” who wishes to add their opinions to the discussion should send the RIGOP an email. Voters who are Independents, Cool Moose, Green Party, Libertarians, Moderates, and Democrats have no role or opinion in establishing the Platform for the Rhode Island Republican Party.

Raymond T McKay
President, Rhode Island Republican Assembly

Posted by: Raymond T McKay at December 10, 2009 4:40 PM

I am also a Committee member. I was at every meeting except the last in November (due to illness).

I thought it was unfortunate that the discussion of this unfinished draft platform was made public, and still do.

I am confident that we will successfully produce a high quality document that expresses the principles of the RIGOP. If we do our job well, the platform will clearly demonstrate that Republican principles are the ones that are truly populist, and that the Republicans are the party of liberty and equality under the law as defined by an originalist interpretation of our Constitution (as opposed to the special-interest subsidizing, fat-cat favoring, Marxism of today's Democrats).

I also expect that the finished platform will demonstrate that the Republican Party has real programs that will work to restore business opportunities, jobs, and a higher quality of life to Rhode Islanders.

We want Rhode Island to succeed. The best way to do that is to get this heavy-handed state government off peoples' backs. Only the Republicans are willing to do that. Perpetuation of the present financially and morally bankrupt system is the goal of the RI Democratic Party.

Posted by: BobN at December 10, 2009 5:36 PM

To state the obvious, I'm with Ray on this one...

However, a few points of clarification re Sean's perspective on the process, and I very much think it is about perspective, which understandably is subjective.

Although I am not on the platform committee, as a member of the executive committee, and the state central committee, I am certainly very familiar with the process. I was told that the reasons why some meetings were more poorly attended than others was that in several cases, it was basically done as a "here's when we're meeting, be there," regardless of the ability of some to fit that into their pre-existing work or family schedules. As Mr. Manning is semi-retired, it may not have been as much of a consideration for him, as it was for others.

In other cases, certain individuals were simply not notified of the meetings, whether intentionally or not; or they were not notified in a timely enough manner. Remember, not everyone has lawyer schedules that can be changed on a dime (that's not a dig against Sean!).

At the meeting of the platform committee which occured prior to it's meeting on Tuesday night, only 5 people were present. On Tuesday, 17 people were present. There are 19 committee members. How could anyone reasonably expect that a document "approved" by 5 people would be representative of the committee, nevermind the RIGOP?

I think most of us, including those of us who are conservative Republicans, agree that in order to win elections, that we need to appeal to some people who are not necessarily registered Republicans, especially those who are unaffiliated. However, there does appear to be considerable disagreement as to how one goes about that.

Conservative Republicans would propose that there are a good number of conservatives and center-right individuals who do not identify themselves with the RI Republican Party - who are currently unaffiliated or even "blue dog" type Democrats - because of a real or perceived aura of incompetence, or more likely, simply a belief that we don't really stand for anything worth voting for.

What was presented to us on Tuesday night only would have served as confirmation of their long held suspicions about the party. As one person only half-jokingly said to me, in describing the draft platform, that "This is the platform that Dan Yorke would expect out of the Rhode Island Republican Party." It certainly wasn't meant as a compliment.

Lastly, in regard to a comment made in the Projo by Rob Manning, in which he referred to "the sense of the committee," he neglected to mention that the platform committee's final vote to send the platform to the state central committee was only by a 9 to 8 vote. Perhaps we have a different perspective on the term "sense." When I think of it, I tend to think more along the lines of consensus, or at least something approaching it; not a nearly equal division.

Anyway, we now have an opportunity to create a better document which represents the REPUBLICAN PARTY. If conservatives may not have been as engaged as they could have been before, they certainly will be now. We need a platform which represents the whole of the party, not just the portion of it which doesn't like to deal with certain issues. You can stand up for certain core issues, and you can also word it in such a way, that it won't serve to drive away people who may not be in full agreement. The point is to create a document that will attract people to the party, not simply to pretend you're another party. That doesn't attract anyone, and it serves to demoralize your base of support in the process. A platform is supposed to be a set of principles that you will stand for if elected. You're not going to get elected as a Republican, by adopting the positions of another party.

Posted by: Will at December 10, 2009 6:07 PM


My only comment is that RI Democrats are increasingly pro-life. As one of them, I will continue to be a member of the Democratic Party & try to convert from within. We are not always your father's or mother's Democrats.


Posted by: Jay at December 10, 2009 6:36 PM

For a long time, Republicans won elections because they focused on what UNITED them instead of what divided them. This is the same kind of debate the Democrats had in the '80s and '90s, and how many elections did they lose as a result? It took a lonnnng time for Dems to learn that lesson.
The Democrats are vulnerable, and eminently beatable right now. If you want to focus on the economy, you have an excellent chance of winning. But as long as you keep pointing fingers at each other and proclaiming yourselves more pro-life and anti-gay than thou, the Dems keep winning, and you've got nobody to blame but yourselves.

Posted by: rhody at December 10, 2009 7:18 PM

The Republicans have to be wary of the "family values" issue.It's a nebulous term connoting better morality than the opponents.Well,when the proponents of it can't walk the walk,it really rebounds in an ugly way.Just let me mentio a few names-Hyde(my former rep and a great guy on pro-life);Vitter;That guy in South Carolina(I can't recall his name);Gingrich;Livingston;Hastert;and some others.
When they get caught being hypocrites it just gives a lot of ammo to the Nancy Green types at Kmareka who can point and cackle with glee.And it's hard to answer.
Better to zero in on specifics like taking a stand against abortion;for traditional marriage;firearms rights;a curb to wasteful spending NO MATTER WHO BENEFITS;and try to avoid any "holier than thou" pronouncements when you can't live up to them.I know I sure wouldn't be making any.But I'm not running for office and I'm not a Republican-although I most often vote for them,but not always by any means.
When you acknowledge up front that you have feet of clay,then it's hard to be called out as a phony.
Like those liberal "green"creeps who tool around in gas guzzlers or private jets and have air conditioning in every rtoom.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 10, 2009 7:36 PM

The Rhode Island Republican Party is a total joke, and a failure.Even in the
most conservative states like Utah, the
Democrats are more sucsesfull than the RI GOP.
The majority of folks in RI are moderates, like 70% ,the Dems know this, and the RightWingNuts do not

Posted by: Matt at December 10, 2009 10:07 PM

Why do I get the sense that "Matt" was sent over by Bob Walsh to just see how far he can push before he gets under people's skin and gets people throwing bombs that way.

Can I make a suggestion that unless people like "Matt" have something of substance, they just get completely ignored. Otherwise it becomes a juvenile p***ing contest.

Ok, I'll!

Posted by: Patrick at December 11, 2009 7:40 AM

"the Democrats are more sucsesfull than the RI GOP."

Yes. That's why Rhode Island has high taxes, a poor education system ("it's for the children"), 13% unemployment, a lousy business climate (who needs jobs, anyway), dangerously neglected bridges and a very generous public pension plan that Democrats were happy to promise but did not see fit to fund.

Go, RI Dems!

Posted by: Monique at December 11, 2009 8:09 AM

Hooray indeed! Thanks Ray. Keep up the good work. Glad to have you working on our side.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at December 11, 2009 4:00 PM

Pat-why don't you stick to giving zeros to anyone you disagree with on RIF?

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 11, 2009 6:17 PM
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