January 27, 2010

Late Night "Huh?"

Justin Katz

Staying up a little later than usual tonight to process some video, I noticed this quotation from Steve Peoples's report about the Tea Party meeting:

The Statewide Coalition's Business Network, which is trying to raise $500,000 to support pro-business candidates this fall, has no relationship with the Tea Party either, according to the head of the initiative, Jeffrey Deckman.

"The Tea Party is more a taxpayer group," Deckman said. "I'm in the business of getting people elected and unelected, and I don't see them becoming that relevant on the political level."

Does anybody understand what Mr. Deckman is saying, as a presumably coherent point, or what he intended to accomplish with this statement?

Political turf guarding is an ugly thing. In an upstart movement that might have already lost too many potential constituents to emigration, it would be fatal.

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I just had the same huh??? moment.

First of all, isn't RISC the taxpayer group? Maybe Mr. Deckman is confused because he is working for the new RISC Business Network.

Posted by: gina at January 28, 2010 12:09 AM

I am not going to presume for purposes of what I read at projo.com, that Jeff was quoted correctly or in context.

However, in the event that he was, I think it's confusing to say the least, and I think his comments would have missed the point that was made at the RI Tea Party meeting tonight. I didn't see Jeff there tonight, so I don't know if he was directly responding to what he saw or heard, or was simply "reached for comment" by a journalist with his own narrow questions.

The Tea Party which has no ties at all to RISC, has many of the same goals, however, they have different means by which they seek to accomplish that. One organization does not have to have "ties" or coordinate activities with another in order to work in a symbiotic or complementary way towards common goals.

Can we at least all agree that one of the common goals is electing pro-business, and pro-taxpayer people? Or is that asking too much?

Posted by: Will at January 28, 2010 1:06 AM

Mr. Deckman needs to work on his message a bit….clearly both RISC and the Tea Party are taxpayers groups and will be involved in the business of getting people elected in Nov. AND, their memberships overlap.

The question is whether they are working directly together or separately but towards similar goals at different levels of government?

We know RISC will be focusing their energy towards the General Assembly. Where will RI Tea Party focus their energy?

Mr. Staley was on Dan Yorke the other day and stated RISC's relationship with the RI Tea Party. To sum it up he said there are many areas on which RISC and the RI Tea Party can agree; they worked together on binding arbitration for example.

Mr. Staley went on to say that RISC is limited in focus to state issues and that the new Business Network was focused specifically on the RI General Assembly and he thought the Tea Party had more of a focus on federal and statewide races.

Someone needs to give Mr. Deckman some talking points...

Posted by: jen at January 28, 2010 1:06 AM

In one column, Laffey said he has never seen a happy homosexual.
"This is not to say there aren't any; I simply haven't seen one in my lifetime. Maybe they are all in the closet," he wrote. "All the homosexuals I've seen are sickly and decrepit, their eyes devoid of life."

In another column he wrote that pop music was turning the children of America into sissies, and criticized the singer Boy George, referring to him as "it."

"It wears girl's clothes and puts on makeup," he wrote. "When I hear it sing, 'Do you really want to hurt me, do you really want to make me cry,' I say to myself, YES, I want to punch your lights out, pal, and break your ribs."

this is the REAL Steve Laffey

Posted by: Jeff at January 28, 2010 8:34 AM

Nothing personal here, but the Tea Party movement (and I am not a member) seems to have had more of an impact on the political landscape in its brief 9 months on the scene than RISC has had in the what, 4-5 years and multiple election cycles it has been active.

Not only that, but didn't Deckman serve as the executive director of the RIGOP for a spell? I don't think anyone who has been at the helm of that dysfunctional organization should have any right to be looked toward for political advice.

The RISC Business Network is a nice idea. But it's not going to get people elected. Motivated people on the ground -- like those in the Tea Party movement -- going door to door and spreading a candidate's message will.

Mr. Deckman says the Tea Party is not a political movement. They won't have much influence in politics. Has Deckman been living under a rock???? Look at Massachusetts. Look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at all of the Democrats who are choosing to resign rather than face reelection in the "Tea Party" era.

David Brooks of the NY Times said it himself. The Tea Party is a force to be reckoned with.

I don't think anybody seriously understands what the RISC business network is supposed to actually accomplish. It's going to raise money and advocate for candidates? Great. Isn't that what a political party is supposed to do? And how successful was Deckman when he was heading up the Republican Party? Pitiful.

Is Deckman trying to make up for his ineffectiveness while at the GOP? Is he trying to position RISC as a political advocacy group? If so, I would argue that he is part of the problem, not the solution. He boasts he's been in politics in this state for the last 25 years. Then, in my opinion, he's part of the problem. How has the RIGOP fared over the last 25 years? Not good. And it's not just because of what happens on the national level. The RIGOP is backward, filled with in-fighting and has destroyed itself over and over again. People like Deckman have been a part of it all; sharpening their swords and ruining the party over personal differences all so that they can get their hands on a pitifully small piece of the pie.

He didn't downplay the influence of the Tea Party when he spoke at the State House rally last spring. He's even got the speech up on his website.

Results are what matters here.

And I see real momentum with the Tea Partiers. They may not be paying his bills, but all I see coming out of Deckman is hot air.

Posted by: ben at January 28, 2010 8:50 AM

Hey Jeff, you union whore. What's the matter, can't come up with a way to debate Laffey's plan to put you pigs in your place, huh? So, just attack the messenger with stuff he said 25 years ago.
One thing is clear is that people are on to the way unions have been fu@&ing us for the last 40 years.
The gig is up, pig.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at January 28, 2010 9:32 AM

Colleen Conley is just a snake oil saleswoman. Embarassing effort to try to dragoon Jim Hummel into her web.
As for Laffey, same ol, same ol.Defecate or get off the pot. It's good to see an increasing number of conservatives tiring of his lame circus act.

Posted by: rhody at January 28, 2010 9:52 AM

Colleen Conley is just a snake oil saleswoman. Embarassing effort to try to dragoon Jim Hummel into her web.
As for Laffey, same ol, same ol.Defecate or get off the pot. It's good to see an increasing number of conservatives tiring of his lame circus act.

Posted by: rhody at January 28, 2010 9:55 AM

Jeff's endless repeating of that text in every article about Laffey in the online press is getting really old. Jeff, you have about reached the point where I'll disagree with anything you say just because you said it.

The quotes from Deckman and Hummel are strong evidence of the genuinely grassroots nature of the growing conservative movement, since obviously they didn't coordinate with the Tea Party in advance. There is no Astroturf here.

Posted by: BobN at January 28, 2010 11:04 AM


I couldn't have said it any better. There is most definitely not any coordination. However, there can always be informal collaboration when interests are in common.

RISC/Deckman can do whatever they feel is effective to get good candidates to run for office. The more, the merrier. I've known him long enough to know he's sincere. However, I also know why he/they might prefer a go it alone strategy to do that.

Posted by: Will at January 28, 2010 4:54 PM

Who has Jeff Deckman ever gotten elected?

I think he's the snake oil salesman in this scenario and it looks like RISC took a bottle.

Posted by: George at January 28, 2010 5:13 PM

Amen, George

I've run in with deckman before and I can't say that he ever impressed me beyond the 5 minute mark. Downplaying the one really motivated change agent in the state only confirms that either a) he's not too bright or b) he's got his own personal motivations which are far too territorial and all too typical of the same behavior that has rendered the right impotent in the state.

Either way, I wouldn't want him leading anything related to the populist awakening the country, and hopefully the state, seems to be experiencing at the moment

Posted by: John at January 28, 2010 7:23 PM

>>Hey Jeff, you union whore. What's the matter, can't come up with a way to debate Laffey's plan to put you pigs in your place, huh? So, just attack the messenger with stuff he said 25 years ago.

College writings. This is the worst thing Laffey's opponents can come up? Lame.

Posted by: Ralph at January 29, 2010 11:11 AM

I have never been impressed by Laffey.
He raised real estate taxes to the breaking point.
He wanted to accept Guatemalan "cedulas"also referred to as "consular cards" for valid ID in city matters.
He is a prima donna.
I have kept my distance from the Tea Party movement even though I tend to agree with most of what they say precisely because I see Colleen Conley heading towards an ego problem.That could turn out to be a disappointment to the people who show up to protest.
What Laffey said in college is of no consequence nowadays.How many of us would like everything we ever said or wrote years ago repeated?People mature as a rule.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 29, 2010 4:30 PM

Regarding Laffey and Conley, I completely agree with Joe. (We also agree the sun rises in the east and that a stopped clock is right twice a day.)
Laffey may talk the anti-immigrant talk, but he didn't seem to mind using Guatemalans for his own political purposes.
And I even found myself agreeing with Dan Yorke that Conley becomes a teenage girl at a 1965 Beatles concert when she gushes about Laffey.

Posted by: rhody at January 30, 2010 12:54 AM

I know Colleen. She has no issues either with ego or with idol worship.

Do you guys regularly practice amateur psychology on people whom you have never met? Oh yeah, reading the comments threads, I guess you do.

Posted by: BobN at January 31, 2010 9:40 AM
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