April 12, 2010

Laffey's Surprise Consistency

Justin Katz

Surprising everybody, once again, Steve Laffey has repeated the message that he's given every few months for the past year: He's not running for governor. Actually, the new news is that he's not running for anything:

... Lincoln Republican town chairman Michael Napolitano said he got a phone call from Laffey last Monday that put the speculation to rest.

"I can tell you that he called me on Monday evening and made it very clear that he had done some polling, and based on the results, he felt that [Rhode Island] was not ready for the changes that needed to be made to fix our state and that he was not going to run for any office ... period," Napolitano said in an e-mail.

The latest round of speculation had to do with Laffey's planned appearance at this week's Tea Party, which is now apparently in question. How long, do you suppose, until Steve can have a public appearance without rumors of a candidacy swirling?

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Wow, talk about an oversize ego!

He's too good for us.
We're not ready for him.


Whatever happened to humility. This guy must be the Lords answer to our prayers!

It appears the apples of that family are a bit sour......dangerous sounding dude!

I think this dude needs to move down south with Dan. His views are par for the course among the Confederates.

Posted by: Stuart at April 12, 2010 4:24 PM

Why was Laffey planning on speaking at the Tea Party but now he isn't?? Have the issues suddenly changed?? Or perhaps Laffey is blowing off the Tea Party because Laffey no longer needs to "use" those fine folk as his political support team since he's ruled out a run??
Is that how I should interpret this story??
Uh huh!!!
Justin you are oh so right about the consistency of Steve Laffey but somehow I don't think we're talking about the same personal attributes of consistency with him.
Tea Party, say hello to the R-E-A-L Steve Laffey.
He no longer needs to "use" you so he's blowing you off.
What a guy huh??

Posted by: Tim at April 12, 2010 4:28 PM

Or perhaps Laffey is simply and directly telling the truth. Why would anybody be surprised to find that Laffey's polling found insufficient (or more likely, near non-existent) support for taking some very difficult fiscal medicine to fix what ails RI? So many potential supporters of those steps have left RI for good, leaving a solid voting majority comprised of public sector unions and their supporters, social spending programs and their supporters, and private sector companies who owe their survival to "knowing a guy" who helps them, one way or another, in their relationship(s) with the RI public sector.

Quite simply, there is no longer even a potential majority in favor of taking tough steps to save the sinking ship of state. Anyone needing a further example need look no further than the way George Nee exercised his veto power over the General Assembly last week.

I'd guess that Laffey can see what lies ahead -- reamortizing pension contributions over 30 years (to stick our children and grandchildren with even more of the true costs of services that were provided before they were born) will buy some time. I'd guess that the next step will eventually be some type of default (via an exchange offer) of the state's General Obligation bonds. And quite possibly a few municipal bankruptcies.

Laffey can undoubtedly see what lies ahead. Say what you will, but nobody has ever said he's not a smart guy. So why should anybody be surprised that he has decided not to run?

The more interesting question is why, in light of the current circumstances, would anybody actually choose to run for office in RI, instead of hastening their departure from the state?

Posted by: John at April 12, 2010 4:58 PM

If he could see ahead, he'd be a superhuman.

Anyone who uses polls before a campaign to determine whether they would be competitive - is just plain silly.

Posted by: Stuart at April 12, 2010 5:39 PM

If he could see ahead, he'd be a superhuman.

Anyone who uses polls before a campaign to determine whether they would be competitive - is just plain silly.

Posted by: Stuart at April 12, 2010 5:40 PM

"Anyone who uses polls before a campaign to determine whether they would be competitive - is just plain silly."

Stuart, that is one of the first things ANYONE does when starting a campaign. Polling, when done well, is of tremendous importance to starting/winning an election. Why waste your time and money when you in reality have no shot of winning? I could rant on this topic, but I'm sure you'll simply want to argue for no reason so I'll end it on that note.

In regards to Laffey, it is clear he will run. All this for now is show, and its beginning to grow older by the month. I find it funny how certain higher up members of the GOP talk in private about Laffey's campaign, yet make public comments contradicting themselves. I don't know if Laffey's running an end around on some of the party, but its clear that some members of the party/outsiders know and are already getting ready for Laffey's run.

Posted by: steadman at April 12, 2010 5:57 PM

Pardon me...I thought that the new breed of pols would be honest and straightforward and use that as a feather in their caps.

Sounds like the same old, same old.

I wonder how Obama polled against Hillary before he started running?

Posted by: Stuart at April 12, 2010 6:10 PM

Stuart, have you read any books or news articles on the 2008 election that weren't from the mainstream or dealing with aesthetics? Obama polled heavily in 06-07. The results? He found that in the general population and in the democratic party electorate a high level of voter mistrust/dislike in Clinton. He found his own name rec./favorable rating high enough to take the chance on a run. He also ran his entire campaign early on knowing his chances of winning hinged on Iowa, where his polling (and everyone elses) showed a lack of support for Clinton (due to Iowan democratic views, lack of Bill ever running in an Iowa caucus,etc)

Like I said in my earlier comment, EVERYONE polls before an election. Its just how its done, pretty much on all levels if funding is there. And usually if a campaign doesn't have enough funds, they wing it with internal pseudo-polling or with other methods closely related. Polling gives the campaign early ideas on how to structure their organization, platform, and fund raising. I'm not sure if your trying to make this partisan or political, I'm just trying to give you an idea on how things really operate.

Posted by: steadman at April 12, 2010 6:29 PM


Though I can't say with 100% certainty because I've never asked him about it, I'm pretty sure that Steve Laffey...

...believes that Social Security and Medicare are part of the Federal budget.

I know you disagree with that opinion. Is that one of the views you'd label as "Confederate"?

Posted by: Andrew at April 12, 2010 7:40 PM

People are so quick to attack the person that they aren't listening to what Laffey says. He is not saying RI isn't ready for him. He is saying that the majority of RI voters are not ready to accept his plan. After all, it is draconian from the perspective of a believer in big, paternalistic government. Knowing that the Governor's job has very limited power, and that the bully pulpit would be his only truly effective tool against the General Assembly, the analysis of whether public opinion would be sufficiently in support of his plan to overcome the GA's constitutional power is directly relevant to a decision whether to run. Winning the job but then failing to enact the reforms needed to fix the state because of an apathetic public and a Democrat-dominated GA may not be an acceptable outcome for Laffey. It wouldn't be for me.

We who read and comment on AR are unusual people. The vast majority of Rhode Islanders are ignorant and apathetic about public affairs. I think that may be the problem he sees.

Posted by: BobN at April 12, 2010 9:44 PM

I think I get it now!
If only we would appoint him Dictator For Life, then he could save us!

But given our stupid ignorant democracy and residents, he can't help us!

Wow! I knew there were some totalitarians in the tea party, but honestly didn't think you folks were ready to throw our entire system under the Bus.

Hey, you could do the Saddam Hussein thing with him - and post his picture everywhere. We could sing songs to the Great Leader..........

Funny stuff, folks. This guy is just another clown to add to the Buddy Circus.

Posted by: Stuart at April 12, 2010 10:08 PM

BobN, I agree with 99% of Laffey's platform. Problem is I've been wise to Laffey's "act" since he was mayor in Cranston. This is a guy who's not up the big challenge, this is a guy who runs from the state he claims to love whenever things don't go his way, this is a guy who uses people until they no longer serve a purpose for him (see Tea Party) etc.....
What I have never understood is the undying loyalty and embarrassing idol worship for a guy whose only claim to political fame is picking on crossing guards and raising taxes to balance the books in Cranston.
What am I missing BobN??
And why does Republican Governor Don Carcieri have such a strong dislike for a 2 term Republican mayor of Cranston who's been out of office for a few years now??
What am I missing BobN??
Or perhaps the bigger and better question is what are you and Justin et al missing when it comes to Steve Laffey?
It baffles me that such intelligent people (not partonizing, very genuine in my respect for you and Justin et al) don't see Laffey for the narcissistic fraud that he is.

Posted by: Tim at April 12, 2010 11:11 PM

" for taking some very difficult fiscal medicine to fix what ails RI?"

Nah, that's too hard. What we need to do is just wait for the federal gov't to bail us out. All of their money grows on trees ...

Posted by: Monique at April 12, 2010 11:44 PM

I guess this is Steve's way of saying he needs a few more palms and rose petals tossed at his feet before he'll run.
If he's really blowing off the Tea Party, I hate to imagine how much Haagen-Daz Colleen Conley will be scarfing this week.

Posted by: rhody at April 13, 2010 12:42 AM

A better question to you might be "why do the vast majority of Rhode Islanders have such a strong dislike for Carcieri after two terms?"
Perhaps therein lies the answer to why Laffey isn't running.

Posted by: SteveS at April 13, 2010 5:30 AM

Tim, if you are insinuating that I'm a Laffey fanboi you are severely mistaken.

But as usual, I'm trying to bring to the situation some reasonable analysis rather than jump on the character assassination bandwagon. It's too easy to take the cheap shot and completely miss the point. But it's also lazy and irresponsible to do that.

There are ten weeks left until the filing deadline at the end of June. Much can happen between now and then. Who knows what other candidate might appear over the horizon? Maybe even as an independent? But I'm not going to waste good time on idle speculation.

Posted by: BobN at April 13, 2010 7:29 AM

Stuart's comments make it blatantly obvious that he has no idea who Steve Laffey is and is just shooting from the "troll" angle. Throwing comments out there to get a rise out of people. When you react to him, you're giving him exactly what he wants. This forum is p0rn to him and our comments are the material he does his thing to. Heck, he already told us that sex in his family is celebrated.

Tim, you and others always throw out there that he raised taxes in Cranston. He had to, there was no other choice. Did he campaign on the fact that he wouldn't? No. But he did also go after the waste in the city. He didn't finish the job he started because his ego sent him after a job that he wasn't best suited for, and thus we end up with "a great mind" in Whitehouse representing us now. As for him running away, he would be term-limited and I doubt his ego would let him be only a 1 term Gov. So if he didn't do the job he says he will, he'd be a huge failure and permanently done with politics.

I've said before that his main failure to this date has been to not rally up more support for like-minded GA candidates. We've decreased the number since he became a "private citizen". If he wanted to run for Gov and have a true bully pulpit with some backing in the GA, he should have gotten the ranks up to 20-25 at least. Then he'd have more of a chance to get things done. When he says that people aren't ready, I think he refers to the GA. They'd just laugh at him and his budget, like they do to Carcieri and then let Nee re-write it.

Posted by: Patrick at April 13, 2010 8:01 AM

BobN, you're the one missing the point.
You said...
"People are so quick to attack the person that they aren't listening to what Laffey says. He is not saying RI isn't ready for him. He is saying that the majority of RI voters are not ready to accept his plan. After all, it is draconian from the perspective of a believer in big, paternalistic government."

Very "creative" translation BobN. lol
One question though, when has Steve Laffey ever made an effort to take his reform plans to the public? When was that? Somehow I missed Laffey's presence in this state over the past four years. (Maybe because he hasn't been here for much of the time??) I can't even recall the last time Laffey was on talk radio. He's done some GOP chats in recent weeks and went to the O-Club with the tea party.
That's about it!
You're saying people aren't listening to what Laffey has to say. I say Laffey's made little or no attempt to have any type of discussion regarding his reform ideas with the people of this state over the last 4 years. Laffey has also made little or no attempt to foster alliances and build a political base in this state over those same 4 years.
But Laffey polls badly because of his draconian ideas?
Steve Laffey wishes that were the reason but he knows better and that's why he's not running.
The guy is a fraud. When are you going to realize this?

SteveS, during tough economic times those holding public office pay the price in the polls. Gov. Carcieri's polling numbers should have zero impact on any candidate running for governor, particularly one who has all the answers like Steve Laffey.
Why all the excuses for the messiah running away yet again?

Posted by: Tim at April 13, 2010 1:33 PM

What is the over/under on attendance at this rally? I would say 300 if they are lucky. Not that I want the tea baggers to disappear, because they split the republican ticket, but when the only news about the biggest rally they have all year is who isn't coming (Laffy and Brown) you have to begin to question if this movement has anything left.

Posted by: Giselle at April 13, 2010 2:31 PM

Tim, you really are out of touch. Laffey did an entire day on his plan as a substitute for Dan Yorke a few months ago. He spoke to an audience of over 400 people at the January Tea Party open meeting. He's been out there, you just missed it.

And exactly what are you insinuating by the phrase, "creative translation?" it's the attackers who have been claiming to channel Laffey's inner thoughts, not me.

Posted by: BobN at April 13, 2010 2:44 PM
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