September 17, 2010

Rogers' Reason, and Giving Voters More Reasons to Distrust Unknown Republicans

Justin Katz

Here's Heidi Rogers' letter of withdrawal from her candidacy. Note the text that I've italicized, suggesting that this was possibly her plan all along and that RIGOP leaders were complicit:

First and foremost, I want to thank the Rhode Island Republican Party for their support in the primary election. I consider myself a loyal partisan, and in my view being a Republican is based on a philosophical commitment to foundational principles of small, limited government, operated in the most efficient manner.

Being a Republican extends beyond what is good for the party, but goes to what is good for our fellow citizens.

As a Republican dedicated to these fundamental principles, and as the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, I find myself faced with a dilemma. I firmly believe that the Office of Lieutenant Governor as it stands today is a waste of state tax dollars.

When Bob Healey announced his candidacy and discussed with us the idea of a Republican nomination of his candidacy, I was in full support. His message spoke to the very bedrock of Republican philosophy of small and limited government.

When it appeared that the Republicans were ready to leave the office uncontested in the November ballot, in essence, allowing Healey a head-to-head contest over the uselessness of the office, I was pleased. But when I heard that other members of my party were considering running for the office and maintaining it in its current wasteful form, I stepped forward to run.

As a Republican, I want to re-instill the idea that we are statesmen first and party members second. I want to demonstrate that our party is about good government and not about the politics or the personalities.

In this election, both Bob Healey and I believe in the same vision for the office of Lieutenant Governor. With both of us running on the same platform for the same office, the outcome would be to hand over the election to the incumbent Democrat. Splitting the "abolish the office" vote by having two candidates simply does not make sense, and it is my firm belief that it would deny the voters a clear choice.

When I entered the race, Mr. Healey and I had agreed to speak after the primary to see if we could come to some common ground to avoid having our shared goals thwarted by a difficult three-way race.

Since the primary, we have had such a conversation, and we have discussed this decision at length with the leadership of the Republican Party to ensure that we were all in agreement before making any radical move. In essence, it was a discussion of the nuts and bolts of which candidate was more likely to win.

I had to concede that Mr. Healey has a long history of advocating for this position, that he has a following of supporters who identify him with this cause. Mr. Healey had to concede that he had limited success in the past trying to get the people to embrace the idea of "No Lieutenant Governor", and that running without a party structure made the race more difficult.

The talks with party leadership included consideration of the best interests of both the candidates and the party I am honored to represent as its nominee. I am in full and complete support of the Republican Party and its statewide slate and in no way wanted to make any move that would negatively impact the team.

It is my belief, however, that having a strong standard bearer for the Republican philosophy of small government as embodied in the platform of Bob Healey will draw the voters' attention to the principles that motivate us. Our Republican brand should represent our ideas and ideals, and present real solutions to the voters. In this race, they will be presented with a clear path to a solution that saves us all $4,000,000 per term. Mr. Healey is more widely identified with this idea, and, I have come to believe, has a better opportunity that I to see it through this November.

I have, in what I see as the best interests of the people of Rhode Island and in the furtherance of the basic philosophy of the Republican Party, filed papers to withdraw my candidacy.

In closing, I reiterate my support for the Republican philosophy and its candidates. If the Republican nominees want my help and support, I will be there. I will be there for John Robitaille, Erik Wallin, Kerry King, and Catherine Taylor. I will be there not because they are merely Republican in name, but because they stand for the Republican ideals that this state so desperately need to see in action.

I thank you for the opportunity to serve this party, and I hope through my actions today we all receive some recognition for putting principles before partisanship, and setting aside pride and political expediency for the great good of our fine State.

What utter disrespect for Rhode Island Republican voters who believe that their primary votes are honestly given to sincere candidates. As it turns out, we are just as apt to be manipulated as any other group to serve the higher cause that our political betters have discerned to exist. Frankly, I probably would have gone with Healey in the general election, but there's absolutely no way he'll get my vote now.

There are rules. Voters have expectations about the meaning of their votes. Their game playing and procedural manipulation are very much partial causes of the current hostility toward President Obama and Congressional Democrats. Why on Earth would the RIGOP cheer along as a candidate who just won the party's primary offers ham-handed illustration that the loathed "ruling class" with no respect for the rules extends to such a pitiful office as lieutenant governor?

I worry that this political fakery has the potential to diminish whatever wave of anti-Democrat-establishment sentiment might exist in this state. (And judging by primary turnout, there might be precious little of that sentiment to waste.) Why should voters take seriously any GOP candidates with whom they are not very familiar when the party and one of its candidates have shown a willingness to conspire against them?

Other Republican candidates should think long and hard before they align themselves with this stunt.

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 agree with you on this. Other than you where is the criticism from local Republicans?
The former Governor of Alaska has set the bar for placing personal ambition over the duty of office by leaving the position to which she was elected before the term of office expired. Where is the criticism by national and local Republicans for that?

Posted by: Phil at September 17, 2010 5:33 PM

This is different. Sarah Palin made a decision, and took a gamble on how people would feel about it. Our feelings (Phil's and mine) are probably polar opposites, yet still legitimate.
But, Gov. Palin's decision did not involve trickery and deceit.

The Rogers/Healy affair appears to have been a set-up, a deliberate move to fool Republican voters and to keep other Republicans (who might want to do more - or less - with the office) off the November ballot.

Republican ideals are alive and well and exits in some rock-solid individuals, and a hand-full of town committees in Rhode Island. But the Republican Party at the state level in RI is, for all intents and purposes, DEAD.

- The RIGOP leadership and Carcieri did everything in their power to prevent the candidacy of the most qualified person in the state from running for Governor.

- Despite what they say, I believe Carcieri, Ciccione and Robitaille are playing their own games to get Caprio elected. If it looks like Robitaille hurts Chafee, he'll stay in. If it looks like he's hurting Caprio, he'll get out.

Posted by: George at September 17, 2010 5:56 PM

... and to think, they chose Constitution Day to pull this stunt!

Despicable scoundrels!

If we get Chafee, we'll be getting what we deserve.

Posted by: George at September 17, 2010 6:00 PM

As a local Republican, here is my position regarding the current status of the RI Lt. Governor's race ... I don't care! I didn't care before, and I still don't care now, and I won't care in November or anytime thereafter! There is literally nothing on this Earth which I could care less about! Don't care, don't care, don't care! Is that clear enough?

No Republican office holder worth their salt should expend an ounce of energy ruminating over this maneuver. Backroom deal? You bet. More like a backroom deal made in a room with very large open windows which anyone could have seen through. Was there anything exchanged or promises of largess made? I can pretty much guarantee, no way.

I'm not sure from a Republican Party perspective, that it was the best move for the party -- if one was only thinking about the party's interests as the primary interest. I do have some concerns about the RIGOP chairman publicly supporting this move, as it might be perceived as something which the party sanctioned (which it definitely did not). However, if your goal is either a philosophical / small government one or it is simply getting rid of Liz Roberts as Lt. Governor at any cost, it was probably the best move available of several not so great options. I would have preferred Heidi staying and Bob leaving, but I can understand their rationale. This is no profile in courage, or something noble, it's pure politics. I can easily understand why some people would have a problem with it, including those at AR.

Admittedly, I was very surprised about this strategic move today, but perhaps I shouldn't have been, since it was something which was pretty openly discussed several months back. As it happens, today (the 3rd day after the primary) was the statutory deadline to fix the November ballot, so if someone were going to pull something like this, it had to happen by today.

What we should all be focusing on and caring about is winning those statewide and federal offices which actually affect our daily lives. I'm sorry, but the office of Lt. Governor isn't one of them. We should especially care about restoring balance to the RI General Assembly.

Posted by: Will at September 17, 2010 6:12 PM

How can anyone even think of dumping Liz?
As the health care expert look at the wonders she has worked....

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at September 17, 2010 7:28 PM

And this little gem...from
Pea-Party favorite
Christine O'Donnell

"American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains," warned Delaware senate candidate, and Pea-Party favorite, Christine O'Donnell on the O'Reilly Factor.

Posted by: Sammy at September 17, 2010 8:20 PM

But Sammy, that's true. I've seen it!

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 17, 2010 8:34 PM

Be outraged only if you haven't been paying attention. Heidi Rogers did the right thing - first in running, then in withdrawing.

Remember how happy conservatives were when Robert Healey announced last winter? With the awakening of the slumbering populace, many said THIS was the year people were tuned in to Bob Healey's consistent - and common sense - message.

Then Republican Robert Tingle announced for the office. Who? Yeah, that's what I said, too. Then I heard with my own ears (although I still couldn't believe it) Tingle "bargain" with Healey on Buddy Cianci's show: Tingle would drop out of the race if Healey ran as a Republican; otherwise, Tingle would stay in the race. Remember that? Shortly thereafter, Heidi announced and Kara Russo announced.

Speaking of Kara, as much as I like her, the insinuation that she was somehow unfairly "robbed" of representing the office is unfounded. Had she chosen to run for a single office instead of playing the multi-office candidate game, she might have been taken more seriously by voters. Voters had their say on her candidacy. Her strategy is what robbed her of the office, not Heidi's withdrawal.

Perhaps I can feel so ambivalent about the alleged "damage" to the party because I am not a Republican. I am sick of partisan politics - it's what has gotten our state and country in the TOILET.

If we have any hope of saving this state, it has to be about the principle, not the party.

Heidi Rogers exemplified that today.

Posted by: elemare at September 18, 2010 12:49 AM

Justin -
It's not often I disagree with you ... Had this manuever been perpetrated by the Dems, it would have been considered "Brilliant" ... maybe we are slowly learning how to fight fire with fire?

Posted by: andrew M at September 18, 2010 8:26 AM

I don't know who would have thought it "brilliant" if perpetrated by Democrats. The parallel would be, say, the Dem leadership winning the primary under false pretenses in order to pave the way for a progressive independent despite the preferences of a less liberal constituency. Would that be "brilliant" or "dastardly"?

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 18, 2010 8:38 AM

I am in complete agreement with Will and elemare regarding this situation. While it's true that much of the current angst directed at both parties in Congress at the FEDERAL level is due to their insider baseball shenanigans, one must remember that we are in RI. Good or bad, this kind of thing, or equally "dastardly" schemes happen all the time and the electorate here does not care. Does anyone complain that the teachers have a mandatory conference at the polling places on election day, bolstering the public sector union vote?

The fact is that there are rules of pure principle, and there are RI Rules and the progressive left uses RI Rules to its fullest advantage. If the reformers in this state want to win, then sometimes they've got to play the game.

As for Healey, you can bet that he did not instigate this plan. Not voting for him because of it seems rather a strong reaction. Too much is at stake for absolute purity tests. If we don't change the direction of this state, will we feel much better going down the toilet with our halos intact?

Posted by: Madmom at September 18, 2010 10:14 AM


Actually, relatively little is "at stake" in the lt. gov. race. It's almost inconsequential, and eliminating it would save a drop in the deficit bucket. That's why it's especially surprising that the RIGOP would decide to prove itself adept at the RI way of politics for its sake, during this election cycle.

And you're wrong about what "the electorate here" cares about. The union-dominated left doesn't care about manipulation of the system, but the base for reform, Republican, and Tea Party candidates does.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 18, 2010 10:28 AM

Correct. The Lt. Gov is not going to change the economic mess we are in. I'm referring to playing the game in general. There are GA seats in which there exist three way races that will almost guarantee the re-election of the Progressive, which happens here every election cycle (for example, Chris Ottiano's last run against Levesque). If one of the conservative candidates can be encouraged to drop out, then we have a chance at winning. Is that manipulation? Sure. I believe there was some sort of strategery behind Mike Pinga's win against Alves last election. As a result, we got one of the few reformers in the GA. I'm fine with that, because personally, I don't want to have to move from RI. And that is exactly what plenty of us will be planning to do if we don't see any hope after November 2nd.

It would be great if we lived in a perfect world with everyone playing nicely together by the same set of rules. But in RI, we have the deck stacked against us too many ways to count. I simply do not see this situation as being anywhere near as egregious as the manipulation of the system which characterizes the Progressive/Union machine.

Posted by: Madmom at September 18, 2010 11:05 AM

I voted for Kara Russo last Tuesday for Lt. Governor. I nominated Bob Tingle who is an artculate person at the GOP state convention for Lt. Governor.
This manipulation was dishonest and deceitful. There was a feeling this may happen. What is interesting is it would take years at least to eliminate the office.
To my knowledge no legislator to take has submitted legislation to eliminate this office and we will not be getting a Constitutional Convention too soon.
This move did not impress me. While I do not not know Ms. Rogers, I think it reflects on her character. If she ran saying she planned to withdraw or considering so to make room for Bob Healey would be give her more credibility.
Years ago Alabama Governor George Wallace barred by law from seeking re-election ran his wife Lurleen instead making no secret he would actually be Governor and she would be a figurehead. That honest admission of his motives regardless of what you may think of him, let the people of Alabama know the "real story",.
Ms. Rogers has not been known statewide to Republican activists as I recall, so she has not been a "real player" in the Rhode Island GOP.
I am disappointed in "Gio" Cicione handling of this Lt. Governor's situation the last several months. I defended hin against removal earlier this year. As a person who defended him I am disappointed.
I do not think it was wise for Kara Russo to tun for U.S. House, First District; and Lt. Governor at the same time.
I speak solely for myself.
Scott Bill Hirst
Member, R.I. Republican State Central Committee from Hopkinton
Member, Hopkinton Town Council, 1996-2004; and candidate in 2010,.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at September 18, 2010 12:38 PM

1. A situation does not have to be "as egregious as" the high bar of Democrat corruption in Rhode Island to merit criticism.

2. Pragmatic decisions to withdraw from a race, given the circumstances on the ground over the course of the campaign, are one thing. By running for office solely for the purpose of preventing somebody else from doing so effectively disenfranchises primary voters. To do so in a high profile, yet nigh upon inconsequential race such as the Lt. Gov. shows all of those involved to be more interested in trying to "play the game" than thinking strategically.

3. Selling our souls doesn't equate with electoral victory.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 18, 2010 12:41 PM

I'm with Justin on this one. The whole thing emits a disingenous and foul odor. Ms. Rogers now takes a seat next to Mr. Gemma as 2 people who have zero political viability going forward

Speaking of foul and disingenuous odors...for those of you in Warwick check out the Scott Avedisian campaign HQ at the corner of Post and Airport Road. It's right next door to Linc Chafee's HQ and they even have matching signs on their store fronts. lol
I kid you not.
We know they're both Democrats and very close but they even dress alike. Check it out. It's pretty lame for Avedisian. Par for the course for Wacko Linc but lame for Scottso. Very lame!

Posted by: Tim at September 18, 2010 3:34 PM

"A situation does not have to be "as egregious as" the high bar of Democrat corruption in Rhode Island to merit criticism."

I agree with you on that point, Justin. Criticism is one thing, and the case may deserve some. However, running from a candidate who is a rare advocate of smaller government in RI and ensuring that the status quo remains intact solves nothing.

Posted by: MadMom at September 18, 2010 4:31 PM

An advocate for small government could much better utilize the office of lieutenant governor than by simply abolishing it. He or she could, for example, use the office's resources and pulpit to investigate wasteful, redundant, and corruption-prone aspects of state government and target them for elimination.

Seems like a wasted opportunity, to me.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 18, 2010 5:02 PM

While eliminating the office of Lt. Gov officially will take time, electing someone who promises to work towards abolishing it will make national news. Just electing Healey, with his unconventional appearance, will make national news! Demonstrating that the folks in RI are at least cognizant of the concept of reducing waste in government, will send a strong positive message, which we desperately need.

As far as using the bully pulpit of the office, that's nice, but in 4 or 8 years, there is nothing to stop the next Lt. Gov from going back to the Land of Complete Uselessness.

Shouldn't the AG be investigating corruption anyways? Shouldn't reform groups be exposing wasteful areas of government? Why waste $4 million?

Posted by: MadMom at September 18, 2010 5:31 PM
Shouldn't reform groups be exposing wasteful areas of government? Why waste $4 million?

Yes, reform groups should be doing so, and smartly orchestrated, the lieutenant governor's office could essentially be a source of $1 million in funding for that effort.

Look, I'm very happy for Mr. Healey that his wealth is such that he could win a $90,000-something per year job and forgo the salary, but there are plenty of people who could take that lottery win and work toward real change in the state.

As for whether a reform-movement lt. gov. could be replaced by a same-old-same-old in the next election cycle, the same will most likely prove true of an "eliminate the office" candidate.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 18, 2010 7:05 PM

Well said original post and all of yours following,Justin!

I felt and feel so hurt and betrayed that I decided to take a tour of the Frigid Ungulate's platform.

Much of it is a mish mosh of contradictions,a few sharp ideas and ahem,some things that sounded familiar and alarming. Some of it very much like the Communist Party USA party program. Anybody can Google it and compare.

Here's a simple,clear example:

Frigid Ungulate Party platform:

"progressive taxation of the wealthy and private corporations"

Communist USA Party Program:

"...the poor are carrying the burden of government. This burden should be shared by all members of the society equally. Therefore we seek equity through progressive taxation."

Some other interesting similarities as well. Hmm.

Anyhow,we who voted in the Republican primary for Lt. Governor were betrayed in my opinion. I certainly feel my vote was negated.

Posted by: helen at September 18, 2010 8:48 PM

The endorsed Republican bears responsibility for this too. It's appalling! It was not up to her to decide if the voters liked Healy's platform and would vote for him over her. That was for the voters in the general election to decide.

She betrayed those who in good faith voted for her and in my opinion all of us who voted in that primary.

Posted by: helen at September 18, 2010 9:03 PM

Gosh,I have to let this go,but I want to remark a little more still.

First,I encourage everyone who reads this to also read the Cool Moose Party platform and look for the contradictions. Also,if you vote Republican,ask yourself if it's really the same as what Republicans say they stand for.

Second,it is amazingly horrific that the RIGOP thinks that what Rogers did is fine and dandy. Are they so myopic that they do not understand that without strong independent support they are sunk? Grassroots GOP indeed,lots of laughs! They just disenfranchised thousands of voters.

Is the Republican Party pro-life? Does the Republican Party support progressive taxation?

Does the RIGOP think it's okay for an endorsed candidate and primary winner to make the decision to drop out because she justifies her decision by saying that some people told her they wanted to abolish the Lt. Governor's office and she felt her Independent opponent could do it better???

You think we can't see something wrong here?

Hey,I never met or spoke with her and I voted in that primary. How arrogant of her to make that decision based on her limited information. Yet that's okay with the RIGOP. Talk about elitist nonsense.

Posted by: helen at September 19, 2010 12:39 AM

"Look, I'm very happy for Mr. Healey that his wealth is such that he could win a $90,000-something per year job and forgo the salary, but there are plenty of people who could take that lottery win and work toward real change in the state."

Shame on you! Whatever one chooses to do (legally) with money that one has earned through the fruits of their own labor should be of no consequence to you or anyone else. Separate from the topic of this post, that is a free market American principle that we should embrace. It is a concept that is disappearing all too quickly in our current redistribution of wealth political climate.

I still think you are great. Carry on with the fight!

Posted by: Madmom at September 19, 2010 8:52 AM

Shaming me is more than a little knee-jerk, here. I'm not faulting Healey for having money, but for his intended use of it.

You should know as well as anybody what a wasted opportunity it is for a wealthy reformer to try to prevent an ally who is not so well off from acquiring the means to work on reform full time. Even if a reform LG declined his or her entire budget except the salary and used the liberty of being able to work full-time on reform to improve the state, that would be a huge help.

Healey can do whatever he wants, with his money. But it is inordinately of consequence that he's taking his economic freedom and planning to use it to eliminate an opportunity for reformers to make a government office serve the interest of shrinking government.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 19, 2010 9:06 AM

This whole thing reminds me of the Fred Tuttle campaign in Vermont in 1998 when a local farmer entered the GOP primary for senate because the other candidate was viewed as a carpetbagger. Having run on a campaign almost completely devoid of issues, he won the nomination and then promptly endorsed his democrat opponent, the incumbent Pat Leahy. Back then, the news media and conventional wisdom reported it as one of those wonderful feel-good stories of American life, no doubt because it helped assure Leahy's reelection.

Posted by: David P at September 19, 2010 10:39 AM

This was a damn ugly move, one might expect of Pelosi/Reid. Even it were just this side of Kosher, this is ethically wrong at many levels. Despite a late Friday release to dodge the news cycle, count on this gaining traction quickly this week. Liz Roberts and Bob Venturini warchests will be spared some serious airtime bucks. The focus of the Rogers bailout, and GOP Nod to Healey just shifted from abolishing the Lt. Governors Office to a question of Ethics and credibility, talking points that will be repeated ad nauseum thru November midterms. For Democrats this keeps getting better, 2 new hard targets, a Republican, and Independent, and with the right spin, the RIGOP. Depending on the heat Bob Healey could bailout behind Heidi Rogers.
Gio Ciccione's shared "Target Fixation" on the Lt Governors office could get ugly for the RIGOP, at the very least a Young/Russo demand for investigation. If you don't think RI Democrats aren't gearing up to capitalize on this, then you must be new here.

The primary earlier this week was the most important many of would us know in our lifetime, and only 18% managed to find their way to the polls. Unless those with a stake in the midterms get out in front of the Rogers-Healey Bait and Switch, they've given tacit approval to the issue and a reason for RHode Island voters stay at home on Nov 2 and remain "Water Cooler Quarterbacks".

Posted by: E. Anthony Santos (Tony) at September 20, 2010 12:04 AM

State highway officials warned that all roads could become treacherous overnight Wednesday, with temperatures expected to drop for that mid-30s in Baltimore and colder outside the city. At least six deaths, substantial damage and an increasing wide range of travel delays are being blamed on the storm system containing brought snow with the Midwest and tornadoes about the Deep South and is now pummeling parts for this Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Forecasters warned on Christmas Eve that things could get rough, and they were right. Reporter John Sharp at Mobile's Press-Register has got a firsthand account of what it was like anytime a tornado blew through his neighborhood.

Posted by: LeighLester at December 28, 2012 5:32 AM
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