October 29, 2010

RI Reformers Split on Governor

Marc Comtois

RISC is buying what Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio is selling and have endorsed him for Governor over Republican John Robitaille. Their reasoning:

RISC wants to acknowledge that Republican John Robitaille, who is a friend and member of RISC has run a very competent and credible campaign- -and yes, as of this writing- -is running very strong in the polls. It is very difficult for this organization to have to side with one candidate more than another when several viewpoints that reflect the RISC position are embraced by both. In the final analysis however, Caprio brings two crucial distinctions that we believe give him the ultimate advantage. He has already performed well in office, recognized for innovations and smart management skills as Treasurer which bode well for how he would function as Governor. Finally, RISC recognizes the reality of governing in this state may dictate that a centrist Democrat with fiscal conservative credentials may have the best chance of enacting the very difficult reforms needed which will only be achieved by a Governor who can build consensus.

Bringing the state back to a thriving, growing, forward-looking position we all want, will take a bold, very ambitious, and yes, imperfect leader who we believe not only has the right plan for the taxpayer- -but can actually turn it into reality. We believe that leader is Democrat Frank Caprio.

The Rhode Island Tea Party is not buying what Caprio is selling and are supporting Robitaille. And they think RISC is playing "insider politics."
The RI Tea Party believes that RISC has betrayed its own message to RI. Their endorsement smacks of the same old compromised insider politics.

"I am stunned by RISC's lack of conviction", states Colleen Conley, President of the RI Tea Party. "Frank Caprio has voted to raise taxes as a state legislator numerous times. He boasts a plethora of Union endorsements. That just strengthens the unions ability to write their own rules of the game, to hire their own bosses. Caprio's voting record clearly shows he has supported several tax increases and even supported efforts to organize day care workers in our state. Just more burden on the taxpayers."

Reform groups in RI are sticking together in support of John Robitaille - the only candidate who has the conviction and understanding to represent all of the hard-working taxpayers in RI. He understands that government does not create jobs. He understands that taxing our way out of debt is a failed policy. He understands that without a financially healthy private-sector there will be no revenue to pay for public-sector services.

Until now, to my knowledge, the growing rift between RISC and the RITP (and other groups) was an outgrowth of organizational and personal disputes at the top of each organization. I suppose it was only a matter of time before these disagreements were manifested in the public policy arena. The fact is, both groups agree on most policy positions and have mostly endorsed the same candidates. Yet, I suspect this single, high-profile disagreement will serve to define the relationships on the right-side of RI's reform community for years to come. Personally, I think the RISC leadership has made a big mistake: they put themselves on an island amongst the other reform groups and may have stranded themselves for good.

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I wonder how many zeros were on Caprio's check.

Posted by: BobN at October 29, 2010 12:06 PM

Disappointing to say the least.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 29, 2010 1:35 PM

Is there an validity to the rumor that Jeff Deckman from the RISC Small Business Network was promised a position in the Caprio administration?

The fact is that RISC has intentionally put itself on an island amongst reform groups for some time by demonstrating an inability or desire to act in a cooperative manner. For RISC, it is, and must be, all about RISC. While those inside the reform camp have known this, the endorsement of Caprio lets it all hang out for everyone to see.

Unfortunately, the progressive left has the playbook down. All parties on their side work steadfastly united to achieve their end goal of winning. Maybe RISC needs some new blood which understands how the political game has fundamentally changed. Of course, that is only if they actually care about reforming this state.

Posted by: MadMom at October 29, 2010 2:04 PM

And so, without further ado, let me introduce our next Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Lincoln Chafee.

What a horrible thing it must be to trip over one's own ego.

Posted by: John at October 29, 2010 2:09 PM

I would bet my life savings that Colleen Conley wasn't offered a job in any administration, maybe a position in the IMH would be suitable.

Posted by: Swazool at October 29, 2010 2:34 PM

Jeff Deckman is the master snake oil salesman. Anyone who falls for his line of bull is dumber than Lincoln Chafee and OTL put together.

He knows how do a sales pitch, but he returns no value.

Posted by: George at October 29, 2010 5:09 PM

swazool-I am not a Tea party member and am frequently am not in agreement with Colleen Conley,but what basis have you for what you said?She doesn't sound irrational in any way.
Actually,some left wing people here sound a little disturbed.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 29, 2010 5:22 PM

RISC claims it is the "largest taxpayer group in the state" but they are completely disconnected with the people on the ground - the local taxpayer and tea party groups. RISC was fully behind Gablinski even though the local tea party partiot group in Brisol was against him. Now RISC supports Caprio when it is clear that the real "largest taxpayer group in RI" (the tea party movement) is supporting Robitaille.
But the worst part of this endorsement was the timing. To announce it the day after Robitaille hits #2 in the polls appears to be an attempt to hinder that surge.

Posted by: WJF at October 29, 2010 5:43 PM

Have you been to the teaparty website. I went there and some of her writings are similar to rantings of the ill.

Posted by: Swazool at October 29, 2010 6:08 PM

John, WJF and others,

I'm not doubting RISC's ability to influence things for better or for worse in the long run, but I'm skeptical that an endorsement message this late in the cycle is going to make much of a difference. The people interested in politics who know who RISC is and follow their activities have all had their minds made up since June, and for the the more sporadic political observers, final debate reporting and Romney/Bloomberg/Clinton is going to swamp any one-time interest group endorsement.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but the ability to put boots on the ground is not generally regarded as one of RISC's strengths.

Posted by: Andrew at October 29, 2010 6:28 PM

I would bet my life savings that Colleen Conley wasn't offered a job in any administration, maybe a position in the IMH would be suitable.
Posted by Swazool at October 29, 2010 2:34 PM

this Swazool creature is another troll whose rantings should be permanently relocated to that "other" blog.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at October 29, 2010 6:53 PM

Lil Frankie is as much sold out to "his" unions (cops, firemen Laborers, Teamsters, etc.) as Lefty Linc is.
Don't be fooled. The Caprio's are as much corrupt scum as the Lynch's or Kennedy's.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at October 29, 2010 6:57 PM


Naw. Swazool isn't a troll. She's an ideologue and believes what she says.

At least she isn't somebody who was banned and came back under a different name in order to avoid a statement of contrition... it really takes a lot of gall to do that.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 29, 2010 7:06 PM

Andrew, that's my point. RISC tells people they represent "the largest group of taxpayers" but in reality they only represent a few individuals. The disconnect between their endorsements and the grassroot groups is proof. So yes, their endorsement doesn't come with any votes, but the timing of it shows an intent that I didn't think even RISC would have. Its one thing to say you are a conservative and then support a moderate democrat, its another thing to say you're conservative and then try to sabotage a republican campaign

Posted by: WJF at October 29, 2010 7:10 PM

swazool-I haven't checked out the teaparty website,but I have listened to Conley many times on the Helen Glover Show-I think she's too impressed with herself and sometimes sounds a little silly,particulalry when she and Travis Rowley were co-hosting,but that is a far cry from being crazy-I had a crazy mother in law,and I have a really crazy friend,and I dealt professionally with crazy people in law enforcement(mainly when I was a NY State court officer)and you can't miss it-I mean when someone stabs theselves in the eye with a pen to prove they can regenerate it,or runs his mother and grandma through with a sword,or strangles his girlfriend and lacquers her body,wraps her in tinfoil,and keeps her under the bed except when he takes her out for occasional sex,now THAT is crazy.
I will check the website though.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 29, 2010 9:04 PM

this Swazool creature is another troll whose rantings should be permanently relocated to that "other" blog.

Posted by Tommy Cranston at October 29, 2010 6:53 PM

And... Old Time Lefty ???

This blog should be for Consevatives ONLY ??
Thanks for letting me post here

with love
Be Well All

Posted by: Sammy at October 29, 2010 9:04 PM

Interesting comments. Part of our problem in this state is our tendency to be critical of others on a very personal basis. What huge egos. Let's try sticking to the basic issue. Conservative reform efforts must work together to make headway in this state. Pretty simple notion; just look at One Working RI.
RISC has repeatedly failed to understand that playbook. Therefore, they may indeed become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. How unfortunate given the size and scope of this state. So many opportunities to get it right.

Posted by: Lee at October 30, 2010 1:12 AM

I will just say that I am disappointed in the RISC board of directors' decision, but I am really not surprised by it. My guess is that the decision to endorse may have been made prior to the recent controversy regarding Mr. Caprio's remarks about the president. I'm not sure that it would have changed, even if the decision was made after the controversy began.

Frank has openly courted their support for quite a few years now, and has attended and schmoozed at every RISC meeting that I can remember. He built up some political capital with them, and he cashed it in.

For what it's worth, I'm not sure how much it is worth. RISC is good at some things, but mobilizing large groups of people to act is not necessarily one of them.

PS For the record, I know pretty much all of the principle leaders of RISC personally. It's not about them, it's just about a wrong-headed decision. I am also a member of one of RISC's affiliate organizations.

Posted by: Will at October 30, 2010 1:48 AM


Ms. Conley does not post on the tea party website. Ever. I suspect she has no time to do so. There may be others who say things you don't like, but she is not one of them. Don't make a fool of yourself by propagating false information without the facts to back it up.

Posted by: MadMom at October 30, 2010 8:43 AM

The rumor about Deckman trawling for a job sounds about right. He is the ultimate GOP hack

Posted by: Barney at October 30, 2010 9:42 AM

In light of the RISC endorsement of Mr. Caprio, I have asked they withdrawn their endorsement of my campaign. They have obliged.

Dan Gordon (R)
Candidate for RI House, Dist., 71
(Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton)

Posted by: Dan Gordon at November 1, 2010 11:24 AM
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