January 6, 2011

Fear of the Unknown (But Suspected)

Justin Katz

This week, reading the paper has become a discouraging exercise. We've entered a world in which social issues like same-sex marriage and a welcome sign to illegal immigrants are declared, without challenge, to be economic development issues, with tax increases as the grease for growth — in which an all-white collection of left-wingers, unionists, and political insiders is asserted to be evidence of a new era of tolerance and the elimination of ideological division.

It'd probably be reasonable to speculate that the collective urge to flee Rhode Island has never been higher.

Something that then-Governor Carcieri told Ed Fitzpatrick back in the good-old-days of 2010 keeps coming to mind as the basis for my concern:

During an exit interview last week, I was curious to see if Carcieri is expecting Chafee to unravel or reverse many of the things he has pushed for and stood for during his eight years in office.

"I don't know," Carcieri replied. "Campaign rhetoric and slogans are different than what you've got to do to run the place." So, he said, "Let's see what happens. Am I concerned? Yes. But no one person is going to determine the direction of the state over the next four years. You've got a legislature that, I think, understands the issues."

Given Lincoln Chafee's public statements and the long history that made some of us willing to vote Sheldon Whitehouse into the Senate in order to keep him out, I have no confidence that Chafee will adjust to the realities of the office, as we tacitly expect all victorious politicians to do. One should imagine that newly elected officials have at least a moment, upon sitting at their desks on day one, of panic, followed by a gradual acclimation to the realities of authority. I have difficulty imagining Chafee in that state of mind.

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The outgoing NAACP head,cliff Monteiro,was on talk radio today,whining about how Chafee hasn't appointed "people of color"even though he got a large amount of their votes.
Boo-f***kin' hoo.I guess he still doesn't get it that after he probably exhorted members of his organization to vote for Gump,they'd get kicked to the curb because their usefulness to Chafee was over by now.
A lot of" my" people(Jews) are similar-throwing away their votes to liberals who consider them useful idiots.A lot of them are very successful,but lose their common sense when they vote against their own interest to assuage some sick guilt complex or whatever.
That's probably why I have very few Jewish friends.The ones I do share my attitude.
Chafee cares only for his upper crust,inbred "high society"friends and those insiders who can wipe his political a** for him.
I hope some people that Monteiro sold wolf tickets to have some serious reconsideration about bloc voting.
You'd figure that by this time Monteiro would know what a phony,duplicitous creep Chafee is.I don't think Chafee feels very COMFORTABLE around people who don't look like him.Hey,they might wanna use the can,and that just wouldn't be proper,would it?

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 6, 2011 9:24 PM

How does Mr Monteiro know how "people of color" voted ?
Has anyone published a poll ? Most Black folks vote for the endorsed Democrat by like 90%+ in every poll that I have seen, so I would guess that they voted for Caprio.
Does anyone know who "people of color" voted for in, Rhode Island voted ?

Thanks in advance for any info
Sammy in Arizona

Posted by: Sammy at January 6, 2011 9:54 PM

I'm almost there. After living my entire 52 years here in the Ocean State, I've started to ask my wife the question: Why? We are both marketable professionals, she in the therapy field and I in technology earning just short of the liberal definition of rich. We have friends in Florida and the Carolinas and it sucks to listen to them brag about the cost of living. I was always the defender of Rhode Island but I'm wearing down. I find myself scouring the Projo and almost every blog trying to piece together the truth about my state. Now when I listen to my new governor, I just want to puke. I used to think Chafee was just a bumbling goofball. Now I think he's aloof, egotistical, vindictive, and divisive. That would be everything he says he's not. Only time will tell where I'll end up because I'm not anticipating any course reversals on Chafee's part.

Posted by: Max Diesel at January 6, 2011 10:32 PM

"Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." - John Adams, letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814

Posted by: Mark at January 7, 2011 12:01 AM

sammy boy-Mr.Monteiro stated that most Black people voted for Chafee-I don't know how he came to that conclusion,but I don't doubt he has a pretty accurate idea of what goes on in the Black community in RI-it's a small place and he's been around as an activist for decades.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 7, 2011 6:09 AM

Max-as hard as it sounds to believe,he's all of those things.

A rather putrid combination.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 7, 2011 6:11 AM

I just find it hard to take Carcieri seriously. After he trashed the General Assembly for eight years, it suddenly became the voice of reason overnight?
If we're going to play the race card...maybe that's the reason Keith Stokes is still employed after his Studio 38 and America's Cup blunders instead of the business community getting Tammy Wynette about him for some reason I don't understand.

Posted by: bella at January 7, 2011 6:50 AM

Max - Get out of RI. No more questioning it, just leave. People in all states need therapy and technology skills. You will make new, better friends. Your cost of living will go down. You will wake up every day and be able to read the paper without becoming enraged over stories of corruption and waste - better blood pressure and better health. There is no legitimate reason why anybody who isn't a social parasite or a political insider should stay in RI. Actually, even the political insiders should probably leave since they tend to either go to jail or get eaten up by the machine they are a part of as soon as it is convenient to do so.

If we are honest with ourselves, there will never again be the kind of momentum we saw in the 2010 election. The rest of the country used it to make some much needed changes. RI actually went backwards out of spite. You'll die in RI waiting for change to occur, and so will your kids and grandkids unless you give them the gift of opportunity by getting out now. Don't martyr yourself, RI isn't worth it.

Posted by: Dan at January 7, 2011 7:48 AM

Thanks for the advice Dan. To Bella, my take on those remarks is Carcieri knew all along that the GA understood the problem but chose to ignore it up until the last year or so. Now that the clueless Chafee is in, I think he truly believes that they are smart enough that they won't let Chafee totally sink the state. It was probably a wishful thinking comment. Hopefully he is right.

Posted by: Max Diesel at January 7, 2011 8:47 AM

I have non-economic reasons for living in RI-family who can't move;the VA hospital where I have good providers for chronic conditions and might not find as good a VA facility elsewhere; the nice aspects of being within a short drive of the sea or the woods;a decent neighborhood,not fancy,not seedy,just in the middle with a lot of younger families who moved in;and the personal nature of the place.
The big cities and much of the rest of the country have become transient and totally depersonalized.
The last place I lived in Illinois was featureless and dull and the only way to tell if you were in the next town over was when you saw another Burger King.
Chafee is just a disease that hopefully will pass.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 7, 2011 8:53 AM

Unfortunately, Joe, he's going to pass like a kidney stone.

Posted by: BobN at January 7, 2011 9:23 AM

Joe - move to a coastal southern state. I'm in Virginia and I have all you describe and much more - at far lower taxes. There are jobs here. The weather is warmer. People are friendlier and live together respectfully. They don't flip out over stupid political correctness issues like if a road is called "Jefferson Davis Highway." I have not read a single corruption story in the paper since I moved here, because government here is lean, upbeat, and transparent. My county ran a surplus this year - want to know how that feels?

I'd wake up angry when I lived in RI. I'd go to work angry, go to bed angry - angry about being screwed every day by a broken, corrupt system of special interests that just went on, and on, and on without end. I've seen the anger in you too - in all of the honest, hard-working people I knew in RI. The anger is gone now, I can live my life and be happy about where I am, proud of where I live. It's an incredible thing.

Your family being in RI is a legitimate issue, but friends are the family you choose and you might be surprised how many in your family decide to follow you or move somewhere else over the next decade anyway. There's always the holidays, phone calls, emails, it's not the end of the world. The benefits far outweigh the costs. It feels so empowering to take control of your own life instead of letting others dictate it for you - which is exactly what staying in RI is effectively doing. Stop bankrolling the corruption and abuse, vote with your feet because it's the only way your vote will ever matter.

Posted by: Dan at January 7, 2011 9:44 AM

"...an all-white collection of left-wingers, unionists, and political insiders"

Huh? Sometimes I wonder if you even know any left-wingers. Come to the south side of Providence sometime and tell how "all-white" the progressive community is.

Posted by: Russ at January 7, 2011 10:04 AM

Wow, my comment didn't get posted. Wonder why? Is that because I was RIGHT! Gay marriage is the FIRST bill that is submitted.

It is ok :)

Posted by: swazool at January 7, 2011 10:31 AM

That one went through?

It is great to see the State House using Marriage Equality polls in its press release, looks like this one is a no brainer that it is going to pass.

Also funny how Costa said it didn't have a chance, wow does she have her thumb on the pulse of the state house!

Looks like Chris Plante is going to have to start a job search soon.

Posted by: Swazool at January 7, 2011 10:37 AM

Plante looking for another job? Wishful thinking, Swaz.
You'll only see and hear more of him as the martyrdom complex kicks in. He'll have a lot of FNC appearances, national op-eds and contributions to his cause to look forward to. Plus, he can take his carnival to someplace like Virginia or Alabama and exploit the marks there.
Bull Connor and the dogs are still on alert.

Posted by: bella at January 7, 2011 11:15 AM


Sorry, no conspiracy, here. The error message for "junked" comments was misleading. They aren't being "held for review," because I never receive notification of them.

I've changed the error message, though, so it'll be more clear.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 7, 2011 12:18 PM

Max Diesel and Dan and ...

I'm off today and so doing one of my occasional check-ins.

My lovely wife got a job offer in the southeast, and after several decades in RI we decided that life was too short to continue living in the public-sector and poverty-industry imposed stress of life in RI. So we moved.

Our only regret now is that we didn't get out a long time ago.

Some "straw that broke the camel's back" items that influenced my comfort with leaving included a circa 2007 ProJo poll accompanying an article describing RI and MI being the only states that lost population. The poll question was along the lines of "would you leave RI if you could?"

The tidal wave of responses astonished me, so much so that I copied the responses onto a Word document (I'd upload it if I could so that you all could see it) -- it approaches 100 pages of reader comments! Something over 80% said yes they'd like to leave, and numerous comments were posted by people who'd left and said they'd never return now that they've tasted life in a non-dysfunctional state.

The other item I came across by happenstance, a "History of RI" posted by, ironically, the General Assembly (I'd saved a copy and would also upload if I could). The section describing the early 1980's discussed a report prepared for Governor Garrahy regarding the economic travails and decline of RI. It cited the national rankings of RI as being ant-business, the spiraling taxes, etc.

Reading that what was glaringly obvious is that RI's economic decline has been in place for decades (that report was by then almost 30 years old), and that the political powers in RI (Democrats) were aware of the problems, but obviously had no intention of seriously addressing them.

In other words, that RI was committed to a path of long-term economic decline, and that this was not likely to reverse, and certainly not until after government fiscal collapse (and so the pain leading up to it, and the legacy afterwards).

Everyone has to make their own decisions, and there are some that for rational reasons can't leave RI, but for those who can, it's well worth it IMHO. For my wife and I, our "quality of life" has immeasurably improved by escaping the corrupt, parasitic ruling regime in RI.

Posted by: Tom W at January 7, 2011 12:21 PM

Over at the RIF blog, their most nefarious and shameless propagandist has a post entitled "Vindication!" claiming that RI's 0.4% growth rate between 2000 and 2010 debunks the idea that people are fleeing the state. Obviously irrelevant to his analysis is the fact that the overal population growth rate for the period was 9.7%, and only Michigan fared worse.

This type of "All is well in the motherland" propaganda campaign is most typical of totalitarian regimes. Since their "guys" are in control of RI and have been for 70+ years, they need this iron curtain from reality to perpetuate the party line that their incompetent central planning platform is working. It also proves that their claims about how right-wingers control RI are not simple misconceptions but rather lies, since they would be invested in the opposite conclusion if they actually believed their own claims.

Posted by: Dan at January 7, 2011 4:09 PM
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