November 7, 2012

Re: Re: Picking Up the Pieces

Patrick Laverty

In response to Justin's response, I emailed him this below. We figured I should share with all.

We're having separate discussions with a little overlap. It seems his central point is that RI voters are ok with spending like drunken sailors. I agree. We've seen that every two years. I thought to myself a while ago that it seems odd or even unfair that every bond question has at least one advocacy group but there's never anyone telling people the other side of bond issues. Plus, if anyone dares to speak out against the bond issues, the obvious response is that you hate education, you hate seniors, you hate roads, you're not smart fiscally if you can't see how it makes sense to put up $25M to get $225M. It's an easy counter-argument for some people. Our state budget is $8B. We can't find $25M in the budget to pay for the roads and get the other $225M from the feds? That usually draws either crickets or "but it doesn't work that way", at which point I just say that it should. For the state to bond $25M for roads is like charging a $10 meal at McDonalds and they pay it off 50 cents a month. That meal you had enough money to pay cash for is now costing you 50% more and you've needed more meals since then.

So Justin and I are completely on the same page there withe the approval of bonds. That is a huge problem in this state and as I've said, I'm willing to bet that 90% of the people who vote for the bonds also have no idea that they're voting themselves a tax increase. They think it's just the government's money. No big deal. They're spending someone else's money.

I think he also missed my point on grooming replacements. He wrote:

"There will be no farm team for Republicans because Republicans don't tend to love the operation of government that much;"
That's fine, I'm not advocating for the operation of government. There is a government and Republicans want to be a part of that. I'm saying that people like Hinckley, Riley and to a lesser extent, Doherty were in over their heads to just jump right to challenging such experienced and seasoned politicians. Where are these Republicans who rant and rail against the Democrats constantly? Why aren't these people moving up and helping newer, local, conservative-minded politicians?

We have an excellent example right now in Cumberland. In my eleven years in town, our Town Council has been 7-0 for the Democrats, with an occasional 6-1 thrown in for good measure. This year, the town Republicans ran four candidates for the seats and won three. That's a step in the right direction for good governance. All three are starting out politically, and they're doing it the right way. They're starting small and working their way through the system. Now if they had someone to help them along, someone or people that they could call when they have questions or ideas, that'd be a huge help. Someone to introduce them to the right people to help them move up so that if one or all of them someday want to move on to bigger seats, it's not the state's Republicans saying "who are you?" when they call for money or help. I don't see anyone at the state level who is available to help and mentor them, or at least be a sounding board of experience.

That's the system that needs to be in place. However instead, I feel there is a "what about me?" attitude even among some of the state's Republicans when it comes to someone helping.

That aside, I don't think we can really say that the actions of the national GOP and national candidates had no effect on RI at all. That was the central theme of the entire Cicilline campaign. It was "if we elect Doherty then we're electing Boehner." That was a big part of what scared people away. Yes, many national Republicans are smart and fiscally responsible, but the major failure of the Republicans is in defining themselves. They let Obama and the Democrats define them. Doherty let Cicilline define him. While Romney had to focus on the primary, Obama was reminding the country of the Bush Republican years, scaring them. Then when Ryan was picked, they found the worst parts of his budget and then spun it in the wrong ways (or right ways for Democrats).

In GoLocalProv this morning, RI GOP Chairman Mark Zaccaria is quoted as saying the Democrats are simply better politicians than the Republicans. The Democrats are better at campaigning. This year at least, that is true. I believe it's very possible that the Republicans would govern better than the Democrats yet they have to be a better politician first in order to show people how they'd govern better. Fail at step 1, you don't get to step 2. That's a part of the problem. The Republicans are failing at step 1. The Democrats get to fail at step 2.

Maybe the Republicans hate the game, maybe they don't want to learn how to be better politicians, that's fine. But that's like complaining that I want to be a winning baseball team, but I don't like getting better at hitting. "I don't like that part of the game. But I want to win!" Politics doesn't work that way.

I think the bottom line is Justin and I agree on many of the various problems and there is no single reason for the failings of this state. We see many and today we can hope the party will identify them and begin working to fix them.

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Mark Zaccaria was Chairman? Where was he? Some very good points Patrick. I just hope now that they stepped into the ring, Doherty and Hinckley don't just go away licking their wounds. They've laid some ground work here and learned some lessons. Despite a walloping, Hinckley picked up some followers after his debate with Sheldon. It seems like the Republicans of the past few years have been one and done candidates. I know Loughlin was bumped by Doherty but I for one would like to see these guys stay in and keep fighting.

Posted by: Max D at November 8, 2012 7:21 AM

I'm a little less optimistic. Yes--the Democrats are better at campaigning because, IMHO, to them the end justifies the means. Lying, cheating,hyperbole, etc.--it's all good! And the majority of the people of this state are stupid enough to consume the swill spread before them. I'm not sure you can turn this around--the current "where is mine", responsibility/accountability adverse culture in this state has progressed too far--and we just approved a bond for more section 8 housing, so I guess RI's want even more dependency. They are sheep.

I agree with Dan--the democrats own it. These people deserve what they are in for--though I feel sorry for the children who will suffer for their parents inability to think ahead. I, on the other hand, have had enough. Thinking about the Carolinas this summer...

Posted by: Mike at November 8, 2012 8:29 AM

My personal theory for why all these Bond issues pass: it's mostly older people who vote ---- everyone I know over age 50 voted on Tuesday ,, while NOBODY I know under age 35 voted... the older voters reason, why NOT borrow money and spend it today, and then let my grandkids pay it back ?? Again, just a Theory

Posted by: George at November 8, 2012 9:22 AM
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