April 22, 2008

Ken Block: By Staking out a Centrist Position, the Moderate Party intends to Appeal to the Broadest Section of the Electorate as Possible

Engaged Citizen

Comments made about the recent Anchor Rising post on the Moderate Party ran the predictable gamut from attacks against pseudo-Republicans to the Moderate effort being a waste of time to acceptance of the idea of a Moderate Party because anything is better than the existing status quo.

Right up front, I want to address the fear that a Moderate candidate will split the vote and cost an incumbent candidate his or her seat. We are asking all candidates to consider our platform, and will offer our seal of approval to any candidate who commits to making our platform a legislative priority. This affords both GOP and Democratic incumbents the opportunity to step up and commit to legislate in what we consider a responsible way. We would not prioritize for competition the seat of any incumbent who embraced our platform.

The core goal of the Moderate effort in Rhode is to get better legislating NOW. I was saddened to read this comment from Jon Scott regarding the RI GOP platform, and how and when it will be publicized:

We are in a Legislative session right now. I, for one, am not fond of broadcasting to the Democrats our plan for getting candidates elected so that they can then take the best ideas and pass them (in this current session).
Rhode Island cannot afford to wait until 2009 or later to begin enacting legislation to fix our mess. I firmly believe that Democratic legislators who have run unopposed will immediately vote and act differently if they are faced with competition for their seat. I would consider the Moderate effort a success simply by squeezing better legislating out of the current session. The GOP is not doing Rhode Islanders any favors by sitting on ideas now that might be enacted in this session. Figure out a way to take credit for applying the pressure to get the legislation done, but for crying out loud, get it done!

My perception is that the RI GOP’s message is not resonating with the majority of Rhode Islanders. As an example, this past weekend I attended the Operation Clean Government candidate school. The Democratic Party did not bother showing up to set up a table, but the RI GOP did. One of the main visuals on the table was a photograph of George W. Bush. Hello…this man has an extraordinarily low approval rating in this state. What genius would think that giving W a prominent place on the table would cause a stampede of potential candidates to sign up with the RI GOP? If the RI GOP wants to control a larger percentage of the legislature, they will need to appeal to a broader cross section of the electorate.

I often hear talk about how the Moderate party cannot succeed because it lacks money, organization, etc. How many recent GOP candidates for the legislature will say that the RI GOP contributed hugely (or at all) to their candidacy?

By staking out a centrist position, the Moderate Party intends to appeal to the broadest section of the electorate as possible, including disaffected Democrats (and these folks do exist). Maybe the state GOP also needs to moderate its message in order to attain its goals.

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.

Moderate is not going to get the job done. "Moderate" is RINO code for I'll work with the unions; for I'll raise taxes to support government "solutions"; for I'll go along to get along so we can all live in harmony and get re-elected.

When seeking a surgeon, I wouldn't be looking for a doctor whose knowledge and abilities are "moderate". I wouldn't want to fly with a pilot whose skills are moderate.

A "centrist" (almost seems like it should be spoken with a lisp) position looks too much like the liberal position. What we need is an entirely new approach, an approach that strongly favors candidates who strongly favor the taxpayers and to HELL with everyone else who wants to play games with our money for their own selfish interest!

Posted by: George at April 22, 2008 10:23 AM

Great. The first comment comes from a conservative idealogue (usually spotted by use of the term RINO). If George had spent even one minute researching that which he is is commenting on, he would have seen that fiscal responsibility is the foremost concern of the Moderate effort, and most GOP-based comments on the effort indicate that the fiscal issue is dead on with the GOP.

His ideology prevents him from even considering that a non-conservative can share similar ideas and goals that he has as well.

George, the state GOP has almost no ability to affect legislation at the state house. Does your ranting and name calling contain any kind of a plan to increase that percentage (short of bussing in train fulls of conservatives from other states)?

Posted by: Ken at April 22, 2008 10:34 AM

When trying to build a coalition, Ken, it's always best to toss insults at random. It really draws people to your cause.

Posted by: Greg at April 22, 2008 10:37 AM


I'm listening. And I vote. And so does my family and most of my friends.

Posted by: michael at April 22, 2008 12:35 PM

"George, the state GOP has almost no ability to affect legislation at the state house..."

Right, so lets strengthen the GOP, not abandon, or "moderate"...

I don't mean to insult, but quite frankly I hate the idea of moderation and centrism... You end up with a mediocre effort. You'll be swallowed whole by the status-quo.

It is going to take nothing but an all out fignt to change things around here.

Posted by: George at April 22, 2008 3:12 PM

I've heard too many moderates in recent history boast of being "fiscally conservative" when what they really mean is raise taxes to keep up with run-away spending.

I'll never trust anyone who calls themselves a "moderate". It's nothing but both-sides-of-the-mouth political spin talk.

Posted by: George at April 22, 2008 3:17 PM

Most rational people dislike moderatation and centrism. It reeks of weakness. However, living in a diverse (another word I've grown to despise) society having things your way all of the time is impossible. The ability so see, while not necessaraly agreeing with, another perspective is imperritive if anything is going to get done. As strongly as you or I believe in our position, there is another side that believes in their position just as strongly. Right now, that side is winning the battle, and no matter how much we want a society based on individual responsibility, hard work producing results and fairness in the marketplace we just don't have the troops to get it done. Decades of bad decisions have gotten us here, it won't be fixed by a small group of rebels with little more than an ideology to spur them on. Therefore, I applaud Mr. Block's initiative. At least he showed up at the OCG candidate school, which is a lot more than I have done.

Posted by: michael at April 22, 2008 3:27 PM

George and Michael -

Many, many rational people do in fact want our politicians to find common ground and govern from the middle. While the electoral process tends to send candidates away from the center to pander to their 'bases', usually the successful candidate moves somewhat to the middle after winning. The reality is that with the country split roughly 50/50 down ideological lines, successful governance requires finding compromise in the middle.

George - As a conservative, how do you feel about Pres. Bush's record on fiscal responsibility? Can you trust anyone to do the right thing financially?

You are very hung up on descriptive titles, rather than the substance of the platform, which brings me back to your ideological blindness.

Michael - Thanks for the note of support. Only by combining forces and finding common ground can the 'not-the-democrat' forces bring badly needed change to this state.


Posted by: Ken Block at April 22, 2008 3:59 PM

Mr. Block, I too respect your efforts. But I'm with others who say RIers have not been offered a true alternative to the more left leaning government it has now. A moderate party seems to say that although our current government has brought us to the brink of disaster, we think improving things a little bit might help.

I believe RIers are in many ways conservative. But the Republican party is a mess and has offered no significant alternative. I don't want to be associated with the current party. It already has promoted "moderates" like Chafee and Almond, which brought no change to the status quo.

But I believe the avenue of change does not have to be outside the two party system. A successful RI GOP will be about fiscal reform only. It will establish a "Contract for RI" and seriously promote it...bring it to every door in the state. It will put into its leadership not a "politician" but a passionate and dynamic conservative who won't be interested in making nice with national party leaders. It will be committed to raising money strictly for the purposes of promoting its fiscally conservative agenda, and supporting its attempts to attract conservative candidates. It will be unashamedly pro-business, and work with chambers of commerce to raise money to promote its healthy business climate agenda.

Justin is exactly right. It is the moderate that has destroyed the Republican party. When our former "Republican" senator endorses Barack Obama, and the House minority leader shows up at a fundraiser for former Green David Segal to make nice, we must realize this is the case.

RI's economic woes need more than moderation, more than “not the democrat” alternative.

The very bloggers on Anchor Rising would make an excellent Republican leadership team.

Posted by: mikeinRI at April 22, 2008 7:48 PM
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