— RI Congress '12 —

November 1, 2012

Liveblogging the Final Doherty/Cicilline Debate

Carroll Andrew Morse

[8:24] Doherty closing: Washington is broken, we need to bring jobs to America and jobs to RI through bipartisanship. We need to protect Social Security and Medicare, and cut back on our debt. Election comes down to an evaluation of trust.

[8:23] Cicilline closing: We need to fight against the bigs in Washington, and for the middle class. Will fight to protect Medicare and Social Security, the Buffet rule and stand up for women.

[8:22] Closing statement from Vogel: Vogel is happy that Christie and Obama get along in the wake of Sandy, but disappointed that President Obama was criticized in Virginia today.

[8:20] Each cand gets 15s on Social Security. Vogel: Not broken, easily fixed; Doherty: Consider Simpson-Bowles; Cicilline: Increase benefits do not cut them.

[8:19] Cicilline cites work with Republicans to end the war in Afghanistan as example of bipartisanship.

[8:18] Cicilline defends his vote for the beyond-left Progressive budget.

[8:17] Doherty cites Obama policy to bring the corporate tax-rate down.

[8:16] Responding to a Q, Doherty says he'd vote for a Republican Speaker. Mentions Cicilline's vote for the beyond-left Progressive budget. Rapp wants a specific issue.

[8:15] Vogel says he would caucus with Democrats, because he's a liberal Rhode Islander. Says Republicans have good ideas, doesn't mention any.

[8:14] Vogel: We need comprehensive immigration reform.

[8:13] Vogel: Drain on resources by illegal immigrants is minimal.

[8:12] Rapp: Didn't you oppose "secure communities" program? Cicilline: Didn't want local police doing the work of the Federal government.

[8:11] Cicilline: Comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship. Says that Doherty opposes the DREAM act, that Cicilline supports.

[8:10] Doherty: Illegal immigrants need a path to legitimacy, not necessarily citizenship. Rapp: Guest worker policy? Doherty: We need bipartisan compromise.

[8:09] Doherty: Yes; we need comprehensive immigration reform; illegal reentry is a drain on resources.

[8:08] Question from Terry Gorman (via Rapp): Are Federal mandates on illegal immigrants a drain on local resources?

[8:07] Doherty opposes decriminalization of marijuana, supports medicinal use. US attorney needs to step-up and support things one way or another in RI.

[8:06] Cicilline supports state-by-state medical marijuana decisions. Would remove MJ from schedule 1, if necessary, to make this happen.

[8:05] Without saying the words comprehensive drug policy, Vogel makes all the standard legalization arguments.

[8:04] Rappleye talks about the drug war, asks specifically if marijuana should be legalized?

[8:02] OK, didn't have the plug-in to play the WJAR video. It's installed now, I missed a question about flood insurance.

[7:56] Cicilline: We have policies that incentivize offshoring and gives an example of telling the military they have to buy their uniforms from here.

[7:55] Rapp: You want government to tell manufacturers what to do? Vogel: Government tells people what to do all the time.

[7:54] Vogel: Offshoring is making CEO's rich. Comprehensive tax policy could fix this.

[7:53] Doherty: Need to change regulations to compete with foreign countries. Rappleye presses, we don't want our regs like China's do we? Doherty: No, wages are coming up in China, equalizing things to our benefit.

[7:53] Exchange about where Olympic uniforms should be made. Rappleye and Cicilline aren't connecting

[7:51] Doherty supports free trade, Vogel wants a comprehensive tax policy for trade, Cicilline supports free and fair trade.

[7:51] Cicilline pushes point that ending speculation on oil is necessary.

[7:50] Vogel: No connection between markets and regulation.

[7:49] Doherty: Take resources out of the ground, not out of people's pockets.

[7:48] Doherty wants to do away with subsidies to big oil companies.

[7:48] We need regulations to protect the environment, but not one more than is necessary.

[7:47] Viewer question from Rappleye: Is regulation limiting our refining capacity.

[7:46] Cicilline: Big oil is driving US energy policy.

[7:45] Cicilline: We need to do something about the price of gas, and end speculation in fuel markets(?) Did I get that right?

[7:44] Doherty supports support for various renewables. But we need to bring the cost of oil and energy down.

[7:43] Doesn't think programs like Solyandra should be abandoned because of early failures.

[7:42] Vogel's answer to pretty much everything is that we need a comprehensive policy for it.

[7:42] Opposes infrastructure and energy jobs act, calls it "drill baby drill".

[7:41] Vogel: Doesn't think a balanced budget at the national level is necessary.

[7:40] Cicilline doesn't want to take the chance.

[7:39] Rappleye: Who wants to drill off the coast of RI?

[7:38] Mentions tax increases and closing loopholes to reduce deficit. Opposes energy and infrastructure bill that doherty supports, "it's a giveaway to big oil".

[7:37] Rapp to Cicilline: Can you support stimulus and a balanced budgt amendment?

[7:35] 2nd highest unemployment in the US. Comprehensive tax reform to bring down corporate tax rate, close the skills-sets gap, "infrastructure and energy jobs act"

[7:34] Cicilline mentions work on the small business committee, Make-it-in-America block grants, access to capital, stop Chinese from cheating on currency, infrastructure incl. "a modern day version of the WPA", a trained workforce.

[7:34] Q to Cicilline: Besides bringing Federal $$$, what else?

[7:33] Rapp presses, Vogel responds with "a real tax policy" would help.

[7:31] First Q to David Vogel: What can a frosh Congressman do to improve the job situation in RI?

[7:30] Single moderator format, with Bill Rappleye as the moderator.

[7:28] By the way, if you follow me on twitter, you'd have had the opportunity to see the previous attempt at ironic humor, a full day in advance.

[7:27] An undisputed winner of the WPRI-TV (CBS 12) poll showing just a one-point difference, between David Cicilline and Brendan Doherty in the First District Congressional race: WJAR-TV (NBC 10), the host of tonight's final debate in CD1. David Vogel will be there too.

A Brief Summary of David Cicilline's Career in Public Spending: First District Congressman

Carroll Andrew Morse

Link to Parts 1 and 2: State Representative and Mayor of Providence.

First District Congressman: During the 2 years that David Cicilline has been Rhode Island's First District Congressman, Congress has not been able to agree on an overall budget, though they still approve appropriations bills for all of the various Federal departments.

Congressman Cicilline voted in favor of the highly-publicized 2011 debt-ceiling deal (officially called the Budget Control Act of 2011) which could include automatic across-the-board cuts (i.e, a “sequester”) at the start of 2013, unless an alternate plan meeting certain fiscal targets is approved. Based on Congressional Budget Office baseline projections with the sequester incorporated, the Federal Government is on a path to a spending cut if we go out two decimal places. The CBO reports $3.60T (T as in trillion) in actual Federal outlays for the year 2011. Estimated Federal outlays are projected to be $3.56T for 2012, $3.55T for 2013 and $3.59T for 2014. After that, spending growth is projected to increase year-by-year, reaching a total of $5.51T by 2022.

The Congressman has stated that he does not agree with all of the details of the debt-ceiling deal, but believed that taking on more debt to keep governing moving forward in its current form took priority over other concerns, i.e. borrow now, worry about how to pay for it later.

Voters are left to decide for themselves what a slight pause in spending growth, support for increased borrowing authority, and projections of major future spending growth all mean, in terms of Congressman Cicilline’s record, and whether he’s learned anything from his past experiences.

A Brief Summary of David Cicilline's Career in Public Spending

Carroll Andrew Morse

During last week's WPRO (630AM) debate, in response to a question from moderator Bill Haberman, Congressman David Cicilline made a general claim that "I don’t have to suggest to you that we need to cut spending. I've already done that". Congressman Cicilline seemed to be referring to a recent vote, but the moderator wanted to move to a discussion of the long-term entitlement spending and Congressman Cicilline wasn’t able to elaborate. However, David Cicilline has been involved with spending decisions in each public of the public offices he has held, allowing for an examination of his record on spending over the arc of his career.

State Representative: David Cicilline was elected to the RI House in 1994 and served there for eight years. In his first seven years in office, as is common practice in the Rhode Island legislature, he voted in favor of the seven leadership budgets put before him. In his final year in office, Rep. Cicilline voted against the final budget (for FY2003), though he also voted in favor of the final version of that year’s Article I, which set out the amounts to be appropriated to the various state government departments.

The first budget that Rep. Cicilline voted for didn't increase spending. After that, it was off to the races, with budgets increasing each year over the prior year. The last state budget (FY2002) he voted in favor of was $1.7B (B as in billion) larger than what the state budget had been prior to the year he took office, having increased from $3.5B in FY1995 to $5.2B in FY2002. Adjusted for inflation, that was an increase in state spending of roughly 25%. In that same period, the portion of the budget funded by state taxes increased from $1.6B to $2.7B, the increase of $1.1B in spending paid for with general revenues corresponding to inflation-adjusted growth of greater than 35%.

I suppose Democratic partisans will respond by saying it's "old news" that David Cicilline supported sizable spending increases crafted by the Democratic leadership of the state legislature, but given that the Congressman is advancing the fact that he will vote for Democratic leadership in the Federal legislature as the primary reason to vote for him, this part of his political career does take on particular relevance.

Mayor of Providence: When David Cicilline took over as Mayor, the city budget was $523M (M as in million), following a $75M budget growth explosion over just two years, under previous mayor Buddy Cianci (about $40M coming from an increase in state-aid). Mayor Cicilline kept the spending pedal to the metal for a third consecutive year, increasing the city budget by $31M to $554M in his first term in office.

In six of seven years after that, Providence's budgets increased over the prior year. The exception was FY2010, when spending was reduced from $641 in FY2009 to $618M. In his final year in office (FY2011), the Providence's budget was up to $638M, $115M larger than when he took office. However, in inflation-adjusted terms, that $115M difference resulted in a final Cicilline budget that was roughly equivalent in size to the final Cianci budget (or was it a Cianci/Lombardi budget?), and throughout Cicilline’s 8 years as Mayor, the inflation adjusted Providence budget fluctuated between bounds roughly established by the final Cianci budget and his own first-year budget.

But while Cicilline’s final inflation-adjusted budget was about the same size as the budget when he took over, according to the city’s 2011 annual report, the number of Fire Department personnel was reduced by 61 from 511 to 450 during his time in office. Again, while some might consider this "old news", municipalities bordering Providence are currently coming under stress because of the number of mutual-aid calls they have to respond to in Providence, and how this situation came to be is not old news.

Of course, Mayor Cicilline's was Mayor while Governor Donald Carcieri and the state legislature were implementing cuts in various forms of local aid, in response to the fiscal crisis at the state level. The combination of "appropriated" municipal and education aid to Providence hit its peak in FY2007 at $257M; by FY2011, Providence was only receiving $203M from that same set of sources. Over the period of that $54M cut in annual aid, the total budget for Providence wound up $28M larger in FY2011 than it was in FY2007.

By the time of Mayor Angel Taveras's first term in office, the city's deficit was on course for $110M, so to blame the "category 5" on state-aid changes basically amounts to saying that Mayor Cicilline’s fiscal management in Providence should have been good enough to have only left behind a category 3 $50M deficit. And that's before factoring in how much was hidden by the one-time raid on the reserve funds.

Link to Part 3: First District Congressman...

October 31, 2012

Whitehouse and Langevin Maintain their Leads in the WPRI Poll

Carroll Andrew Morse

In the other two Federal races in Rhode Island this year, both polled by WPRI-TV (CBS 12), incumbent James Langevin leads challenger Michael Riley 48%-31% (and independent Abel Collins receiving 9% of the vote), and incumbent Senator Sheldon Whitehouse leads challenger Barry Hinckley 55%-33%.

October 30, 2012

One Point Lead for Cicilline in District 1

Carroll Andrew Morse

The WPRI-TV (CBS 12) poll released at 6 pm has incumbent First District Congressman David Cicilline leading challenger Brendan Doherty 42.6%-41.6%. Independent David Vogel has 6.3% of the vote, with 8.3% "not sure".

That result is a little closer than the most recent previous WPRI or Brown University polls.


Some evidence, alluded to in Ted Nesi's write up, that the Cicilline campaign strategy of hyperpartisanship hasn't been effective...

Doherty has opened up a 26-point lead with independents and an 11-point lead among voters ages 40 to 59.

"Independents are breaking very strongly for Brendan Doherty right now," Fleming said. "Cicilline seems to be leveling off at 45% [of the vote]. ... He has to move his numbers up higher in order to win this election."

October 29, 2012

"Character counts": ProJo Endorses Doherty

Monique Chartier

Patrick mentioned it in his post but it is significant enough to merit its own post.

The last week has witnessed a too predictable parade of endorsements of Democrat candidates by the Providence Journal. The predictability ended abruptly on Sunday.

... Mr. Cicilline’s luster began to fade in his last months in City Hall, when he was untruthful about Providence’s desperate fiscal state as he was running for Congress. He basically said that while there were problems, the city was in strong shape. After the election, the severity of the city’s condition swiftly became obvious. ...

On the basis of his background, temperament and character, we believe that Bren-dan Doherty would be a moderate, thoughtful and flexible congressman who can work with Democrats to get things done, in the tradition of the late U.S. Sen. John Chafee. And in some areas in which he has expertise, such as law enforcement, anti-terrorism and immigration, he could become a congressional leader. Very importantly, we believe that he will tell the public the truth and not just what it wants to hear. Character counts.

October 28, 2012

Cicilline is Right

Patrick Laverty

I don't always see eye to eye with the decisions and policies from Congressman David Cicilline and his campaign and maybe some would say that I can even be critical at times. However, now I found something where I think I completely agree with him. I saw this posted on Twitter yesterday by his campaign spokesman, Bill Fischer:

Mr. Uncommon integrity (@doherty2012) has run the nastiest campaign I can recall in RI -pure filth- voters will respond in kind
I couldn't agree more. Brendan Doherty and his campaign have run the campaign with some really nasty information and it has been completely filled with pure filth. It's been disgusting.

Brendan Doherty has been telling the truth about David Cicilline and reminding everyone of all the vile, filthy, nasty things that he has done. Cicilline wants to distract and get people to stop looking back at all the things he's done. Or in the case of his Congressional record, not done.

But yeah, Mr. Fischer is correct when he talks about how we see David Cicilline's time as mayor. It was nasty and filthy. I'd even add vile and disgusting. Plus, it doesn't seem to get any better. It was recently shown that the taxpayers of Providence are still responsible for more than a million dollars of bad loans from the Providence Economic Development Partnership (PEDP) during Cicilline's tenure as mayor.

Between the period of 2006 and 2011 when Congressman Cicilline then mayor was at the helm, a report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development who gave grants to the agency revealed that loans were not properly vetted, there was little oversight, and 58% of the loans were delinquent or in default.
When you have a mayor with that kind of history, you'd expect some kind of mea culpa or at least an apology.
Congressman Cicilline said he does not regret his actions as the chairman of the agency.
That's unbelievable. He left the city in financial shambles, the problems continue and he has no regrets? Well, that's one thing that I do believe. That's exactly the kind of arrogance we've come to expect from David Cicilline and how he'll do anything to move up the political ladder.

We're in the final home stretch of the campaign with only about nine days to go and the endorsements are coming in. Yes, I'm the one who has said endorsements shouldn't matter. You should do your own research on each candidate and make up your own mind. However, the Providence Journal sure had some nice things to say about Brendan Doherty today in its endorsement of him over David Cicilline:

On some matters, such as “Obamacare,” he is to the right of us, though he is no Tea Partier. And here we stick in our usual caveat: Campaign rhetoric, however sincerely a candidate might believe in it during a campaign, inevitably bumps into the realities of governing in our complex nation.

On the basis of his background, temperament and character, we believe that Brendan Doherty would be a moderate, thoughtful and flexible congressman who can work with Democrats to get things done, in the tradition of the late U.S. Sen. John Chafee. And in some areas in which he has expertise, such as law enforcement, anti-terrorism and immigration, he could become a congressional leader. Very importantly, we believe that he will tell the public the truth and not just what it wants to hear. Character counts.

I couldn't agree more.

October 5, 2012

Getting Past Cicilline Spin on Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization

Marc Comtois

This afternoon, WPRO's Dan Yorke has taken the Doherty campaign to task (again, hey, it's a day that ends in "y") for not being clear on why Doherty supposedly opposes the Violence Against Women Act that is currently stalled in Congress. In truth, there are two versions of the act and Doherty supports the House version. Now, given that I agree with Yorke that Doherty could do a better job explaining his position, it seems Yorke is falling pray to Cicilline campaign spin on the issue. As such, I think this portion of the explanation from the sponsor of the House's version of the re-authorization--Sandy Adams, R-Fla (and, yes, a woman)--is warranted:

The House and Senate versions of VAWA are largely similar, but at the center of the controversy are three brand new proposals the Senate included in its reauthorization. These added provisions veer from VAWA’s original intent, as well as past reauthorizations.

The first of these three provisions would give sovereign Native American tribes potentially unconstitutional jurisdiction by allowing their courts to try non-Indians. While no one disputes that Native American victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking need help and that their assaulters should be prosecuted, it should be done within the bounds of the Constitution.

Rather than trying to implement unconstitutional provisions, the House-passed bill designates domestic violence tribal liaisons within the U.S. Attorney’s Offices. The liaison would serve as a direct link between the U.S. Attorneys charged with prosecuting non-Indians who commit crimes on tribal lands, and Native American criminal justice systems. Additionally, the House bill allows Native American victims of domestic violence or stalking to get a restraining order against their abuser in a federal district court.

The second addition included in the Senate bill sets aside specific protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of abuse. While I agree that these individuals should have access to VAWA services, I disagree with the Senate’s approach which pits victim against victim. I believe all victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking should be protected equally. This is why my bill includes language that specifically states, “No person in any State shall on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability be denied the assistance of, or excluded from receiving services from a grantee under, any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available under the Violence Against Women Act.”

Finally, the Senate-passed bill disregards the fact that some immigration programs historically included in VAWA reauthorization legislation have been subject to fraud and abuse. The House-passed legislation allows illegal immigrants who apply for and receive a U-visa to stay in the United States to get the care and resources they need after being victimized by a criminal, while at the same time ensuring that the illegal immigrant works with law enforcement officials and prosecutors to put their perpetrators in jail.

However, the bill does not give them the right to permanent residence, unless the perpetrators of the crimes against them are aliens, are convicted of the crime, and are deported to the U-visa holders’ home country. Under these new requirements, the U-visa will no longer grant amnesty to illegal immigrants simply because they claim to have been the victim of a crime. My bill also guarantees the confidentiality of a self-petitioning immigrant who has been abused, and unlike the Senate bill, strengthens anti-fraud protections to ensure that victims – instead of perpetrators of fraud – receive the resources and benefits they need.
Obviously, there is room for disagreement, but to imply and state that House Republicans and the like "don't care" is yet another example straight from the same old Democrat playbook. Too bad people who should know better still fall for it.

October 3, 2012

No Consistency Equals No Credibility

Patrick Laverty

I guess the real question is whether the voters will fall for it. And based on the recent WPRI results, people are falling for it. The David Cicilline campaign is trying to scare the voters away from voting for Brendan Doherty by telling everyone who he supports and who he'll align himself with. Well, they're doing that sometimes.

First, they tried the old "Scare the Seniors" tack. He'll cut Medicare and Social Security! You'll die on the streets eating leftover cat food! But then Doherty offered his "iron-clad" pledge to not cut Medicare, but to strengthen it. Whoops, that one is out the window.

We've seen where Brendan Doherty said that he liked certain parts of the Ryan tax plan and that he supports Mitt Romney for President. The Cicilline people took this as an opportunity to lump them all together. "Doherty supports the Ryan Plan!" "Doherty supports Republicans!" (*gasp*) "Doherty will be in lockstep with Boehner!"

However at the same time, Brendan Doherty himself tells us that he can work with both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats. Cicilline's record is that he votes with his party 96% of the time.

I hear people in Rhode Island say that they need to send someone to Washington to work with their choice for president, President Obama. Ok, I get that logic. But if the goal is to send someone to Washington who can work with the President, did you watch the debate? The President showed his support for the Simpson-Bowles tax simplification plan. That's the same plan that Brendan Doherty has been touting that he's a believer in. Additionally, a few days ago Doherty expressed support for an executive order issued by President Obama.

So I guess my question here is, where are the claims from the Cicilline campaign about how Brendan Doherty supports President Obama? Where's the talk about how Doherty would be "in lockstep" with Obama? Where's all that "support" talk when we see actual examples of where Doherty backs up his claims with real action? It's non-existent from them. There's zero consistency and when there's no consistency, there's no credibility. You can see that everything that comes out of that side is at best heavily slanted and spun and at worst, completely false.

I'll keep asking the same question, why is it worse to be a Republican (and likely a member of the House majority party) than to be someone who struggles with telling us the truth? Please, someone explain that to me.

September 28, 2012

GoLocal Shoots Itself In the Foot

Patrick Laverty

I thought GoLocalProv.com was on to something with a little feature they came up with for this week where they'd show where each federal candidate was spending their campaign money, in-state or out of state. However, I don't know how much good it does for your story when you show the numbers and then basically say "but it doesn't matter." Why run the story and the series then, if it doesn't really matter?

Example, today's video on the Doherty vs. Cicilline race. The reporter does a great deal of research digging in to see where everything is spent and tabulating the in-state versus out of state costs. Cicilline comes up with 45% spent in-state compared to 72% for the Doherty campaign. Apparently this whole "Jobs for Rhode Islanders" is merely rhetoric to Cicilline and a bit more real for Doherty, but let's not distract with little issues like honesty in campaign promises.

The real problem with the GoLocalProv video is that they are making a big deal about where the candidates are spending their money but as soon as we see the Cicilline and Doherty numbers, on comes Guest Mindsetter and Democratic activist Aaron Regunberg to tell us why the numbers are "deceivingly low":

"And a large proportion of them are things that kind of have to be out of state. There's a lot of expenses on travel, which obviously is going to be outside of Rhode Island. There was expenses on phone bills which go outside Rhode Island. Expense on ACTBlue payments, the Democratic fundraising tool which is headquartered out of state."
Wait, why exactly do travel costs need to be paid to an out of state firm? We're not talking about the Congressman traveling to DC as part of his job, that's not a campaign expense. Why would campaigning in RI have an out of state cost affiliated with it? That sounds like someone really digging deep for a justification. I'd call that one quite a stretch. To stretch even further, telephone costs? Really? Doesn't every campaign have these? So what really accounts for the 27 percentage point difference?

After Regunberg's explanation, immediately the voiceover says the next guest, the president of a consulting and events company "agrees." Listen to the video and you'll see there is absolutely nothing in there where he agrees with Regunberg that it makes sense for Cicilline to be spending so much more out of state. Why is that?

What this video really amounts to is GoLocalProv shooting itself in the foot. The whole point is "look at this great work we did in figuring out this information!" but then spend the majority of the time saying "but don't pay any attention to it because it doesn't really matter anyway."

Some people over at GoLocal are doing a great job at what they do but when you get something like this, not even a thinly-veiled attempt to hide one's own biases, it hurts the credibility of the entire product.

September 26, 2012

Is This What It Comes To?

Patrick Laverty

If we can chop this whole RI Congressional District 1 race (Doherty vs. Cicilline) down to a single sentence, does it get any more concise than this?

"He's dishonest" vs. "He's a Republican"
And with that, some polls (paid for by the Democrats) claim that Cicilline is leading. That tells me that voters in this district think less of you for being a Republican than for not telling them the truth, or more specifically for not intending to mislead anyone intentionally. Really? That's what this comes down to?

When I see the commercials and hear the ads now, everything from the Cicilline camp is "He's a Republican! He'll side with the Republicans! He'll vote with the Republicans!" and the Doherty camp is doing their best to remind everyone of how many times David Cicilline hasn't been the most forthcoming with us. Doherty even showed it yet again just this week when he disproved the Cicilline claim that Doherty will eliminate Medicare and turn it into a voucher program and that he'll vote to cut Social Security. Yet again, Cicilline was not telling us the truth as Brendan Doherty offered his "iron clad" pledge to protect and support both Medicare and Social Security.

We still have about six weeks left, but that's what I boil this down to. Which is worse, being a Republican or being dishonest? Really Rhode Island? Are those polls correct that the Democrats are touting? The preference really is for a proven-untrustworthy Democrat over an honorable Republican?

And yet people wonder why our system of representation is broken.

September 22, 2012

And Dan Yorke Gets His Wish

Patrick Laverty

For the last few days, WPRO host Dan Yorke has seemed exasperated any time the Congressional District 1 race comes up. He feels the Doherty campaign has had a flawed strategy by letting David Cicilline go around the state and tell seniors that Doherty will take away their Medicare. Cicilline says that Doherty sides with the Ryan Plan and will turn it into a voucher plan.

Dan Yorke's opinion on the response should by to have Doherty stand up and point blank tell everyone that he will protect Medicare and social security benefits, but a little more publicly and forcefully than he already has. It's almost become a running joke with Dan as each time the subject comes up, they even play some background music to a Meatloaf song.

With the main chorus being Dan's refrain, "I would do anything for love, but I won't do THAT" with that being taking away Medicare or social security benefits. Well Dan, you got your wish.

According to a news release from the Doherty campaign:

Brendan Doherty, candidate for Congress from Rhode Island’s First Congressional District will hold a news conference Monday morning in front of Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket to unveil his iron clad pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Brendan’s opponent, David Cicilline, has used deceptive scare tactics to misrepresent Brendan’s positions which will protect Medicare and Social Security on into the future. Among other things, Brendan’s pledge includes his opposition to cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits.
There we have it. Two birds with one stone. Dan Yorke should now be a happy camper and the major Cicilline campaign strategy to date (scare seniors) seems to now be out the window.

Oh they'll switch gears. I'm suspecting that one new angle will be that Brendan Doherty wants to repeal Obamacare. But what's interesting there is that from what I've seen and read, he seems more interested in fixing Obamacare than just letting it languish on in its current state. One example is that Doherty has said he's opposed to is the $716 billion in cuts to Medicare. But yet, David Cicilline is in favor of that cut through his support for Obamacare. Rather than "working hard in Washington every day" like David Cicilline tells us he does, he just goes along for the ride with then-Speaker Pelosi, the author of "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

What this is really going to come down to is which campaign the voters trust. We have on one hand, Brendan Doherty telling us what he would do if he's elected to Congress. On the other hand, we have David Cicilline telling us what Brendan Doherty would do if elected to Congress. It's a little bit of a he said/he said and we simply have to choose one side to trust. We need to figure out which one is telling us the truth. Brendan Doherty or David Cicilline? Hmm.

September 19, 2012

Things We Read Today (14), Wednesday

Justin Katz

Why freedom demands father-daughter dances; the U.S., less free; PolitiFact gets a Half Fair rating for its Doherty correction; and the mainstream media cashes in some of its few remaining credibility chips for the presidential incumbent.

Continue reading on the Ocean State Current...

Trying to "Push" Brendan Doherty Around

Patrick Laverty

Isn't it so much fun when you get deep into campaign season and the mud is flying everywhere. Usually, the closer you get to election day, the muddier it gets. It seems we're seeing all the usual stuff flying around.

Now we're hearing about a poll where David Cicilline has magically made a 26 point gain since WPRI ran their poll earlier in the year.

Unfortunately, at the same time, we get reports of someone doing a push poll for David Cicilline. In case you're not familiar with a push poll (and don't want to click on the link) it is when a pollster asks questions that would seem to be a poll, but are instead intended to mislead a voter on a candidate. For example, I wonder what would be the results of a poll if someone were to ask voters:

  • Would you vote for David Cicilline for Congress if his brother went to prison for theft?
  • Would you vote for David Cicilline for Congress if he previously worked as a criminal defense attorney defending child abusers and drug dealers?
  • Would you vote for David Cicilline if you found out that he hated puppies?
  • Who will you be supporting in the upcoming Congressional election, Brendan Doherty or David Cicilline?
Now I didn't say any of those things above are true, I simply asked "if". And then, just as the voter is frothing with anger, you ask the question you want to get the result on. Who will you vote for in the upcoming Congressional election? And voila! A 26 point turnaround! Push polling isn't the most ethical or honest campaign tactic, but based on what we've seen from David Cicilline over the last ten years, honesty isn't something that we should come to expect.

September 14, 2012

Things We Read Today (11), Friday

Justin Katz

Being right about district 1 messaging; PolitiFact prepares for the election; what's a charter; being right about quantitative easing, First Amendment; and Bob Dylan says what he means.

Continue reading on the Ocean State Current...

September 13, 2012

We Made the Top 10 In Something!

Patrick Laverty

Hooray! A Rhode Islander made it to the top ten!

(h/t Ian Donnis)

September 12, 2012

Things We Read Today, 9

Justin Katz

No deep theme, today, but bad British commentary, union priorities, stimulus as wishlist, the fame of Dinesh, and a response to Dan Yorke's Congressional District 1 analysis.

September 11, 2012

How the Results of The CD-1 Primary Will Be A Win Either Way

Monique Chartier

Here's the way I see it.

If Anthony Gemma wins (and I think that's a bigger possibility than some people think), firstly, the state will be rid of a mendacious, duplicitous elected official (i.e., David Cicilline) who selfishly put his own political career far ahead of honesty and the best interest of the people he purportedly represented. Secondly - and this is the fun part - if Gemma wins, it will be a real poke in the eye to the RI Democrat Party, Gina Raimondo, Angel Taveras and everyone who soiled their own integrity and character by endorsing and politically embracing David "Cover-Up" Cicilline. By the way, if Gemma does win, wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall as Democrats go crawling up to him afterwards? "Hey, good job, Anthony. I know I supported your slug of an opponent. But now, kumbaya, right???"

If David Cicilline wins, Brendan Doherty's chances of winning the general election - and, accordingly, the chances of the state to rid itself of a mendacious, duplicitous elected representative (i.e., David Cicilline) - are boosted considerably.

Whatever happens tonight, can't wait!

August 28, 2012

Liveblogging/Livetweeting the Cicilline/Gemma Debate

Carroll Andrew Morse

Below is the livetweet coverage from Anchor Rising's contributors of WPRI-TV's (CBS 12) televised debate between First District Congressman David Cicilline and primary challenger Anthony Gemma (Nancy Krause's write-up here, panelist Ted Nesi's analysis here).

[3h Patrick Laverty] >> And today, @MattAllenShow announced Gemma vs. Cicilline Part 2 will be Tuesday, 6 pm on WPRO. Can't wait to see what each do differently.

[3h Justin Katz] >> "Only Vertigoed Are Hopeful" RT @eniedowski: It's OVAH. #WPRIdebate

[3h Patrick Laverty] >> Will someone ask Gemma if he has proof of cash payments to Cicilline staffers? #wpridebate

[3h Patrick Laverty] >> It seems possible that Gemma was referring to Rep. John Carter of Texas who has sponsored bills to fund cancer research. #wpridebate

[4h Patrick Laverty] >> Catcalls from audience sure don't help your candidate. #wpridebate

[4h Justin Katz] >> Compare w/Cicilline, who bragged about condition of Prov. MT @jim_baron: Bragging about "anonymous" donations and naming them? C'mon Gemma

[4h Patrick Laverty] >> Term limits, 12 years each. #wpridebate

[4h Justin Katz] >> I hate to say it, but I think these debates are actually detrimental to informed voting. How could non-wonks see through the BS? #WPRIdebate

[4h Patrick Laverty] >> If I could rent my home, why wouldn't I just pay the mortgage? #wpridebate

[4h Patrick Laverty] >> Wow, Chris Young looks sane next to these two. MT @mattallenshow: What's the casual voter thinking watching this? #WPRIdebate

[4h Patrick Laverty] >> the B-level candidate for Governor

[4h Justin Katz] >>Earlier, Cicilline while not assigning blame for Solyandra: "Of course, people should be held accountable."

[4h Justin Katz] >>After an hour of trying to turn debate to bashing GOP, Cicilline talks about solving partisanship by getting to know colleagues.

[4h Justin Katz] >>Note to anybody who like to save money on everyday products: Cicilline & Gemma want to drive those prices up with import taxes.

[4h Justin Katz] >> QED why RI is in such horrible shape. RT @danmcgowan: Gemma and Cic actually aren't all that different on the issues...

[4h Justin Katz] >>"They took off my show for this?" MT @mattallenshow: What's the casual voter thinking watching this? #WPRIdebate

[4h Andrew Morse] >> Cicilline's closing "I'm [in Washington] every day to fight for the middle class of our country".

[4h Andrew Morse] >> Gemma's closing "We must restore integrity to Rhode Island's 1st congressional district".

[4h Andrew Morse] >> Gemma does not support fracking, or speculation in energy markets.

[4h Andrew Morse] >> Cicilline tries to take both sides of fracking issue. Tim White says answer sounds like code for more regulation.

[4h Andrew Morse] >> Gemma: I am not for vouchers. Attacks Providence school performance under Cicilline.

[4h Andrew Morse] >> Cicilline: We need to spend more $$$, expand programs, but no "private scholarships to private schools".

[4h Andrew Morse] >> Achorn asks why Cicilline voted against DC opportunity scholarships.

Continue reading "Liveblogging/Livetweeting the Cicilline/Gemma Debate"

August 27, 2012

Cicilline Moves Up On Gemma

Patrick Laverty

In the first release of the WPRI primary poll results, David Cicilline has opened a wider gap on Anthony Gemma. Where Cicilline previously let by just four points, he's now up by twelve. It's also interesting to see that Chris Young garnered 4% of the preferences.

Before you go shaking your head and wondering why Cicilline is actually able to increase his lead in spite of the recent voter fraud allegations by Gemma, this poll was conducted last Sunday through Wednesday (August 15-18). Gemma made his "next Wednesday" announcement on August 19.

What that means is one part, the voters' recognition of Anthony Gemma is likely to be much higher now than during the poll. In this poll, 47.7% of those surveyed gave a "don't know" about Gemma's favorability.

As for Cicilline's own favorability, 52.3% find Cicilline to be either fair or poor while only (or maybe "a whopping"!) 40.4% feel Cicilline is either excellent or good. Hey, another way for Gemma to spin this is only 17.5% gave him a fair or poor rating.

Some interesting questions remain for the 11 pm news. Whether those polled would back Doherty if each were to win the primary, and who the Democrats feel will win the seat in November.

Cicilline Helped Weaken Providence Police Department

Patrick Laverty

At least that's what today's GoLocalProv.com article is conveying.

How can this be? He's been out of the Mayor's Office for two years now! This must be Taveras's fault! Patrick, you're just piling on and making this stuff up! See for yourself:

The police union blames the situation on former police Chief Dean Esserman and former Mayor David Cicilline. “Cicilline and Esserman bankrupted the city Police Department,” said union President Taft Manzotti. “I think the current administration has had to do as much as they can with as little as that was left them.”
So it isn't me saying it, it's the Providence Police Union President.

Are you feeling nice and safe, Providence residents? With a statistic like this?

More than double the murders: In 2012, there have been more than double the murders there were by late August 2011: 13 compared with 5, a jump of 160 percent—and that’s not counting last weekend’s fatal shooting.
And then, just about on cue with this story, comes a rough night over on Broad Street with the Puerto Rican festival where bottles and rocks were thrown at police officers, and a woman was shot and in critical condition. According to one report:
Around 10:15 tonight Providence police responded to the CVS located at Broad and Sumter Streets for multiple reports of shots fired. A female victim was located suffering from a gunshot wound to the back. She was transported to Rhode Island hospital in serious condition. No suspect description has been given at this time. The area is heavily concentrated with police, mounted units included. Reports from scanner traffic indicate that bottles were being thrown at those officers. Meanwhile a few blocks away on Harriet Street, a vehicle was found shot up.
Just add this to that Cicilline resume of all the "good" he's done for the city of Providence. He didn't intend to mislead anyone on the state of the city's finances, the firefighters' union wasn't thrilled with him when he said he'd settle their contract in his first year and didn't get it done until almost eight years later and here we see the police union saying he screwed up their ranks.

Anything else?

August 23, 2012

Re: Gemma's "Breaking News": What Did You Think?

Carroll Andrew Morse

While Anthony Gemma didn't present any direct evidence of his charges of voter fraud in Rhode Island, his written remarks from yesterday assert that direct evidence does exist (h/t Edward Fitzpatrick)...

The five statements I have just presented to you represent a relatively small percentage of first-hand evidence developed by TRP. Testimony from these and other witnesses exists in written form and on audio and video tapes -- the product of sophisticated electronic and human surveillance operations that confirm the contents of sworn statements.

Multiple videos contain clear evidence that mail-in ballots have been and are being bought by the Cicilline campaign and by other local, state and federal political campaigns.

Taking this presentation at its word:
  1. Describing something as "sophisticated electronic and human surveillance operations", in any normal usage, refers to something more than "we have recordings of the statements I read today", and
  2. The reference to mail-in ballots raises the question of where exactly it is that ballots can be bought and sold, with the seller's identity as important an issue as the buyer’s.
As with many disputes, direct evidence when available is the quickest way to resolve uncertainties. Especially with regards to the second charge above, if video evidence of illegal attempts to influence this upcoming election exists (note that Mr. Gemma uses the present tense in reference to the mail-in ballots: "are being bought"), neither Anthony Gemma nor his investigators nor the proper legal authorities should feel obligated to wait until after the election has been tainted to present direct evidence they have obtained -- and in the case of the authorities, to tell the public why they felt it necessary to act (or not).

At the moment, the question is whether Anthony Gemma has accurately described the work product of the investigators he hired but that hasn't yet been seen by the general public, or whether marketing has run ahead of substance, in the absence of substance that speaks for itself.

August 15, 2012

If You Don't Say You're For It, You're Against It

Patrick Laverty

I think we're seeing that the problem is more organizational. Or maybe it just starts at the top and filters down. Now even the Providence Journal is accusing the Cicilline campaign of umm, well, not exactly telling the truth.

In today's Politifact report, Cicilline earned a "False" rating.

A David Cicilline campaign flier says Brendan Doherty wants to raise the eligibility age for Social Security benefits for anyone born after 1960 "with no regard for the challenges it would cause for people working in physically demanding occupations."

But the Cicilline campaign provided no evidence that Doherty ever espoused that position.

Attacking someone for what he hasn’t specifically said -- that he supports the exemption -- defies logic, particularly since Doherty says he does support the Simpson-Bowles proposal, which would include the hardship exemptions if the eligibility age is raised.

Well, that seems fairly innocuous, but in researching the article, Politifact asked Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers about this and his response:
When we asked Cicilline’s campaign for any other evidence of Doherty’s position, campaign manager Eric Hyers said Doherty’s lack of specific mention of the hardship exemptions shows he doesn’t support them and has "no regard for the challenges" of those who work in physically demanding jobs.
Let's get this straight. If you don't specifically say you support something, that means you oppose it? Is that the world of logic we're working with here from our Congressman? I've never seen where Cicilline has said he supports being nice to puppies, so that must mean he's opposed to it and kicks puppies. There are so many places you can go with this "If you don't say you support it that means you oppose it" logic.

Then the campaign manager gets caught up a little bit more with his attempt at wordsmithing:

Besides, Hyers said, the flier doesn’t actually say Doherty "opposes an exemption. It only says he has not made a point to speak about it."

(In fact, the flier says Doherty wants to raise the eligibility raise "with no regard" for physically challenging jobs.)

Finally, he tries the old "say it enough times and it'll become true" tactic

The flier "is 100 percent accurate," Hyers contends.
But Politifact wasn't buying.
But the Cicilline campaign provided no evidence that Doherty ever espoused that position.
When we have so many examples of Cicilline trying to pass of things that aren't exactly true, it really makes you wonder about everything else he says that hasn't been examined. Hopefully people will look at future statements equally closely.

August 8, 2012

What Cicilline Has Accomplished

Patrick Laverty

I had to laugh when I read an excerpt on an On Politics post by Ian Donnis by Cicilline campaign manager, Eric Hyers:

This is what they do. They distract, distract, distract.
It is the Republicans who don't stick to the issues and try to wave a shiny object in front of the voters so they'll forget about the Congressman's past. Oh really? If my memory serves me correct, it was the Cicilline campaign who first brought up a complaint about Doherty accepting PAC money and then running away when Doherty offered to return all of it if Cicilline did the same. Issue dropped.

Then, just in case the PAC issue got legs, somehow, miraculously, Politico finally discovered that Anthony Gemma has fake friends. That would be fine, except it's an old issue. Samuel Howard over at RIFuture first reported on that back in March. Why's that coming back up now, just as the Doherty campaign began the offer to return PAC funds? I can just see it now over at the Cicilline camp. "Uh oh, the PAC thing didn't work out and they're turning that one back against us. What do we do now?" "Hey, I know, I have a buddy at Politico, let's tell him about the Gemma Facebook thing and the media will jump all over that and stop asking about the PAC questions!"

Maybe equally curious, if you're a state-level blog and you report on something like the Gemma story back in March and then it breaks in Politico in July, wouldn't you be screaming from the highest mountains, "We had that story first!" Instead, nothing like that. Instead, just some light-hearted pokes back at Gemma.
Addendum: Samuel Howard contacted me and said he did address this here.

But back to the original point, distractions. See, I got all distracted away from my original thought. So let's take a look at the main points of an election. While his time as mayor has probably been fairly well chronicled and mentioned, let's look at what David Cicilline has done for us as a Congressman. Let's list out his accomplishments and what he's done for the people of the 1st District and what legislation he's gotten passed.


Ok, maybe that's a pretty short list. But have you seen his new television commercial? Apparently he's helped a few people so far. He helped one retired veteran get the Bronze Star he deserved. That's fair to give Cicilline credit for that. That's exactly one of the things that a Congressman can look into for people when all other avenues have been exhausted. A couple of the other ones are glossed over pretty quickly: "He connected me with job training." and "David helped me to get my medication." Ok, really? Connected with job training? What does that mean? Emailed her the phone number to CCRI or the DLT? And helped a woman get her medication? Sent a staffer to the CVS drive-thru?

It was his commercial, so he's the one who got to pick the best of the best for the things he's done. He has very little to show for what he's done in Washington and some quick clips of helping with job training and getting someone's medicine is what we have for a representative?

I'm just sticking to the issues and avoiding distractions, as requested.

July 26, 2012

Can You Oppose Something Without Opposing It?

Patrick Laverty
“David (Cicilline) strongly opposes the Citizens United decision and has cosponsored the House version of the DISCLOSE Act,”
But yet when the Doherty camp calls on him to return all PAC money, after Cicilline chided Doherty for taking PAC money, Cicilline refuses.

Ted Nesi wrote the article yesterday about the latest skirmish in the First Congressional District race. Cicilline was upset with Doherty for accepting a $10,000 PAC donation but when Doherty offered to return it, in exchange for Cicilline returning all his PAC money, Cicilline refused.

How can you be opposed to the Citizens' United decision but still be willing to accept the money that the it allowed? Or more specifically, how can you attack your opponent for accepting the exact same kinds of campaign donations that you yourself are accepting? This sure reeks of hypocrisy and a double-standard and sounds like yet another example of Cicilline telling us one thing and doing another.

In the Nesi article, Cicilline spokeswoman Nicole Kayner offered:

“Brendan Doherty is benefiting from Citizens United"
Ok, but if Cicilline is going to accept and keep PAC money, isn't he benefiting as well? Maybe she has a point if Doherty is accepting so much more PAC money that Cicilline just can't keep up. That'd clearly be an advantage for Doherty, right?
Federal Election Commission records show Cicilline has collected $388,256 from PACs and other non-party groups, four times more than Doherty, who has gotten $92,000.
Hmm, so that's not it either. Cicilline comes out ahead there too.

So what's the issue then? Trying to grab the slightest sound bite in the media and get something to stick. Trying to fool voters with something equivalent to, "Doherty takes shady PAC money! Hey, look over here, a bright shiny object!" Really? How about instead, the campaigns focus on the issues. Let's instead hear what Anthony Gemma plans to do to create those 10,000 jobs for Rhode Islanders. Let's hear how Doherty will work with others in Washington, as a part of the House majority to best serve Rhode Islanders. And while we're at it, let's hear from Congressman Cicilline about all the great things he's done for Rhode Islanders over the last two years. Maybe things like "co-sponsorship of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act."

Thanks Congressman!

July 18, 2012

The Book on Brendan

Patrick Laverty

When I first heard of the 66-page research book being released by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), my first thought was "uh oh, what do they have on him?" But then I read it.

The first thing to keep in mind that if you're going to be in the public eye for many years, and you're going to run for public office, someone is going to dig up that one time that you crossed the street before getting the walk signal. All of that stuff will be included. But apparently so will other things that don't relate to you. As I was reading it, I learned a lot about Brendan Doherty and there were things in there that made me think that Doherty himself should release this book as it actually includes a lot of good things about him too.

Here are just a few from the section titled "Top Hits."

In December 2009, the FBI launched an independent investigation into allegations of police brutality. An officer was filmed beating a handcuffed suspect while several other officers looked on.
Unless there was another incident, that's likely referring to the Lincoln police officer who kicked a woman in the head at Twin River. Brendan Doherty was the Colonel of the State Police, not Lincoln. Do the Democrats support the State Police having jurisdiction and control over the local police departments? If not, then what's this got to do with Brendan Doherty?
In July 2008, The Providence Journal reported that gun violence was increasing in Providence. In 2006, there were 49 shootings and 59 in 2007. As of July 2008, there had been 32 shootings compared with 17 shootings from January to July 2007.
Wait, in where? What city? Providence? Again, Brendan Doherty isn't in charge of Providence, the Providence police are in charge of Providence. If the Democrats want to make an issue of an increase in gun violence in Providence, they should look at who was in charge of the Providence police. The mayor of Providence is in charge of the Providence police and who was the mayor of Providence in 2008? Say it with me. David Cicilline.
The chief of police blamed the increase in violence on a smaller police presence on the streets and a tough economy causing joblessness and foreclosures.
Chief Dean Esserman blamed the violence on smaller police presence, which was overseen by again, David Cicilline, not the Colonel of the State Police.
Crime in Providence rose 12 percent in 2008, ending a 5 year downward trend. There were 10,442 crimes compared to 9,314 in 2007. Violent crime went up 19 percent. There were 14 murders in 2007 and only 13 in 2008, however there were 1,201 violent crimes in 2008 compared with 1,007 the year before.
The police blamed the spike in crime on cell-phone robberies and gang-related incidences as well as the economy.
Wow, this is getting repetitive. This is starting to sound like the Democrats really believe that Providence had a crime problem during the Cicilline administration.
In March 2010, three Providence police officers, including a narcotics detective and a school resource officer, were arrested on charges that they were involved with a cocaine-dealing operation. They were suspended without pay.
Once again, the Democrats are trying to pin Providence crime issues on the head of the State Police?

According to this report, the Providence police had a problem with increased violence and drug dealing within their own ranks. And who was their leader at the time? Yes, David Cicilline.

That's all just in the first eight pages.

Add on to that the part that Marc wrote about yesterday, where they try to put Doherty in with the Beacon Mutual scandal, yet the reason he was put on the board was to clean it up. That's like saying "Oh wow, Brendan Doherty was at the scene of that murder last night!" And then explaining, "because he was investigating it."

Maybe in the coming weeks, we can dig deeper into this or offer the further context for others. An example is Doherty is often cited by the Democrats as being in favor of simply letting the Bush tax cuts expire. First, isn't this what Cicilline supports too? I don't remember hearing David Cicilline claim he supports and agrees with the Bush tax cuts. But regardless, the Democrats make that claim but they leave out the next few sentences that Doherty offered. Of course this isn't in the report, but I heard them first-hand. He supports letting the tax cuts expire but then overhauling the tax laws and putting new laws in place that do make sense for everyone and not simply raising taxes on the middle class, as Cicilline is trying to make us believe.

If this is the group that is helping the David Cicilline campaign, I'm certainly feeling even better about November's prospects. The one thing I will certainly give them credit for is they put this out there to the public so we can all blatantly and openly see just how dirty the politics is here.

Addendum: A reader wrote in to say that the 2009 incident mentioned could also have been referring to Providence police officer Robert DeCarlo's video recorded beating of Luis Mendonca. The DCCC document gives no indication which incident it is referring to.

July 9, 2012

No Primary for Doherty in CD1

Patrick Laverty

Michael Donahue, an announced candidate for RI Congressional District 1 as a Republican, is no longer going to pursue the seat. Donahue appeared on the Helen Glover Show this morning with Michael Napolitano guest hosting and made the announcement.

Donahue will instead pursue the RI House District 68 seat as a Republican and will face the Democratic winner from a four-way primary.

This leaves Brendan Doherty alone on the Republican side to face the winner of a three-way primary between David Cicilline, Anthony Gemma and Christopher Young, as well as two Independent candidates and one Unaffiliated.

Addendum: Brendan Doherty campaign manager Ian Prior issued a release: "We are pleased to learn that there will be nothing to distract the campaign from its focus on defeating Congressman Cicilline this November 6. By all appearances, Mr Donahue wants nothing more than to serve the public and we wish him well in his endeavors."

June 17, 2012

"Retroactive Judgement": RI-1 Race Makes This Week's Weekly Standard Magazine

Monique Chartier

For the most part, a thorough and well-informed article by Ethan Epstein. And the sub-title

Mayoral malpractice comes back to haunt a ­congressman.

is a perfect description of the current tableau.

However, in one regard,

An internal audit commissioned by the city laid much of the blame at Cicilline’s feet. It found that he had not provided financial information on a timely basis to the independent auditor, the city council, or the internal auditor, and that he had not provided the city council with monthly financial statements or with projections of year-end surpluses or deficits. Even more damning, it found that Cicilline had papered over huge deficits by depleting the city’s reserve funds—this without the approval of the city council.

the article is a little too passive in describing one of David Cicilline's most egregious actions as mayor. He didn't just not provide "financial information on a timely basis ..." As Mayor, David Cicilline LOCKED OUT the Internal Auditor, James Lombardi, preventing him from accessing accounts, records, information so he could not reveal the true financial condition of the city.

Mr. Lombardi eventually obtained the information by - incredibly - resorting to a FOIA request. But it was very late in the campaign. The Providence Journal chose not to cover the critical development to any significant extent and, remarkably, the paper actually endorsed David Cicilline three days later.

With his action in locking out the Internal Auditor (are we sure that this was not criminal on its face? also, what about perjury or obtaining money under false pretences for any financial statements about Providence that he signed as mayor during the period?), David Cicilline had successfully dragged out disclosure of the bad news just long enough to secure himself the political promotion that he so wanted, representing the people of the First District of Rhode Island in the United States Congress.

Now that this has been exposed, as Ethan Epstein goes on to point out, it is correct that David Cicilline should have very low approval numbers and actually be trailing his Republican opponent, whose character and reputation are pretty much the antithesis of Cicilline's. It isn't that people believe, as my friend Phil West wrote, that David Cicilline caused Providence's financial troubles. It's that he stated over and over to voters in RI-1 AS HE WAS DELIBERATELY SHUTTING OUT THE INTERNAL AUDITOR that the city was in excellent fiscal condition. It's that he resorted to subterfuge; that he covered up and repeatedly lied about serious matters for political gain.

That's completely unacceptable to a lot of us. It appears that a significant number of RI-1 voters are laudably in our ranks.

June 12, 2012

Simultaneously Jarring and Gratifying: "Democrats for Doherty"

Monique Chartier

On the one hand, as a Registered Republican, this makes me a little queasy and uneasy.

The [Doherty] campaign announced on Monday a new group they are coining “Democrats for Doherty,” that includes several former mayors and state representatives.

The coalition will kick off at a fundraiser headlined by former Democratic Mayor of Boston Ray Flynn On Thursday June14. Flynn served as Vatican ambassador to the U.S. under President Bill Clinton.

On the other, considerable schadenfreude satisfaction can be derived from the fact that the Democrat candidates undoubtedly had the same reaction, perhaps only stronger, when they, too, heard the news.

June 11, 2012

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Patrick Laverty

A few nights ago, I just happened to be reading through David Cicilline's twitter feed and stumbled across this one:

David N. Cicilline ‏@davidcicilline
In the Wisconsin recall, Walker outspent Barrett seven to one. Another reason we need to get corporate money out of politics.
Great! Cicilline is opposed to corporations giving money to campaigns. Hmm, let's take a look over on opensecrets.org as to who Cicilline's donors are.

#1. Waterson Terminal Services. An LLC. LLC stands for "limited liability corporation." Interesting. The Cicilline campaign's #1 donor is a corporation. Ok, fine, let's keep looking.

#2 AmeriPAC: The Fund for Greater America. Well, it's not a corporation, so as long as Cicilline is cool with the Citizens' United decision, then I guess we have no problem with him taking big money from PACs either.

#3. Gilbane, Inc(orporated). Another corporation.

The next four are all tied for fourth place, two unions and two PACs.

#8. Raytheon. Another corporation.

Oh man, check out #12. Could he get any further from his progressive roots than to be taking campaign money from Goldman Sachs? Plus, another checkbox on the page shows he takes money from a Goldman lobbyist.

Continuing on down the list shows some other PACs, some unions and then you get to another interesting one.

Bain Capital.

The list goes on and on. And before anyone says "well yeah but the Republicans do it too", where are the Republicans tweeting complaints about corporate spending on elections?

Here we are, yet again, seeing David Cicilline telling us one thing, apparently what he thinks we want to hear, but then doing the exact opposite.

June 9, 2012

Cicilline, Langevin Tried to Increase Health Costs on Thursday

Patrick Laverty

I remember seeing all those senior citizens during the election cycle two years ago. That David is such a sweetheart. David will protect Social Security. David is looking out for the seniors. I don't remember seeing anything similar from Langevin, but he wasn't campaigning quite as hard.

So exactly how are Cicilline and Langevin looking out for the seniors when they're trying to increase the cost of health care on medical devices? As part of Obamacare, a 2.3% tax was added to medical devices. We're not talking pennies here, we know how much health care costs and how much medical devices cost. Often, for cardiac care or dialysis or joint replacements, costs can run into the thousands of dollars. Yet here we have Cicilline and Langevin trying to add to that cost. Heck, the manufacturer will just eat that cost right? Let's stick it to big business. HA! No, it'll be passed on to the hospitals who will then pass it on to the patients.

On Thursday, the US House voted in favor of repealing this tax on medical devices. Here is how the vote broke down, including Cicilline and Langevin on the "nay" side, meaning they wanted to keep the tax, add more cost to health care on everyone, but especially on our senior citizens.

Add on to this, more "par for the course" from Cicilline. On his Saturday Twitter feed:

David N. Cicilline ‏@davidcicilline
Had a great time at Netroots today. Excited to participate in a panel on high-tech manufacturing in the morning.
Oh good. I'm guessing the point of him being on that panel was how to stick it to high-tech manufacturing? How to tax them more? How to drive up their costs? I hope that is the tack he took because that is how he voted in Congress.

Remember, don't go by what a politician tells you, go by what he does. Even for a "sweethaht" like David Cicilline.

June 1, 2012

Cicilline a Winner?

Patrick Laverty

In this week's Hot or Not by Dan McGowan, one stuck out at me as a little bit surprising. It's the logic of it that surprises me. I don't blame McGowan for the logic, I think he's just writing what the voters might think.

The Congressman also benefits from the fact that the “B” word will likely no longer be used when describing the capital city.
Agreed that without Mayor Angel Taveras throwing around the possibility of the city going into bankruptcy, or worse, the city actually going into bankruptcy does take a little pressure off of Cicilline during the campaign. But is that deserved? Look at it this way, Governor Sundlun guided the state out of the banking crisis. So does that mean that Ed DiPrete is exonerated?
David Cicilline has said that he inherited a finanically troubled city when he became Mayor. Angel Taveras has been the mayor of Providence for less than two years. Why was Taveras able to improve the financial health of the city in less than two years, yet Cicilline was unable to make it better, or seemingly make it worse, in his eight years, as Helen Glover noted on the radio this morning? How can you mess up a city's finances, hide that fact, then have someone else come in and at least improve the situation and then be considered a winner?

Being a good Democrat, Mayor Taveras might be stumping for Cicilline this summer. But if there is a time that they share the dais, I'd love for a reporter ask either man why Cicilline should deserve any credit for Providence avoiding bankruptcy. After all, it's not like we ever saw Sundlun and DiPrete campaigning together.

May 22, 2012

Cicilline Campaign Engaging in Video Intimidation?

Monique Chartier

Isn't this charming.

On May 12, I attended the grand opening of First District congressional candidate Bren-dan Doherty’s campaign office in East Providence. It was a well-attended event that inspired the crowd gathered to show support for Mr. Doherty and his positive message.

As the event ended, campaign supporters, volunteers and friends of the candidate filed out of the building and onto the street, where they were met by a young man with a video camera pointed toward the exit of the building. With the video camera mounted on a tripod approximately 15 to 20 feet from the doorway, and the cameraman leaning cross-armed against a telephone pole next to it, supporters of Mr. Doherty had little choice but to have their images captured as they left the event. After the last few attendees exited, the cameraman packed up his tripod and drove off in a car prominently displaying a “Cicilline for Congress” bumper sticker.

Since that day, I have been consumed with questions. For what purpose will those images be used? Who will be reviewing the videotape? Have I made someone’s “enemies list”? Will our respective businesses be blacklisted from participating in government contracts? Will U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D.-R.I.) now expand his tracking to supporters and their families? ...

Tara Pinsky Providence
The writer is chairwoman of the Providence Republican Committee.

(Thanks to the Providence Journal for printing this letter.)

Ms. Pinsky raises some excellent questions, especially the one about blacklisting businesses from gov't contracts. Oh, perhaps not so much on the federal level. But certainly on the state level. All the congressman or his staff have to do is quietly pass the word back to Rhode Island. Funnelling business to the "right" (not necessarily the best or the most competent or the most competitive) companies is second nature for the RI Democrat party which, of course, also controls the General Assembly and its budget.

Video-taping his opponent's supporters borders on thug behavior. How desperately does David Cicilline want to win re-election?

May 9, 2012

Contradictions From Cicilline

Patrick Laverty

This would be funny if it weren't so sad. The incumbent Congressman's staff put out press releases on his behalf that contradict each other. According to one, it's a bad thing that out-of-state groups support Republican Brendan Doherty. But then the other hand, Cicilline wants to tout the fact that out-of-state, national groups support his own candidacy. Check out excerpts from two press releases sent out recently.

Included in a release yesterday:

David has also secured endorsements from AFL-CIO and the National Education Association.
If the endorsement is from a group that he likes, such as these two national organizations, then it's a good thing.

But then in today's press release:

an out-of-state Republican-allied group is going up on the air here in Rhode Island today touting David’s Republican opponent
But wait, it gets better:
Thank you for helping us to combat this secret out-of-state money that is trying to influence the outcome of this election.
Quite the contradiction, eh? It's ok for him to get endorsements and money from out-of-state national organizations, but it's not ok when Doherty does? And are they really saying that AFL-CIO and NEA money will not attempt to influence the outcome of the election? Seriously?

I guess when you're dealing with the team that had to apologize for misleading the public, you can't always expect consistency in something as simple as press releases.

April 17, 2012

Re: Democrats Stay Home

Monique Chartier

As Patrick points out, with his announcement Sunday, Anthony Gemma feigns disregard for his primary election in September and, in fact, expresses near sympathy for his primary opponent.

"Gemma paused and said "I won't hit a man when he's down." Then later went on to add "This race is between me and Brendan Doherty.""
There's something very strange here. First of all, how did we go from the ferocious primary contender of two years ago to not wanting to "hit a man" - that same reprehensible opponent! - when he's "down"? We should also clarify here that "down", in this case, doesn't mean some fatal disease (unless you count a pathological inability to speak the truth where it would make him look bad). It means that David Cicilline finally had to confront, to a very limited extent, his own lying and covering up of Providence's actual fiscal condition - official conduct which was so bad that it warrants a criminal investigation.

Most importantly, however, Mr. Gemma doesn't get to face off against Colonel Doherty unless he first beats the prevaricator currently representing CD-1. But Mr. Gemma is disregarding this critical fact. There are three possible explanations for this course of action; none of them reflect well on Mr. Gemma:

1.) Under Patrick's post, Jon identifies the first: Mr. Gemma is staying on as a straw candidate to assist David Cicilline.

2.) Mr. Gemma has been told that David Cicilline is going to withdraw from the race. This information would have to come from the candidate himself or a very close surrogate for Mr. Gemma to be guided by it; you don't pull your political punches on the say-so of a campaign underling. Accordingly, if this is the case, Mr. Gemma is making the fatal error of conducting his campaign on the basis of the word of David Cicilline.

3.) Mr. Gemma has seen poll results which give him what he believes to be an insurmountable lead in the primary. But, of course, there is rarely such a thing as an insurmountable lead in a political campaign. "Rarely" becomes non-existent when it comes to an opponent who is willing to utter any lie and do just about anything (as we saw during his tenure as mayor!) for political gain.

It doesn't bother me to watch a Rhode Island Democrat step on a political banana peel. Sometimes, though, it is a fascinatingly perplex-full occurance.

April 16, 2012

Gemma: Absolutely No Reform to Social Security

Monique Chartier

Yesterday, Anthony Gemma made his well-telegraphed announcement. As Patrick notes, the announcement was very light on issue substance.

Thanks to the ProJo's John Mulligan, however, we have at least one substantive morsel to gnaw on. Towards the end of Mulligan's article in yesterday's Providence Journal, which went to press before Mr. Gemma made his announcement, we learn about this fascinating and disturbing stance.

For good measure, Gemma embraces a Social Security policy to the left of most Democrats: “no changes, ever” in the tax or benefit structure as a means of ensuring the program’s long-term solvency.

Really? Even though, in 2010, social security began paying out more than it took in and, in 2036, social security benefits will be exhausted?

So Mr. Gemma will disregard the advice of the Treasury Secretary? (For the record, that's not President Bush's Treasury Secretary, but President Obama's.)

"Social Security and Medicare benefits are secure today, but reform will be needed so they will be there for current and future retirees," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told reporters at a Treasury Department news conference.

Geithner said the report underscores "the need to act sooner rather than later" to make reforms to entitlement programs.

"We should not wait for the Trust Funds to be exhausted to make the reforms necessary to protect our current and future retirees," he said.

In light of the precarious financial condition of social security, is no reform to social security - "no changes, ever" - really a wise and sustainable goal, either as a fiscal policy or a political stance?

Democrats Stay Home

Patrick Laverty

If you live in the First Congressional District, the only race you care about voting in on primary day this fall and you're a Democrat, you can stay home. The race is over, just come vote in November.

Anthony Gemma was on the Helen Glover Show this morning and he repeatedly contrasted himself with Republican Brendan Doherty. At one point, Glover asked Gemma directly, whether he will attack Cicilline at all during the race. Gemma paused and said "I won't hit a man when he's down." Then later went on to add "This race is between me and Brendan Doherty."

So there you have it Dems. It's over, just stay home, there will be no primary in September.

Or maybe Gemma is right. Maybe he knows something that Mark Zaccaria predicted earlier. Will Cicilline drop out of the race due to his sagging poll numbers and clear the field for Gemma to take on Doherty unscathed?

April 15, 2012

Gemma's Back in the Race

Patrick Laverty

Local businessman Anthony Gemma formally announced his bid for Congress today in CD1. He'll be running as a Democrat and facing off with David Cicilline in a primary this fall, I think. You'd never know who his opponent is though by his speech on Sunday. According to reports filed by Ted Nesi and Ian Donnis, Gemma never named his primary opponent and saved his barbs for Republican Brendan Doherty.

(He) left public service as soon as he became eligible for his state pension. … Brendan Doherty lives in a public sector bubble.
So does the Democrat Gemma oppose public sector pensions? Does he not think that the public employees deserve a pension? Plus, didn't Doherty leave public service as soon as his supervisor, Governor Chafee, expressed the opinion that illegal immigration can actually be a good thing for a community? It seemed the new Governor's stance on Secure Communities might have had more to do with Doherty deciding to leave his position than anything about having a fully vested pension.

How long has Gemma considered running for this seat? I'm assuming it was more than just Sunday. So then why can't he offer any substance to his proposals?

[Gemma] is "most equipped - and therefore most likely - to create thousands of well-paying jobs in Rhode Island and, by extension, in the United States." He promised more details in the weeks to come but said his proposals would include a plan to make college more affordable.
More details in the weeks to come? He's had two years to come up with these details and this is what we get?

Ian Donnis added

Gemma also talked big about creating jobs and transforming how members of Congress do their jobs. The details, he said, will be forthcoming
I'm glad this speech was planned so well ahead. Additionally, Sam Howard noted
Thus Mr. Gemma introduced that his candidacy would run under the theme of the “New Idea”. However, he did not once say what that New Idea would be, leaving the door open to speculation.
Why not wait until you have at least some details to offer in the speech?

Maybe another example of Gemma's lack of preparation was the fact that he refused to take any questions from the media in attendance. Ted Nesi noted

[Gemma] quickly got into his SUV and departed. A supporter criticized members of the media for following Gemma to ask questions, saying they'd "chased him away" from his kickoff event.

So here we have a Congressional candidate that can be "chased away" by a few local media members? I've met Nesi and Donnis and while they may be very scary characters (not really), I would think that if Gemma can't take the heat of a couple questions from them, he may not quite be ready for the spotlight and the heat of the public scrutiny given to a Congressman.

We'll have the next five months to see if he handles the media any better, and to see what those details are on creating jobs, making college more affordable and what is the new idea?

April 11, 2012

One's Playing Checkers, the Other is Playing Chess

Patrick Laverty

Come on now. When you are the incumbent, shouldn't you usually have the better team and the better responses available? Today's response and then response to the response posted on the RI NPR OnPolitics Blog, between Brendan Doherty and David Cicilline's spokeswoman wasn't even close. If this was a boxing match, it'd easily have been a 10-8 round.

Am I biased? Yes, of course I am, I'm able to admit that. However just about anyone could read these two releases and see it wasn't Nicole Kayner's finest hour.

For starters, the Doherty response to Cicilline's attempt at an apology was concise and very much on point. He continued to reinforce the points that the whole issue isn't as much about the fiscal situation in Providence. I think everyone is fully aware that the problem was not solely caused by David Cicciline. The issue here is how Cicilline handled it, possibly against the by-laws of the city, then concealed those actions, and then told us everything was fine. Worse yet, he tries to tell us that he's taking full responsibility while also telling us that he did not intentionally mislead us on the financial status of the city.

The Cicilline campaign chose to respond to the response. Fortunately, it's short enough to include here.

David Cicilline has accepted responsibility for decisions he made, including the decision to avoid a tax increase during a recession. He explained that he had been hopeful that the Carcieri administration would accept its responsibility to the cities and towns of the district rather than cut 40 million from the Providence budget. Mr. Doherty was Governor Carcieri’s protégé. His desire to defend the Republican administration is understandable if wrongheaded. These drastic cuts really hurt cities and towns all across Rhode Island. While Doherty is busy attacking David, he is silent on the leaders of his party, who are obstructing the passage of a bipartisan transportation bill that passed the Senate with 74 votes which would bring 9,000 jobs to Rhode Island.
Let's take a close look at this. I'll leave aside the semantics of whether it was due to being a recession or an election year that Cicilline chose to not increase taxes. Then it's all attack mode. Put all the blame on Carcieri. What'd Carcieri do? He submitted a budget that could have been the Sunday comics for all the power he had to go along with it. It is the state's General Assembly that controls the budget. The same General Assembly that ripped the current Governor's budget proposal to shreds last year. The Assembly can do whatever they want with the budget, the Governor is virtually powerless to do anything about it. If you want to blame anyone for cuts in state aid, the Speaker (who just happens to be from Providence) and the then-Finance Committee Chairman Steven Costantino, also from Providence, would be a great place to start.

Lastly, I had to laugh at the mention of Doherty not criticizing Congressional Republicans. That is laughable since Doherty isn't even a member of Congress yet, but Cicilline thought it appropriate to lump Doherty in with them. To even suggest that Doherty should be critical of members of his own party is in itself hypocritical. Have we seen a single instance recently where Cicilline has criticized the Obama administration? He can't even bring himself to criticize the Democrat-led Rhode Island General Assembly!

Read both releases and I'm guessing you might agree that this wasn't Kayner's best day as it includes quite a bit of reaching for straws. However, with Sunday night fast approaching, this might be their last chance to pay any attention to Doherty for a few months.

April 10, 2012

Cicilline "Apologizes"

Patrick Laverty

Now what could I possibly have to say negative about David Cicilline finally admitting that he misled the voters and may not have described Providence's financial picture accurately and is now apologizing? Why am I using the quotes in the title? Well, lets take a look at Tim White's story about the Cicilline apology.

Congressman David Cicilline offered a public apology and expressed regret Tuesday for saying during his 2010 campaign that Providence was in "excellent financial condition."

“I should not have used that word,” Cicilline said in a wide-ranging interview with WPRI 12. “It obviously doesn’t describe the condition the city is in [and] it was never my intention to mislead people intentionally.”

Oh no? It wasn't your intent to mislead people? What was your intent when you said the city was in "excellent financial condition?" I'm trying to figure this one out. What I would ask is was he aware that the city was not in fact, in "excellent financial condition?" Did he believe at the time of the statement that the city was in "excellent financial condition?" If he didn't believe the city was doing so well, then why did he make the statement if it wasn't to intentionally mislead people? It might seem that when he's apologizing for not telling the truth, he might still not be telling the truth.

Sorry, I'm just still stuck on that "mislead people intentionally" part. He's saying that it wasn't a lie. So if he wasn't intentionally misleading people, how did that statement come about? Either he thought Providence was in fine financial shape or he didn't and used the words to intentionally mislead. Which is it? Do we need to cite the multiple examples of how he had to have known that the city was in tough shape? From the blocking of the city auditor to the "tapping into the rainy-day fund – without councilors' approval" and even his own statements about the loss of state funding. How could he not know that the city was in trouble financially? If he didn't, he was clearly the most incompetent mayor in the history of America. So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he isn't that and just leave it that even the apology isn't the most sincere.

And yes, of course we have to question the timing of this "apology." Just like two years ago when he was telling us what we wanted to hear, that everything was all rosy with the finances, he's trying that trick again. Tell people what they want to hear, that he's sorry, he's apologizing, give him another shot. So this is twice now that he's tried this trick. Or is it?

I'm sure Firefighters Local 799 remembers 2002 and dealing with then mayoral candidate Cicilline. Local 799 had their own ongoing dispute with the Providence mayors but then

In a July 2002 email Cicilline sent to the members of Local 799, he indicated that he hoped to resolve their pending contract dispute with the city within 30 days of taking office.
In an election year, exactly what the union wanted to hear! Someone on their side! Their guy! Elect Cicilline and the contract will finally get done, right? Wrong. On March 23, 2010 Ian Donnis wrote:
The long-running dispute between Providence firefighters and City Hall appears headed for resolution.
Right. It was eight years later that the deal was done. And take note of the year it was done. Yes! Another election year!

So there you have it. Quite the pattern of saying one thing during a campaign and either doing something different or not really meaning what you say. Three concrete examples. What more do we need? What's that old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I must be a Rhode Island voter."

Langevin's Challenger (Riley) Attracts Potential $upport From National Organization

Monique Chartier

The Providence Journal's John Mulligan reports.

The leader of a conservative group that spent about $165,000 to attack then-congressional candidate David N. Cicilline in 2010 wants to help unseat Rep. James R. Langevin in 2012, he said Monday.

Democrat Langevin is “a tax-and-spend liberal” who faces a “viable” challenger in Republican Michael G. Riley, said Christopher Stenberg of Americans for Common Sense Solutions. Riley has already demonstrated a willingness to tap his personal assets for the race, he said, while incumbent Langevin “has a weakness in his own fundraising.”

What's interesting is not just that a Republican candidate - two, actually, the group will also be supporting Brendan Doherty - would receive support from a national organization. (John Loughlin was also a recipient of this organization last election.) It's that it would happen so early in the campaign.

On behalf of Rhode Islanders who would like to see more domestic oil flowing into the world's supply, who would like far fewer tax dollars flowing from our wallets to fiscally unsustainable green manufacturing, and who don't appreciate being dictated to about light bulbs (to pick just one issue - energy - about which Congressman Langevin is seriously misguided), let me say: thanks, "Americans for Common Sense Solutions". We appreciate all the assistance we can get in dislodging our bad congressmen.

(I'm having a nice, serene day. So for the moment, I'm not going to link to or even think about just HOW BAD the congressman from the first district is. He might be knocked out in a primary - oooohmmm. He might not run at all. Oooooooohmmm.)

March 30, 2012

Did He Really Go There?

Patrick Laverty

I'm not sure what exactly I would do without Ted Nesi's Twitter feed. Today, he had a link to a Huffington Post OpEd from Congressman David Cicilline titled "They Just Don't Get It" where he bashes the budget passed by the House yesterday.

Did he really state "they just don't get it" and referred to budgeting in the same article? Really? Wouldn't that be akin to Newt Gingrich or John Edwards giving marriage fidelity advice? David Cicilline is seriously criticizing someone over budgeting and anything financial? Just three days after Providence had its bond rating cut yet again in part due to Cicilline's own budgeting issues?

A couple of the head-scratchers from the article include:

I have spoken with families across our state who are tired of the same old political games that got our country into this mess to begin with.

They know that Washington should put politics aside and work on policies that will create jobs, support our middle class, and put the economy back on the right track.

And yet he goes on to attack the Republicans for this budget. How exactly is that putting "politics aside"?

There's also the rehashing of a 2010 election trick:

This Republican budget proposal would also replace the current health care system for our seniors with a voucher program that could allow Medicare to wither on the vine and shift costs to seniors.
I guess on the bright side, he stopped blaming Brendan Doherty for the Congressional budget.

Finally, I have to wonder about the consistency of message in the Cicilline campaign. In this article, he leads off with

Yesterday, less than a year after a similar proposal was defeated, the House Republican leadership held a vote on a budget proposal that would extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans
But just two days ago, I got an email from the Cicilline campaign stating:
David is facing a conservative Republican in this upcoming election who is so out-of-touch, he actually supports repealing the Bush tax cuts
I'm confused here. On one hand, Cicilline blasts the Republicans for wanting to extend the tax cuts and on the other, his campaign is blasting Brendan Doherty for wanting to end the tax cuts. If he's against extending them and he's against ending them, is there anything that Cicilline is for?

Does Lincoln Chafee Support David Cicilline for Congress and, if He Does, is it Actually News?

Carroll Andrew Morse

Chris Fierro, District Director for Rhode Island First District Congressman David Cicilline, tweeted this following a Cicilline fundraiser held last night...

Leaving a fantastic event for @davidcicilline -- strong support; full room with @Angel_Taveras @LincolnChafee @GinaRaimondo and many more!
Mayor Taveras and Treasurer Raimondo were mentioned in earlier news reports (WRNI's Ian Donnis, WPRI's Ted Nesi) as members of the host committee for this event and have declared various level of public support for Cicilline's reelection (in Raimondo's case, her support is not an "endorsement"), but the list of names on the host committee reported by GoLocalProv's Dan McGowan and WRNI's Ian Donnis did not include Governor Chafee and, as far as I know, this is the first mention of Governor Chafee publicly supporting Congressman Cicilline's reelection.


According to Ted Nesi, fresh from the taping of this week's Newsmakers for WPRI-TV (CBS 12), it's a full-blown endorsement...

Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Friday he’s endorsing the freshman Democrat for reelection, the morning after he attended a Cicilline fundraiser in Providence whose host committee included Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

“A lot of the criticism leveled against Congressman Cicilline’s time as mayor I think is unfounded, because he suffered $30 million in [state aid] cuts, and that’s what we’re talking about,”

March 27, 2012

Maybe the Worst Kept Secret

Patrick Laverty

The usual federal income tax filing deadline could be another not great news day for Congressman David Cicilline. It appears that local businessman Anthony Gemma will finally throw his hat in the ring for Rhode Island's District 1 Congressional seat. This morning, via his Twitter account Gemma tweeted:

Big things coming my friends! Save the date April 15th 6pm! Pass it on! ~Anthony
It's widely assumed that Gemma will run as a Democrat again and take on Cicilline in a primary. However, the Democrat establishment doesn't seem to be taking too kindly to Gemma and already labeling him as a DINO and someone who isn't playing their game. So this could get interesting to see which path Gemma takes. Does he go for the early high risk/reward and take on the badly damaged Cicilline head-on, or does he guarantee himself a shot in November and go the Independent route. I guess we'll see on April 15.

March 15, 2012

David Cicilline vs. The Boogeyman

Patrick Laverty

I just got this in my mailbox, which I always find interesting to see how campaigns communicate with those they consider their "friendlys".

Dear Patrick,

The same shadowy right-wing group that aired vile and disgusting ads smearing David in 2010 is back and its leaders are promising to do everything they can to try yet again to tear him down. Among the group's major backers is a Texas billionaire who gave millions to the Swift Boat campaign that trashed John Kerry's service record in 2004 and who is now helping to fund Karl Rove's attacks in races across the country.

We need your help right now to push back against this coordinated far-right attack on David. Please donate $125, $75, $50 or $15 now so we will have the resources to combat their misinformation.

This group said after the 2010 election that David should be "looking over his shoulder for the next two years," and they are gearing up for an all-out assault this campaign. It's not going to be about the issues or who can best bring jobs to Rhode Island and fight for the middle-class. Instead, they are going to run nasty, deceptive character attacks that insult the intelligence of all of us.

There are some big choice facing Rhode Islanders in this upcoming election and we need to make sure we have the resources to make this race about who will best deliver for Rhode Island.

We need you to get David's back. Please donate $125, $75, $50 or $25 today.


Eric Hyers
Campaign Manager

I see a few things missing from this correspondence. First, how about any attribution. Mr. Hyers is claiming that some "shadowy right-wing group" is out to get David. Is that true? I have no idea. I see no evidence of it. Or does Mr. Hyers simply believe that because he says it, it's true? Not even a reference to a newspaper article or a footnote or anything. I guess we're just supposed to trust the Cicilline campaign. How's that worked out for us so far?

Continue reading "David Cicilline vs. The Boogeyman"

March 9, 2012

Brendan Doherty on the Issues

Carroll Andrew Morse

Ian Donnis has posted a link, at Rhode Island Public Radio's On Politics blog, to a private-channel YouTube video of a Brendan Doherty campaign appearance, plus a summary with a few quotes.

For folks who want to learn more about Doherty's positions on the issues, the video starts off in the midst of a discussion on illegal immigration. At about 3:05, Doherty answers a question from a reflexive-lefty position on working with Congressional Republicans (which he answers by saying he's a conservative and that he'll always do what's in the best interest of the people of Rhode Island and of America), and then answers questions on term-limits (he supports them) and right-to-work (he supports it, and notes in an answer to a subsequent question that some unions are "out of control").

At 10:15, Doherty is asked about the Blunt Amendment, answering that he doesn't support its particular language, but does support an exception in Federal healthcare law for Catholic organizations, and that there wouldn't be a problem at all, if Obamacare were repealed, which is also something he supports.

Also, at about 13 minutes into the video, second-time Second District Congressional candidate Michael Gardiner makes a short presentation to the crowd, where he discusses mostly biography and political tactics.

March 3, 2012

Will Anthony Gemma Make it Official This Week?

Carroll Andrew Morse

Ian Donnis of Rhode Island Public Radio is reporting that...

Multiple sources tell RIPR that Anthony Gemma, who placed second to David Cicilline in the four-way Democratic First Congressional District primary in 2010, is gearing up to announce a rematch against the freshman congressman. Gemma is expected to make his run formal as soon as this week, sources say.

Gemma did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

February 21, 2012

Cicilline Playing the Blame Game

Patrick Laverty

On 630wpro.com, David Cicilline tries the old "wasn't me" argument with regard to Providence's finances.

Cicilline told the WPRO Morning News with Tara Granahan and Andrew Gobeil that he did not put the “outrageous” cost of living increases for retirees in place
Ok, so he has a point there. He didn't sign a decree to make those happen, that's true. But if that is a benefit that was given to the retirees, it could be taken away. Maybe it couldn't be easily taken away from the people who were already retired, but in the eight years that Cicilline was in the mayor's office, why couldn't he negotiate a change to that benefit with future retirees? Why just the hands in the air and the "Not my fault!" As he was asked on Newsmakers a few weeks back, if Gina Raimondo could get a statewide pension reform bill passed in her first year, why couldn't Cicilline clean up Providence's finances over a span of eight years?
Cicilline highlighted his administration's success in making sustainable contributions to the pension system
Ha! "sustainable"? Seriously? When you raid the rainy day accounts to levels where it gets the city's bond ratings lowered, how in the world is that "sustainable"? If I need to spend my life's savings to buy food this month, I've balanced my budget for the time being, but is that sustainable? What happens next month? We know what was next for Cicilline. A promotion to Washington.
we developed a plan to make our contributions to the pension system and got near 100% for most of those years
My question here is that if his administration was paying "near" 100% for most of the years he was in office, then why is the system a mess? Paying near 100% should mean that he's bringing the fund back to solvency. He said that the prior administrations were paying closer to 60% of what they should have, so that 100% that he quotes should have included making up for the earlier shortfalls. So either he wasn't paying close to 100% of what he should have or the number that he was using for 100% was way off.

So now we have David Cicilline admitting that he knew the system was a mess. If that's true, then why, during the last election cycle, when John Loughlin was sounding the alarms about the fiscal mess that Providence was, why did David Cicilline tell us

Fortunately, the strong fiscal health that Providence has maintained under Mayor Cicilline’s leadership...
Which is it? Did the city maintain strong fiscal health or did he know it was a mess? We're getting conflicting stories from Cicilline now. He's been so outed even indirectly by his own friend in Mayor Taveras that he finally has to come clean. But rather than taking that one on the chin, he passes the buck back to his old political nemesis Buddy Cianci.

Cicilline proves once again that he just doesn't get it. Spinning stories to fit the current narrative doesn't make him look very good. If the city was struggling due to cuts from the Assembly or due to anything else at all, that's fine, just say it. If the city is financially a mess, he should just explain it and do what he has to do. That's exactly what Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras have done and look at how people view them. The difference between them and Cicilline is startling and obvious. In the end, people want the truth. Unfortunately, that wasn't offered by David Cicilline.

February 9, 2012

You Can Tell A Lot About David Cicilline By His Press Releases

Patrick Laverty

Thanks to Ian Donnis over at the RI Public Radio Blog for posting a press release from Congressman David Cicilline with regard to his probable Republican opponent in November, Brendan Doherty. The most interesting parts are those that seem either untrue or blatantly hypocritical.

The central theme to the release is Cicilline is trying to paint Doherty a certain way, based on his assumed associations and other instances of putting words in his mouth. Rather than turning this around and trying to judge Cicilline for who he associates with, let's take a look at who Cicilline is and what he says.

The more Paul Ryan (remember him? He’s the guy that wrote the bill to end Medicare)
I guess that's one take on it. Let's see what CNN had to say about it.
the Ryan plan would totally reverse the course of recent fiscal history by lowering federal health care spending from 8% of GDP today to just 5% by 2050. If we remain on the current course, the spending would jump to 14% in that time frame.
That doesn't sound like "the bill to end Medicare." So let's just call that one a "False".

Next up from Cicilline:

Eric Cantor (the chief cheerleader for shutting down the government last summer)
Again, let's see how CNN saw it.
Overall spending levels in the new measure would conform to the outlines of an agreement reached in Congress earlier this year.

"I hope we abide by that deal and move forward in a bipartisan way," Cantor told reporters.

That doesn't sound like a man rooting for a government shutdown. Plus, keep in mind that any time there is a government shutdown or the threat of one, it takes two to tango. It's always easy to not budge from your view of an argument and then just blame the other side for being stubborn. Nonetheless, it shows that Cantor was willing to move forward and not just a "cheerleader" for government shutdown. Another "False" for Cicilline.

Let's continue with the Cicilline's words.

Brendan Doherty’s plan to slash corporate taxes, end the capital gains tax and change Social Security benefits for anyone born after 1960
Wait, what? Hmm, I'd love to read a little more about these plans from Mr. Doherty. So where's the best place to look? How about his Issues page on his campaign web site. I've scanned it a couple times now and I don't see those things anywhere in there. Has anyone heard of Doherty's plans to do those things? Or is that just Cicilline projecting what he wants onto his opponent? Hey, I can do that too. How about this, David Cicilline has a plan to go to war with Canada. David Cicilline will reinstate the 95% tax bracket for anyone earning any amount over the poverty line. David Cicilline has a plan to go back to the days of rationing gas and bread. Is any of this true? Of course not. But it doesn't seem like the things he's attributing to Doherty are true either. So yet again, a "False" for Cicilline.
You can tell a lot about a candidate by who they choose to associate with.
Oh absolutely. This is probably true. David Cicilline associates with Congress, the same Congress with an 82% job disapproval rating and a 12% approval rating. You can tell a lot about Cicilline by who he's associating with. So that tells me one thing, Cicilline must be a terrible Congressman. I'll be fair and give him a "True" for that statement.

Back to Cicilline's press release:

Doherty’s loyalty is being rewarded and national Republicans recently sent out a press release hitting David that was later called a “Pants on Fire” lie by Politifact.
So let me get this straight, first Politifact supports Cicilline against a statement that he supported the federal loan guarantee to Solyndra, due to the fact that Cicilline was not in Congress when those were enacted. Yet then Cicilline wants to do the same thing, attributing Congressional Republicans' actions to Doherty, even though Doherty is not in Congress yet. You can't have it both ways, David. This is starting to sound like a broken record, "False."

Ok, lastly:

We can only expect more of these desperate attacks
Huh? From who? If there is one side in this that is clearly engaging in "desperate attacks" and blatant partisanship, it's clearly the reeling and very nervous David Cicilline through press releases like this one.

Most political analysts will tell you that people hate negative campaigning, but they all say it works. I'd agree. However it really only works when your negative ads are also true. If they're not going to be true, it's just going to backfire. This press release backfired on Cicilline in a big way.

January 30, 2012

Tom Sgouros Spins for Cicilline

Patrick Laverty

In today's GoLocalProv, columnist and former consultant to David Cicilline, tries to re-paint Cicilline's time as Providence mayor as a positive for the city.

He goes over a few "Yeah, but he..." examples, like:

Why was there $22 million in the rainy day fund in 2008? Here's a hint: It wasn't because Buddy Cianci had left it there. It was because Cicilline's financial management of the city involved putting money aside for a rainy day.

And one of my old favorites, "blame Carcieri", in spite of the fact that in RI the Governor may as well submit a Hallmark birthday card as his budget for all the power he has to get it enacted:

the Council hired Gary Sasse, former Governor Carcieri's Director of Administration, for his sage fiscal advice. Sasse, of course, was part of the state administration that pulled the rug out from under Providence's finances in 2010

However, Sgouros very quickly glances over what is my biggest problem with Cicilline tenure as mayor. To me, it's trust.

I've also reviewed the controversy about whether the city had spent down its "reserves" by October 2010, when the Mayor said there was $30 million in reserve and the City Council was saying the real number was $4.6 million and the city was about to run out of cash. Lots of the stories that talk about Cicilline lying about the budget stem from this episode.

I'm not going to weigh in on this because when I read the stories I think the two sides were talking about different things. So I'll leave it alone, and only observe that "reserves" is not a synonym for "rainy day fund" and whether a city is about to suffer a cash flow crisis likely has nothing at all to do with the rainy day fund, which is a budget reserve, not a cash reserve.

Of course you're not going to weigh in on it Tom, that is the essential issue. Was Cicilline honest with people when he was asked about the fiscal health of the city?

I don't care if you're inept in managing the city. People can do things to fix that, even if it means getting you out of office. I can handle it if you've made mistakes, many can be fixed. The real problem comes up when an elected representative lies through his teeth and bends over backwards to cover it up. Cicilline repeatedly told the people of Rhode Island that Providence was in excellent fiscal health. Was that true? No.

Also remember that when Internal Auditor James Lombardi tried to get access to the records he needed, he was blocked. Lombardi's claims were just waved off as an election year hatchet job.

Sgouros goes on to say that Cicilline couldn't criticize the Speaker, because what good would that do to start a war with the man who controls the city's state funding? Ok, I'll concede that point. However, I'm no politician and never been one but the General Assembly's largest delegation is from Providence. Even the Speaker himself is FROM PROVIDENCE. So if you can't work with the Assembly to get what you need when the deck is stacked in your favor, and instead you tell people things that aren't true, then you're just not that good of a mayor and certainly do not deserve a promotion.

The current District 1 Congressman seems to fall into a pattern of struggling with the truth. During the last election, he got his wrist slapped for using the Brown University insignia on a campaign donation letter. Cicilline is a lawyer, he knows what the law is on using a copy mark like that.

Another article in GoLocalProv also describes two other incidents with the Mayor, one where he used city resources to attend a Congressional campaign function outside of Providence and,

"Cicilline received a pay raise—in violation of city ordinance—and then, “when confronted, stated he was not aware he received a raise.”
He got a raise in his pay, but didn't know it? Really?

We've been over the struggles that Congressman Cicilline has had with the truth before, and someone has even set up a whole web site to illustrate this.

I'm not sure why Tom Sgouros would feel the need to try to spin this in a positive direction for Cicilline, but if you need any more help in trying to figure out how much spin that Sgouros tries to put on people he favors, how about this line from the article as well.

All that said, David Cicilline has been more unfairly tarred than virtually any other politician I can think of, with the possible exception of Al Gore (who never said he discovered Love Canal or invented the Internet or any of the other groaners attributed to him
Really? A groaner? Not true? I guess we'll just have to ask Mr. Gore himself: (Jump to about 48 seconds for the good part)

Thanks for the reminder on that one, Tom. We won't let a silly little video of Gore saying it himself get in the way of a great spin.

Make you wonder how much else that Sgouros says is true?

January 11, 2012

Loughlin Not Running

Justin Katz

John Loughlin's campaign just released this statement:

Two years ago, when I ran for Congress, I said: "The City of Providence is bankrupt and that you (David Cicilline) are deliberately hiding this fact from the people of Rhode Island. I am concerned that for political reasons your campaign for Congress is causing you to act in such a way as to conceal the budget problems facing the city of Providence, making them worse in the process."

I believe its time to hold David Cicciline accountable not just for the mess he left in Providence, but for the more than $300,000 dollars in taxpayer money we paid him to sit in Washington to deliver nothing but more partisan rhetoric, gridlock and empty campaign promises. In fact, I believe that the number one task facing Rhode Islanders voters in the coming election year is to hold all our politicians accountable.

While I had intended to begin my campaign for Congress upon my return from Iraq, it has become abundantly clear to me that the best way for the Rhode Island Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is to conduct a long and divisive primary election in RI-01. I will, therefore, not seek the nomination of my party for Congress. I will have no part in any activity that would enable David Cicciline to remain my Congressman.

My bid for Congress was motivated by a desire for service, not the desire for a new title. I have a long history of service both politically and in the military — in short, I wasn't running to "be” a Congressman, I was running to fix our state and strengthen our Nation.

I want to publicly thank Mike Napolitano, Eileen Grossman and Scott Morrison for keeping the political flame burning while I was serving in Iraq.

I also want to thank the many prominent Republicans who endorsed my campaign, especially Leader Newberry and his colleagues in the Rhode Island House and Senate. In addition, I want to thank those prominent Republicans who withheld any endorsement until I returned from Iraq and could at least respond, most notably Administrator Almond, Mayor Fontaine, Mayor Fung, Mayor Avedisian, and National Committeeman Joseph Trillo. Their loyalty means a great deal to me and meant a great deal to my family while I was deployed.

Thank you also to the many supporters who have also stayed loyal to me as well. In particular the many Town Republican Chairmen and women who recognize that the way to build a party is to reward hard work and stand with those who have worked shoulder to shoulder with them to save our state. Too often Republicans as a party, trivialize loyalty, dedication to service, and party building.

I want to thank my family who dealt with running the household while I was running for office and later while deployed to Iraq. They supported me, literally, in war and peace.

Most importantly, I want to thank the people of Rhode Island for their support and their belief that we must return accountable government to our state. While I don't know what the future will hold, I know that together we can turn our state around and create the kind of Rhode Island for our children that will make them proud of our service together.

January 2, 2012

Bending the Truth in Cicilline's Favor

Justin Katz

In an illustration of how its methods can serve the politicians that the editors like — covering their fundamental dishonesty with a focus on minutia — PolitiFact Rhode Island has given David Cicilline a "half true" for this:

"Earlier this week, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives -- with the enthusiastic support of Sarah Palin, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and the Tea Partiers -- once again turned their backs on the 14 million unemployed Americans in our country," the letter says, "and instead chose to focus their efforts on expanding the rights of sex offenders, terrorists, child predators, and abusers to carry concealed weapons across state lines."

Reporter Lynn Arditi admits that the part about "choosing to focus their efforts" on these outcomes is completely false. That means that the specifics — on whether the bill would incidentally expand the rights of suspect citizens — must be graded on a curve to split truth down the middle, because she finds that only in some of those cases is there any evidence that Cicilline might have a point.

But the whole exercise of searching for examples of people to whom Cicilline's labels might apply is ridiculous. Under "domestic abusers," for example, Arditi finds a Pennsylvania case in which a killer had a legal handgun after a restraining order had previously been imposed and then withdrawn. It may seem like splitting hairs, but inasmuch as that is precisely what Cicilline's evidence does, one has to ask: Is it appropriate to say that the man was, in a legal sense, an "abuser" before he was a murderer? Ought every man against whom a woman requests and then withdraws a restraining order be considered a perpetrator of domestic abuse? (It's funny, by the way, how liberals' perspective would change were it a question of allowing voting rights.)

And so it goes. When it comes to abusers, predators, and sex offenders, Cicilline points out states with laws that don't count a particular conviction as sufficiently criminal to deny a concealed carry permit. In New Hampshire, for example, "an adult who lures a child into engaging in sex for pornography" is charged with a misdemeanor, which doesn't affect his or her gun rights. (That's Arditi's paraphrase of the law. I'm not sure what "luring" the child technically entails, although it's sure to be despicable, whatever its limits.) For the purposes of the PolitiFact analysis, in other words, the person would be a child predator by Rhode Island standards, New Hampshire would still grant a concealed carry permit, so a federal law allowing such permits to apply across state lines would expand the rights of a child predator.

But when it comes to the "terrorist" label, Cicilline points to Kentucky, which brands a misdemeanor charge of "terroristic threatening" on somebody who (in Arditi's words) "threaten[s] to seriously injure someone or to cause substantial property damage." Cicilline's logic, in this case, is that Kentucky might arguably call somebody a terrorist, whether or not the same definition would apply in Rhode Island, and still grant him or her a concealed carry permit. In other words, he's tilted his logical table always to roll a point in his favor.

Whatever one thinks of the issue (or politician) in question, this "half true" shows precisely why the entire PolitiFact project ought to be dismissed and abandoned. By presenting heated political rhetoric as subject to methodical analysis, the writers gloss over the very thing that makes it insidious. Most unfair accusations have some kernels of truth underlying them; that's what makes them harmful. It's the dishonesty layered on top that causes the problems and deserves the moral objection, and in PolitiFact's analysis that is a secondary consideration... at least when the editors want it to be.

December 28, 2011

Rep. David Cicilline on Newsmakers

Patrick Laverty

Last week, Congressman David Cicilline was on WPRI's Newsmakers with Tim White, Ian Donnis and Ted Nesi. After watching this episode a couple times, I think it's fair to say that they didn't go lightly on the Congressman, however a few times, he effectively dodged the question and avoided any follow-up. I'm sure WPRI would prefer that I link to their site with the video here but it is sometimes giving me some trouble, so it is also possible to watch it on Youtube here. Below is a not so "live blog" of the episode.

DC: David Cicilline
TW: Tim White
ID: Ian Donnis
TN: Ted Nesi
Numbers are the approximate time in the video when the statements occurred.

1:20 Tim White with the first question about Cicilline's support of the payroll tax cut extension and the fact that the payroll tax is exactly what funds Social Security. Cutting the payroll tax means less money for Social Security, thus harming the system. Isn't this the opposite of what Cicilline campaigned on?

(DC) Blames the Republicans in the House for blocking the compromise sent over from the Senate. Didn't answer the question, simply says it is the Republicans' fault for not passing the bill sent over from the Senate. Explains that the tax cut is exactly what the taxpayers need. (Note: Newsmakers was recorded before the deal was struck to extend the tax cut for two months)

1:58 (TN) Why not make the tax cuts permanent?
(DC) "It should be" and continues blaming the Republicans.

3:05 (TN) When should the payroll tax cut be allowed to expire?
(DC) Disagrees with Obama on extending the tax cuts on the wealthy, but admits to voting for it because "that was part of the entire budget compromise." So he admits that he voted for something that he disagreed with? Congressman David Cicilline admits that he voted for a bill that extended "tax cuts for the rich" and also voted for cuts that decrease the amount of money to the Social Security system. Exactly the opposite of his campaign promises that he would "fight for" and "protect" Social Security. Here is an on-the-record vote that harms Social Security.

Continue reading "Rep. David Cicilline on Newsmakers"

December 14, 2011

"The Least Disruption To The Voters"

Patrick Laverty

An interesting note today on Ian Donnis' WRNI blog, where he referred back to an article of his from back in June. According to Cicilline spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw:

The redistricting process has not yet begun, but looking ahead, Congressman Cicilline has confidence that this process will be done fairly and in a way that causes the least disruption for voters.
So let's get this right. Back in June, the concern was to cause the least disruption for the voters. Then recently, we saw a map that would displace more than 120,000 voters in order to balance the districts by 7,200. We hear of both the Doherty and Loughlin camps complaining about that map. We hear of Anthony Gemma complaining and most of all, we hear Congressman Jim Langevin complaining. But who do we not hear complaining about it? The person who wanted the least disruption for the voters. If the Cicilline camp still feels this way, I expect that they too will reject the map that shifts more than 120,000 voters between the districts.

"He's a Liar"

Patrick Laverty

Being new to this blogging thing, I always want to tread carefully when throwing around accusations and possible libelous statements. So it's so much easier when someone else throws around the words that I can simply quote. "He's a liar" is a great one.

This was said by Anthony Gemma in reference to Congressman David Cicilline, one of Cicilline's primary opponents in 2010 and possibly a primary opponent again in 2012. Gemma was referring to the recent flap about the Congressional redistricting in Rhode Island.

According to GoLocalProv,

Cicilline’s campaign fired back, making it clear they never suggested that they didn't have a hand in the process.

Gemma added:

“He was a liar then and he is still a liar now,”
Gemma isn't the only one having a hard time believing the explanation from the Cicilline camp. Yesterday, even Congressman Jim Langevin, wasn't buying it. His spokesman called Cicilline's response “blatantly disingenuous." Which is a really nice way of saying "liar." When you have all sides of your own party, the very guys who are supposed to be supportive of you, doubting your honesty and sincerity, you have big problems with public trust.

It's not just the Democrats who are up in arms with these tactics. Yesterday on his WRNI Politics Blog, Ian Donnis quoted John Loughlin's campaign spokesman.

"Most of the Congressional redistricting maps that have been proposed appear to be a blatant attempt to save Congressman David Cicilline."
Napolitano is referring to blatant gerrymandering, a practice as old as politics, but a term that goes back to Massachusetts in the early 1800s.
The word was created in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under the then-governor Elbridge Gerry. In 1812, Governor Gerry signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party. When mapped, one of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a salamander.
Has Cicilline somehow engaged in gerrymandering? Remember what I said above? I can't say for sure, but here are some facts.

Congressional redistricting occurs after the national census is done every ten years. The result of the census was that approximately 7,200 voters need to be moved from the Second Congressional District to the First. One of the most recent maps rolled out revealed more than 120,000 voters changing districts in order to make the numbers work.

How does that make any sense? If you need to move 7200, I can see moving a few more to make it work, by sticking to boundaries, maybe even going as high as 10,000. But to move seventeen times the necessary number of people? I don't know about you, but if it walks like a duck...

December 2, 2011

The Hypocrisy of Democrats With Medicare

Patrick Laverty

Earlier in the week, Congressman David Cicilline surprisingly attacked John Loughlin for wanting to destroy Medicare. Back during the campaign, we were told that Loughlin wanted to destroy Social Security and now we're being told it's Medicare. I was a little confused as to why the switch of plans to destroy, but an article in the Washington Post (h/t Ted Nesi) gives a little insight. It turns out that the Democrats' new strategy heading into the election is to paint the Republicans as having tried to destroy Medicare during the "Supercommittee" negotiations. In spite of Democrats like Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) admitting that they would have "reformed Medicare", they along with David Cicilline want us to believe they are the ones who will save health care for senior citizens. I guess their Social Security checks are now safe, so it's time to protect their health care.

However, one could say that the Democrats (the party of Cicilline) are the ones really trying to destroy Medicare. They are doing this through the passage of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" a.k.a. "Obamacare". According a Washington Post columnist (and President Obama's cousin) Milton Wolf, through Obamacare, the reimbursement rates have been cut by so much, many physicians will not longer accept Medicare reimbursements and are dropping its patients. How exactly does that help the health of seniors?

Just as we saw with the recent RI pension reform, some don't seem to really understand the options. Which seems to make more sense, make changes to ensure the long-term viability of the program, or continue along the same path living up to every promised obligation, even if that means the program will die before the people currently paying into it ever get a single benefit from it? Which stance seems more reasonable and responsible? Reform it or let it die?

In last month's Providence Phoenix article, Cicilline was described as looking to work with both sides of the aisle, willing to be non-partisan. However, based on his comments Congressman Cicilline seems very quick to jump into lockstep with the Democratic strategy of not touching the benefits side and letting the program die sometime in the next thirteen years, and then blaming the Republican for wanting change. Even if that Republican isn't in office yet.