Quantifying the Anchor’s Weight

Turning to local politics, it seems that one of the first things to be done is to concisely show the size of the task we conservatives/Republicans face. With the latest election in the rear view mirror, the following numbers should clarify our perspective (taken from this story):
Republican State Representatives – 12 out of 75
Republican State Senators – 6 out of 38
Granted, the governor is a Republican, and two out of the state’s largest cities are run by Republican Mayors (Cranston’s Steve Laffey and Warwick’s Scott Avedesian), but the Republican “bench” is pretty thin. Dave Rogers has now failed two times in his attempt to unseat Patrick Kennedy and will have to turn to a different means to gain political legitimacy within Rhode Island. Another run would, at this point, render him bereft of all political capital.
WPRO’s Dan Yorke has commented that, individually, teachers are great people, but that collectively, when gathered beneath the union umbrella, they can be unreasonable, greedy and quite shrill. I would add that we have the same problem with our legislative representatives and senators. In a small state like Rhode Island, where everybody really does know almost everybody else, these local politicians are well-known, and well-liked, neighbors and friends. They are, generally speaking, good people. The problem is that when they gather together on the Hill, they enter the partisan echo chamber and, inevitably, these good people do bad things in pursuit of patronage and personal advancement. This is a direct result of the lack of political competition in the state.
I suppose many have concluded that the Republican party in Rhode Island is simply too inept, at this point, to be of any practical political value. That may be so, but for those of us who still believe that the Republican party is the last, best vehicle through which real change can be realized in this state, it is up to us to contribute and participate in a Rhode Island Republican Renaissance. Right now it seems like a dream. It will take hard work to turn that dream into reality.

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Paul
Paul
16 years ago

The biggest problem with the local republican party is that those in charge, or at least when I was somewhat active, seemed more interested in keeping their power, however meager a power. They definitely did NOT have any real desire to do anything.
Granted, that was before Don was governor and before there was a Mayor Laffey. Gotta tell you, Laffey’s the real deal. If more canidates could take his attitude and run with it.
It’s like that movie. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it. That’s what Mayor Laffey did. And that’s what republicans have to do, although, they need to do so in a way that’s not mean.
Yeah, tough line to hoe, but there are so many problems here in RI, that it’s almost easy trying to decide on which problem to tackle and make your own.
Hopefully there is new blood in the republican party and it will do something. I was heartened by both Gov Carcieri and Gov Romney. If they can keep this up then they will build up their bench and do something on the hill.

Marc Comtois
16 years ago

I share your optimism and hope that Laffey’s success in helping Jim Davey to unseat Frank Montanaro in Cranston will translate across the state in 2006. In that election, Gov. Carcieri will be up for re-election and hopefully his coattails will prove long enough to bring some new Republican blood into the state house. As far as the desire for the old guard Republicans to prioritize keeping their (meager) power over party building, I think Justin’s video post on that is confirmation of your point.

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