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.