The Unspokens of Politics
Charles Bakst correctly identifies one of the reasons I’ve been feeling more favorably toward Steve Laffey of late:
… the more Chafee attacks him, the cooler and calmer Laffey tries to come across in debates and ads.
More significant, perhaps, has been the gradual emergence of the oh-so-sincere face of Sheldon Whitehouse into view. Culpability may be mere matters of degree regardless of what happens, but I’d hate to find myself directly contributing to Whitehouse’s victory for the reason that I will be unable to bring myself to vote against him. Win or lose, a vote for the Republican will say as much as my single vote is able to say, and I simply will not vote for Chafee in the general election.
Whether a vote for Laffey will be part of a victory may, in small part, depend upon whether the mayor heeds — albeit, with a twist — Mr. Bakst’s warning:
YOU HAVE to wonder where all the Chafee-Laffey back and forth in the primary will lead in the general election as the Republican survivor goes head to head with Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.
I had occasion last week to touch on this subject, at least as it might relate to women, with Washington-based pollster Anna Greenberg. She did an extensive survey of women’s political attitudes here for the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. Greenberg, who also polls for Attorney General Patrick Lynch, found women are heavily into quality education, affordable health care, and secure retirement, issues that often have taken a back seat in the Chafee-Laffey primary to tirades against “special interests” and illegal immigration, debates over tax cuts, and squabbles about style.
Whoever wins the GOP race, Greenberg said, “there’s going to be some real work for the Republican nominee to pivot back to a conversation that’s more relevant to what sort-of-regular people care about, and I think that’s going to be a real challenge.”
I almost had to rub my eyes and reread the paragraph to believe that ostensibly informed people would see a need for pivoting in order to relate (on one hand) special interests, illegal immigration, and tax cuts to (on the other) education, healthcare, and retirement. I suppose that drawing the links for those who don’t see them (or alternately, providing them with spectacles) is partly our job as writers, but suffice to say that I find it not comforting in the least that such as Baskt won’t at least chip in toward the cause of honest comprehension… and that their audiences probably don’t want them to.