Can’t We Even Pretend There’s an Opposition Party in the RI Legislature?

Commenter “Greg”, in his inimitably direct (and sometimes frightening) over-the-top style, posed this question about the Providence Phoenix last week…

I don’t understand why this site gives that oversized porn and pot advertisement this much ink.
An answer can be found in this week’s Phoenix, where Ian Donnis goes a little further than the rest of the MSM in reporting an important detail about the opening of the 2007 session of the General Assembly…
During the opening day of the House session, Representative Carol Mumford (R-Scituate) offered a poetic ode to Rhode Island politics, saying, “Sometimes it’s a contact sport, sometimes it’s a blood sport, but it’s our sport — and we love it.” But when she then nominated House Minority Leader Robert Watson (R-East Greenwich) for speaker, Watson promptly withdrew his name.
Asked whether he did this because of concerns that some Republican representatives might have voted for Murphy, Watson parses the question, saying the GOP decided to send “a cooperative signal.” He adds: “That is not to say that Republicans wouldn’t prefer a Republican speaker, but the numbers do the talking.”
The problem with Minority Leader Watson’s answer is that numbers have done the talking in every General Assembly session since at least World War II, yet the Republicans have at least most of the time managed to put up a candidate for speaker. If the party cannot organize themselves for the first, simple, predictable vote of a legislative session, how can they be expected to organize themselves in a way that will have any impact on real legislation?
And how in good faith can the state GOP ask candidates to run against incumbent Democratic legislators, while at the same time their leader in the legislature isn’t willing to put his name forward in a contest that takes no effort and costs him nothing?
(One other note for Greg. Anchor Rising is a blog. We don’t give anyone ink. We give them electrons.)

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don roach
14 years ago

Interesting.
The impression I get of the Rhode Island Republican party is that of a group of homeless people fighting with one another whenever a neighborly passer-by throws out a few bread crumbs.
That sounds sad, and it is. We must have people who are willing to fight – and even lose – for principles as well as an organization that’s truly committed to building a foundation here in Rhode Island not just propping up the individual candidate in high profile races.
And it is certainly doable with the right approach. I think Rep. Watson demonstrates part of the defeatism in the minds of even GOP legislators in RI. That being, it’s impossible to stop the Democratic runaway train.
I think that’s the wrong attitude to have and at some point, the GOP must take drastic and common sense measures to swing the state house to the right.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>We must have people who are willing to fight – and even lose – for principles as well as an organization that’s truly committed to building a foundation here in Rhode Island not just propping up the individual candidate in high profile races … I think that’s the wrong attitude to have and at some point, the GOP must take drastic and common sense measures to swing the state house to the right.
Here’s a start!
http://www.ri-ra.org/
“The Republican Wing of the Republican Party”

Scott Bill Hirst
Scott Bill Hirst
14 years ago

Hi!
In straight historical terms the GOP has not controlled the RI House since 1939-41,.In 1938 the GOP won all General Officers,both US House seats;and BOTH houses of the RI General assembly.That feat has NEVER been repeated!
No Republican has been elected Lieutanant Governor since that time except for Joseph H.O’Donnell in 1966 and he was defeated in 1968,.
Of interst the last GOP Speaker of the RI House was Hugo A,Clason of Providence.
Ironically the last previous Speaker to Clason was Roy Rawlings of Richmond.He served from 1927 to 1933,.After repeated votes Rawlings was defeated as Speaker when Benjamin Cianciarulo a Providence Republican who wanted to be Speaker along with another Republican who I don’t think was ever identified voted for William E.Reddy of West Warwick and even though there was a 51-49 Republican advantage in The RI House the Democratic candidate for Speaker was elected.Cianciarulo later became a Democrat.
Regards,
Scott

Scott Bill Hirst
Scott Bill Hirst
14 years ago

Hi!
The Rhode Island State Senate was last controlled by the GOP from 1957 to 1959,.That was omitted from my post just made!
Regards,
Scott

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