Another Bigger Picture Thought Related to Mr. Costa
A short while ago, I objected to Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Gio Cicione’s red-meat throwing, and I think the Democrat status of Tiverton Town Councilman Hannibal Costa gives an example of the danger inherent in a party chairman’s drifting away from tempered party building.
If the RIGOP could get its act together and come up with a winning platform that places certain Rhode Island–specific irreducible positions — such as those related to taxes and unfunded mandates, both of which I’ve heard Mr. Costa mention — while allowing internal debate on other matters, such as contentious social issues, it could pursue a goal of finding and converting like-minded Democrats. I have no idea whether Hannibal has any interest in higher offices, but it strikes me as unlikely that the state party would let him move too much farther up the chain. And that might open the way for the Republicans to recruit new candidates from among the Democrats’ lower-level incumbents.
Those conversions can never happen if potential convertees recoil at the activities and rhetoric of the official Rhode Island Republican Party itself, as opposed to the activities and rhetoric of fire-breathing proxies.