“What I Would Do If I Weren’t So Wedded to the Side of All Things Good”
It’s a curious — somewhat humorous — thing to read a well-meaning and fair-minded progressive attempting to work his way around to advising the other side. Here’s Ian Donnis:
One school of thought, popular among at least a few of the posters at Anchor Rising, is that the state’s budget meltdown will cause dramatic and long-lasting consequences, possibly including a major political realignment in the Democrat-dominated General Assembly. Meanwhile, RI GOP chairman Giovanni Cicione embraces the rhetorical battle — as demonstrated by his ProJo op-ed last Saturday — and he talks a good game about plans to challenge legislative Dems in the 2008 election season.
At the same time, Republicans and their local supporters remain quick to blame Democrats, even though the RI GOP has proven utterly incapable of running an effective long-term strategy.
To blame Democrats for what? In a related Phoenix article of his, Donnis elaborates:
While incumbents certainly enjoy advantages, the Rhode Island GOP has played a leading role in its own marginalization. “The party does almost nothing to support its candidates,” West says. “They provide very little in the way of financial support. They’re so disorganized there isn’t even a coherent platform around which they can rally.”
Yet instead of recognizing the failure of Republicans to run a competitive slate of legislative candidates in successive election cycles, many party supporters prefer, essentially, to whine about the ruling Democrats on Smith Hill. …
But whose fault is it that only one party shows basic competence in running and supporting candidates? Since Republicans are seemingly unable to do this, are the Democrats supposed to run up the white flag, like a bunch of good sports?
Maybe he’s right. Maybe we shouldn’t complain about the Democrats. It could, you know, be our fault. We have been awfully short-tempered lately. We’ve even been late with dinner a night or two. We left the label on a can of carrots facing the wrong way, too. Maybe we should become more liberal, like the Chafees. Maybe we should put aside core differences among non-Democrats so that we can combine forces (and, I suppose, become more liberal). The Democrat General Assembly is a good leader, and it loves us very much.
Of course, some of us see a continuity (Donnis’s word, in a different context) in the ideology that spans from same-sex marriage to welfare-statism to union co-option. Some of us think that the only way forward is to present a substantively different option that will likely not be palatable to our beaten local society until the pain of the status quo becomes unbearable.
Anchor Rising has hardly been an uncritical cheerleader of the state GOP, but we’ll certainly not elevate our criticism thereof to a level at which blame for the coming collapse may be deflected from the dominant party to the ineffectual one.