This Is What I Mean
Charles Bakst does readers the service of eliciting the sort of comments from legislators that one would expect him to want to hear:
Interestingly, Senator Montalbano’s speech quoted Hubert Humphrey’s plea to care for the sick, the needy and the handicapped. Montalbano told me that, sure, the budget must be balanced and there’ll be pain to spread. “But I really feel strongly that as Democrats we stand for not taking the most vulnerable in our society and eliminating whatever safety net we can provide.”
I want to see what the ruling Democrats come up with — and how they do it. In the House, Majority Leader Gordon Fox was right to tell members that the 2008 session, with its fiscal challenges, might be a defining test. But it was unsettling to talk with him later. Fox said he can see the chamber’s Democrats relying more on informal caucuses to thrash out “what does it mean to be a Democrat, what are the kind of steps that this General Assembly wants to stand for.”
Bakst is worried about being left outside the room, as a media guy, during the meetings, but the General Assembly members are already telling Rhode Islanders everything they need to know. Their view is that all good Democrats should agree that the state has a moral obligation to protect union jobs and social services. That’s what defines them. That’s what makes them so gosh darned principled.
That’s what’s going to drive them to keep digging until the tunnel caves in on them, taking all of our futures with it.