The Rhode-Islandification of America?

A comment from Tom W, last week, raises an interesting question (emphasis added):

Of course “Linc” is now being widely (hailed) in the MSM regarding involvement with “Republicans for Obama.”
Gotta love the irony, since McCain came here to campaign for Chafee to try to save his RINO bacon.
This is what happens when the GOP embraces “moderates” and the “big tent” theory.
The “moderates” follow their heart and side with the Democrats, while voters, unimpressed with “Republicans” that are largely indistinguishable from Democrats, vote for the real thing rather than the reasonable facsimile. McCain will discover this the hard way when he finds out the the Hispanics vote that he is courting heads toward Obama, who is pandering to them even more (he’s not even playing lip service to “border security”).
That is why the GOP continues to shrink in the areas where it is “moderate” – the Northeast and now California. Yet the national party leadership (e.g., McCain) are determined to continue down this path … the RIGOP writ large.
Baffling, and it bodes ill for the future or our country, as both parties are leading us leftward, the only differences being the pace of decline … but both ultimately heading for the same destination, transforming the U.S. from our founding principles into a European-style socialist democracy.

I don’t know that the RIGOP writ large is possible on a national scale. Part of Rhode Island’s problem, I’ve come to believe, is that its size doesn’t allow for truly diverse enclaves in which an opposition party could develop a stronghold. The state’s environment doesn’t differ much from one place to another, making its residents consistently susceptible to the same peddled policies, as well as the same tentacles of corruption.
On a national scale, there would be a correction. GOP “moderates” would reach a degree of frustration at which conservatives, of whatever form, withdraw their support; simultaneously, “moderates” and liberals would begin to decide that they’d be better served by being part of the winning team. At some point, the institutional party would do what secular institutions do: adjust themselves for survival.
The danger — as any good federalist might surmise — is that undemocratic means would be leveraged to decrease the influence of conservative enclaves. Arguably (if ironically), a national popular vote system would contribute. The “Fairness Doctrine” would contribute. Legislation via judiciary is a more insidious example.
This may be part of what bothers me about our overly Senatorial presidential election: All of the participants are from the same range of our society. It’s as if we’re electing a prime minister, rather than a president. The health — the “contention” — comes when enclaves can raise up their own representatives, most notably governors, who bring a different perspective and a different approach to governance to the mix.

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chuckR
chuckR
12 years ago

The most important current function of the Electoral College is to act as a firebreak to contain voting fraud in 50 separate compartments called states. I have enough problems here in RI, thank you, without Acorn’s efforts in East St Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, etc, etc, further overwhelming my vote with those of the dead, the completely fictitious and the multiple times voters.
The Fairness Doctrine is anti-First Amendment, as is McCain-Feingold. It would be a hoot if McCain wins and then appoints some Supremes who eventually overturn that steaming turd. Big deal if Presidential elections cost $2billion. That’s the cost of a couple of happy Meals for each and every eligible voter. Don’t know about you, but you can’t buy me that cheap.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>I don’t know that the RIGOP writ large is possible on a national scale. It’s already occurring in California, which was once solidly “real” Republican (think Ronald Reagan). And California is a bellwether. While Michigan holds many interesting economic parallels with Rhode Island, California holds many interesting political parallels. As with RI, the public sector unions in California have a lock on the Democratic Party and the legislature. Couple that with the “progressive” (Marxist) wing from the Bay area, and the influx of welfare dependent illegals and their anchor baby progeny, and you now have a solidly Democratic state, taken right out from under the noses of the GOP. What is left, passing for “Republicans,” are career politicians – Democrat Lites – who use the “Republican Party” as a vessel through which to acquire and maintain office without the primary competition they might face if running under the “D” label. Those real Republicans in the base, seeing that they have no political party through which to fight, for theirs has been sabotaged and then taken over by “moderates,” eventually just give up and go on with their lives as best they can. And so the left-wing Democrats win, for without a determined and vibrant real Republican Party to carry on the battle, there’s no one left to oppose them. That is why “moderate” and “big tent” Republicanism is a loser, not just politically, but for the United States of America, for without a conservative Republican Party there is no effective opposition to the incremental restructuring of the United States by the neo-Marxists of the modern Democrat Party, turning it into a European Democratic Socialist state. I’ve heard from a credibly source that during the SEIU daycare worker unionization scam a couple of years ago that Teresa Paiva-Weed said something (to… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>On a national scale, there would be a correction. GOP “moderates” would reach a degree of frustration at which conservatives, of whatever form, withdraw their support; simultaneously, “moderates” and liberals would begin to decide that they’d be better served by being part of the winning team. At some point, the institutional party would do what secular institutions do: adjust themselves for survival.
I fear that the national GOP, as it has done in California, and Rhode Island, won’t adapt to the withdrawal of conservatives, but will adapt to ensure a secure but permanent minority.
As we’ve seen here in RI, the Chafee-Avedesian-Watson hegemony hasn’t adapted to its repudiation by conservatives (or lack of potential support by “Reagan Democrats” who are very much alive and well in this state, ripe for the picking if there were a vibrant, conservative RIGOP).
Instead, they’ve made a self-serving, separate peace with the Democrats. As long as the “Republicans” don’t make waves or seriously oppose Democrat policies and legislation, the Democrats will pretty much leave them alone and let them exist, content with their scraps from the table and continued status as “officeholders.”
The Democrats stay in power because as their part of the bargain the “moderate Republicans” ensure that their party never becomes a serious competitor / opposition party.
This is the McCain model. He sides with the Democrats, so long as his name appears first on the legislation and his personal political career is advanced. He doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the GOP or conservatives – if they can be manipulated to let him cap off his political career with the Presidency, great – but other than that McCain could care less. Same too with the other “moderate” Republicans.

Barry
Barry
12 years ago

As one who has been generally symapthetic to the “moderate” Republicans, I don’t agree that “moderate” Republicanism has been such a loser in Rhode Island where by and large good-government types such as Ron Machtley, Claudine Schneider, Linc Almond, Jeff Pine, Nancy Mayer, and of course the Chafees, who at least occasionally won statewide and Congressional offices. And there needs to be voice for those of us who believe in honest government that minimizes insider who-you-know deals, are for open government and public input such as voter initiative, merit incentives in government, frugal spending and balanced budgets, conservation and environmental protection, minimizing foreign entanglements, and the right to do what we want in our sex and reproductive lives without big government interfering. So of course we will regret that the GOP is being to some extent taken over by those who would supress science (e.g. stem cell or wildlife research) curtail reproductive freedom, take a crap-shoot with our atmosphere instead of acting prudently, and spend far more than they are willing to tax. Do you “conservatives” really want us to join the Democrats?

Anthony
Anthony
12 years ago

Sorry, I don’t buy the whole “Chafee-Avedisian-Watson hegemony is the downfall of the RI GOP” argument. Linc Chafee isn’t a even Republican. Duh. At this point, blaming Linc Chafee is about as rational as blaming Jack Reed for Republican problems. Scott Avedisian is a local mayor and wasn’t able to generate enough base support to sustain a bid to become a national committeeman. You might get me to believe that he influences the local Warwick GOP, but the average voter in the northern, southern or eastern part of the state knows next to nothing about him. Finally, Bob Watson leads a small and fractured House minority. But his support/opposition was more along personal lines then ideological line. Yet somehow these three individuals have “hegemonic” power to perpetuate the demise of the RI GOP? That’s about the equivalent of a conspiracy theory and is hard to take seriously. I see things far differently. For a period of time (when J. Chafee, Almond, Mayer, Pine, Farmer, Machtley, etc. were involved), the presence of a number of statewide and Congressional GOP officials gave the Republican Party a degree of credibility and power in the state. And yes, these individuals happened to be “moderates”. In those days the “moderate hegemony” argument might have at least been plausible. But those days are LONG gone. The lone remaining “major” moderate Republican has been out of office for nearly two years. Conservatives have largely been in control of the RI GOP. The only GOP elected official with any real power is the Governor–who is conservative. So at what point do politically active conservatives wake up and acknowlege that moderate Republicans no longer have much, if any, power? Many RI conservatives seem far more comfortable creating scapegoats and complaining about the status quo than about getting Republicans elected,… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>As one who has been generally symapthetic to the “moderate” Republicans, I don’t agree that “moderate” Republicanism has been such a loser in Rhode Island where by and large good-government types such as Ron Machtley, Claudine Schneider, Linc Almond, Jeff Pine, Nancy Mayer, and of course the Chafees, who at least occasionally won statewide and Congressional offices. The key word being “occasionally.” Contrast with the perma-minority status in the General Assembly, which is where the real action is in Rhode Island. >>And there needs to be voice for those of us who believe in honest government that minimizes insider who-you-know deals, are for open government and public input such as voter initiative, merit incentives in government, frugal spending and balanced budgets, conservation and environmental protection, minimizing foreign entanglements, and the right to do what we want in our sex and reproductive lives without big government interfering. Quite a laundry list. As for honest government, that should be an expectation for any political party. I recognize that the Rhode Island Democrat party is probably a lost cause in that regard, but see no need to water down Republican principles to accommodate folks who would be Democrats but for the corruption in Rhode Island Democrat party. Frugal spending and balanced budgets? That’ll never happen with the Democrats on the state or national level, for they are the party of expansive and ever expanding government. Unfortunately the GOP has lost its way in this regard, and has become the party in recent years of earmarked expanding government. ”Moderate” Republicans will not restore the GOP to a small government (frugal spending/balanced budget) model, for they too subscribe to the expansion of the welfare state (see, e.g., the so-called prescription drug benefit). Lincoln Chafee’s concept of balanced budgets was not limiting the size and scope… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>>Yet somehow these three individuals have “hegemonic” power to perpetuate the demise of the RI GOP?
Consider that while Don Carcieri is relatively conservative, when he first ran he was not endorsed by the RIGOP.
That he survived the Republican rout in 2006 tells us much about what Rhode Islanders would vote for in other GOP candidates, if given the chance. Contrast with “moderate” Lincoln Chafee’s fate when going against a fellow moderate with a genuine “D” after his name.
Consider too the silence by other GOP officeholders over Don Carcieri’s brave executive order vis-à-vis “E-Verify” and illegal aliens. Hiding under their desks on this issue is the path of “moderate” Republicans, not conservatives.
You said that “conservatives have largely been in control of the RI GOP.” Other than Don Carcieri, who? Governor Carcieri has been the de facto leader of the Party, but like all Governors that “leader” status is largely transitory. Yes, I know that Chafee is no longer a Republican, but the next highest “Republican” elected official is Linc’s “mini me” Scott Avedesian (possible gubernatorial candidate himself). Below that, Bob Watson, head cheerleader in this state for RINO in Chief John McCain.
Also consider that this year, as far as anyone knows, the RIGOP has no platform. If it does, they’ve managed to keep it a pretty good secret.
Rumor has it that the “moderates” didn’t want one, or if one was to be developed to avoid any and all “social issues” – gay marriage; abortion; illegal immigration. If true, then it means that the “moderates” still wield veto power, i.e., have effective control of the GOP.

Anthony
Anthony
12 years ago

Tom, Carcieri wasn’t the endorsed candidate when he first ran, but I suspect the reason for that wasn’t because the “party bosses” disagreed with Carcieri’s conservatism. It was more than likely due to the fact that Carcieri was an unknown who had only recently affiliated as a Republican, while Jim Bennett had a longer history and was initially better known than Carcieri. As for the 2006 election, there were some substantial differences. Carcieri had no real primary and faced a B-team Democrat in Fogarty. Chafee had a bruising primary and had to face a wealthy opponent in Whitehouse. Also, it was easier to tie Chafee as a US Senator to Bush, while most Rhode Islanders didn’t believe there was a Carcieri-Bush link. Look, I do believe conservatives can get elected in RI, but they have to have tremendous credentials, work extra hard and run in selected areas. Like it or not, RI is a liberal state that tends to elect liberals. Rhode Islanders vote Republican when there is a belief that the Democrat is SO far to the left that they’re basically a socialist (Myrth York). I don’t know about the lack of a party platform. I do think there should be a platform that largely mirrors the national GOP’s platform, but also reflects RI-specific issues such as good government. But I don’t think every Republican politician should be expected to vote 100% in line with the party platform. If a politician can say that they support the platform more often than not, the should still be considered to be a “good” Republican. Regardless, none of this would prevent conservatives from identifying strong candidates this year. If you want the power, you need to win it at the ballot box. Say what you will about Avedisian and Watson, but they… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>Carcieri wasn’t the endorsed candidate when he first ran, but I suspect the reason for that wasn’t because the “party bosses” disagreed with Carcieri’s conservatism. It was more than likely due to the fact that Carcieri was an unknown who had only recently affiliated as a Republican, while Jim Bennett had a longer history and was initially better known than Carcieri. Anthony, You may be right. I wasn’t involved with the RIGOP back then – as a conservative, for most of my life I’d never seen much point in getting involved in the Chafee-dominated RIGOP. >>As for the 2006 election, there were some substantial differences. Carcieri had no real primary and faced a B-team Democrat in Fogarty. Chafee had a bruising primary and had to face a wealthy opponent in Whitehouse. Also, it was easier to tie Chafee as a US Senator to Bush, while most Rhode Islanders didn’t believe there was a Carcieri-Bush link. I don’t think that I’d classify Fogarty as a B -team. On his personal merits, yes. But he’d used his Lieutenant Governor office for the preceding years as a de facto campaign headquarters, and the unions, seeking to oust Carcieri, pulled out all the stops for Fogarty, in a wipe-out year for Republicans (marked by lots of straight party lever voting). As for Chafee, nobody associated him with Bush – Chafee’s campaign trumpeted his very public breaks with Bush and with the GOP. Plus Chafee had the advantages of incumbency. Yes, Chafee had a primary, but arguably it cemented his bona fides as the “maverick” “Republican” that he was running as. Most importantly, Chafee openly and blatently solicited Democrats to crossover and vote in the Republican primary. Absent that, he would have lost the primary. He was an idiot to believe that once done, those… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

Right after liberal Democrats, the most dangerous politicians are country club Republicans. – Thomas Sowell
http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/08/26/random_thoughts?page=2

Anthony
Anthony
12 years ago

>>As for Chafee, nobody associated him with Bush – Chafee’s campaign trumpeted his very public breaks with Bush and with the GOP.
Whitehouse spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to link Chafee to Bush–that was their whole campaign strategy and it worked. The Dems are trying to do the same thing with McCain by saying he’ll represent 4 more years of Bush, even though McCain has broken from Bush on several issues.
>>Other than some liberal bastions like the East Side, Rhode Island is not that liberal
Unfortunately it is. I’ll grant you that there are many Democrats that are social conservatives on specific issues, but just because someone supports Carcieri’s executive order doesn’t make them a conservative. As you travel through places like North Providence and Johnston, you’ll find plenty of people that support the order. But they still like their big government.
>>Chafee openly and blatently solicited Democrats to crossover and vote in the Republican primary.
Stats show that most of the crossovers were not strong Democrats. They were mainly independents, the same people that determine the outcome of general elections in RI. The party line Dems voted in the Dem primary.
Finally, I fully agree that many Rhode Islanders are tiring of the union entitlements. I also agree that conservative candidates could have made some inroads. But RI is still a liberal state and it will be years before the state shifts significantly to the right (heck, Patrick Kennedy is still a golden boy in RI).

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
12 years ago

-(heck, Patrick Kennedy is still a golden boy in RI)
Yeah, but they’re dropping like flies in the nursing homes.

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