What “Moderate” Means…
… would seem to be precisely what skeptics thought it meant when Ken Block launched his party of that name about a year ago — namely, susceptible to pressure and manipulation. At the time, Block wrote an Engaged Citizen post in which he declared:
All ridiculous culture war issues aside, the time is right now for those who believe that what ails Rhode Island can and should be fixed. There are many disparate groups which have overlapping goals, and the need is critical right now to ignore ideological differences, pool resources and advocate together for specific changes that should be palatable to all. My strong suggestion is to push all out on separation of powers, disallowing one time payouts to be used to balance the budget and disallowing the settling of ethics charges by paying off the Ethics Commission. These ideas have popular appeal and immediate relevance.
The Web site of the Moderate Party of Rhode Island proclaims that the “hot button social topics of our times (abortion, illegal immigration, etc) necessarily must take a legislative back seat while our economy is repaired and the erosion of the tax base reversed.” And yet, in an email announcement just released, Block explains that it withdrew its endorsement of Republican David Anderson because some statements that he made in a private email “do not reflect the brand or style of politics that the Moderate Party of RI believes should be practiced.”
Well that didn’t take long! A local political operative — whose profession and public standing depend on Rhode Island’s continuation down its spiral — declares as racism concern about the affirmative action mentality — which is clearly within the realm of “hot button social topics” — and the Moderate Party rushes for distance. That doesn’t instill confidence in the organization’s dependability when the fight is truly engaged for the soul and well-being of our state.
In a response that Block emailed me when I inquired about the matter before he’d sent out his statement, Ken used the passive voice to avoid acknowledging his apparent alignment with the crowd whose smears he had rewarded with action:
It is unfortunate for David that his private email has gone public in this way. He is a very bright person who has worked hard on his campaign, and who agreed with many of the central tenets that underpin the Moderate Party of RI.
As many have argued, moderation and centrism ought not be taken for a surfeit of principle. The six Republicans whom Block still endorses could give a small indication of their seriousness about building a principled organization to rival the RI establishment by withdrawing their Moderate affiliation.