Anchor Rising’s Top 10 Right-of-Center Rhode Islanders: 7, 6, 5
This batch of right-of-center Rhode Islanders stands as evidence that disaggregating subjectivity can have unpredictable results. If we had been satisfied to wing our list without settling on criteria, one the following three members of the top 10 would have been lower, one would have been higher, and one probably wouldn’t have made the list at all.
To those who object to any of the following placements, we can only shrug and make that favorite claim of Rhode Island officials: Our hands were tied by the process.
As a low-key worker behind the scenes (usually), Bill seems to be almost too much one of us to be some big deal conservative figure. But if you factor in his ability to generate news interest (by argument and by controversy), his local and national networking, his municipal office, and the investigative mission of his Ocean State Policy Research Institute, the points add up.
Had we compiled this list just a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Laffey would have certainly broken the top 5, and we are hopeful that circumstances and decisions will lead to turnaround rather than drift. For now, despite an announcement that he will not seek the governorship as expected, and despite rumors that he’s headed out of state, it remains undeniable that Laffey has an open line into the news cycle and still counts many Rhode Islanders among his dedicated supporters.
To include Democrats or not to include Democrats? Well, if we’re being honest (and if we acknowledge the state in which we operate), we have to admit that the political center line does cross through Democrat territory. The reality is that Mr. Caprio has been a news-generating machine, lately; he holds a reasonably powerful, high-profile office in the state; and he’s been opening up channels across media as well as across the political spectrum. As for his conservatism, it’s true that he looks likely to take the “personally opposed, politically ambivalent” cop-out on social issues, but for a Democrat, that’s a marker of moderation. Economically, we’re comfortable giving the treasurer the benefit of the doubt that he’s well to the right of his fellow Ds.
To make the title of the list more accurate, we’ve changed it from Top 10 Conservative Rhode Islanders to Top 10 Right-of-Center Rhode Islanders. Sometimes a shift in emphasis emerges between concept and publication without the resulting changes’ being as thorough as they should be; such was the case here.