Anchor Rising’s Top 10 Right-of-Center Rhode Islanders: 2, 1
It isn’t until one attempts to score people’s influence and power that it becomes clear what separates the tiers — and what an opportunity and responsibility having the spotlight can be. By virtue of their offices, our top 2 are well ahead of the rest of the pack, and unless conservatives (or otherwise right-of-center players) begin claiming new positions — or creating them — it’s difficult to imagine much change.
Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin is unique on this list in that he’s much stronger in social conservatism than in economic, largely because we adjusted for his position on immigration in the latter category. Still, one can hardly deny that he belongs on the list, and once that’s admitted, the rest is simple admission of reality. The bishop is frequently mentioned in the news — most substantially in a week-long Projo spread a short while ago — and both his influence and direct decision authority span parishes, schools, religious organizations, charities, and even the diocese’s own newspaper.
As much as some of our fellow frustrated RI conservatives may wish to deny the obvious, Governor Don Carcieri clearly sets the top-end conservative benchmark in the state. Rail against his style, strategy, and effectiveness, if you must, but the governor is undeniably a right-wing stalwart in the social and economic positions that he states, and his influence and direct power are unmatched among the state’s conservatives. That he leads our navy blue state sometimes seems to be a quirk of modern history, and with the political field as it currently appears, we aren’t likely to repeat the miracle when his term is up.