Toward What End They Rush

Ed Achorn takes the opportunity of the eternal contract bill — which he calls “remarkably reckless and profoundly anti-democratic piece of special-interest legislation” — to offer a helpful rule of thumb on the General Assembly’s standard operating procedures:

This is an idea that, at the very least, merits serious discussion, rather than the rush treatment it got in the Senate. When something is whipped through the legislature at lightning speed, it is a good bet that it harms the public and serves special interests. When something is discussed to death, and still not passed, it is a good sign the special interests oppose it and the public supports it. To wit: The General Assembly has refused, yet again, to create fair elections in Rhode Island, as in most other states, by eliminating the corrupting master lever. In doing so, it cavalierly ignored the formal wishes of the state’s top election officials and the government of 23 Rhode Island communities. And Rhode Island has still not joined 48 of the 49 states that make indoor prostitution illegal. (In Nevada, prostitution is legal in some counties but strictly regulated.)

There is no remedy but to change the players, and the last election gave reason to fear that such an act may be practically impossible.

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14 years ago

“…the last election gave reason to fear that such an act may be practically impossible.”
“Impossible” unless we finally get on to what I’ll call, Act II. At this critical time in our state’s history, when its future viability is critically at stake; we can no longer count on political parties to make any difference. The Democrat Party won’t change, the Republican Party seems incapable of change, and the “Moderate” Party; well that’s just the status-quo from both ends meeting blissfully in the middle.
Not until fixing the state has a sense of urgency will there ever be any change. Politics and power over principle get us INTO trouble. They will never get us out of it.
It’s not “impossible”. Its just going to take the right kind of leader.

Ken Block
14 years ago

Interesting take on the Moderate Party, George.
Reforming the educational system, equalizing taxes with our neighbors, amending our constitution to fix the ethics commission….these are not status quo issues.
Trying to bring financial responsibility without bringing along divisive social issues…not status quo.
Trying to bring back governance from the middle, as opposed to the whipsaw extremes now inflicted on the country with our swings from GOP to Dem – not status quo.
Trying something – anything – to correct the massive imbalance of power in this state – most decidedly not the status quo.
I’m interested, George, in just what strategy you think can possibly correct what’s wrong here?

14 years ago

I think the point that George may be trying to make, is that in Rhode Island, there really aren’t any parties [in the General Assembly]. There’s just one big group of largely self-serving politicians, each of them trying to take a little slice of a constantly shrinking pie, with no real interest in making things better for the rest of us. There are very few individuals who regularly vote their conscience.
I disagree with you in that I don’t think we have a problem in Rhode Island with “extremes,” but rather that there’s very little difference between most of the people holding political office, regardless of their nominal party affiliation. Lots of pastels, and very few bold colors.
To the extent that you [the Moderate Party] can get anyone elected to office, I wish you well. However, until Rhode Islanders decide that they’re finally sick of where our state has been and will continue to be, and figure out that in order to get that change, that they have to hold their own legislators accountable, nothing will change.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

There are multiple far left legislators: Levesque, Perry, to name a couple.
Nobody that one would legitimately classify as “far right” comes to mind (I use the word “legitimately” because Pat Crowley and his ilk would classify anyone to the right of Comrade Levesque as a far right).
My sense of the Moderate Party is that is essentially recycled Lincoln Chafee “moderate Republicans.”
More fiscally responsible than Democrats, but not that fiscally responsible (they aren’t going to take on Rhode Island’s burgeoning poverty industry and/ or cost of illegal aliens and anchor babies).
And preferring to ignore social issues because they tend to agree with the Democrats on homosexual marriage, illegal immigration / amnesty and infanticide / abortion.
So they are essentially fiscally moderate and socially liberal Democrats as much as they are “moderate Republicans” – for both are essentially the same thing.

14 years ago

Right on, Tom. And essentially, with less than a hand-full of exceptions, all Republicans elected to office in RI have been moderate Republicans… and where has that gotten the state GOP? What has “moderation” done for the state of Rhode Island.
Question for Mr. Block: Assuming a miracle 2010 and landslide victories for enough moderate party candidates to move legislation; How are you going to go about reducing the state budget deficit and how are you going to grow jobs in the state?

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