Disappointing First Definition

So we’ve all supported the right of the Moderate Party to form, and it’s been an interesting process. Now that Ken Block has achieved the milestone of officiality, however, the big question is what the group actually means by “moderate.” The 4E marketing — economy, ethics, education, and the environment — is tantamount to declaring, “We’re for everything good and nothing controversial.” The general assumption, bolstered by the involvement of Arlene Violet, is that this translates into Republicanism minus social issues — or, more likely, capitulating on social issues.
It’s disappointing, therefore, to see this be the first political shot taken by the party’s new executive director, Christine Hunsinger, previously press secretary for Elizabeth “I thank the House leadership for letting me attend this OCG event” Dennigan:

“Governor Carcieri’s performance — if we’re grading it — I’m going to flunk him,” Hunsinger said. “This thing with unions is a shell game. Whatever deal he strikes will bind the hands of the next governor. I think it’s smoke and mirrors. They’re just playing around and it’s bad policy.”

It’s entirely possible that reporter Steve Peoples plucked this statement from a wide-ranging list of complaints about both major parties in all branches of government, but it also wouldn’t be surprising if Hunsinger provided it as her one specific statement in a warm, fuzzy discussion about her new job. Either way, the Moderate Party’s first tentative steps toward real political action are not encouraging. When the microphone is placed before her, whom does Hunsinger attack? The corrupt and absent General Assembly, which holds most of the power? The system of mutual background support across government branches? The social welfare empire? The public employee union machine? No. She “flunks” the governor. Ms. Dennigan couldn’t have said it better.
The Moderates’ challenge remains self-definition, and at this moment, that appears to require disproof of the impression of political hacks seeking indecisive voters.

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Tim
Tim
11 years ago

My definition for the Moderate Party = mediocrity that’s seeking another route since they’re closed off from climbing the party ladder. (Arlene Violet, Linc Chafee etc)
Ms. Hunsinger proves the point. Her verbalized lack of a acumen on the issues is simply a parroting of her former boss, the highly incompetent state Rep who’s running against Jim Langevin, Democrat Betsy Dennigan. Listen to Betsy attempt to talk issues sometime. She’s the female John Tassoni.
Moderate = mediocre
As a right leaning unaffiliated voter I have little interest in what they’re about. You nailed it Justin. The MP presents itself as nothing more than political hacks and has-beens looking for something to do.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“”Governor Carcieri’s performance — if we’re grading it — I’m going to flunk him,” Hunsinger said. “This thing with unions is a shell game. Whatever deal he strikes will bind the hands of the next governor. I think it’s smoke and mirrors. They’re just playing around and it’s bad policy.””
Oh, no.
Some brushing up on the most rudimentary concept of Rhode Island government is clearly in order; namely, which branch possesses the lion’s share of power (hint: it’s neither the Executive nor the Judicial) and who, therefore, has placed us in our current economic jam.
But here’s an excellent opportunity. Keeping in mind the limited powers of the Governor’s office, how would either Ms. Hunsinger or the Moderate Party, if she is speaking for them, handle differently the situation that she refers to?

Tim
Tim
11 years ago

Deep thoughts by the Executive director of the Mediocre Party……
“This thing with unions is a shell game…..”I think it’s smoke and mirrors.”…..”They’re just playing around and it’s bad policy.”
It is laughable isn’t it?? This is a governor who has reduced the state workforce by 3,000 and his own staff by 25% during his term. Shell games!
This is a governor that must deal with a hole in the budget left to him by the Executive director of the Mediocre party’s Democrat friends in the General Assembly. One of the few mechanisms at his disposal to deal with this hole is in personnel costs. Just smoke and mirrors!!
While trying to save jobs (already eliminated 3,000) while saving money in a bad economy the governor plans more smoke and mirror stunts like furlough/shutdown days.
The unions have also been “just playing around” by making concessions here and in prior contracts. The governor has changed their healthcare insurer, their pensions have changed, they have deferred raises etc.
Yup, the governor and union are just playing shell games here. Unreal!!!
Ms. Hunsinger is the Executive Director of the Mediocre Party.
How fitting!

Ken Block
11 years ago

Much more context is needed for Christine’s comment than a 300 word article in the Projo can provide.
Our position is that ALL of our politicians are acting in a manner that is simply reactive. “Let’s deal with last year’s deficit and not even attempt to deal with next year’s problems, let alone future deficits.”
If Gov. Carcieri does in fact bargain away his ability to modify staffing levels to close last year’s deficit he is sweeping away a large part of his ability to address 2010’s deficit.
Most of the solutions that I have read about simply involve moving chunks of payments now to some later date – none of them address the serious issue of our continuing structural deficits.
Can Gov. Carcieri actually negotiate a deal that binds his successor in Jan. of 2011? One of our problems is that a contract should be binding. If a contract needs to be opened for re-negotiations – it is incumbent on all sides to try to get it right once, and not go back year after year after year.
It is unfair to all stakeholders to perpetuate unsustainable contracts – or to offer up modifications to existing contracts that all but ensure that these same contracts will need to re-re-negotiated at a later date.
To me – these current negotiations are a sham. I personally believe that these negotations are setting the state up for a really nasty problem this time next year.
Ken

Ken Block
11 years ago

oh yeah…
It goes without saying that the General Assembly bears huge responsibility for the fiscal mess that Rhode Island is in now. We are already on record as stating that the root cause of the vast majority of Rhode Island’s problems can be traced back to the RI Legislature.
The primary mission of the Moderate Party is to bring balance back to the RI Legislature.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

Thanks Ken. Ok, you and Elizabeth have stated what’s wrong with what the governor wants to do. What would a Moderate Party governor do differently to fix this? Is there a candidate ready to announce yet? Or two? How about rather than telling us what’s wrong, tell us how you’d fix it with real answers. Now that’d be productive.

George
George
11 years ago

I don’t find too much about the Moderate party to get excited about. I think of it as a new home for the most liberal of Republicans, like Avedisian, and as someone already said, Chafee and Violet. I don’t see “moderation” as a solution to the state’s problems.
That said, I’d have to agree with Ms. Hunsinger that the Governor is not getting it done. What the Governor is addressing is all smoke and mirrors compared to the reality of the BIG problem. RI does not have a $17 million or $30 million problem. It has a BILLION dollar problem! The people look to the highest elected official for leadership and courage. He’s just not getting it done.
If the RIGOP is going to come back from the dead in 2010 IT WILL NOT HAPPEN by defending the Governor!

Frank
Frank
11 years ago

Good question Patrick.
It seems at times that almost everyone complains about the Governor. He is certainly the most visible individual at the state level even if he is not responsible for the state’s budget problems and is largely restrained in his powers by the lopsided democrat majority in the legislature. Yet he is roundly criticized for not solving the state’s budget problems. Few dare to declare what workable plan they would implement if they were in his place. It’s easy to pile on when the ship has nearly sunk; hopefully the moderate party has something to offer besides more empty criticism.

mikeinri
11 years ago

Mr. Block, for whom do you speak when you say “we”? How many people are part of the Moderate party? Has the group created a platform of positions? With all due respect, when I think of moderate party, I think of Ken Block. Is there more?

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

Has the Moderate Party replaced unions as the bogeyman here?
These guys speak to those of us who look at state government and say “pox on both your houses.” They make the case the Republican Party should’ve been making all these years.
This state is screaming for a third way, between the too-long-entrenched Democratic good ‘ol boys and the Carcieri mentality. Maybe the Mods are a bigger nightmare for social conservatives than the Dems (whose leadership has just rolled over for The Don in that regard.

Tim
Tim
11 years ago

Ken sez, “Much more context is needed for Christine’s comment than a 300 word article in the Projo can provide.” Somehow methinks Steve Peoples captured the essence of fellow Democrat Ms. Hunsinger quite nicely. “Our position is that ALL of our politicians are acting in a manner that is simply reactive. “Let’s deal with last year’s deficit and not even attempt to deal with next year’s problems, let alone future deficits.” If Gov. Carcieri does in fact bargain away his ability to modify staffing levels to close last year’s deficit he is sweeping away a large part of his ability to address 2010’s deficit.” No he’s not and that’s the point. The governor of this state has very little capability to address budgetary deficits because he doesn’t control the budget or the mandates in that budget. This governor has been downsizing the state workforce all along. That’s hardly reactive Ken. Just imagine the budgetary nightmare we’d be seeing if the governor hadn’t been pro-active in reducing the size of this workforce by 3,000. “Most of the solutions that I have read about simply involve moving chunks of payments now to some later date – none of them address the serious issue of our continuing structural deficits.” The governor is negotiating with the unions in an attempt to fix a hole in the current budget which was left to him by the General Assembly. Ken, for continuing structural deficits please take your case to the source of the problem and the only place it can be fixed – the RI General Assembly. “Can Gov. Carcieri actually negotiate a deal that binds his successor in Jan. of 2011? One of our problems is that a contract should be binding. If a contract needs to be opened for re-negotiations – it is incumbent… Read more »

George
George
11 years ago

I have to agree with the “sham” theory. The Governor is not addressing the structural problems behind the ONE BILLION DOLLAR problem. The sham is that he’s pretending that these negotiations will result in a solution, when they are, in reality, just another band-aid. Even if he acheived the 12 furlough days he wanted in the beginning, it would have done very little to address the real underlying problems that threaten to destroy the state. I know, I know “the general assembly has ‘all the power'” – that’s just an excuse and, quite frankly, part of the whole scam. But the Governor is the highest elected official in the state. The people look to the Governor for leadership. He’s not even talking about the REAL PROBLEM. “Sham”, “shell game”, “smoke and mirrors”, call it what you will. It’s all a fraud and the Governor is NOT being the leader we need!

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

George, please can you give specifics.
What is the “real problem”?
How is acknowledging that most power vests with the General Assembly “an excuse”? Isn’t that simply identifying the responsible party? By calling such an action “an excuse”, are you trying to shield the General Assembly from the consequences of their actions?
What exactly is the sham? What could the Governor be doing that you are apparently contending he refuses to do?

George
George
11 years ago

Monique,
He could start by telling the truth. By joining the GA chorus in singing the balance budget lullaby he has helped push the state closer to the abyss. We can already see the consequences of the lies. Very soon we’ll feel them.
He went over budget by over $300,000. Hardly a good example to set when you’re trying to blame the legislature for EVERYTHING.
The clash with council 94 is getting him a lot of news coverage now, but wouldn’t taxpayers be much better off now if he had addressed or mitigated these issues in the original contract?
Please don’t tell me he didn’t know where the state was heading financially at the time.
What could he do? He could lead! He could tell the people the truth! He could have begun to expose the fraud in the GA budgets before he signed the first one in 2003.
Is the state any better off since he became Governor? The GA has remained virtually the same. What sort of defense has he put up for the people of the state when the deficit has continued to worsen over the course of his tenure. Why even have a Governor if he gets a pass on the state’s financial viability?
Reagan passed sweeping reform with a Democrat-controlled congress. Mayor Laffey’s reforms in Cranston passed unanimously with a majority-democrat council, 6-3 in his first term, 8-1 in his second term.
When the people have a strong leader, legislative bodies follow.

George
George
11 years ago

One more example… When George W. Bush led, his legislative agenda was successfull. When he acquiesced (i.e. surrendered leadership) he lost the congress and they walked all over him.

Tim
Tim
11 years ago

George asks, “Is the state any better off since he became Governor?”
Absolutely!! Without question.
This Governor has reduced the state workforce by 3,000. We’re at the lowest number of state employees since they’ve been tracking such things. Ronald Reagan would be proud. What was Phony Laffey’s record in Cranston re: downsizing?
The benefit packages of the state workers (that the gov has control over) have been brought much more into line with the real world through the governor changing their health insurance provider and with pension changes. He’s done much to de-fang labor in this state by not backing down to them despite their endless attacks and attempts to smear him and his family over the past 7 years.
He broke up Democratic party criminal enterprises in Blue Cross, Beacon Mutual and RIRRC. He’s gone a long way in cleaning up the judiciary through his quality appointments. Brendan Doherty. Need I say more? He’s made RI an unattractive place for illegals by the use of E-verify and allowing the RI State police to work closely with the feds and ICE. All of the above have a positive impact on the citizens and taxpayers of Rhode Island. You think any of the above is happening with Charlie Fogarty or Myrth York??
This governor is not perfect. He’s made his fair share of mistakes and I wish he were a much nastier guy at times but I tire at the undless and unfair blame that’s placed at his doorstep over issues out of his control.
Don Carcieri’s job is to govern and I’d say he’s done a pretty damn good job given what’s he’s had to work with.

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

Let’s just cut the crap and have a unicameral legislature elected by proportional representation. This means 3, 4, 5 or more parties. Have several of the parties join together to put in a government by coalition. This seems the best way to throttle “big government”.
OldTimeLefty

Brittancus
Brittancus
11 years ago

Our government panders to the 20 to 30 plus (?) illegal immigrants allowing them free subsidies from taxpayers in the US. California–a Sanctuary State has one of the worst records that currently languish under the immense burden of near bankruptcy, instead of –ATTRACTING–ICE to illegal business operations. Our own government is so absorbed in protecting every other countries border? They remain unconcerned to our poor replica border fence that should have been a two-tier periphery, with border patrol surveillance lanes in between, as originally planned by Rep. Duncan Hunter. Every time a good enforcement plan is written, it’s methodically cut to pieces by pro-illegal worker politicians and open border fanatics. Though we spend billions on our armed forces in foreign lands, the rich countries in Europe just forward token troops and little money: while our nation is literary falling apart at the seams–or its rivets? Any moment now I expect to hear of yet another collapsing ailing city bridge, deteriorating waterworks, the underground pipes and eroding highway. Our cities are already exhibiting inward decay, but years of neglect by the very people who’s supposed to protect us do nothing? I have reiterated watch “The Crumbling of America” on the History (International) channel in the next few weeks and learn? This is where your tax dollars should be going? We must not allow the Administration as in previous times keep sending our precious tax dollars to other countries. These politicians are deaf, dumb and intentionally blind to the rigors our industrial nation is going through. Not just Democrats, but the Republicans have had their sticky fingers in the bad apple–SPECIAL INTEREST–barrel, where money is plentiful. It’s like they are intentionally trying to turn our magnificent country into a third world nation, while making other cheap labor countries, on an even par… Read more »

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