Playing Politics in the State’s Center of Politics

The in-boxes of Rhode Island’s state senators have been the battleground, of late, for a political spat between Sen. Leonidas Raptakis (D, Coventry, East Greenwich, Warwick, West Warwick) and Sen. Daniel DaPonte (D., East Providence, Pawtucket):

  • Raptakis wrote to Senate President Theresa Paiva Weed to suggest that the legislature should reconvene (PDF).
  • DaPonte wrote a snippy response, apparently on Paiva Weed’s behalf (PDF).
  • And Raptakis came back (PDF).
  • To which DaPonte gave the old “this’ll be my last letter” (PDF).

What I find especially peculiar in these exchanges — and we saw the same sort of retort from House Speaker Bill Murphy (D, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) to Rep. Greg Schadone (D, North Providence), when the latter suggested reconvening the House — is the leadership’s quick resort to the accusation that the legislator is merely playing politics, as DaPonte opens his first reply:

I’m writing in response to your letter to Senate President Paiva Weed this date regarding the state’s fiscal crisis. I would point out to you that the press was in receipt of the letter before Senator Paiva Weed received it. Thus, it must be admitted that the suspicion that your letter is motivated more by politics than public policy, is not easily dismissed.

What a mind-numbingly stupid attitude. Apparently, Senate Finance Committee Chairman DaPonte is not sufficiently well versed in American political philosophy to understand that our system is designed to spur government officials to behave according to political incentives. We don’t have a governing hierarchy of policy wonks. We have a system in which politicians stake out the ground likely to gain them the most public support, in keeping with their own beliefs and priorities, and pursue policies accordingly, within the bounds of checks, balances, and federalist procedures.
One can’t help but wonder whether DaPonte’s (and Murphy’s) failure to comprehend such a basic principle has something to do with their sense of permanence — of being an unimpeachable class of Public Servants.

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11 years ago

What’s so amazing is how these legislative leaders simply don’t care about this state. They don’t care! They run for office and grab as many goodies as they can for themselves and their family/friends. They don’t care what’s going on around them and don’t exclude the Republicans from this mix. House minority leader Bob Watson is a very happy and contented member of the General Assembly country club. Haven’t heard Watson publicly rip on the Impotent Emperor House Speaker Bill Murphy now have you? Where is Joe Trillo’s letter to the Impotent Emperor?? Don’t let them kid you. Guys like Watson and Trillo are card carrying members of the Smith Hill country club.

11 years ago

If you want to know why these legislative leaders get away with their shenanigans take a listen to Matt Allen’s podcast of the Violent Roundtable from last night. Matt had TV political reporters Rappleye, Hummel and Daly on his show.
Talk about delusional. Yikes!!!
No wonder our population is so ignorant. If not for talk radio there is no media in this state that covers/challenges/exposes anything beyond Gov. Carcieri on Smith Hill.
(Btw Rappleye/Hummel/Daly actually believe because Gov. Carcieri talks to them on-camera it’s validation of their fairness in covering him. lol Hmmm, it wouldn’t be because the Gov wants to get his words out over TV and has no other TV options?? Hey Rapp, when’s the last time the governor agreed to do your fair and balanced Sunday show?? That long huh?? Ooooops!)
Take a listen. – click the ON AIR then click MATT ALLEN scroll down and click on Matt’s podcasts and take a listen to the 3 blind media mice.

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