UPDATED: Running Back to Scriptable Territory
From the looks of this letter, included in a press release, RI Democrat Party Chairman Bill Lynch doesn’t like the looks of the RI Voter Coalition event:
Dear Mr. Wright,
I write to you today in my capacity as chairman of the Democratic Party of Rhode Island with regards to the gubernatorial “debate” or “forum” you have attempted to organized and schedule for next month. After personally consulting with both Democratic candidates for governor and reviewing the Providence Journal’s reporting of your efforts, I have advised and encouraged both Democratic campaigns to refrain from attending what clearly appears to be an orchestrated event designed to benefit another potential candidate.
Both the general treasurer and attorney general are ready and eager to engage in a public discussion of the important issues facing our state. However, I would respectfully suggest that any event which includes a “mystery guest” and another declared candidate seated in the audience creates what can only be described as a sideshow atmosphere. These variables combined with dramatic changes to the format after the two Democratic campaigns agreed to participate indicate that this event would be anything but fair and impartial.
It is my opinion that you systematically misrepresented both the purpose and specific arrangements of the aforementioned “debate.” The people of Rhode Island deserve to hear an honest exchange of ideas between candidates brought together by well-respected and non-partisan organizations. I am well aware of ongoing discussions between both Democratic candidates and other reputable, non-partisan groups interested in sponsoring or hosting candidate debates. The voters of Rhode Island deserve more than politically crafted events disguised as good government forums.
Rhode Island will face significant challenges in the coming years and this a time for real leadership and serious, meaningful debate. I would proudly put either of our fine Democratic candidates up against any of the other rumored gubernatorial candidate as both are capable of leading this state in a new and better direction.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at my office, (401) 721-9900.
William J. Lynch, chairman
The Democratic Party of Rhode Island
There’s a similarity, here, to suspicions that the Tea Party movement was just scripted partisan showmanship (which it wasn’t). Real grassroots — the kind that involves citizens actually forming new groups and seeking to answer questions like, “Why can’t we just host a forum?” — will involve some unpredictability and odd statements and maneuvers. That’s the point. Folks who get involved that way — rather than signing on for “grassroots” activism that has been thoroughly vetted and neutered — are challenging the usual practices.
That factor, mixed with an understandable fear that the people of Rhode Island might wake up to the mess that entrenched powers have made (think chloroform and date rape) help to explain Lynch’s paranoia.
ADDENDUM (5:35 p.m.):
And in the time it took me to drive home, with a stop to pick up some paper towels:
PAWTUCKET – The two Democratic candidates for Rhode Island governor, General Treasurer Frank Caprio and Attorney General Patrick Lynch, spoke by telephone within the hour and have agreed to refrain from participating in a January forum / debate organized by Coventry resident Steven Wright.
No word on whether the candidates sought to reconcile their concerns with Mr. Wright, first. Remember this when either of these candidates comes looking for your vote during the general election.