The Far-Left Moderate

When Ken Block first began putting together the Moderate Party, he gave me some practical reasons that he was participating more in discussion on RI Future than here. I wasn’t particularly concerned, whatever the justifications, but as his candidacy for governor has brought forward, and as the transcript of his Projo chat palpably illustrates, part of the reason was surely that he’s pretty radical in his social beliefs. In other words, he’s got some good-government instincts, and he may be “moderate” on fiscal matters, but he’s arguably as far left as any other candidate in the race on most other matters.
We’ve already heard his desire to sign same-sex marriage into law, but consider this answer on immigration (emphasis added):

I was in Arizona when Gov. Brewer signed her immigration bill into law. I am against this type of immigration reform. It is open to profiling and smacks of xenophobia. Illegal immigration is a serious problem and has a large associated cost to society. We need the federal government to significantly change our current immigration laws and postures and then follow up on that change with appropriate changes at the state level. I am for E-Verify and use it in my businesses.

Well, we don’t want Americans to “smack of xenophobia,” I guess, least of all in a border state that’s beginning to see social turmoil and drug wars spill over our open border.
The more I hear from Ken, the less I’m sure what he would bring to the table, as governor. The top executive position, in this state, isn’t really empowered to do much about our fundamental problems. That’s especially true of a “reform” candidate who says such things as this:

I am a concensus builder – there are a lot of disaffected legislators in our General Assembly who would be willing to work with the right Governor – a Governor open to dialog and realsistic solutions to the problems plaguing our state.

Ah, yes. If only Governor Carcieri were more of a consensus builder, then all of those well-intentioned legislators would come around. Baloney! The General Assembly will dialogue all day — all year — even as the state falls apart. Governor Block would be rolled on every substantive issue, while he makes same-sex marriage the law of our little land and backslides on immigration.
I’d love to hear why I’m wrong, but in the meantime, I suppose we can thank Ken for ensuring that there’s a broad swath of political space to the right of center in this race. Block, Lynch, Chafee, and Caprio cluster pretty closely on the left, as far as I can see.

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Dan
Dan
11 years ago

I’m starting to like the approach my friend has taken toward all social issues.
“Isn’t it terrible that gays can’t visit their partners in hospitals during emergencies?”
“I don’t see what that has to do with fixing the deficit.”
“Women don’t make as much as men make.”
“Oh. Has the deficit been fixed yet?”
“Illegal aliens shouldn’t be discriminated against.”
“Have you heard when will the deficit be fixed?”
He has a knack for prioritization, I’ll give him that much.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

“smack of xenophobia,”
Xenophobia isn’t all bad, ask Xenophon and his 10,000 Greeks.
What is this about “immigration reform”? What is so wrong with “immigration enforcement”? Did we just waste all of our time making those laws?

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Perhaps your friend addresses issues differently with you than in the press. There, I hear:
“What about same-sex marriage? Don’t you think the time has come for that in Rhode Island?”
“As Governor, I will sign a same-sex marriage bill into law.”
Of course, were I to ask the same question, perhaps Ken would deploy the “Think of the deficit!” shield. So, he advances left wing causes in the name of not letting them distract us from the “moderate” issues. Great.
Now, my opinion might be different if his answer were: “I will veto everything that isn’t directly related to Rhode Island’s poor economy.”

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

“Isn’t it terrible that gays can’t visit their partners in hospitals during emergencies?”
This is simply a hospital “rule”. If the hospital administrators were “people of good will”, I don’t understand why state and federal action are required.
It isn’t like “jim crow”, it is not embedded in state statutes.

Tim
Tim
11 years ago

Christine Hunsinger is the Executive Director of the “Moderate” party. lol
Ken Block ain’t the only lefty in that non-entity.
Btw I always want to ask these consensus builders how different this state would look had Myrth York won 8 years ago. The consensus she would have brought would have meant higher taxes, expanded social service networks/spending, union pandering, no check on illegal aliens, an expanded state workforce, the promotion of wacko libs to the bench, allowing the Blue Cross monopoly to continue, allowing the workers comp scam that was Beacon Mutual to continue, etc.
History will judge Gov. Carcieri in a very positive light.

John
John
11 years ago

History will not criticize Carcieri for any lack of attempts to build consensus. Rather, historians will look at him and probably note that the fact that he grew up here, and has pretty much always lived here, blinded him to the way his local boy desire to build consensus, and belief in the efficacy of his attempts to do so, were cynically exploited by the parties on the other side, including the GA, the public sector unions, and the poverty industry, all of whom have found it much more convenient to blame him that to risk change that might save the sinking ship of state. Had we had a Dem in the Governor’s office for the past 8 years, we would have gone down one of two paths — the one described below (call it the Myrth York scenario), or, had we had a Dem governor that actually tried to reform the system, we would have had our own version of Deval, Granholm, or Patterson getting beaten up and rolled by legislatures run by their own Democratic party colleagues.
The point is, the problem in many cases is now structural — the people who once could have formed a majority to vote for changing the system have left the state, leaving a majority that doesn’t want to change the system, and at this point is only interested in figuring out their own personal end game. It is clear whose interests will be the next to be gored: the municipal bondholders. Then, in the last act, we will see the public sector unions and poverty industry fighting over the scraps that are left. We will have our own versions of Venezuela, and RI will likely lead the way to that sad ending.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
11 years ago

From the very beginning, the Moderate Party was nothing more than a stage for the egomaniac Block. The term Moderate is a mere headfake to hide the true radical left wing social agenda he espouses. It’s been said that the Block’s discussions of potential Moderate party candidates all centered on the social issues. He is heard to be one rude SOB. Good. Let him waste his time and money. He will be lucky to get 3% of the vote.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
11 years ago

What is that about?

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Apologies, Mike. I’m juggling a dozen things at once and misadministered the comment section. I’ve restored the deleted comment. Sorry.

Mike Capelli
Mike Capelli
11 years ago

No problem, Justin.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“It is open to profiling and smacks of xenophobia.”
Ken, can you please clarify:
1.) In view of the fact that the Arizona law mirrors the federal law, what about US immigration law is xenophobic?
2.) What does immigration reform look like to you? If it includes any kind of amnesty for those already here, how will we discourage the next 12-20 million+ from coming here to simply wait for a fourth mass amnesty?

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“Ah, yes. If only Governor Carcieri were more of a consensus builder, then all of those well-intentioned legislators would come around. Baloney! The General Assembly will dialogue all day — all year — even as the state falls apart.”
Bravo, Justin. Exactly right on every point.

mikeinri
11 years ago

I don’t see Block as having any real place, or niche, in this race. He’s competing for the same votes as Chafee, only without the experience or name recognition.
Justin, since switching formats, the other blog doesn’t seem as active…less posts and comments. How does your site compare, as far as number of hits and unique visitors?

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

“The Far-Left Moderate”
Yet again, it’s funny to see the different comments about Block. On the other blog, they’ve labeled him as a former Republican and as right-wing as Carcieri.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

mikeinri:
I haven’t been following the race that closely. A few years ago, Matt Jerzyk and I compared numbers, and I recall that RIFuture had 2-3 times our traffic. We’re now well beyond double what RIFuture was drawing in the pre-Crowley days, and various bits of evidence suggest that RIFuture has drifted down from that number since then.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

Knowing somébody who was called Marxist by Block when asking him to contribute to a scholarship event, I won’t dispute the characterization of Block as rude.
The Moderate Party is a great idea that is being executed poorly. They should be putting up a candidate for Congress.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

Perhaps it’s because RIF’s most rabid posters are hanging out here now?
J/K. I now that a lot more people read AR than comment. It would actually be nice if more readers would join in the comments. It’s good practice for political conversation elsewhere in life.

swazool
swazool
11 years ago

Governor Carcieri has done nothing for this state. You can blame the GA, Him, or both. (I think it is both) I do think it should be noted that the Don hasn’t given the state any direction, changing his mind on virtually every thing (gaming, with holding taxes from the city, cutting pay) except gay marriage, burial, or anything gay related. The governor hasn’t got the tomatoes to stand up to anyone, the unions or the GA. You all can hold on to your fight against marriage, but you haven’t got a prayer. With the speaker being gay, and the majority of the candidates saying they will sign a bill for gay marriage, I think if you look back now you probably wish you had given gays “civil unions” years ago because now you are going to give them the whole enchilada! Heterosexual marriages are in peril now!

Steve A.
Steve A.
11 years ago

Similar to Patrick’s comments, I wondered the same thing when I read this post. Why is it that liberals label Block as a Republican in diguise and that the Moderate Party and Republican Party are one in the same? On the other side of things conservatives label him a liberal. My thought/opinion is that maybe that’s what categorizes you as a Moderate. When you are left and you see someone you feel is to your right, or you’re on the right and you see someone you feel is to your left, isn’t that in many ways what makes someone a centrist almost by definition?
If the consensus was unanimous that the Moderate Party candidates were left of center or vice versa, would they really be moderate? If I’m wrong in this assessment tell me how, but that’s how it looks to me.

LL
LL
11 years ago

“Block, Lynch, Chafee, and Caprio cluster pretty closely on the left, as far as I can see.”
Justin – compared to you, everyone is off to the Left. It is all a matter of perspective.

mangeek
mangeek
11 years ago

I’m not sure what the point of pointing-out that Ken is left-leaning is.
Justin, -you- already have a political party, the Republican one. It jives well with both your social and fiscal values.
Most Rhode Islanders are stuck voting for folks who they -don’t- like, because the only way they can have their way on the social issues is to vote for the party that doesn’t control spending.
There are a lot of us who don’t understand why you can’t be left-leaning on social issues and responsible with money at the same time.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

“Left-leaning on social issues and responsible with money at the same time.”
1. The biggest expense in the state is “social services” giving easy, albeit low-level, lifestyles to the lazy and resentful and to illegal aliens. Leftist ideas of paternalistic government directly spend money irresponsibly and in enormous amounts.
2. Leftists control the education establishment in RI, producing steadily declining, failing results at steadily increasing costs.
3. Leftists open their arms to welfare-seeking illegal aliens, exacerbating point #1.
(Let’s be clear: Leftists want as many people as possible to be either dependent on or controlled by government. One group ensures continued power in office by corrupting the process of democracy, and the other makes slaves of the Left’s opponents.)
4. Leftists are soft on crime, allowing criminals back on the streets at horrific financial, personal and social costs on law-abiding citizens.
5. Leftists consider business evil and unions blessed, and so have tipped the legal scales in favor of their unionist allies destroying the business climate with the effects we see today on increased unemployment, reduced tax revenues, and increased demand for those “social services”.
These are just a few ways in which Leftist positions on “social issues” translate directly into financial disaster for the government, at all levels.

Publius
Publius
11 years ago

Block said…
“I was in Arizona when Gov. Brewer signed her immigration bill into law. I am against this type of immigration reform. It is open to profiling and smacks of xenophobia. Illegal immigration is a serious problem and has a large associated cost to society. We need the federal government to significantly change our current immigration laws and postures and then follow up on that change with appropriate changes at the state level. I am for E-Verify and use it in my businesses.”
Block seems dead nuts center to me. He certainly isn’t a lefty, and definitely not on the right, so I don’t understand how he’s being characterized as such.
With regards to the immigration opinion, he’s right, we don’t want to become xenophobic, and that’s a risk. Utilization of E-Verify should be enough to prevent businesses from using illegals. If they can’t work here, hopefully they’ll stop immigrating illegally to find work.
Same sex marriage? Who cares? The sky hasn’t fallen anywhere that this has been instituted, and the gays are divorcing at the same rate as traditional marriage.
He’s been honest about his lack of a policy on carbon emissions, instead of giving us lip diarrhea on the topic.
He understands that pension reform needs to be implemented and also understands that expecting an 8.5% return is nonsense in this environment.
He supports the efforts of Deborah Gist, which is refreshing,and as the owner of a small business, he understands the needs of the business community.
As opposed to be “rude” in person, he’s a very smart guy, well-informed, and passionate about his beliefs. If people can’t handle it, that’s their issue.
In my opinion he’s a credible candidate that can make an impact. Certainly not the same old same old.

RiverFox
RiverFox
11 years ago

I had e-mailed Block when the party first showed up. I was hopeful. I was going to help the cause. After a few e-mail exchanges, this party hasn’t a chance. He dosen’t come close to my views. Probably will be gone after this election anyway. He dosen’t
support E-Verifty! Hmm, maybe he hires illegals in his work place or to cut his lawn.

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