Move Left for Lefties, Right for Righties
So, yeah, it’s the nature of politics that candidates move as far toward the ideology of a given audience as they think they can get away with, which increases the appearance of their agreement. Still, there are two additional — and worrisome — factors at play when the Providence Journal can describe the performance of six candidates for governor at a progressive event:
On many fronts, there were more similarities than differences among the slate of candidates that included two Democrats, two Republicans, a Moderate and an independent.
The first factor is that the candidates are, in fact, too close to each other, politically. At least, it can be said that so many things are considered to be relevant to government, at this point in our state and country history, that there’s always plenty of room to emphasize agreement. As an exception that proves the rule, consider this odd moment:
Republicans Victor G. Moffitt and John Robitaille were not asked about their positions on sex education or abortion, although both have described themselves as antiabortion.
I don’t know whose decision it was not to ask the two Republicans those questions, but it can’t be healthy. Either they didn’t want to say or the event hosts didn’t want their audience to have to hear something with which they disagreed.
The second factor is that the political tracks are too well worn, especially in Rhode Island. The candidates know what they’re supposed to say to whom, and for the most part, the various constituencies are content to hear it. And there we go. Business as usual continues. How else to interpret this from Robitaille?
Robitaille, Governor Carcieri’s former communications director, went the furthest when he endorsed the creation of a task force to improve the state’s cash-assistance program, known as welfare.
“I don’t think throwing more money at a problem is going to solve it,” he said. “I’m not talking about cutting programs. I’m talking about making them better.”