An Establishment Rebel in the State House
Ed Fitzpatrick catches a telling rhetorical cliché in a column about state representative and congressional candidate David Segal (D., Providence) (emphasis added):
“I have a constituency in (his House district) that voted for me at a 70/30 rate over the years in primaries, and I think that I will be framed as a progressive as such,” Segal said in fielding questions from journalists before Wednesday’s event. “But I think the issues that I talk about, when people care to listen — banking reform, jobs, the environment, insurance reform and structural reform — are almost non-ideological issues at this point. They are things almost everybody agrees need to happen. I think people are fed up with the status quo and want somebody who has not been a political insider for his whole life.”
Segal, 30, has been a politician most of his adult life, having served four years on the Providence City Council and four years in the General Assembly.
As somebody who comes from money, as I understand, Segal has gone through the Ivy League, served on a city council and in the General Assembly, started a blog, and is employed by a fellow State House Democrat. One doesn’t get much more insider than that, at his age.
Segal argues that he’s not “exactly accepted by the political establishment,” but he’s a political insider in a more essential sense than his connections clearly prove: almost nothing he has ever done — at least that would make the short-list biography of a columnist — involved action outside of government or (at broadest) a political movement with deep ties to powerful local forces. That’s not entirely a slight — accomplishment is accomplishment — but it does speak to a perspective on what it means to “make it” that is antipathetic to the fading strain of American culture that so needs reinforcement at every political level, at this juncture in history.