Power Politics Illustrated
In a recent column having to do with Warwick GOP infighting, former Democrat City Council and School Committee Chair Bob Cushman explained the machinations that go on at the party level amongst the power brokers in Warwick.
[Councilman Steve] Colantuano in 2006 ran and was defeated in the Democrat primary by me. In 2008, he once again met with the Democrat Ward 1 chairperson and was unsuccessful in his attempt to acquire the endorsement. Fearful of losing in the Democrat primary again, he switched to the Republican Party at the last minute, receiving their endorsement along with the promise of a legion of volunteers and thousands of dollars to support his campaign. Mayor Avedisian personally contributed $1,000, the maximum amount allowed by law, to his campaign….
The old political adage – make your adversary your supporter – has been a key to Mayor Avedisian’s success since Republicans haven’t had more then two members on the City Council in over 10 years. The mayor has been so successful that he has literally crippled the Democrat party, and in the process, undermined the concept of separation of powers.
The legislative branch has effectively become a yes-man for the mayor. In return for not only political support but also for the jobs and appointed board positions the mayor has given their family and friends, these candidates, once elected, support his legislation, sponsor his appointments, and give him control over the legislative process….With new first-time Republican candidates for City Council in Danny Hall in Ward 5 and Mike Mulholland in Ward 6, who seem to have a mindset independent of the administration, challenging pro-Avedisian Democrats, will they receive the same campaign cash from the mayor and support from Warwick’s Republican Party that Mr. Colantuano received two years ago? I seriously doubt it.
Setting Cushman’s obvious personal stake aside, the machinations he describes are illustrative and indicative of a sort of insider politics that outsiders are sick of. We’ll have to wait until November to see if voter disgust rises high enough to change the status quo. I’ve got my doubts.