In Favor of a Split Government
Portsmouth historian Mary Beth Klee is right that Rhode Island can’t afford to put the state government entirely in the hands of the Democrat Party, whether that means a Governor Caprio or a Governor Chafee, who is ideologically sympathetic to the worst, most ill-suited-to-lead segments of the Democrat Party. In making her case, she does remind readers that, for all of his inexplicable actions over the past year, Governor Carcieri has done some good for the state:
Rhode Island’s tax burden has dropped from fourth heaviest in the nation to tenth. (Still a far cry from nearby New Hampshire’s 50th in the nation or Massachusetts, at 24th.) The governor has worked to streamline state government and pass balanced budgets without increasing citizen tax burdens.
My personal favorite: His administration made it possible to renew a driver’s license or vehicle registration quickly at the AAA instead of waiting endless hours at the hopelessly inefficient Division of Motor Vehicles. The governor also called for Rhode Island’s state and municipal workers to sacrifice with the rest of us, and take salary cuts, as most employees in the private sector have these past two years. (They did not.)
The question that arises for Republicans and conservatives who would vote for Frank Caprio as a means of blocking Lincoln Chafee is whether they believe that, once in office, Caprio would pull his entire party toward him — including the politically dominant General Assembly — or his party would pull him toward it. Those of us who would find him preferable to both of those options should realize that Republican John Robitaille is not out of this race.