Bewildered Leaders and a Bewitched Population

Calling Lincoln Chafee our “bewildered governor” and joking about the national search no doubt conducted before Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio hired the 25-year-old son of his union pal for a $90k job, Ed Achorn puts his finger on the chilling reality:

Until voters hold accountable these leaders — and the legislators who put them in power — they simply will not care if the masses suffer while those with connections gorge at the trough. If you vote those representatives and senators out of office for going along with these raises — or, at least, offer a credible threat that you will do so — you might find these leaders rethinking the question of whom they actually serve.

A few people still hold out hope that such a thing could happen, in Rhode Island, but I can’t say I’m among them. The system is simply locked up by people invested in the corruption, which is a polite way of saying that they’re bought off. I’d argue that the great majority of them would actually be better off under a fairer, less corrupt government, but few would listen.
In a state where people say that everybody knows everybody, too many folks think knowing somebody should actually be of legitimate value.

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Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

“Until voters hold accountable these leaders”
But the problem is the politicians have figured out how to game the system. You take great care of the people in your district at the expense of the rest of the state. I’d love to vote Dominic Ruggerio out of office, but I don’t live in his district. I have no say. Only his people do. But if he brings home the bacon and buys spaghetti dinners for every old folks home in town, gets money for every Little League and Girl Scout troop, then they get re-elected.
That’s the problem is these people affect those of us who have no say over their seat in office.
Same thing happens at the federal level. I’d love to get Charles Shumer out of office, but I don’t live in NY. There’s not a whole lot I can do.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

If you want to know exactly what’s wrong with Rhode Island, compare the following two actual job interviews I had last year.
–Actual job interview in DC–
Interviewer: We’re impressed with your resume. Do you have your writing sample with you?
Me: Yes, it’s right here.
Interviewer: Did you write this brief?
Me: Yes. It was a case I argued in MA Superior Court.
Interviewer: We’d like to offer you the position. When can you start?
–Actual job interview in RI–
Interviewer: Were you born in Rhode Island?
Me: Yes, I grew up in Providence.
Interviewer: That’s good. I get a lot of resumes from California or other parts of the country, I just throw them away. [Name] said he knows your [relative] from the state house?
Me: Yes, they used to work together in the lieutenant governor’s office. Do you want my writing sample?
Interviewer: What? No, that’s fine. I’d offer you a job but we’re not hiring before the election. I don’t know if you have a horse in the race, but you should really consider making a campaign contribution.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

Who called Lincoln Chafee our “bewildered governor”?

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

Get smart before it’s too late Justin. You can move your family to a decent (if unspectacular house on the Gulf Coast of Florida for $60,000. The income tax is zero and the already low property taxes are being CUT by a Republican governor and a 2/3 Republican legislature.
You’re too young to make the mistake the rest of us made and not bailing out of this hapless sh**hole while the bailing out was good.

Tom W
Tom W
10 years ago

Ditto what Tommy Cranston said.
Now that I’m in Florida I would never consider moving back to Rhode Island.
Nor would I recommend RI to anyone else, at least not as a place to have your principal residence or to locate a business operation.
Rhode Island is a loser state — overall and in virtually every category one wishes to measure. It is a loser not because that is what is happening, but because it could be a successful and prosperous state, but Rhode Islanders continue voting for losing ways and perpetual political corruption.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

No regrets since leaving Rhode Island last year for beautiful Virginia. Low taxes and low unemployment, largely due to right to work.
Virginia budget deficit? Zero.
Recent political corruption stories: Zero.
Recent union battle stories: Zero.
Do you know how refreshing it is to read about legitimate issues on the front page of the newspaper every day instead of reading about all the ways your state government is screwing you?
Our Attorney General is suing Obamacare!

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

“Our Attorney General is suing Obamacare!”
Ahh.

Anthony
Anthony
10 years ago

Justin is trying to do the right thing and not give in and bail out to the corruption. Give him credit. RI is an example of an elitist state. Let the masses eat cake while the pols dine at Capital Grille. Myself? I left in 1991. Life in Fort Worth is grand. The sorry thing is that RI is worse off than when I left it. Can it get worse? Wait until Hussein in the White House gets his way.

Tom W
Tom W
10 years ago

–“Justin is trying to do the right thing and not give in and bail out to the corruption. Give him credit.”
Indeed.
The issue is how long one is willing to endure RI until “change” comes?
But for some brave souls (Anchor Rising; RISC; Republican Assembly; local taxpayer groups) the citizens of the state are bewilderingly passive given what is being done to them. Almost as if it has become “normal” and so they don’t recognize how badly they’re being abused — a sort of low-level Gulag in which the citizens suffer a “Stockholm syndrome” with the Democrat Party.
At the same time, the forces that should be presenting an alternative to wake people up and give them hope are MIA.
Chambers of Commerce / most of the business community is too cowed at the prospect of offending the ruling class on Smith Hill.
The RIGOP is co-opted by the unions and poverty industry (recall that until recent years it was controlled by the Chafees, and that cadre still seems to be in control behind the scenes). A party controlled by the likes of Avedesian and Savage is part of the problem, not part of the solution.
So what will bring change to RI? It’ll probably take total fiscal collapse and default. Even then, given the sheeple electorate, I’m still not sure that the bulk of Rhode Islanders would support reforming that beautiful state so that it could leverage its natural advantages to provide world-class education and the generalized prosperity that can only come from being pro-business instead of pro-union and pro-poverty industry.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Trying to fix Rhode Island is a Catch-22 because by staying your tax dollars are subsidizing the abuses of those in power and emboldening them to continue what they are doing indefinitely into the future. The only way to stop the vicious cycle at this point is remove the productive tax base out from under them and accelerate the slow corrupt-progressive heat death that Rhode Island has been suffering for decades.
Living well really is the best revenge. Or in this case, leaving well.

Tom W
Tom W
10 years ago

Who is John Galt?
–Trying to fix Rhode Island is a Catch-22 because by staying your tax dollars are subsidizing the abuses of those in power and emboldening them to continue what they are doing indefinitely into the future. The only way to stop the vicious cycle at this point is remove the productive tax base out from under them and accelerate the slow corrupt-progressive heat death that Rhode Island has been suffering for decades.”

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