Notebook Entry: “O’Neill and the Democratic platform”
O’Neill and the Democratic platform — Rhode Island Republicans get regularly beaten up for not being able to agree on a party platform. On the other hand, when appearing on WPRI’s Newsmakers two weekends ago, Representative Patrick O’Neill (D – Pawtucket) had this to say about one of his disappointments with the Democratic leadership in the RI House of Reps: “We go into each session with no platform and each election it seems like I’m playing defense” (see video at 22:38).
Now, Rep. O’Neill isn’t strictly speaking about a party-wide platform here; in the letter he wrote last October resigning his post as House Majority Whip (excerpted in a Projo article by Katherine Gregg), he wrote that “we have not yet met as a team to discuss a platform for the future”, pretty clearly referring to something that House leadership and not the state party would create, but if the state Democratic party does have a platform, it is not currently available on their website in any easy to find location. I also searched the Projo archives for news stories referring to state Democratic platform content or platform votes and did find a reference to a series of six platform committee meetings held at diverse locations around the state — in 1988. After that, there was nothing, raising the question of whether having no agreed-upon platform is just a condition of the House leadership, or of the state Democratic party as a whole.
Heh. Very interesting find, Andrew. Going forward, let all ranting about the lack of a party platform be bi-partisan in direction.
Though not tri-partisan. It’s not labeled as such. But it looks like the RI Moderate Party is the only official party in the state with something close to a platform.
To my knowledge there is no platform for the Rhode Island Democratic Party and has not been one for a long, long time. If I am incorrect on that point I would be happy to be corrected.
To go to Andrew’s point, however, it is always interesting to me how the RIGOP gets continually beaten up for not having one yet little if anything is ever said about the lack of a Democratic platform. Frankly, I cannot imagine how a party that contains such disparate elements as the RI Democrats could ever come up with one given the internal battles and differences of opinion they exhibit as a group – battles and ideological fights that dwarf the occasional flair-ups that everyone loves to mock the RIGOP for. Yet we Republicans get criticized (not always unfairly) while the party that exercises real power gets a pass. Politics – always interesting.
It’s hard to be held to a standard if you don’t have one….