Friday, January 22, 2010

Political Disaster in Massachusetts

Yes; Massachusetts was a political disaster. The ground literally shook throughout the state as Ted Kennedy's seat fell to the Republicans. Was this a case of the Republicans being smart or was this a case of the Democrats being dumb. I think I chose the latter.

While the Republicans gloat and the Democrats point fingers, both parties are demonstrating how incredibly dumb they really are. First, the Democrats. I have never seen such arrogance and ignorance displayed in a campaign as was displayed in this case. Martha Coakley was not only a bad campaigner, but her lack of instinct has to be legendary. At least Sarah Palin has some political instinct. To arrogantly state that she should not have to stand out in the cold at Fenway Park, shake hands and ask folks for their votes cost her the election. That stupidity not only cost her hundreds of thousands of votes, it caused large groups of minorities to lose the will to vote. Coakley lost this election because she simply could not turn out her base. Frankly, I'm surprised that the election was as close is it was.

Now to the Republicans (Please note that this section has been changed from its original posting because of the correct comments from a frequent reader)! Republicans will have to work long and hard to start to chip away at minority voters. You can't begin to do that by defeating health care. Four years from now when there has been little or no change, Democrats will be able to lay blame on the opposing party. Western Massachusetts was totally blue in this election for Coakley. There have been many elections in the past when this rural territory looked red. Western Massachusetts supported William Weld and Paul Celluci but was not warm to Mitt Romney. Many communities in this part of the state voted over 70% for Coakley and gave little consideration to Brown.

This election told me that voters are mad and apathetic. The Democrats were largely apathetic while the Republicans are just plain mad. The anger is aimed at both parties and the election was not a positive step forward for anyone.

If Scott Brown wants to make a real impact in politics into the future, he should negotiate with Democrats and not join the party of "No". Scott Brown should start the party of "Know". People want significant change to health care in this country and if Brown provides the roadblock, he will pay for it.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Linc Chafee for Governor

Lincoln Chafee announced his intention to run for Governor of Rhode Island yesterday. I'm sorry I missed the official kick-off, but I had a long time friend spending a few days with me. Linc chose a most unusual way to announce his candidacy. He spoke directly to the people of Rhode Island. You won't find others in the race that will speak honestly.

Linc started his campaign by outlining a sales-tax plan that will result in more goods being covered by a two-tiered sales tax program. He was right when he suggests that people can make personal decisions to buy things, but increasing the property tax in this state leaves people without choices. Practical, honest and sincere are words that come to mind when reading the news of his announcement. Linc will be far more able to achieve this structural change than the right wing plans designed to end government as we know it. I think Linc Chafee will be able to get some things done.

What Rhode Islanders constantly hear from the Republicans in this state is that Rhode Island has the 2nd highest sales tax rate in the country. What Republicans fail to tell you is that most states have sales tax on a much wider variety of goods than does Rhode Island. Maybe Linc can actually get some sales tax out of the state's richest citizens that line Narragansett Bay with their yachts.

The Republicans will continue to tell us that government needs to be smaller. They have an uncanny ability to never look at the big picture - the bottom line so to speak. While the Carcieri crowd has attacked state employees and now municipal employees as being the problem, they continue to grow the budget in unprecedented ways (9% increase this year). Republican spending is all about putting our money in the hands of their few connected friends. Once again, I will reflect on the bottom line of the state's budget. Carcieri's budget called for $7.8 billion, an increase of almost $1 billion from the previous year. The entire cost of paying state employee salaries, benefits, pensions, etc. is approximately $1.3 billion annually, a mere 17% of the entire state budget.

So to you Carcieri lovers out there that think that he knows what's wrong with government, think again! There's plenty of cost savings to be found, but don't expect the Republicans to find it because they are not going to take it away from their well connected friends that spend half the year in Florida. Lincoln Chafee appreciates the work of state and municipal employees and understands the need to balance government's needs with the needs of those that pay the bills.

Lincoln Chafee for Governor!