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In RI, Republican Hope Springs Eternal

In RI, Republican Hope Springs Eternal

There’s a very interesting article in The Providence Phoenix (h/t Hummel Report) regarding plans by the Republican Party in Rhode Island to regain relevance:

The Rhode Island Republican Party’s reputation for ineptitude is, by any reasonable measure, richly deserved.

Sure, the party held the governor’s office for much of the last two decades. But no longer. Indeed, it doesn’t claim a single statewide post at the moment.

Its presence in the General Assembly has long been tiny. Its fundraising is anemic. And the GOP’s hapless image only compounds the problem — making it difficult to attract the money and solid candidates that could resurrect the brand.

“People don’t trust in the ability of the Republican Party to succeed,” says former Rhode Island Republican Party chairman Giovanni Cicione, “and that’s that.”

But listen closely and you’ll hear some hope, in conservative circles, for a more professional operation. Hope, even, for a revolution.

Kenneth McKay IV, the charismatic political strategist who ran Donald Carcieri’s successful gubernatorial campaigns and later served as chief of staff at the Republican National Committee, has come home to revive Rhode Island’s moribund GOP. And he’s got a plan.

I dare say there are some opportunities on the federal level in 2012. 

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, an inflammatory attacker of the Tea Party movement and Republicans, has a lot of money in the bank but doesn’t have a personal connection with the voters; Whitehouse could be vulnerable if the right candidate (such as former Governer Donald Carcieri or Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian) gets in the race.  The other Democratic Senator, Jack Reed, is invulnerable and will be Senator for life barring a Weiner-like scandal.

Former Providence Mayor David Cicilline, now Congressman, is very vulnerable due to the mess he left behind in Providence and his “success” in hiding the scope of the problem until he left office and was elected to Congress.  There are two good Republican candidates, Brendan Doherty (former Superintend of the state police) and John Loughlin, who ran a good campaign against Cicilline last fall.

On the state level, it seems nearly impossible for Republicans to gain traction in the legislature due, in substantial part, to the lock the unions have on the state.  As to statewide offices, Linc Chafee (“Independent”) is vulnerable, but that’s in four years.

So hope springs eternal for Republicans in Rhode Island.  The Whitehouse and Cicilline races will be a focus of this blog in 2012, so let’s all join hands and chant “Yes we can.”


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“Sure, the party held the governor’s office for much of the last two decades. But no longer. Indeed, it doesn’t claim a single statewide post at the moment.”

Wow. Sounds like an East Coast version of the Republican Party’s situation here in California.

Here is something for the Rhode Island Rs to take a close look at . . . the jaw-dropping questioning of Admiral Mullen by House Armed Services Committee Member from Rhode Island, 2d District Representative, James R. Langevin.

His questioning of the Admiral begins at about 112.40, but the heart of his “views” can be gathered from about 114 to 118 on the tape, where he manages to persist in getting out left of the President on Afghanistan, and keeps saying that al-Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan, and wondering out loud, as reflected in his questioning of Admiral Mullen, why all the troops in Afghanistan can’t be brought home much sooner, a huge component before the end of this year.

In particular, note that at 117.07 he starts asking his stupid question yet another way, and at about 117.45 the Admiral finally “schools” him and explains that if the President did what the Congressman wanted, ALL of the gains in Afghanistan during the surge would be lost.

It seems to me that sequence would make for a wonderful ad. I happened to see the C-SPAN coverage of this when it was live, and found the embedded YouTube of the entire hearing on the House armed services committee site.