GOP OPEN PRIMARY: Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to serve your country! While Republican congressional candidate John Loughlin serves with the Army in Iraq, exposing himself to gunfire, rocket attacks and roadside bombs, his real danger is back here in good old Rhode Island where his primary opponent, Brenden Doherty, has engineered a coup to keep the GOP primary open to Democrat-leaning unaffiliated voters. Democrats clearly prefer Doherty because his beliefs are pretty much in line with theirs. Because the primary will be open, selection of the Republican candidate will not be made by registered Republicans, but will instead be determined in large part by these unaffiliated voters - who have, for the most part, historically voted for Democrats and will presumably vote for Doherty. Watch out for those roadside bombs, John, but hurry up and get back here before your party sells you out entirely to the Democrats!
INSIDER TRADING? Does anyone really believe it was mere coincidence when senators sold millions in stock only days before the market crashed in 2008 and only days after they were privately briefed on the impending collapse by the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Treasury Department? You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time, but…
NEARI POSITION: Larry Purtill, President of the National Education Association of RI, has urged his members to vote in 2012 against those legislators who passed pension reform, apparently even if it means voting for Republicans. He told teachers, “…a few more Republicans at the State House might actually force Democrats to start behaving as such.” Purtill has thus defined “true” Democrats as those who believe in giving excessive and undeserved taxpayer largesse to unions while pushing the state toward bankruptcy. If the unions are successful in ousting those who didn’t measure up to Purtill’s standard this year, it looks like the General Assembly will be filled with Republicans after the 2012 elections.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: Whether we like him or not, we should all welcome Newt Gingrich’s reasonable approach to the illegal immigrant problem in our country. He wants to close the border, increase enforcement of employment laws, and find a way to deal humanely with the 11 million illegal aliens already here – to include a sliding scale for deportation. Those here for a generation, with children born here, who are law abiding and pay taxes could stay with a less-than-citizen legal status. Recent arrivals and those here for several years who are not contributing to our society would be deported. Call it “amnesty” if you will; however, let’s be realistic. There is no way we can deport 11 million people! Not only would it be inhumane in many instances, it would wreak havoc on the low-skill end of our economy and would cause our deficit to balloon with the cost of such widespread deportation. Election season brings out the worst in candidates who are otherwise reasonable people. It appears Newt is the only reasonable candidate on this thorny issue.
911 DIVERSION: Another Rhode Island first. We are ahead of every other state in the percentage of money we divert from 911 emergency services. The state has collected this money through extra fees on our phone bills. Instead of being used to enhance 911 emergency services, 58% of the money went to help the state deal with its budget problems. State Police Colonel O’Donnell says this shortchanging by the state hasn’t caused a public safety concern. If that’s the case, then most of the surcharge (tax) wasn’t needed in the first place. Let’s reduce or eliminate it!
LOST CASINO REVENUES: While Nero fiddled, Rome burned. While RI fiddled around putting off a decision on full casino gambling, Massachusetts went forth and laid the groundwork to pull customers away from the Twin River slot parlor. State revenue from Twin River will decline sharply and RI taxpayers will pay the price in higher taxes or curtailed services. We should have put Gina Raimondo in charge of the casino question; we would probably have gotten something done by now.
OUR ‘HANDS OFF’ PRESIDENT: Not wanting to dirty his hands or further risk 2012 election loss by taking a stand, President Obama’s hand and voice were conspicuously absent as the congressional super-committee tried unsuccessfully for two months to reach agreement on deficit reduction measures. Obama opted to be a “do nothing” president during this crucial period instead of exerting leadership and doing something, anything, to push the committee toward a compromise solution – no meetings, no phone calls, no arm twisting by our President. Yes, Congress is more divided than it has been in years. However, in similar past periods, strong leadership from the President forced the two sides to work together on issues tearing the country apart. Whether you like him or not, it is clear that Obama has proven to be the least effective president we’ve had in decades. As any military leader will tell you, leadership abhors a vacuum. When a leader can’t lead, another quickly edges him out. It is looking more and more like Obama will be vacuumed into the dust bin of history come November 2012.
GOP FACE SAVING: With the congressional super-committee’s deficit reduction failure, Democrats were left appearing unreasonable on spending cuts while the GOP seems unreasonable on tax increases. The GOP can come out of this as the more reasonable side if it will agree to increase taxes until the $3.7 trillion spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is recovered. Republicans should require Democrats to come up with an equal $3.7 trillion in spending cuts. This will make the GOP the heroes so long as there is agreement the tax increase will expire as soon as the wars are paid for. Since overspending, not under-taxation, has caused the deficit problem, the spending cuts should remain in effect.