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Arthur Schaper: RI GOP Should Get High…Really

Friday, August 16, 2013


Decriminalizing marijuana could help the RI GOP make a comeback, believes Arthur Schaper.

Before leaving office, former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-of course!) took a stand against the decriminalization of marijuana. This guy left office for "took too many pills" so to speak, yet he has a growing fear of "reefer madness" in the Ocean State and throughout the nation? From "Chappaquiddick" to "Smoking-joints-ain't-chic", the Ted Kennedy–Pat Kennedy double-standard (public officials intent on micromanaging our private lives) is funny, sad, and just plain scary all in one throw, or blow, or one drive off of Martha's Vineyard. That any political dynasty gets away with such crass, two-faced grandstanding should be enough for Rhode Island voters to rethink one-party Democratic rule in Providence.

Sadly, out went Patrick Kennedy and in came David Cicilline, who has been indicted for…well, there's only so much that a website can show. Because of his marred mayoralty, Providence needs providence now more than ever, and the current Angel has fallen, like a certain son of the morning. Good news, GOP: Cicilline barely won his seat in 2010, and he remains unpopular. Brian Newberry for Congress, maybe?

If Democrats in the Northeast keeping pushing this perverse line of "nanny-state" micromanaging, then they will hand off to Northeastern Republicans like the Ocean State GOP the perfect wedge issue in future elections. The Rhode Island GOP can adopt libertarian defederalization and decriminalization policies and make the "stick-in-the-mud" Democrats look like the out-of-touch, welfare-state reactionaries that they are. Already, Rhode Island voters should blame the 3-to-1 Democratic political elite hegemony for the pension crisis buffeting the state (Central Falls has fallen, and Woonsocket has its you-know-what in a socket). A plurality of voters elected RINO, then INNO, now a DINO Governor Lincoln Chafee. Rhode Island voters ought to help themselves out with a little more of the Republican opposition in your statehouse. Voters should give the Republicans a shot at leadership. Twenty-six seats will put an end to the hyped-up anti-Democratic hypermajority Juggernaut, and a Chafee-Raimondo-Taveras tussle will give the GOP the opportunity to coalesce behind one candidate and win the Governor's seat.

Everybody's doing it

Decriminalization already has a slight precedent in other states. In 1996, California voters initiatived medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington State decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana last year. Republican US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has pressed for defederalization of marijuana and other controlled substances. Paul has also signaled that a more libertarian-leaning Republican Party can advance competitive candidates at the federal level to win the West and the Northeast. Rhode Island can help make it happen. Even Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg has argued that advocacy for "Big Government" at the state level or the city level would permit the National GOP to wage war against the Obama Welfare-warfare state without stepping on the toes of more liberal constituencies, like New England.

President Obama, and by extension every Kennedy except JFK have made the government so big, that even Big Government types are getting a-typically concerned (Rhode Island GOP: How about "The Government is Too Damn Big!" as a mantra?)

Rhode Island GOP: the grass (and grassroots) await you. Take a lead on decriminalizing, or better yet "defederalizing" controlled substances to the state level. Instead of the failed yet overly bailed Drug Enforcement Agency (their mascot is Patrick Kennedy, since he keeps them employed) taking stock of who smokes what, let every state decide and enforce the criminalization of controlled substances.

Light up

If New England conservative William F. Buckley (from Connecticut, and he always spoke with his teeth clenched!) endorsed decriminalization, if former Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-My home state of CA) suggested that this country rethink the drug laws, if even former RINO (yes, we have them too in CA) Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was willing to discuss the issue, then the Rhode Island Republicans should take the lead on pushing this policy statewide and nationwide. Rekindle among your ranks the complaisant tolerance of your founder Roger Williams. Lighten up and tell the people that they can "light up" without fear of incarceration or ostracization.

But if we let people get high, then won't they stay there?

Not a chance. The Netherlands decriminalized, and the police rejoiced that they had made pot "boring." In 2001, Portugal, a nation with pension crises which would make Rhode Island's budget issues look like mere rounding errors, pushed for administrative instead of criminal penalties. What happened? Drug use declined. Even tourist use diminished, and Portugal saved money, too. (Read all about it here)

Perhaps the decriminalization of controlled substances will keep former Congressman Patrick Kennedy calm and quiet, out of jail as well as away from the private lives of Rhode Island voters. Better yet, this stirring issue could fire up the Rhode Island GOP and bring back two-party conflict and compromise to a state which for too long has teetered under unchecked Democratic mismanagement. With a libertarian strand of bringing power back to the states, Rhode Island can rebound with Republican numbers rising up in the General Assembly, and the general welfare of all Rhode Islanders on the high and higher.


Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurCSchaper, reach him at [email protected], and read more at Schaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.


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Attn Republicans
You know your party is in trouble, when on the day after the last national election you were asked
""Did the crazy legitimate rape guy win ? ?"

And you have to respond .... "which one?"... LOL

Comment #1 by Sammy Arizona on 2013 08 16

Crazy is dishing on 2012 when the article talks about policies for today

Crazier is a party which highlights a national convention keynote speaker who was accused of rape and sexual assault, who coined the phrase "safe, legal, and rare" for abortions, and yet witnesses the same language stripped from his party's platform (I'm refering to Bill Clinton, AZ)

Crazier still is a constituency which reelects a Congressman who was having inappropriate relations with an underage page (Gerry Studs of MA)

Craziest of all: A Democratic Congressman steps down for taking too many photos of himself below the belt, then claims to be "cured", run for NYC Mayor, then admits that there aremore photos, yet continues running (that's Anthony Weiner)

Craziest of all Craziest: the entire Democratic party leadership says nothing, does nothing, acts as if nothing is happening.

And all you have is "legitimate rape"?

AZ is really crazy but a lot of laughts, nonetheless: LOL LOL LOL

Comment #2 by Arthur Schaper on 2013 08 16

The rub is Republicans believe were all evil and need to be regulated (to a degree) and Democrats want to save us from ourselves. I find the Democratic position much more nauseating but abhor the Fascist tendencies of the Republican establishment. What we need are some alternatives, I mean if this talk of a democratic society is true, where are the radicals, moderates, socialists, commies, anarchists, or whatever one calls themselves. The 2 parties do not have houses big enough for us. So, I wish they'd all stop preaching their sacrosanct gospels and just "get off of my cloud."

Comment #3 by bill bentley on 2013 08 16

As soon as Republicans get control of state government you see these extremely restrictive abortion laws pushed into place and other craziness. I'm not saying that all Republicans will do things like that, but why would some people want to take a chance? Would women want to see another state where some types of birth controls are outlawed because they prevent implantation? Brian Newberry is my representative, he is a Republican, and he does seem like a good and reasonable guy. I would vote for him if he ran for a higher office, but just as there are some stereotypes of the Democratic party that are not true across the board, there are stereotypes of the Republicans as well. It hurts their party because nobody stands up to them and tells them they are crazy. Both parties have problems and unfortunately we usually have to vote for the lesser of the two evils.

One word of advice though Arthur... try to keep things balanced and try not to vilify the other side. Not all Democrats are the same and not all Republicans are the same. When one side is portrayed as evil, stupid etcetera, the people on that side of the aisle will stop listening to you. If you want to put your opinion out there and try to sway people that disagree with you, you can't paint them as being ignorant for certain beliefs. I'm not saying you've done that here, but I'd hate to have to stop reading your column like I had to stop reading Travis's column. Don't become partisan to the point where you're only preaching to the choir because everyone else has tuned you out.

Comment #4 by Rob Felber on 2013 08 17

Ron Felber writes:

"As soon as Republicans get control of state government you see these extremely restrictive abortion laws pushed into place and other craziness."

Then he writes:

"One word of advice though Arthur... try to keep things balanced and try not to vilify the other side."

Texas instituted a law which would restrict abortions to medical reasons after five months.

That is reasonable.

The Democratic Party platform permits abortion at any time on the taxpayers' dime. Most Democrats do not espouse so extreme a position. I know - because I have spoken with them.

You vilified Republicans and conservatives with your abortive take on abortion.

Follow your advice, then advise others.


Comment #5 by Arthur Schaper on 2013 08 19

And how are taxpayers made to pay for abortions? And at any time? Really? So after 8 months they can get an abortion for no reason? Care to explain that? I hear this talking point a lot about taxpayers paying for abortions and I'd like some details on that.

Comment #6 by Rob Felber on 2013 08 19

Oh, and when I mention extreme abortion laws, I don't mean restricting abortion after 5 months for something other than medical reasons. I'm talking about trying to ban certain methods of birth control because it prevents implantation or forcing women to undergo an ultrasound prior to getting a legal procedure performed. Why not ask for clarification prior to telling me to follow my own advice? Did you ask what I meant by "extremely restrictive", or did you jump to conclusions? I didn't vilify anyone other than those that preach about smaller government, then want to start pushing probes into women that want a legal procedure performed. If you'd like to discuss this further, let me know.

By the way, my name isn't Ron.

Comment #7 by Rob Felber on 2013 08 19

Still waiting... any response to this?

Comment #8 by Rob Felber on 2013 08 21

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