Cicilline Ridicules the Democracy I Swore to Protect
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
As a proud Democrat, I once supported Congressman Cicilline. I worked for both Congressman Patrick Kennedy and President Barack Obama because of their ideals and character. I felt the same about Congressman Cicilline and while away on military duty, told my mother to vote for him in 2010. However, I grew slightly concerned with his destructive mayoral tenure, deception, gerrymandering, relationship with FBI Target Gordon Fox, endorsement of Fox for mayor of Providence, brother’s extortion and intimidation scheme with city resources, alleged mismanagement of ProCAP, FEC violations, and ineffectiveness in Congress (The list does go on).
As a veteran, I was particularly insulted with Congressman Cicilline’s nominal outrage over gerrymandering (redistricting). When Congressman Cicilline approval hit 14.8%, his close friend and ally, FBI target Gordon Fox was hugely responsible for the gerrymandering that helped Cicilline in 2012. We lost many, many good men in Iraq fighting for the sacrosanct American values Congressman Cicillines subverts to cling to power.
In addition, despite railing against the Citizen’s United Ruling, Congressman Cicilline has benefited most from corporate donations and firms from companies like Goldman Sachs. Somehow, I doubt his sincerity when he tells us he supports an amendment to overturn Citizen’s United or he supports “the public financing model for campaigns.” Congressman Cicilline’s nominal attempts to introduce or cosponsor legislation curtailing the power of special interest groups are mere window dressing meant to paint him as a grassroots lion when he is an Astroturf sellout.
The political establishment is just as culpable. Politicians like Congressman Cicilline, and members of the establishment love saying, “Thank you for your service,” but that is as far as it goes. Since I declared my candidacy, instead of encouraging new candidates, I’ve been told me, “you have not yet paid your dues,” “should have built your contacts instead of serving,” and the most despicable comment, Dan Yorke stating my military experience is “leadership rhetoric” (Advice: please do not say that in a Veterans’ Hall, won’t go well). These people clearly have never served because if spending two and a half years in combat – such as I did -- is not paying my dues, I hate to know what constitutes dues.
Instead of bridging the bipartisan divide, Congressman Cicilline resorted to parlor tricks. In 2011, he introduced the Make it in America Block Grant Act of 2011. With no bipartisan support, this legislation had no chance of being signed into law, but that didn’t stop him from touting this legislation around Rhode Island and telling us all, this will create jobs. In fact, out of the 23 bills he introduced, a grand total of zero became law.
The unfortunate truth is Congressman Cicilline is a hyperpartisan masquerading as a bipartisan. With the exception of 2011, he has regularly voted for the left leaning Progressive Budget – a budget that expands the size of government and pays for it with hefty tax increases -- that a majority of Republicans and even Democrats voted against. In fact, Congressman Cicilline appears all too willing to introduce, vote for, or cosponsor legislation that has little bipartisan appeal and fault the other party when nothing transpires.
Congressman Cicilline routinely cites his membership of a bipartisan group known as No Labels. Ironic, considering, he is in violation of several key tenants such as the aforementioned gerrymandering and ‘Signing No Pledge, but to the Oath of Office’ the organization opposes. While a member of No Labels, he also signed what is known as the Grayson-Takano pledge. That hasn’t stopped him from citing his membership in No Labels as evidence of his bipartisanship.
However, Congressman Cicilline does have a wide arsenal of talking points and cheap photo ops at his disposal with help from his consultants paid for by his army of lobbyists. He has all the right glib answers, but just cannot get anything done. Congressman Cicilline is always there for a good photo op though. Normally, he just walks into a benefit concert or event without paying (I pay), takes a couple pictures, posts them on twitter, tells people he will fight for them, and then leaves with his entourage.
He has become more frivolous recently. His latest scheme called “Faces of the Unemployed” is to take pictures of unemployed people, post them outside his office, and parade them around on camera, telling a nearly empty Congressional Chamber, These are “the faces of the Americans they are hurting by refusing to renew unemployment benefits.” This is something that belongs on Comedy Central, not in a Congressional chamber.
We need change and we need it drastically, but we are also partly at fault. Most people do not vote in the primary election, like the one taking place on September 9th 2014. These primary elections rarely exceeds 18% of the registered voters and that is what Congressman Cicilline hopes with an approval rating of 26%, the fewer people who vote the better.
We need to kick men like my opponent to the curb. Our state deserves new leadership, new ideas, not leaders who cling to power at the expense of our democracy, hyperpartisan, and are flatly ineffective. I fought for this country and state because I love both, but I didn’t fight for men like Congressman Cicilline.
Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s Most and Least Popular Politicians
The statewide poll conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University in October 2013 is the latest public opinion survey by the Ivy League institution.
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