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John Robitaille: No Identity Crisis

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Who can I trust? Who best represents my values? These should be the prevailing questions Rhode Islanders ask themselves as they engage the 2010 governor’s race. Fortunately, comments made by Lincoln Chafee and Frank Caprio during Wednesday night’s gubernatorial debate can help Rhode Islanders define the political ideologies involved, and identify the most trustworthy candidate.

The voters were likely pleased to hear that Frank Caprio has plans to locate $150 million in government waste, and slash it from the state’s annual budget. And it was great to hear Lincoln Chafee lash out against “corruption” and “cronyism.” Although, Chafee kind of blew it, sounding slightly disingenuous after Tim White asked him if he would consider keeping Keith Stokes as the director of the Economic Development Corporation if elected. Chafee answered affirmatively, beginning with this: “I consider Mr. Stokes a friend.”
More important than Chafee’s latest gaff, however, was the fact that Caprio’s and Chafee’s statements regarding corruption and governmental inefficiency confirmed the superiority of conservative theory – which, in a nutshell, informs everyone that government just plain sucks.
One of Governor Carcieri’s initial undertakings when he first took office in 2003 was to conduct the “Big Audit.” Carcieri ripped through Rhode Island government, cutting costs, reducing waste, and saving the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet, Frank Caprio believes he can still identify $150 million in government fat!

And, shockingly, the former U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee still seems surprised to discover the age-old lesson that “power corrupts.” Similar to many politicians during election years, Chafee informed everyone during the debate that he wants to crack down on corruption.
Conservative Republicans understand that corruption, inefficiency, and waste are the byproducts of any government. Therefore, they serve as reasons to make government as small as possible. It was refreshing to see Caprio and Chafee catching up to speed.{image_2}
Traditionally, Republicans have always advocated for smaller government, pushing for lower taxes and less regulation. Sure, a few liberals, such as Lincoln Chafee, sometimes make it past the Republican gates. However, notice that Chafee eventually found the door.
The philosophical distaste for government finds its roots in the founding of the country. The founders’ mistrust for it was profound, pronounced, and solidified by the limitations placed on the government by the US Constitution. 20th century political philosopher Ayn Rand once reminded everyone that “the government was created to protect man from criminals. And the Constitution was written to protect man from government.”

The concept of limited government is, in fact, not Republican. It’s American. It’s just that the Democrat Party abandoned true Americanism long ago. So the Republican Party became the lone guardian of this sacred idea.
Democrats’ rejection of this founding philosophy is most often referenced by pointing to the implementation of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. And, more recently, President Obama’s government takeover of the nation’s healthcare system.
The modern Democrat Party is an affront to the American ideal, advocating for the government’s involvement in nearly every aspect of daily life. More and more Democrats are openly calling for big-government socialism, including former DNC chairman Howard Dean, who recently opined, “The debate for the new generation is, instead of capitalism or socialism, is we are going to have both, and which proportion of each should we have in order to make this all work.” In 2008, President Obama campaigned on “spreading the wealth around,” and in 2010 expressed his reckless faith in government when he spoke at the University of Michigan: “What troubles me is when I hear people say that all government is inherently bad…When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening, foreign entity, it ignores the fact that, in our democracy, government is us.”

Despite decades of Democrats attempting to desensitize Americans to big-government socialism, it remains a notion that the large majority of Americans still abhor. That’s why Lincoln Chafee – the tax-hiking, union-endorsed candidate – laughably declared on talk radio last week that he was a “fiscal conservative.” During the debate, Chafee again pronounced to the voters, “I am a traditional conservative.”

More important than anything else that the voters could take away from Wednesday night’s debate were the following observations: Conservatism remains America’s superior philosophy; Rhode Islanders are conservative; and liberals and Democrats often pretend to be conservatives in order to win elections.

But only Republicans authentically believe in limited government and free markets. Republican candidate John Robitaille hammered this point home within his closing statement: “I think I’m the only candidate up here who does not have an identity crisis. We have Mr. Chafee, who used to be a Republican. He’s now a liberal. We have Mr. Caprio, who’s a Democrat, who’s trying to run like a Republican. We have Mr. Block, who says he’s not a conservative. He’s not a liberal. He’s somewhere in the middle. I’m the only one who is a conservative Republican. And I’m the conservative choice.”{image_3}

As much as people tire from party politics, political labels remain extremely vital to the nation’s discourse. Political parties are not the problem. Labels are not the problem. Lying is the problem. And John Robitaille is the only man in the gubernatorial race that Rhode Islanders can trust.

Travis Rowley ([email protected]) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans, and author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left (TravisRowley.com). 


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