Travis Rowley: Crowley’s Corruption, Not Flanders’ Folly

Saturday, March 03, 2012


Each year the Providence Newspaper Guild teases people by concealing the identity of the “Mystery Guest” at its annual Follies event, an evening attended by local politicians and media personalities, who come to bury their differences for a night and be entertained by musical performances that poke fun at everything that is Rhode Island.

This year’s Mystery Guest was Central Falls receiver Robert Flanders, the latest reform figure to be excoriated as a bullying “dictator” by the state’s establishment.

Flanders amused the crowd by presenting himself as an evil executioner who gets pleasure out of firing people, slashing pensions, and ruling over entire cities and towns.

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Just several days after the Follies, Senator Elizabeth Crowley (D - Central Falls, Pawtucket, Cumberland) penned an op-ed that criticized Flanders for “mak[ing] light of people losing their representative democracy, losing their jobs, and losing their retirement benefits,” and for “poking fun at both the city and its residents.” Crowley concluded, “We the people of Central Falls will not tolerate being the butt of anyone’s jokes. Our city is a vibrant, tight-knit community, not a laughing stock.”

Here come the Democratic drama queens.

What’s Wrong With These People?

It’s not that liberals don’t have a sense of humor. I mean, Senator Crowley just called Central Falls “vibrant.” That had to have been a joke. And there certainly were a lot of liberals at the Follies last week, who clearly found much of the show amusing.

The fact of the matter is that liberals are the biggest phonies on Earth.

Flanders’ performance simply presented an opportunity for Crowley to publicly posture herself before her constituents as caring, compassionate, and righteously indignant. For her own selfish objectives, Crowley destroyed the express purpose of this annual event – that is, to “heal the wounds, and to bring the state’s political, labor and business elite together for a good bash, and raise money for the Guild scholarship fund,” (Follies 2012 Program).

But nothing takes a backseat to this common and crucial Democratic deceit. Crowley’s op-ed was a classic example of how union-Democrats shirk responsibility and evade public inspection of their destructive actions – i.e., destroying Central Falls – by preemptively demonizing all agents of serious reform. Or, in Flanders’ case, someone who was “appointed by the state to provide sound fiscal management.” (Crowley)

In her op-ed Crowley portrayed Flanders as an out-of-touch autocrat, sidestepping the Mystery Guest’s traditional “self-deprecating humor.” But those who attended the event witnessed a distinguished Rhode Island justice having the courage to dress up in a silly costume and sing a song in front of some of his harshest critics. In exchange, Flanders was able to poke fun at his political detractors, illustrating their own absurdity by mocking the way in which they have tried to publicly represent him.

Only a cunning politician could allow the comedy to escape her, and claim that Flanders was “poking fun at both the city and its residents.”

Flanders wasn’t ridiculing the “residents” of Central Falls. He was ridiculing Senator Crowley.

Roots of Democratic Dishonesty

While politics is a game that all political parties take part in, progressive Democrats have become well known for these brazenly disingenuous displays of phony outrage and double standards – politicizing just about any episode that may serve to keep the voters misinformed.

This includes politically correct racial fury over episodes such as Barack Obama being referred to as “articulate,” and former RI-NAACP president Clifford Monteiro somehow discovering racist undertones within a political cartoon that portrayed House Speaker Gordon Fox shining the shoes of then-House Speaker William Murphy.

One can look to lessons such as the Cloward-Piven Strategy – a leftist political design of “orchestrated crisis” – to discover the ethical roots of community organizers and other Democratic activists. One could also listen to Chicago Alinskyite Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, who summed up the Left’s policy of political opportunism: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. They give you opportunities to do things that you never could do before.”

By progressive instruction, it is now in the Democratic DNA not to respond to actual insults and issues, but to continuously manufacture them in order to continuously enable Democrats to pose as moralists, paint those who oppose them as bigots, and then shepherd the masses against them.

Rhode Islanders can be certain that Council 94 president Michael Downey didn’t lose an ounce of sleep when Treasurer Gina Raimondo “fist-pumped” at a political rally in support of her pension reform proposal last year. But Downey sure got as much political mileage as he could by falsifying his indignation.

This is the all-day attitude and agenda that makes liberals so miserable to be around. Conversely, conservatives are normal people, reserving their ire for actual outrages – for instance, when Democrats force us to pay for their condoms and birth control pills.

Liberal Elites

Both Downey’s and Crowley’s recent conniptions highlight something even more bothersome than political treachery – the Left’s presumption of a monopoly on moral concerns.

Crowley writes that the situation in Central Falls is “no laughing matter.” Her suggestion, naturally, is that other political issues are causes for amusement.

Well, which ones might those be? What political issue exists that somebody doesn’t take very seriously?

Are talk-radio, the Tea Party, the US Constitution, and individual liberty fair game for comics? Does Crowley consider the encroachment of national tyranny less serious than Central Falls bankruptcy proceedings? Or is it more likely that Crowley, like most Democrats, doesn’t truly understand the thoughts and concerns of her conservative counterparts?

WHJJ’s Helen Glover was compared to the Wicked Witch of the West last Friday night. The liberal crowd roared. And the sense is that the joke was justified because Glover is a talk-radio conservative – a subscriber to a philosophy that liberals have insisted over the years is based on greed, racism, and selfishness.

Unfortunately, Democrats have come to believe in their own lies. Today, these smears represent their entire intellectual and moral foundation, causing widespread bigotry and anti-intellectualism within the entire Democratic Party. This is the premise from which liberals launch illogical and irrational outrages over political cartoons, fist-pumps, and comedic skits.

Crowley’s double-standard is licensed by the same elitist mentality that causes Downey not to realize how ridiculous he looks when he acts upset whenever his political opponents celebrate their victories. It never occurs to Downey that his opponents actually believe in what they argue, that pension reform is in the best interest of everyone – including public workers and retirees. Without it, their pensions could eventually share the fate of those in Central Falls.

In Downey’s world, only union activists are allowed to fist-pump. In Crowley’s world, only Democrats can jest.

Conservatives can articulate the moral dimension behind limited government all they want. Crowley and Downey are modern Democrats, and thus too thickheaded to even consider the possibility that conservatives are good people, too.

Well-intentioned events such as the Follies seem pointless with such people around.

Travis Rowley ( is chairman of the RI Young Republicans and a consultant for the Barry Hinckley Campaign for US Senate.

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