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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.

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 (TravisRowley.com) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans and a consultant for the Barry Hinckley Campaign for US Senate.

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Since Democrats have controlled this state for 70 plus years and are 80+% of the state and local legislators we have no reference point of what is right or wrong, its always been the Democrats way or no way.
What we do not see is any real leaders from the GOP or Independents that will take a better approach to serve the citizens of RI.
Stand up and make that difference, even the people of RI will take notice and want to change from today's wrong headed politics as usual in RI.

Comment #1 by Gary Arnold on 2012 03 03

This is a great post. Central Falls is a microcosm of Rhode Island itself; a "canary in the coal mine" illustrating the absolute corruption of absolute Democrat power. Where were these Democrats 20 years ago, when the State had to take over the Central Falls School System? Did they even try to make the economic system better, so that businesses would locate in affordable Central Falls property? No they did not. They sat on the sidelines and did nothing but complain about Republican Governors, when they weren't actually lining their own pockets at the expense of the CF taxpayers (backed by the state taxpayers). Elizabeth Crowley should be ashamed of herself. At least she could call for charges to be brought against (former) Mayor Moreau and his house-boarding buddy.

Comment #2 by Michael Trenn on 2012 03 03

Call it what yo will but I see one of those carnival mirrors for all the leaders involved. Corruption from Moreau and his cronies looking into a mirror they seem normal. Corruption from Flanders and his cronies they seem normal. The rest of us looking on see the distortion. No improvement. Just twisted images made to look good.
Hold an election......this is a democracy, right.

Comment #3 by Mrs. Silva on 2012 03 03

Liberal elites, Democratic lies-- all tones on the dog whistles.

Comment #4 by Real Clear on 2012 03 03

Flanders' interview with Parker Gavigan revealed to me a man who didn't seem to be telling the truth about his former crony Corrigan and her family members with their snouts in the trough at Central Falls City Hall.I couldn't believe his assertion that he knew nothing of Corrigan's recent past integrity problems at the same firm he was employed by.If he knew nothing,it means he didn't perform due diligence-if he did know,he's a liar.Great choice there.
I don't live in CF and I have no dog in the fight-just reflecting on what I see and hear.

Comment #5 by Joseph Bernstein on 2012 03 03

Good article! Leftists never rest!

Comment #6 by Tom R. on 2012 03 03

This was dead on.

"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."

Comment #7 by Jared D on 2012 03 03

Hey Travis, ever been to CF? Or you the kind of guy that likes to cruise past on 95 and make comments? Funny you never seem to come up with solutions to the problems you point out with that long thin finger. Since you are not a one man think tank maybe you should reserve your comments for Barrington and East Greenwich. If you decide to take a tour of the city of Central Falls you can see for yourself that there is no industry and business are marginal storefronts that come and go. The boarded up houses reflect the fact that absentee landlords (that means they are not from CF) run the properties into the ground and then call it quits. So why don't you stuff it. At least Crowley lives where she works.

Comment #8 by Joseph Fazio on 2012 03 03

You can't criticize Central Falls unless you live there!!! - J. Fazio

That just about amounts to the typical level of intellect found down here. I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting used to it.

Comment #9 by Jared D on 2012 03 03

lol, JD.

"If you decide to take a tour of the city of Central Falls you can see for yourself that there is no industry and business are marginal storefronts that come and go."

I think this is what rowley meant when he mocked crowley for calling CF "vibrant"....which was hilarious.

Lastly, I read rowley almost every week. Trust me, he always offers "solutions"

Comment #10 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2012 03 03

The retail businesses along Dexter and Broad actually are vibrant, there just aren't enough of them to reach critical mass and mostly are family-run so they aren't creating any jobs. Still, Crowley and friends enabled administration after administration to kick the can down the road, bloat the City's payroll and agree to generous union contracts.

Comment #11 by Edward Smith on 2012 03 04

Travis Rowley defends anything anti Democratic Party or organized labor, so is it surprising he's defending Judge Flanders' low class, hypocritical comedic(?) rant?

Judge Flanders crossed the line of decency by appearing at the Follies and joking about the "haircuts" to Central Falls retirees, especially considerring how much he charged the bankrupt city...and despite the fact that he collects 100% of his large salary in retirement even though he never paid a dime into the system.

Surprising??? Hardly.

Comment #12 by Tom Kenney on 2012 03 05

Can anyone name a political skit that doesn't cross the "line of decency"?? I think that was the point of this article. ALL political issues are touchy. But only sen. crowley complained. ANd she likely complained for political reasons.

Comment #13 by Drew M on 2012 03 05

Good column, Travis.

The dour Sen. Crowley's distaste for the Follies brings to mind H.L. Mencken's view of Puritanism: The haunting fear that somebody somewhere might be happy.

And her assessment of Central Falls as "vibrant" is, well, curious. I wonder if she'd be amenable to assembling and displaying a few photographs and residents' comments -- perhaps in a follow-up oped -- further trumpeting this vibrancy.

Comment #14 by E.J. Dunn on 2012 03 05

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