Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cicilline for Congress

This evening I had the privilege of being in the live audience for a televised debate between Democratic Mayor David Cicilline and Republican State Rep. John Loughlin. The two men are vying for the chance to succeed Patrick Kennedy as the Congressional Representative from Rhode Island's 1st district. Perhaps the most welcome surprise was the relative intelligence of the questions posed by WPRI to the candidates. Both of the candidates were well enough prepared to stay mostly on topic. As a volunteer for David Cicilline, I was delighted to see him articulate with some passion a coherent, progressive vision for our nation's future. John Loughlin's vision was downright scary. He truly believes in trickle-down economics. The magic bullet that will solve all of our nation's woes is simple: "get out of the way of risk-takers and entrepreneurs." In spite of there being no historical examples of completely unrestrained capitalism working well for most people, Loughlin wants Rhode Islanders to believe that dismantling what's left of the New Deal will somehow "reinvigorate our economy." I guess working longer hours for lower wages, and retirng at a later age, are just some of the sacrifices we'll have to make so that "risk-takers and entrepreneurs" can control even more of our nation's wealth. The fact that some of the super wealthy, who will benefit most from Republican policies, are merely descendants of "risk-takers and entrepreneurs" bothers him not at all. The outsourcing of jobs, in Loughlin's view, has nothing to do with greed. People choose to produce products in low-wage countries because they "can't compete" here in the U.S. When David Cicilline put forward some positive steps that we could take to restore good-paying jobs to Rhode Island, John Loughlin had nothing to offer in response. Yet Loughlin is not nearly as moronic as some of the Republicans running for Congress in other states. He was careful to praise the concept of a safety net even as he proposed ways to further erode it. He even offered a fairly pragmatic, if unprincipled, reason for Rhode Islanders to vote for him-- if the House may fall to GOP control, shouldn't Rhode Island have a Rep. from the majority party?

Right now, polls show Mayor David Cicilline far ahead of Rep. John Loughlin. I don't think tonight's debate will substantially alter that situation. The biggest risk we face is that a generalized disillusionment with politics will lead to very low turnout at the polls. Like so many races, the hard work of volunteers will be crucial to get out the vote. If you live here in Southern New England and can spare a few hours to help, we'd love to see you!

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