On Wednesday, Governor Chafee delivered what was the last State of the State address of his career --- and one that firmly cements his legacy as a big-government progressive .
During his thirty-minute speech, the son-of-a-senator-turned-senator-turned-governor touched upon every issue agenda on the progressive wish-list, quelling any hopes the beginning of the end of his time in office would end on a united message.
"I stand here today mindful of our challenges, but also mindful of our future, and proud of the steps we have already taken" , Chafee said in a pretty boilerplate introduction.
His introductory remarks then lead to a run-down of so-called "accomplishments", which included liberal hot-topics like global warming, forming HealthSourceRI (an arm of Obamacare), loosening immigration laws, and last year's big news-maker gay marriage.
From there, the Governor used his his historical reference to push some major spending agendas by making reference to the 50th anniversary of 'The War On Poverty', LBJ's unsuccessful attempt to reduce poverty in the mid twentieth century.
"While we can all agree that the war is worth fighting, I don't think any of us can say it's a war we've won" Chafee said.
Regrettably, Chafee's point on poverty then pivotted to a straw-man argument gainst none-other than the liberty-minded Tea Party.
"Unfortunately, the Tea Party and so-called conservatives have waged a war of their own on beneficial social programs that have proven to grow our essential middle class. Meanwhile our national economy sputters and the wealth disparity grows larger." Chafe said.
This broad statement, expectedly drew criticism from the Rhode Island Tea Party (Susan Wynne, the organization's head, said in a Friday statement that Chafee's comments were "dishonest" and a "double standard," especially since Chafee frequently refers to the state's "legacy of tolerance" in his public statements.)
As Chafee moved to discuss his annual budget - which this year clocks in at 8.5 Billion Dollars - Chafee tried to sell it under the heading of "investing in our state's future" (curious, considering that same line has been used in the Democrat gubernatorial primary by WBOB's own Todd Giroux and providence mayor Angel Taveras).
That $8.5 Billion includes a number of bond initiaves, including a nearly-$190 million-dollar bond initiaive for education and a $40 million-dollar bond for infrastucture.
Of the few positives in the 2014 budget hilighted in his annual speech, one for certain is Ocean Staters will not see a tax raise.
Chafee went on to say how RI's recent population growth is attributable to people of color, who will continue to drive growth for the foreseeable future and That by 2040, 41 percent of Rhode Island’s residents will likely be people of color (with Latinos reaching more than a quarter of the total population).
On that note, Chafee then proposed another public-sector position --- a 'Diversity
"With that in mind, building on the Executive Order on Diversity I signed last year, I recommend the creation
of a new Executive Division dedicated to diversity. I look forward to a strong proactive
approach to these efforts."
The governor did not elaborate on the need for said position or how it would help the betterment of the state economy.
The final bullet-point made by Chafee was on another galvanizing (read- sarcasm) topic - Climate Change.
"New England is facing serious challenges in the energy sector. The first is cost –
we have some of the highest in the country because we are at the end of the pipeline. The
second is climate change" Chafee bellowed. "We know it is happening and humans are causing it with
emissions from burning high carbon fossil fuels."
Chafee then went on to promote further involvement in a green energy initiative. "We can tap into clean, affordable and reliable
hydro power, clean wind and solar power, as well as ensuring that we have adequate
natural gas to contain our electric costs.... We do have the potential to make this region the low-
cost green energy capital of North America."
Chafee ended his speech with a kiss to the people who put him in power - The Public Sector and the political establishment.
"Your job as legislators is to make laws; my job is to oversee the efficient
operation of state government. There are so many good people working for the State of
Rhode Island, and I, for one, am very proud to be a “state worker.”
Chafee then wrapped up with a quote from country pop-tart Taylor Swift on Rhode Island being 'A really great place." and ended his address.
BOTTOM LINE: After attending what was to be my FIRST 'State of the State' address live on-sight, my final analysis can be summed up in four words: "I NEED A DRINK!"
Never had I seen (much less publicly) a more divisive, uninspiring, boring and rhetorical speech given in my home state. This went BEYOND anything by the likes of even David Cicilline or former Chafee rival Sheldon Whitehouse (although on the national issues, their level of division comes very close) and only offered assuring agenda points to Linc's base.
Ultimately, as a liberty-minded observer, I was not surprised by his speech nor was I expected to be. Just furthering the leftist progressive utopia of government the liberal axis of political class have delivered for some time now (at least as much as they can, considering we're not in Europe or Canada)
The only redeeming points? Chafee will be gone in 11 months; the legislature hold the true 'Keys To The State' anyway; Linc is not running for re-election; and, with divisive red meat issues partially off the table, now is the time to get to REAL governing. OH! and last call is at 1:00 AM