Michael Gardiner - Political Columnist
The Mic Gardiner show returns this week but at a new time. Now the awesome steam sirens, sort of inappropriate music and strangely overbearing announcer’s voice-over intro will sound at 6 P.M every Tuesday night kicking off an evening of politics. We’ll still be challenging piety and “drama” and histrionics and looking for political discourse more suitable for a level headed capable citizenry. The stars of the show will be people who have interesting things to say. In my first week back, I’m looking forward to a full hour with ABC6 assignment editor and blogger Dee DeQuattro.
Dee is a different voice in blogging. Dee has moved in GOP and conservative circles but as a professional journalist, she brings objectivity and a sense of humor to the game more than stridency. We’ll certainly talk a little bit about her view of the Republican primary for Governor between Mayor Allan Fung and repentant apostate Moderate Party Founder Ken Block and the Democratic primary frontrunners State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Providence Mayor Angle Tavares and the late Senator Claiborne Pell’s grandson, Herbert “Clay” Pell. You may recall I wrote a piece way back in February, pre-Prius, comparing Clay Pell to promising fresh faced, but awkward freshman Larry “Pinto” Kroger who relied upon Flounder’s legacy to pledge the Delta’s, the “Animal House." Even guests I have on the air never tell me anything I wrote was any good, so I’ll have to be the one that says it. I think that piece has held up pretty well so far. Dee of course, has her own observations of all three.
We’ll have to talk about the Republican primary as well which is sort of a guilty pleasure, me having been a Republican all my life. I should keep some sort of party discipline but heck, I’m an American. It’s impossible to resist. With two candidates for Governor, both of whom have some proven accomplishments and sound ideas, one has to marvel at the social media sniping. Ken Block has an active social media crowd that frankly complains too much about alleged mistreatment and they’d better watch out. I’m not a big “twitter” guy but on Facebook, from what I see, the Fung campaign is starting to use Facebook for more for campaigning than complaining. And Fung has picked up the support of the rather indecently named “Girls who just want to have Fung.” Will the Cranston Mayor acquire the rights from eighties band Wang Chung for Everybody Wang Fung tonight?
By the way, Todd Giroux will also likely gather the necessary signatures to make the ballot, but otherwise will struggle to make a dent in a well-financed field where all three of the other candidates have collected some helpful or important endorsements. A Brown poll, more entertaining than authoritative, had Raimondo and Tavares essentially tied and Pell a distant third. But Todd Giroux only showed 1% and as unauthoritative as a Brown poll may be, I will accept that number as about right. Todd’s had some good chances to share the stage and be heard, but now, the voters need to focus on the answers of the likely. We need an intervention for Todd and say, “Take it easy, enjoy your trade, have a really good summer and write some blogs.” The pen can be mighty.
Girlfriend from Hell
We will have to mention the unquestionably racist and offensive and essentially, illegal remarks of the owner of the LA Clippers, Donald Sterling and the League’s discipline amazingly announced by a Commissioner “Silver.” For those of you conservatives who instinctively react to the “girlfriend from hell,” Trump, who described her as such, was emphatic and correct in saying Sterling would be punished severely and that what Sterling had said was horrible. Trump walked as close to the line of apologist as anyone ought to dare, and exerted himself greatly to avoid crossing it. I want to point out that people who are all upset that a conversation was taped or that a young girl set up an older boyfriend need to get a clue. When I was a private in the army, I learned about equal opportunity policy. When I was an ROTC cadet, I learned about Equal opportunity policy. And when I was a commissioned officer it was a Command Responsibility. As American citizens, we have a duty, D.U.T.Y., to implement and uphold equal opportunity policies in our businesses and in our organizations, from top to bottom.
Every leader, every citizen has a duty in this regard. We cannot tolerate the continuation of illegal discrimination. I once hoped the RIGOP would develop a pledge of its own for the beginnings of its meetings to remind all attendees that as a party we are committed to equal opportunity and oppose discrimination on the basis of race, creed and color and gender preference. That’s the law in RI. It’s not a tall order. Political parties need to have a command emphasis on civic responsibility. I will tell you that the reason I made the suggestion to a Chairman who reported back a lack of interest, was that I heard the word “ faggot “ used loudly, twice, at a GOP function. Other attendees moved away, embarrassed. It was just a person in attendance, nobody of any rank or position. But this individual was agitating in a hateful way. Political parties attract the agitated and agitators.
Don't wait until the problem develops
Parties should not wait for a problem to develop. Party leadership should assume the duty of regularly emphasizing our important commitment to equal opportunity and opposition to illegal discrimination. Failing to do so is lazy and a missed opportunity to share a commitment together. I would expect our veteran military types could teach about the importance of “command emphasis.” How about this: “As we gather together on this occasion let us reaffirm our commitment to America as a land of equal opportunity where all are accorded equal rights, equal treatment in the law and in their society with others.” Hear hear! Drain the glasses. The meeting begins.
Finally just to be a totally disrespectful and inappropriate American, I might “dredge up” the Obama Administration’s lying about the Benghazi 911 attack that left four fine Americans serving their country dead without much of a response.
So, by Tuesday, there will be more to talk about to. Republicans in the RI General Assembly are up to good things on the master lever and line item veto. If you are a Democrat, aren’t you just a little worried that you are on the wrong side of these issues? Master lever won’t fix GOP problems. They still need the conservative rank and file to better “tolerate” the concept of actually governing and improving things. Thank goodness the Block campaign might be helping to break that log jam by causing some of the most bristly people in the party to suddenly be interested in ideas that don’t involve getting angry at a Kennedy. And if you are a Democrat, come on, a line item veto can still be overridden, and you hold a strong majority so, c’mon. Maybe it will be Democrat that needs it to strengthen her or his hand.