Rhode Island politics: Cicilline versus Doherty


Rhode Island politics are always very strange. We’re a blue state, and Democrats are mostly in charge, but we have a strange habit of electing Republicans from time to time, especially as Governor. (Rhode Island Republicans are very different from, let’s say, Oklahoma Republicans; they’re much more middle-of-the-road than the national norm. That being said, they’re still Republicans.)

We have an interesting Congressional race going on in RI District One. The incumbent, David Cicilline, a cute little gay Jewish Italian from a family known to consort with the old Rhode Island Mafia, was formerly Mayor of Providence. I voted for him twice as Mayor and once as Congressman, and we all thought he’d run Providence pretty efficiently.

Until he left office, and it was found that the city’s funds had been horribly mismanaged, and Providence was perilously close to bankruptcy.

He’s running for reelection. His Republican opponent is a tough Irish ex-cop named Brendan Doherty. Doherty is breathtakingly unqualified for the position, by the way.

But he has integrity!

We are continually reminded that he has integrity!

(I’m reminded, somehow, of the old “Peanuts” comic strip, and Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, who would rise only out of the “most sincere pumpkin patch.”)

In one of Doherty’s ads, he’s walking through a dirty alleyway, talking about how he took on criminals, and he’s not afraid to take on “those politicians in Washington.” Does he think, as a freshman congressman, he’s gonna be able to beat people up until they see reason? I think not. They’ll eat him on toast.

So here’s our choice: a suave rascal (Cicilline) who votes consistently with the Democrats and the Obama agenda, or a crewcutted blockhead (Doherty) who fairly oozes integrity, and would almost certainly vote alongside the Republican House majority, once they work him over a few times.

Whom do you choose: the knave or the fool?

I choose the knave. I don’t care if Cicilline roasts and eats puppies for dinner, so long as he votes the right way in Congress.

(This, by the way, is the same kind of reasoning that kept Teddy Kennedy in the Senate, next door in Massachusetts. Horrible human being, but a great politician, and he always voted for the right stuff.)

I wish I could vote for someone I could feel really good about, though; someone like Barney Frank or Paul Wellstone; someone I respected, and who also voted the right way.

But we ain’t got nobody like that on the ballot at the moment.

So we votes the way we gotta vote.

(Sigh.)


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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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