For immediate release: November 14, 2014
Huge pro-life gains across the nation and in the RI General Assembly, but "useful idiots" in RI rally behind "Cheech & Chong," denying the Governor's office to a divided RI GOP.
After having caught up with the various reports we are required to file with the board of elections, making a small dent in a large pile of deferred tasks, and enjoying an evening at the Biltmore honoring a very deserving couple, I can now devote a few moments to finishing this overdue elections recap.
Sweeping Nationwide Pro-Life Victories
Last Tuesday's nationwide rejection of pro-abortion President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party has been widely reported. Not so widely reported, but well-worth the brief read, was the remarkable success of our colleagues at the National Right to Life PAC and the impact of abortion in the election. And our friends at the Susan B. Anthony List explain, in this brief video, how the so-called "war on women" strategy has failed.
Pro-Life Victories in the General Assembly
Here in Rhode Island, we saw significant pro-life gains in the General Assembly:
- 16 out of of 17 RIRTL-PAC endorsed incumbents emerged victorious, with the one defeat going to a challenger who is also pro-life.
- 5 out of of 11 RIRTL-PAC endorsed challengers wrested seats away from the pro-abortion incumbents.
- RIRTL-PAC won an incredible 7 of the 11 races pitting us head-to-head against the much larger and better funded Planned Parenthood PAC.
- In contrast, 7 Planned Parenthood PAC endorsed incumbents have lost their seats, 1 in the primaries and 6 in the generals, though this was tempered by their pick-up of 2 seats, 1 open seat and 1 primary victory.
The bottom-line is that we picked up a net gain of 5 seats (1 in the Senate and 4 in the House) in an already solidly pro-life General Assembly.
Bad news at the top of the ticket...
The bad news is that we will need the help of every single one of our pro-life legislators to blunt the anti-life agenda we anticipate over the next four years from the administration of Governor-elect Gina Raimondo. And it is not yet clear whether we have the muscle needed to override the vetoes we are certain to encounter for any pro-life bills that might make it to her desk.
Elections have very foreseeable consequences. While we appreciate and attempt constructive engagement, and do not dismiss the power of prayer and fasting for the repentance and conversion of Ms. Raimondo, our job is to prepare to counter the worst. We know well that the millions of dollars Raimondo received from abortion advocates nationwide came with strings attached. She will be expected to keep the pledges she made if she expects to continue climbing the political ladder to Washington, D.C.
Having heard many opinions about how we lost the governor's office, even as most of the nation went Republican, I will presently share my own thoughts in somewhat meandering, yet cathartic prose.
An unexpected result...
Going into the general election, polls showed Raimondo's highest level of support at 42%, which began dropping after our multiple efforts to make voters aware of her abortion extremism. Meanwhile Fung was polling between 36% and 38%, Healey between 8% and 12%, with 7% to 15% undecided. Importantly, polls showed Fung with significantly higher favorability numbers than Raimondo amongst independents.
We correctly anticipated that few undecided voters would break in Raimondo's direction, for if the unprecedented 5 million dollars she spent on advertising during the primaries had not gained their support, we couldn't imagine what would. We believed that if Raimondo stayed below 44%, perhaps even 45%, then Fung would emerge victorious.
In the end, Raimondo got only 40.7% of the vote, which did not surprise us. What did, of course, surprise us was that 21.4% of the vote went to Healey. We had believed, obviously incorrectly, that once election day arrived, fewer than 12% of voters would be so naive and nihilistic as to actually throw away their vote in favor of...
... Cheech and Chong
For those too young to remember Cheech and Chong, and those mature enough to have paid them no heed, you can learn about them from Google. It takes very little imagination to envision Bob Healey as an aging Chong, and only a little to envision Ken Block as his side-kick Cheech.
While some of their delusional supporters and hacks insist that Cheech and Chong were not spoilers, I beg to differ, conceding, however, that they were aided and abetted by a bevy of useful idiots, not only from what evolved into the "Marijuana" Party, but, shamefully, from Republican and Republican-leaning pundits and voters as well.
I also take issue with the notion that Bob Healey is a paradigm of citizen-activism, diligently engaged in the affairs of state government on behalf of the people. The State House, like it or not, is the place where the public affairs of the state are actually debated and decided. It has been a second home to me for the past six years, thus I find it odd that I have never once have even seen this self-described "elder statesman."
The "Moderate" Party
Ken Block founded the Moderate Party arguing that a fiscally pragmatic and but socially "moderate" party (note well that Block and Healey keep pace with the most radical "progressives" on the so-called social issues) was necessary to break the "gridlock" allegedly caused by the two party system in RI.
Considering the perennial Democratic super-majority in the RI General Assembly, the only "gridlock" of which one might even remotely speak was the fact that Republicans had held the governor's office for sixteen years.
Block and his "Moderate" Party promptly succeeded in ending what they defined as "gridlock" by helping defeat pro-life Republican John Robitaille, handing the governor's office in 2010 to once-Republican, then-Independent, now-Democrat, yet always pro-abortion (and in pectore Moderate?) Lincoln Chafee, with only 36.1% of the vote.
A Clever Ruse?
After reading the tea-leaves (internal polls) and apparently not wanting to be forever the bridesmaid with nary a chance of being the bride, Block abandoned the party he founded (like a deadbeat father who, in midlife crisis, abandons his children), and attempted to rent the Republican party in a run for the governor's office.
In October 2013, just months after calling upon kindred-spirit Lincoln Chafee to veto our Choose Life license plate bill, Block's hired guns launched the first brazenly hypocritical attack of what would become a sustained year-long scorched-earth smear-campaign, one of the slimiest I have ever seen, seeking to annihilate the reputation and record of the theretofore popular and generally well-liked Mayor of Cranston.
Considering his large bankroll, the (rumored) promises he made to Republicans who would support him, and the low turnout in a GOP primary, Block and his paid henchmen might have gotten away with hijacking the party they had previously set out to marginalize, if it hadn't been for those meddling pro-lifers.
Incidentally, all of this played out while, according to the Providence Journal, "Block was still listed, as recently as Monday [Sept. 15, 2014], as the [Moderate Party] president on the party's nonprofit corporation filings with the secretary of state." Hmm...
For the record, if Mr. Block and his ilk try again to bring the RI GOP back to the social ideology of "Republican" Lincoln Chafee, we stand ready to oblige with an encore performance of the coup de grâce we delivered them in the primaries.
Deus ex Machina - Banana Republic Style
Less than 48 hours after Moderate Party president Ken Block lost the GOP primary, Moderate Party (placeholder) gubernatorial candidate James Spooner conditionally withdrew from the race, citing the provision of death or incapacitation allowed by law. His withdrawal was conditioned on whether the Board of Elections would actually allow non-Moderate-Party-member Bob Healey to take his place. As of this writing, Spooner appears very much alive and well for a man of his his years.
I was immediately reminded of the kind of mischief with which I became acquainted during my time as a missionary in the third-world. Tragically, deus ex machina plot twists like this have the predictable effect of generating cynicism and, consequently, apathy amongst voters and grassroots citizens groups, who rightly intuit that the fix was in. Shame on the Board of Elections for allowing these insiders-celebrities to change the rules at the very height of the election cycle because things were not proceeding according to their plans.
I do not know anybody who had expected Spooner to garner more than low single digits in the election. Many believed that the Moderate Party would cease to exist since Spooner was not expected to break the 5% necessary to keep them on the ballot in future races. Healey, however, already had a following and many campaign materials leftover from decades of tilting at windmills.
Talk-Radio Pied Pipers, Yellow Journalism
and the Master Lever
Notwithstanding his cult-following, Healey had less than 8 weeks to campaign, and, apparently, no intent to invest any money or much time in his "cerebral revolution" that was more of a Rorschach inkblot test than a platform. He would need every bit of help he could gain from what proved to be a fawning media, ever in search of man-bites-dog (or Sasquatch-bites-Mayor) stories to fuel their ratings.
The first to oblige were some of the B-Team (i.e., neither John DePetro nor Buddy Cianci) pied pipers at WPRO, which, from 12 noon to 9 pm, became a virtual campaign infomercial for (take your pick) Healey / Cool Moose / Chong, in similar fashion to the way they had been in the tank for Ken Block before the primaries.
Not to be outdone, Parker Gavigan and the NBC10 I-Team came out, just days before the election, with a report about an unsubstantiated "confidential email" purporting to link Mayor Fung with 38 Studios. And this "news story" was the lead question thrown at Fung later that day on the Channel 10 gubernatorial debate. This kind of "journalism" is the kind of "express advocacy" for which most individuals and organizations, such as the RIRTL-PAC, are required to file an Independent Expenditure Report for Electioneering Communications with the Board of Elections.
Finally, the Master Lever appears to have played a role in Providence, where Democrats ran a very strong get-out-the-vote ground-game to help Jorge Elorza defeat Buddy Cianci in the mayoral race.
But these factors alone are not sufficient to explain Allan Fung's defeat. The real reason Fung lost, I believe, is because he was beaten by a deeply divided Republican Party.
Parties that were successful in the 2014 elections -- the Democrats in Rhode Island or the Republicans in almost every other state, for example -- followed a time-tested strategy whereby party leaders unite in active support of the candidate chosen and endorsed by their party.
While the Rhode Island Republican State Central Committee did indeed endorse Allan Fung over Ken Block, by an overwhelming vote of 120-46, prominent GOP has-beens, such as 2010 congressional candidate John Loughlin and 2010 gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille, together with House Minority Leader Brian Newberry, and a few other notables, threw their weight behind the man intent on destroying their party's endorsee and, thereby, destroying their party. Later, 2012 GOP congressional candidate Brendan Doherty endorsed Raimondo over Fung.
With the veneer of legitimacy granted by these endorsements from people who should have known better, Republican and Republican-leaning unaffiliated voters were whipped into a veritable frenzy by Block's henchmen, through talk-radio and social media. These paid henchmen and their useful idiots even attacked RI Right to Life for simply doing what we exist to do.
It came as little surprise, then, that what appears to be a large percentage of these useful idiots transferred their allegiance to Chong after Cheech lost the GOP primary, continuing their attacks against Fung via talk radio and social media, now to the benefit of Gina Raimondo.
It is a simple concept, really, that political parties, much like athletic teams, tend to perform better when the teammates work together rather than against one another. This past election cycle makes me wonder if the RI GOP should consider opposing gun ownership until Republicans in Rhode Island learn that they should not shoot themselves in the head.
One last thing...
After catching up with accounting and bills and electioneering reports, it appears that we overshot our PAC budget by almost $750. And we will be in need of additional PAC funds to attend the various political receptions that begin again in February. If you are able make a contribution to our State PAC -- $50, $100, $250 or even up to $1,000 -- please mail your check to "RI Right to Life State PAC", PO Box 28285, Providence, RI 02908. Alternatively, you may make an immediate online contribution
to the RI Right to Life Committee, which is also running pretty lean.
About Rhode Island Right to Life: Rhode Island Right to Life was founded in 1970 with the mission to advocate for a state, nation and world in which the innocent lives of the unborn, the disabled, the elderly and the ill are valued by the citizenry and protected by civil law. RI Right to Life lobbies for legislation that advances the cause of the sanctity of human life at both the state and federal levels. RI Right to Life is the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee.
P.O. Box 28285, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 521-1860 * Fax (401) 521-1876 * www.rirtl.org
Nonprofit * Nonpartisan * Nonsectarian