Don Carcieri: Good Guv or Dud?

An anonymous blogger (thanks for joining the discussion)stated in response to my comments on last Thursday's RIPEC Dinner that he thought Governor Carcieri should be added to a list of "do-nothing government leaders." He went on to say: "He's a tool. Thank God for term limits." (more...)

I will state openly, as I've done in the past on numerous occasions, that I have been a supporter of Governor Carcieri. I think overall he's been a good chief executive. He's not without his faults and failures as a politician of course, but on balance I think you have to give him his just due on these points:

- He's not corrupt and has run a pretty decent adminitration in terms of ethics and accountability.

- He's focused on the right issues - tax and pension reform, reining in the public employee unions to save money, opposition to a West Warwick Harrah's casino, immigration, alternative energy initiatives(wind power off the RI coast).

- He's been pro-business, though he's not a knee jerk "tool" of business interests.

The Governor, we should remember, is limited in his authority. Many of his recommendations for government savings and tax reform haven't been taken up by the Democratic dominated legislature. Many of his budget proposals, for example, have been ignored from year to year.

I will fault the Governor in a few areas: I think his social agenda is a bit out of touch with the majority of Rhode Islanders. His relationship with the General Assembly has not been good, for which he shares some of the fault. Example: He has a
preference to use the bully pulpit of talk radio to broadcast his ideas. He tends to protect upper management while aiming at rank and file state workers. And the state's worsening fincial situation, despite his efforts to cut costs, lands on his doorstep. Even he has been seduced into using one-time fixes like tobacco monies and federal stimulus funds to balance budgets.

Those are my thoughts, in brief. I'd like to hear from you on this subject. Do you think Don Carcieri has been a good Governor or a do nothing?


  1. I basicly agree with your analysis except the part about his social agenda. Remember that social conservatives make up about two-thirds of the right of center coalition. A right of center candidate is not hurt by supporting their issues.

  2. What I mean by the Governor's social agenda are issues like these -

    gay marriage
    medical marijuana
    abortion rights

    Polls show that a majority of Rhode Islanders support these issues, unlike the Governor.

  3. I like the governor too (and, in good Rhode Island fashion, I know his kids a bit), but I would say he didn't really understand what he was getting into, and his energy level has been lacking sometimes, which has caused him to lose focus on big issues.

    I also wish he didn't focus so much on being anti-gay marriage, but he's been perfectly consistent over the years on all these social issues, so I can't be surprised.


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