The Saturday Morning Post: Quick hits on politics & more in RIMay 19th, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site, The Saturday Morning Post
I’ve got good news and bad news this Saturday here in my weekly column. The good news is I think WPRI 12 did a pretty solid job keeping you informed about the 38 Studios imbroglio this past week. The bad news is I ran out of time to do a full column, so this is going to be an abbreviated edition. As always, though, keep sending your takes, tips and trial balloons to tnesi (at) wpri (dot) com and I may include them.
1. This was the first week since he took office that I could imagine Governor Chafee winning reelection. Even some of his most implacable opponents are acknowledging he’s handled this situation surprisingly well, nor is there any doubt about whether he would have gotten the state into the situation. This is a case where people are less worried about flashy leadership and more worried about the actual policy decisions made at the State House, and that’s served Chafee well.
2. On the flip side, except for Keith Stokes and Curt Schilling did anyone have a worse week than Donald Carcieri? The Boston Globe labeled his two terms in office “mostly unmemorable,” but the memory of 38 Studios won’t fade anytime soon; his fellow Republican Barry Hinckley calls it “Rhode Island’s own Solyndra.” Yet Carcieri has ducked reporters all week, refusing to defend his decision two short years ago – which is the worst defense of all. It’s a bit reminiscent, on a vastly smaller scale, of how Ed DiPrete left the ticking time bomb of the credit unions for Bruce Sundlun. “This is not the Rhode Island Enron, and Schill is not Jeffrey Skilling,” Dan Shaughnessy writes, “but it is bad, and it was avoidable if not for public officials losing all common sense in the aura of a baseball player who delivered on a promise to bring us a championship” – particularly since the risks inherent in the deal were abundantly clear at the time.
3. Among the undiscussed consequences of the 38 Studios mess is that so much time is being spent on something that has relatively little long-term upside for the state (other than limiting its losses).
4. If you’re still confused about 38 Studios’ actual business, my 2010 WPRI.com story “Long odds for RI-backed Schilling game” actually holds up pretty well in terms of explaining why this is such a difficult market to crack. If you want to catch up on what happened this week, start with the big wrap-up story from Monday and then read Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
5. I’m a little surprised nobody has mentioned that one of Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s senior aides, Deputy Treasurer Josh Brumberger, took the stand this week in the high-profile trial of disgraced Democrat John Edwards. The former presidential candidate allegedly threatened Brumberger, who was Edwards’ senior aide, during a fight they had over Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter.
6. State Sen. Frank Ciccone of Ruggerio DUI fame made the surprising strategic decision this week to take the lead in pushing the General Assembly to overturn Governor Chafee’s executive order on same-sex marriage. (“You think you got same-sex marriage problems now?”) Now Marriage Equality Rhode Island’s Ray Sullivan says his group will make Ciccone a prime target for defeat in this fall’s elections. Assuming Ciccone files to run, it’s hard not to think more than a few others on Smith Hill will be – quietly – cheering MERI’s effort on.
7. Did you know the 1996 law that lets U.S. officials block people from entering the U.S. if they renounce citizenship for tax reasons is known as “the Reed amendment” for Rhode Island’s own U.S. Sen. Jack Reed? Looks like he won’t be getting a campaign contribution from Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin anytime soon.
8. For regular Nesi’s Notes readers (God bless you!), note that I’ll be away on Monday and won’t be posting. Regular blogging will resume Tuesday.
9. This week on “Newsmakers” – the Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy and WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming. Watch Sunday at 10 a.m. on Fox Providence. See you back here next Saturday morning.
Tags: saturday quick hits