Marketing and the Scam of Rhode Island Governance


Want some evidence that the style of top-down governance by the self-affirming smaht class is really just a hodge-podge scam for money and power?  Look no farther than Kate Bramson’s Providence Journal article about RI Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor’s “taking responsibility” for the Cooler & Warmer fiasco:

It’s time to learn from the mistakes, he said: “I’m leading the effort.”

But the people of Rhode Island should lead development of the new slogan, which won’t be merely one phrase, Pryor continued.

“So in the end, there’ll be many taglines, as many as people produce,” he said.

Seriously?  What is this?  We need an army of six-figure insiders to turn around and let the people produce their own taglines?

Last spring, when URI business professor Edward Mazze was applauding Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s push for consolidated tourism activities, I pointed out the conceptual problems with such an effort, concluding:

…who’s to say that Rhode Islanders should want a unified image.  Let Newport be Newport; let Providence be Providence; let South County be South County.  That’s the real charm of Rhode Island.  Contrary to the frequent assertion of consolidation-and-centralization types, the advantage of being small is the proximity of so much diversity, not the ability to give central authorities the ability to experiment with all of our lives and livelihoods.  If state offices can’t market that, then they don’t get Rhode Island and shouldn’t presume to lead it.

Commenters to Bramson’s article have already noted that Pryor’s acceptance of responsibility is flimsy and cheap if saying he accepts it is the extent of the consequences, with most suggesting he should quit or be fired.  The reality, however, is that if these highly paid state functionaries really were to learn from their mistakes, they’d all be out of a job.

The current government in Rhode Island is not what our founders thought they’d designed, it’s not a system that serves our state well, and if they could see past the smoke and the scams, Rhode Islanders would quickly conclude that it’s not the system of governance that they want.

  • Russ

    “Seriously? What is this? We need an army of six-figure insiders to turn around and let the people produce their own taglines?”

    Yes, congratulations to the “uncool” camp for torpedoing the professional ad campaign before it even really started. Now we have the “Crazy People” plan instead… “Rhode Island, It’s Between New York and Boston.” Can’t wait.

    • Mike678

      I’d offer that we’ve gone from the incompetent “insider” plan to the “oh crap–better throw the angry public a bone” plan.

      I’m sure the administration is happy to know that they have a few people that will defend any failure on their part. After all, who are we to expect competence and transparency from our elected officials? The nerve…..