Confessions of my naive idealism are becoming a theme for me, perhaps, but I still find casual admissions such as the following, from Ian Donnis’s weekly TGIF column on RIPR, partly shocking and partly comforting:
The National Education Association Rhode Island, a influential force in state politics, is likely to support Governor Raimondo for re-election next year. NEARI Executive Director Robert A. Walsh Jr. acknowledges that retired teachers are among those still fuming about the pension overhaul spearheaded by then-Treasurer Raimondo in 2011. Yet Walsh, speaking on RI Public Radio’s Bonus Q&A this week, offered this explanation for why the incumbent Democrat is likely to get NEARI’s support in 2018: “I think that the election of Donald Trump significantly changed the game in this state. It is imperative that the Democrats retain control of the governorship …. My approach to this is a very pragmatic one. You’ve heard me advertise for alternative candidates to the lieutenant governor — ‘come on down, we’ll help you run against Dan McKee [see #4].’ I am not advertising for alternative candidates to Gina Raimondo. We must retain the governorship and we must retain our Democrats elected in the Senate and in the United States Congress. And the Republicans are going to drop money in this state and go after us as a package, so it’s imperative that the team stays in place.”
Here’s one of your state’s two teachers unions: part of the Democrat “team.” There is no line between the party and the labor union that takes taxpayer dollars and shuffles them back into political activism.
In a healthier society with a greater appreciation for the founding principles of the United States, this would be a scandal — the sort of thing that would be uncovered through an undercover investigative report. Instead, it’s proclaimed proudly on a publicly subsidized radio station, and nobody in the state but an outré blogger will bat an eye.
I’ve said it before, but it merits repeating: Rhode Island isn’t fully a representative democracy anymore.