Of course, if the Rhode Island Republican Party were anything but a pathetic little collection of turkey scratch, it might be in a better position to hold the Democratic leadership accountable.

To be sure, building a power base in a state this blue is no easy task. But the party hasn't done itself any favors.

Former House Minority Leader Bob Watson lost his leadership post last year after he was arrested for driving under the influence and marijuana possession. And the House Republican caucus booted combative Representative Daniel Gordon after his own legal problems led to questions about his military service.

But that was just the beginning. The party outdid itself with this month's elections ― somehow shrinking its already tiny footprint in the state legislature. House membership dropped from 10 to six and the Senate caucus dwindled from eight to five. A marginal party became irrelevant.

The turkeys atop the GOP are failing not just conservative voters, but Rhode Islanders of all ideological stripes who want a more vigorous debate about the state's many, many, many problems.

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