Whitehouse for US SenateAlthough the Chafee name is synonymous with public service in Rhode Island — and for good reason — the reactionary and disastrous course of Republicans in Washington compels the need for change in the US Senate. The Providence Phoenix enthusiastically endorses SHELDON WHITEHOUSE.
Like his late father, Lincoln Chafee has offered a broadly attractive brand of moderate Republicanism that encompasses fiscal discipline, environmental protection, social tolerance, and wariness of foreign entanglements, among other worthy values. As a genuine and highly genial person who often speaks with refreshing candor, he is a rare political figure. The rightward movement of the national GOP under George W. Bush, however, has made all the more urgent the need to increase the number of Democratic senators, even at the cost of a Republican moderate.
Sheldon Whitehouse and Lincoln Chafee share a commitment to public service and a high degree of personal integrity. As most Rhode Islanders know, there is not a great deal of difference between the two men on the issues. In the current moment, Whitehouse’s Democratic affiliation is a clear and deciding reason to vote for him.
Whitehouse, who brings to bear a keen intelligence, also has the benefit of broad experience in government and an enthusiasm for grappling with many of the key issues facing Americans, including health-care. In a state that has produced a number of distinguished senators, Sheldon Whitehouse would be a proud representative for Rhode Island in the US Senate.
Fogarty for governorRepublicans have maintained a virtual stranglehold on the governor’s office for most of the last 20 years, in large part since voters harbor no small degree of mistrust about the Democratic-controlled General Assembly. Governor Donald L. Carcieri has skillfully tapped this concern while also, at times, serving as an effective counter-force against Rhode Island’s entrenched political culture.
The governor’s seriousness of purpose comes through clearly in extended conversation, and he not uncommonly makes a formidable foil for the legislature, in part because of his impressive and seemingly native knack for political communication. As Rhode Island continues to face difficult budgetary choices, however, we believe that Lieutenant Governor CHARLES FOGARTY is better equipped to blend budget realism with compassion for the state’s most vulnerable residents.
Our endorsement comes with a clear caveat: that Fogarty understands he works for the people of Rhode Island, not the General Assembly, and not the Democratic Party.
Governor Carcieri has a healthy skepticism about many political claims, and he has, perhaps, more wisdom and depth of life experience than Fogarty. As a leader, he has made solid efforts since winning election in 2002. But he too frequently seems more intent on winning points with talk-show listeners and in championing his position as a counter-weight to the Democrats than in leading the admittedly fractious state government.
It’s time for a change.
Fogarty’s lengthy tenure in government — described by his opponent as a liability — strikes us as an attribute (although his campaign season embrace of term limits has a whiff of pandering to it). Probably more than anyone else in the state, Fogarty understands the inner workings of government, and the difference that it can make for typical Rhode Islanders.