John McCain, carrier of Dubya’s war banner, couldn’t have been happy when he learned that his visit to the Biggest Little would be upstaged by Linc Chafee, his former GOP Senate colleague, announcing his support for Barack Obama that very same day. Our former senator-turned-independent, who had the good sense to oppose W’s war agenda, gave his old (and we mean old) pal John a poke in the head, stealing the limelight on the presidential contender’s Vo Dilun glory day.
McCain’s pants-ing moment, as he entertained a typical GOP (all-white) AARP rally, was highly entertaining. We consider him an honorable man, albeit a cranky war proponent and a denizen of another century, and his capitulation to Boy George, from South Carolina to Iraq, remains a mystery. We also have a warning for Mr. Chafee. Vo Dilun GOP party doyenne Eileen “Jurassic Spice” Slocum has freely admitted she owns a Derringer, so keep your eyes peeled when you are on the Newport social circuit.
If you see someone walking down the street with a knife sticking out of his back, chances are that it’s political operative extraordinaire J.R Pagliari, our good amigo.
J.R., an esteemed veteran player in Little Rhody political circles, was until recently a top Senate aide to the aforementioned Linc Chafee. Last week, an unseen and unexpected hand cashiered J.R. from his post as Governor Carcieri’s deputy chief of staff (further evidence of the deck chairs being rearranged on — pick one — the Titanic/Andrea Doria/Poseidon.)
The move allowed Bev Najari¬an, the former Department of Administration head, to assume Pagliarini’s position. This went down because Najarian faced a Senate confirmation vote for her DoA appointment for which she had slim and no chance of winning, and her nomination was pulled to avoid ensuing embarrassment.
(Not that this pessimism could be related to a previous Senate Government Oversight Committee report on the Carcieri administration’s use of private staffing firms that said, with all the nuance of a hand grenade, “At this time, the committee cannot make a determination as to whether the [administration] incompetence was due to ignorance, or arrogant and willful violation of the law. However, the committee is certain that the public deserves better.” Oh. Now tell us how you feel.
It was also interesting to see Jerome Williams, head of the Department of Transportation, replaced by Michael Lewis, the former project director of Boston’s notorious Big Dig. The DOT, of course, recently spent $500,000 on a PR campaign to avoid the nicknaming of our own “Iway to Hell” as “the Little Dig,” thanks to the agency’s money-gobbling ineptitude.
Finally, John Robitaille was named senior adviser for communications. For now, communications head ramrod Steve Kass is on sick leave. Robitaille, if you don’t know him, was the GOP House candidate in Portsmouth who lost to incumbent “Landslide Amy” Rice by nine votes in 2006.
Meanwhile, J.R., one of the most accessible, trusted, and respected people in the Carcieri administration, gets the heavy-handed chop. That’s OK, big guy, we and many others still love ya.