One of our favorite ProJo reporters is Washington correspondent John Mulligan, who is covering the Republican National convention in Tampa and doing his usual fine job on the national political beat.
But I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at Johnny’s piece today on Page One of the Projo. The article deals with the latest Republican anti-Obama trope: That if you built a business, you don’t deserve credit because the government helped.
First off, the “You didn’t build that’’ quote attributed to Obama in Republican and Mitt Romney campaign advertising is badly taken out of context and is quite frankly, silly and specious. Kind of like the Democratic-leaning Super PAC ad about a woman dying of cancer because she lost her health insurance when a company controlled by Romney laid off her husband.
What has to gall Rhode Islanders is the quotes Mulligan harvested from Rhode Island GOP delegates who are in Tampa to cheer on Romney’s nomination. The most through-the-looking glass of all these Republican sentiments came from former Gov. Donald Carcieri – yes Thanks Don himself – and John Robitaille, a top Carcieri aide who was the GOP candidate for RI governor in 2010.
Mulligan tells the tale of Robitaille and his wife, Lynda Adams-Robitaille, who worked on their own small business. They worked hard, put their all into it but the firm eventually didn’t make it.
Then John Robitaille went to work for Carcieri at a six-figure state job as the governor’s communications director. How many failed small business people can get rescued by a juicy state job with high pay and vague duties?
“Regrettably, the Robitailles argued, spending prudently and paying debts are not high on the list of public policy priorities for Democrats.’’
Huh? Wasn’t Robitaille the only major gubernatorial candidate in Rhode Island in 2010 to support the most reckless economic development deal – the Curt Schilling 38 Studios – the state arguably has ever entered into. Paying debts apparently weren’t high on Curt Schilling’s list.
And Carcieri, who has been hiding for months from the RI media, shows up in Tampa to bask in the reflected glory of his friend Romney’s nomination and struts arm-in-arm with former First Lady Sue Carcieri on the convention floor.
“What we’re really suffering from badly in this nation today is an administration and a president who doesn’t understand that you don’t trash the business community, you don’t trash the banks,’’ said Carcieri in the ProJo story.
Well, governor, what say you about a purported conservative Republican Rhode Island governor who gambled with the taxpayers money, made the most reckless crony capitalism economic development loan in the state’s history (38Studios, which is now bankrupt) and left the taxpayers hanging for $100 million in loan guarantees. Then this very same governor leaves office, goes into virtual hiding, refuses to answer to anybody to justify his actions and finally turns up in Tampa at the Republican National Convention to lecture the president on business.
Thanks Don indeed.