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Friday, December 16, 2011

Gina Raimondo to be honored by ultra-rightwing think tank

Our DINO Treasurer to receive award for pension cuts
Raimondo fires up the crowd at an anti-state worker rally
By Will Collette

I liked Gina Raimondo a lot when she was a candidate. She seemed to be prepared to take decisive, but humane, action to protect public worker retirement benefits by bringing a realistic approach to the job of State Treasurer.

But it seems like she is operating in a different reality. When she was sworn into office, she seemed to step through some sort of inter-dimensional space-time warp that turned her from being a progressive Democrat into a person about to be honored by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research with their annual “Urban Innovator” award. 

The Manhattan Institute is one of the leading “free market” think-tanks that promotes a type of Ayn Rand/Milton Friedman philosophy of deregulating business and screwing the poor. One of the Institute’s top funders is the Walton Family of Wal-Mart fame

If you look at the list of causes the Manhattan Institute has championed, their hard-right bias is obvious. 

But they are what they are. The right-wing has the right to their opinions, wrong as they might be, and their “scholars” who will back them up. Hey, for a while there, we had the Ocean State Research and Policy Institute (OSPRI) that was ready to churn out “research” reports to support the agenda of groups like the RI Statewide Coalition.

But I digress. The reason I am writing this article is to note how far Gina Raimondo has gone from being a person many of us in the Democratic Party saw as a bright new star to being a politician who should really begin to consider switching to a party that is more suitable to her beliefs and practices.

Her poll numbers are very high right now. She is a hero to those who think screwing public workers is a good thing, and sadly, there are a lot of people who believe that way, that’s in no small part due to talk radio and our state’s mostly conservative newspaper editors.

But if she wants to be the Democratic candidate for Governor in 2014, she’s got a lot of fence-mending to do. There are a lot of loyal Democrats, like myself, who are ashamed to know her, never mind support her future ambitions.