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Friday, September 14, 2012

Why nobody misses Don Carcieri

Give Don Carcieri, the unequivocal architect of the 38 Studios deal, credit for at least two things.

One is that the former governor finally came forward and faced the public. He should have done so four months ago, but we panned him when he didn’t so we’ll recognize that he did. The other is that he did so with Tim White, the go-to guy when a politician needs to publicly apologize.

But that’s as much credit as he should get, if not more.

He hardly took ownership of the fiasco for which he is largely responsible. He parsed himself as being one of 12 members of the EDC board who decided to back Curt Schilling’s video game company with taxpayer dollars. In reality, it was his idea to court Curt here with a giant loan guarantee. He didn’t just vote for it, he dreamed up the idea.

But that wasn’t even Carcieri’s slimiest statement of the night. That moment would be when he suggested the state default on the loan rather than repay it. After all, he argued, it’s only a moral obligation bond.

“All I’m saying is this is not an absolute slam dunk obligation for the state,” Carcieri told WPRI.

Bonds or otherwise, moral obligations matter when doing the people’s business. And Carcieri’s ambivalence to this may well be one of the reasons he failed so mightily as a public official and made such a bad gamble with regards to 38 Studios.

Besides, the people just wanted an apology … I didn’t hear anyone ask Don Carcieri for any advice on how to get ourselves out of the mess he created for the state.

Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.