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Sunday, February 9, 2014

DINO hunting on a national scale

National progressive left still skeptical of Raimondo

Another national journalist took another shot at Rhode Island’s most hotly-debated politician: Gina Raimondo. EDITOR’S NOTE: Sirota also took on Raimondo is this Slate article from last October.

Syndicated progressive columnist David Sirota connects dots between Raimondo’s Wall Street campaign supporters and Rhode Island’s inability to afford to make good on pension promises while almost simultaneously cutting taxes for the rich and increasing subsidies for corporations.

It’s an accurate picture of what the last decade or so of economic policy in the Ocean State can look like when not mired in the details the local media microscope provides Rhode Island. We’ve cut taxes for the winners and we’ve cut services for the losers. We broke financial commitments to workers and we made new ones to corporations.

“So who is the real Gina Raimondo?,” Sirota asks. “Is she the politician whose pension schemes aim to protect corporate welfare subsidies while converting retiree money into Wall Street fees? Or is she the defender of pensioners against the plutocrats?”

Many on the left – and in particular the pro-labor left – feel her campaign is co-opting the progressive label for a very different agenda. At the very least she’s using the term more broadly than it has been used in the past and pro-union progressives have good reason to both take umbrage and be skeptical of her political positioning as a lefty. 

Organized labor is the anchor of support for the entire progressive left in Rhode Island, so it’s something of an offense to trample all over the flagship then claim to be a member of the fleet.

I’d really like for her to address the issues and allegations raised in Sirota’s latest indictment of her. I think that’s how anyone campaigning as a progressive should handle such a damning indictment of progressive credentials from a well-respected progressive writer.

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.