Chafee: The Divisive and Contradictory Governor

14Jan11

It seems like  for every act that Governor Lincoln Chafee does, we can easily find something else in his history that contradicts it.  He hasn’t even been in office yet for two weeks!

While a candidate, Chafee stated his displeasure with the Economic Development Corp’s deal to guarantee loan to 38 Studios in exchange for moving their headquarters to RI.  Chafee wanted the deal re-examined and suggested putting EDC board members personally on the line for any money that 38 Studios ever shorts the state.  If that’s the case, can the EDC members also personally keep some of the profits?  So where’s the real contradiction here?  It’s in his hiring of Chief of Staff, Michael Trainor.  He is the man who took a quarter of million dollar loan from the same EDC and then defaulted on it, filing for bankruptcy.  So Chafee’s more worried about the “potential” for losses than having a trusted advisor who already screwed the state out of a lot of money and unlikely to get it back.

How about when he issued his own executive order on his first day in office, demanding ethics among everyone in state government.  No one may financially benefit from their government elected position.   That sounds great, except for on day two, people found a link on the Governor’s state run web page to an Amazon.com link selling a book that Lincoln Chafee wrote.  Not only that, but the Governor’s wife’s page also had an Amazon.com link to a book that she wrote.  Of course, they blamed it on an intern.

Maybe you’ve also heard of Chafee’s recent edict that not only will he not appear on any talk radio, but no other state employees may appear on talk radio while on the clock for the state.  Later, they had to amend the decision to say that it would be ok in the case of an emergency.

This is the same guy who frequently went on talk radio when he was a candidate for Governor, when he needed the help, but as soon as he didn’t need their help any more, he made this decision.

Ok, so Chafee doesn’t want to go on talk radio?  That’s fine, that’s his right, I don’t care.  But to ban all of his top people like Keith Stokes, Deborah Gist and Michael Lewis?  These are the people who can tell the public about what’s really going on.  This much seems like a bad decision that should be reversed.  However, he was able to make this bad decision even worse.

“Those that pay — the advertisers — should shut them down.” This was the most recent quote from Chafee about the talk radio flap.  Here is the Governor of the state talking about financially shutting down a state business and jobs creator.  A state taxpayer.  He wants them shut down because he disagrees with their message.   This is the most dangerous part.  He doesn’t like the most likely unfair treatment that he got from John DePetro and Buddy Cianci both of WPRO, so he’s taking it out against an entire industry.  If the two hosts said something that he disagrees with, why doesn’t he simply go on their show and debate them on it.  Beat them at their own game with facts.  If that doesn’t work, take it over to a rival station and give his side of the story.  If the hosts are throwing out allegations that are slanderous, then he should sue.  To call for advertisers to shut down a business because he disagrees with the message just seems reckless and irresponsible.

However, in the less than two weeks in office, that seems like par for the course.

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