The Democratic Primary was candidate Anthony Gemma’s to lose. He did. He thought the issue of character was all he needed to address. In reality, he had to establish his own identity and his position on issues. Instead, he let Congressman David Cicilline and the party’s pooh-bahs paint him as “bizarre” to voters who knew little about him.
The November election is Republican Brendan Doherty’s to lose. He’s about to have a similar tail that was pinned on Gemma pinned on him. Challenger Doherty is wrong if he thinks character is all that matters to voters. Mr. Cicilline has spent his campaign money thus far excoriating the Republicans in Congress for their radical ideas. He and his minions will pin the word “radical” on Doherty unless he clearly establishes that he is not marching in lockstep with the Congressional Republicans.
Face it. Much of the agenda of the national Republicans are toxic to Rhode Island voters who still are basically Democrats. Lots of folks consider themselves independent because they occasionally forgive themselves for voting for a GOP candidate. The Republican gang in D.C. comes across as pro-billionaires and anti-women.
Mr. Doherty has to clearly distance himself from his party leaders, if he is to win. The voters need to know what his position is on tax breaks for the wealthy. Calling the “Buffett rule” a gimmick doesn’t cut the mustard. Is he a devotee or not of the “trickle-down” economic theory?
What would he keep about Obamacare? Earlier in his campaign, he opined that there were some good things in the President’s Health Care Act, but it had to be dismantled and efforts had to be started all over again. This is a loser position and also ridiculous, if this is still what he thinks. Even presidential candidate Mitt Romney modified his position last week by saying he wouldn’t excise all the good sections of the law. (Later, his campaign “explained” away this statement and his last position is back to the “throw out the baby with the bath water” extreme.)
What is his position on “vouchers” for Medicare for those 55 years or younger? Wedding this brainchild of vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan hands the election to the Congressman. Anyone with half a brain realizes that health care premiums are out of control and that this runaway train cannot be curbed by giving a voucher to put toward future health costs.
What are his priorities? Some of the forced choices are created by the Republican profligate proposed military spending of 2 trillion additional dollars. Knowledgeable voters know that defense spending is concentrated in the districts of the Republican hierarchy. It’s a disgrace that ex-generals get million-dollar jobs at defense firms and then in turn lobby their former colleagues, some of whom they promoted, to buy useless or redundant equipment because that’s what the company makes.
What is the challenger’s position on transparency for contributors to entities where the identification is shielded?
A clear and concise explanation has to be forthcoming. Mr. Doherty has to define himself. He can carry the “deception” theme by campaign ads that state his true position while giving a shot to the incumbent as somebody who is trying to deceive the public again by the misrepresentation of the record.
If, however, the challenger is enamored of the Republican talking points, he’ll be living full-time in Cumberland.