With former Gov. Don Carcieri now being blamed for the fiscal mess Rhode Island’s poorest communities find themselves in because of his starve the beast policy towards state aid to cities an towns, the retired Republican took to the friendly airwaves of WPRO recently to defend his decisions.
“You said it very well,” he said to Steve Kass – the former full-time-now-fill-in talk radio host who gave Carcieri such favorable attention at the time that the governor finally just dropped the pretense and made Kassman his communication director in 2005. Seriously, that’s who was conducting the interview – the guy’s former communications director.
“Every business person I knew was looking at their business an seeing sales decline and figuring out how they could reduce their costs and be more efficient and it was pretty obvious government needed to do the same,” Carcieri continued. “We couldn’t say we need the same amount of money or more when all of our citizens and all of our businesses are hurting.”
Kass’ probing follow up question? “And also deliver quality services as well,” he tacked on to Carcieri’s defense. To which the former governor added, “Well of course that goes without saying.”
Riveting radio, indeed. Nothing more interesting than listening to a politician make unchallenged talking points.
But then it got, if not interesting, at least bizarre when Kass actually blamed the legislature for his former boss’ crowning fiscal legacy. Carcieri, knowing he would be tossed only softballs, played right along.
“You kind of get painted with whatever happens out of the legislature it’s something you have to live with,” he said.
Yeah, you especially get painted with that brush when it’s your legislative proposal that the General Assembly passes. Never mind that later in the conversation, when Kass tried to blame Congress for the nation’s deficit, Carcieri kept the onus on the executive at the helm.
“It takes leadership,” he said. “You know that.”
Kassman knew that, of course, after Carcieri told him he did.