I am the Rhode Island State Coordinator for the Progressive Democrats of America. My primary interest is Rhode Island's economy and what we can do to fix it.

16 responses to “In Budget Vote, Cicilline Betrays Progressives”

  1. RoundHouseLeft

    “My primary interest is Rhode Island’s economy ”

    Bull.  I think your primary interest is Sam Bell.   Who anointed you Solomon of all things left wing Rocky?


    1. PinkHatLib

      YOU’RE no psychometrician!

  2. patrick

    See, if you’d voted for Doherty, at least you’d know what you’re getting. We’ve been telling you that Cicilline has trouble with the truth and you didn’t believe us. Now he’s lying to you and you’re shocked, like the mistress who gets cheated on. 

    Remember this next November. 

    1. turbo

      Please elaborate on this idea: “See, if you’d voted for Doherty, at least you’d know what you’re getting.”

      I think it would really make clear the quality of conservative thought.  

  3. Johnnie

    “Let us be clear, progressives are not going to vote against Cicilline in the general election.”
    Why not; because Cicilline wouldn’t vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as deeply as some conservative? He will only “reform” them a little – until next time.
    Have you thought about why he would alienate his social base and vote these reforms (cuts)? What percentage of Rhode Islanders – who are not “progressives,” – do you suppose would support cuts to these social-safety-net programs? Very few.
    So who is he representing if not progressives or the people of R.I?
    He represents a system of capitalism/imperialism.


  4. Brian Hull


    I love your passion, and I love your commitment to Progressivism, but I really think you need to get a grip.  Cicilline is in no way abandoning or betraying progressives, and I think it’s a little foolish for you to imply it.  There is actually a very easy explanation for why Cicilline voted against the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget: it completely blows through the spending caps put in place by the Budget Control Act that Cicilline voted for and signed by President Obama.  

    Would I have liked it if Cicilline voted for the CPC budget?  Sure.  Does it actually matter than he didn’t?  No.  Do I care?  Not at all.  You’re reading too much into it.  To put it bluntly, the CPC budget had about as much likelihood of passing as Paul Ryan’s budget: zero.

    Cicilline voted for the Senate Dems budget proposal, the Congressional Black Caucus budget, and the House Democratic budget. Are they perfect?  No, far from it.  But they all do important and Progressive things: 

    •Stop the $1.2 trillion worth of sequestration cuts

    •Protect education spending and assistance for the poor

    •They all have some stimulus spending (although not enough in my book).  

    •Clean up the tax code making it simpler and more progressive, while adding some revenue (arguably not enough) to the government.

    •Protect Medicaid, Medicare, and YES Social Security given how much of a red herring the Chained CPI really is

    •Protect the Affordable Care Act

    •Makes Social Security into a better anti-poverty program through a minimum defined benefit.

    I appreciate the advocacy, I appreciate pushing for strong progressive stances on issues, and I appreciate creating the space for legislators to be more liberal in their advocacy.  But essentially saying that Cicilline is a sellout because of not signing a letter or voting for the CPC budget is a little ridiculous given that 99% of the time he’s one of the most progressive legislators in DC.

  5. patrick

    turbo, I mean Doherty said he wouldn’t vote for the progressive budget and he wouldn’t. Cicilline on the other hand, told you he would and then didn’t.

    1. turbo

      Yes. You’re saying that progressives should vote for the guy who will always betray them, rather than for the guy who occasionally will.

      Would you call voting for the guy you know will screw you over, rather than the guy you think will occasionally screw you over, a bedrock conservative principle or just a general trend? 

  6. patrick

    Or do you prefer someone who says “I will vote against you” and does it, or do you prefer someone who says “I will vote with you” and then votes against you?

    I guess I just think it’s funny that Cicilline is showing his stripes and some of you are actually surprised that he’d lie about something.

    1. turbo

      “do you prefer someone who says “I will vote against you” and does it” No. 

      1. Johnnie

             To put it another way, Turbo prefers the liar over the one who tells him the truth. Your reasoning is bizarre.

        1. turbo

          I can’t tell what you mean here. You’re referring to me in both the second and third persons.

          To be clear: lying is irrelevant. To have hurt feelings over a politician’s lies is to be a child. 

          I know that Cicilline will sometimes legislate in ways that I do not like. 
          Please explain why this means I should vote for Doherty, who will always legislate in ways I do not like.

          Please explain why I ought to martyr myself and my fellow citizens until an honest politician comes along. Or a purely progressive one.

          1. Johnnie

                 I’m not saying you should vote for anyone. Voting is not where the decisions are made.
            Do you know anyone who voted for the wars, tax cuts, drones, bailouts, a surveillance state……/ I don’t think so.
                 What you are saying is a “progressive” who lies to you occasionally is better than a conservative who tells you truthfully he won’t support your agenda. That is bizarre to me.

            1. turbo

              “That is bizarre to me”

              Then I’d like to play poker with you, because you don’t understand percentages. 

  7. Randall

    Sam Bell’s reaction is good. 
    Basically, there are three possible approaches you can take to someone like Cicilline if you believe in the values that the Progressive Caucus is supposed to represent:
    1) You can tell people from the beginning that Cicilline is too close to bad interests and that he’s no real progressive, even if he’s officially part of the Progressive Caucus.  You can refuse to put effort into supporting him, and put pressure on him to do more for the 99%.
    2) You can start out saying that Cicilline is worth supporting, but then withdraw that support when he shows he doesn’t support progressive priorities enough — and you can publicize his bad decisions and show how they undermine the case for supporting Cicilline.
    3) You can say “I’ve heard Cicilline is a reasonable guy with pretty good views” and continue to support him.
    Although I like #1, I think response #2 is good, and I’m glad that Sam is saying #2 or something fairly close to it.  I hope Sam doesn’t go back to painting a rosier picture of Cicilline.  The real problem about Cicilline is that too many people in RI are still stuck on response #3.  The vast majority of high-ranking elected politicians, like Cicilline, are people who prosper based on promoting an inflated reputation of themselves among ordinary people.  That’s the problem about political hacks like Cicilline.  If so many people across the country didn’t endorse option #3 about their local political hacks who falsely claim to represent various parts of the 99%’s political spectrum, the hacks wouldn’t keep getting elected.  So it’s important for those of us who are already at option #1 or #2 to keep publicizing how the hacks fail to live up to the values they claim to represent.  Any time you’re too quick to assume that your representative will do the right thing without pressure from you, you’re likely to be exploited.
    I don’t entirely agree with the Progressive Caucus myself, in a lot of ways they’re much too favorable to the interests of political hacks.  Still, some of the values that the Progressive Caucus claims to represent are important ones.  When David Segal ended up endorsing Cicilline in 2010, he asked Cicilline to commit to joining the Progressive Caucus, and Cicilline agreed.  That might not have been a smart move, because when a politician joins the Progressive Caucus it’s largely a branding decision — it’s an effort to make voters THINK you stand for something even before the actual votes come up.  When a congressman is in the Progressive Caucus, it makes him look good but doesn’t necessarily do as much for us, so it ends up shifting power from the voters more to the politician.  Still, we do have to publicize the fact that Cicilline’s actions are unacceptable.  And although it’s reasonable for people to have different views about whether there are acceptable alternative candidates to Cicilline, in any case we can encourage the people of the country to mutually work out on their own what policies to follow, not just accepting what their so-called representatives say. 

  8. Walt48

    Is is pathetic that progressive almost always have to end up voting for the better of two less than satisfactory alternatives.  We did it with Obama and apparently we were doing it with Cicilline.  I agree with Turbo though, why would I ever vote for someone who will always vote in ways I do not like as opposed to someone who will sometimes vote in ways I do not like.

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