As I’ve argued here, outside of being a member of a major political party, there’s no good reason why WPRI would include Mike Riley in its CD2 debate and not Abel Collins.
Unlike the ultra-conservative Riley, Collins espouses some pretty mainstream ideas. The independent wants citizens more involved in their government and corporations to be less involved. He wants to shift away from an economic policy that caters to the 1 percent to one that caters more toward the middle class.
Mike Riley, on the other hand, thinks people who believe in such policies are communists.
Tom Sgouros detailed as much in a post showing Riley’s correspondences with him when he was writing for the Narragansett Times.
But berating Sgouros isn’t the only time Riley has confused being progressive with being a communist. In July Ian Donnis quoted him as equating progressive political positions to “time-release communism.”
Calling progressives communists is as narrow-minded as it is mean-spirited. And it doesn’t bode very well for Riley’s potential to work across the isle.
But don’t expect much bipartisanship from the former Wall Street hedge fund manager. He once wrote in GoLocal, “Government exists to protect and preserve our individual freedoms and property rights so that we may pursue our dreams and our happiness. Real leaders will accept this limited role of government and seek to constrain its growth and influence over our lives.”
If this reads like creepy Ayn Rand weirdness that’s because it is. Riley is the worst kind of conservative: he espouses to be a libertarian but he’s really a tool for the corporate interests.
He won’t comment to RI Future, but here’s how Congressman Jim Langevin described him.
“Michael Riley clearly plans to go to Washington to fight for the wealthiest one percent of Americans,” said the incumbent. “He’s going to Washington clearly to fight for tax advantages for major corps and oil and gas companies. He’s going down there to support the Ryan budget. and he’s going down there to turn medicare into a voucher system.”
And here’s a comment from Abel Collin’s new campaign manager Dave Fisher:
“The fact that Mike Riley has not supported the inclusion of Abel in the WPRI debate is indicative of his hardline right-wing policies that would squelch free speech and many of our other rapidly eroding freedoms in the U.S. There is only one candidate in the race that offers a real option to the baton passing between the two major parties that goes on in Washington, and that is Abel Collins. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is this: Republicans want to drive the bus toward Armageddon with the gas pedal on the floor. Democrats are willing to obey the speed limit.”
For more on Riley, listen to him on Political Roundtable this morning.