Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee starts the second half of his term with an economic record that is mediocre at best. Rhode Island finds itself with a very slow-growing economy, high unemployment and modest job creation, and no real comprehensive plan to get us out of this mess.
In an interview published in this week’s edition of Providence Business News, the governor takes credit for a number of improving economic indicators, including key employment statistics, pointing to his conservative, take-care-of-basics approach to governing as the reason for these key economic outcomes.
When he subsequently draws a distinction between his economic-development approach and previous efforts as “Hail Mary, end-arounds and Statue-of-Liberty plays,” (thinly veiled references to the 38 Studios LLC deal), and says that characterizing his efforts as lacking urgency are wrong, he makes clear that he doesn’t understand what urgency means.
When the New England Patriots find themselves needing to score points and little time remains on the clock, they do not throw “Hail Mary” passes or the like. They go into a hurry-up (read urgent) offense. The plays they execute are well-considered, tactical and have high expectations of success.
It takes a lot of analysis and practice to be successful in those circumstances, all the while taking care of the basics, too (like not fumbling the ball or throwing interceptions). In other words, it takes a plan for victory in urgent circumstances.
The governor would do well to look at the Patriots approach and adapt it to running the state. If he had, perhaps after two years in office, the state would have an economic-action plan that we all could rally behind. •
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