R.I. Tea Party says Chafee wrong to 'demonize' conservatives
January 18, 2014
The Providence Journal
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Rhode Island Tea Party says Governor Chafee was wrong to "demonize" conservatives in his State of the State address on Wednesday.
Susan Wynne, the organization's head, said in a Friday statement that Chafee's comments were "dishonest" and a "double standard," especially since Chafee frequently refers to the state's "legacy of tolerance" in his public statements.
In a speech laying out his priorities for his final year in office, Chafee, a Democrat who is not seeking re-election this year, blamed the Tea Party and other conservative activist groups for their calls to cut social welfare programs even as the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow. He said, in part:
"Recently, we marked the 50th anniversary of President Johnson's "War on Poverty", a key component of his Great Society.""This is a milestone which prompts us to reflect on our collective progress on this front - both as a state and as a nation. While we would all agree that this is a war worth fighting, I don't think any of us could say it's a war we've won. On the contrary, I strongly agree with Pope Francis, President Obama, and other leaders who have expressed alarm at the widening disparity of opportunity in our communities."
"It seems as though the battleground in the "War on Poverty" is increasingly the fundamental question of whether the government has a role to play in helping Americans help themselves out of poverty and up into the middle class. To that question, I answer an unequivocal: yes, government can be a force of good in people's lives."
"Unfortunately, the Tea Party and so-called conservatives have waged a war of their own on beneficial social programs that have proven to grow our essential middle class. Meanwhile our national economy sputters and the wealth disparity grows larger."