Thursday, August 15, 2013

An Interview with Rhode Island Conservative Don Roach (Go Local Prov)

Don Roach
As a Mindsetter (TM) on Go Local Prov and Go Local Worcester (two news sites based in Providence, Rhode Island), I have been reading about the conservative impulse trying to thrive and drive up Republican numbers in the Northeast, where the GOP brand has taken a shellacking of its own.
I soon began reading the weekly contributions of a black conservative, Don Roach, whose views paralleled mine in a number of ways.
Because of his writings, because of his advocacy for these issues (and also because he is an African-American and a conservative in a very liberal state), I wanted to get his thoughts on a number of issues.
Here are my questions, and his responses.
Q: Why are you a Republican/Conservative? Why are you a Republican in Rhode Island?
I am a conservative because I hold values that have been labeled as such. I am pro-life, for the traditional definition of marriage, and believe that we should make every attempt to make our economy a free market without government intervention. I’m a Republican because my beliefs mostly align with the traditional definition of a Republican.

Q: Why are most African-Americans Democrats, in your opinion? Why are most Rhode Islanders Democrats?
Most African-Americans are Democrats for two reasons, and two reasons alone. One, they have been brainwashed to believe that Democrats have their best interests at heart. The answer is they don’t, they just use African-Americans to win elections in urban communities and seek to support policies that will keep African-Americans, for lack of a better word, enslaved to government programs. Two, Republicans have done a piss poor job of messaging their policies to the African-American community. How you say something is as important as what you say and Republicans can’t seem to figure this out. For instance, I could say “black people you just want your welfare check”. That’s a charged statement and implies that all black people want is to suck the life out the system. How will a Republican gain support from this class of people phrasing their positions like that? They won’t. Instead, they should say “we’re tired of Democrats telling you that welfare is the highest income level you can achieve. If you want more, let’s work together.” Similar message, different package. African-Americans will be hooked on Democrats until the GOP wakes up to this.

Q: Do people often ask you why you are a Republican/Conservative?
Yes. I’m a black dude who is a republican and many think it’s an oxymoron. But, I’ve got no problems calling myself a Republican because the values that Republicans hold are values that I share. Interestingly enough, I get asked by a number of Rhode Island Republicans about how to get more black people in the party. My answer is the same as what I said in your previous question – change the messaging.

Q: What are your opinions of President Obama? of Progressive Democrats in General?
My opinion of President Obama is that he sold the country a bunch of “hope and change” garbage and has just been a garden variety democrat who also happens to share President Bush’s penchant to intrude into our lives. I’m disappointed. Regarding Progressive Democrats I generally have a bit more respect for these guys. We’re diametrically opposed ideologically but at least they are straightforward with their aims and desires. I do believe progressive democrats could destroy this country because their answer to everything is more government intervention. That’s never a good thing in my opinion.

Q: Where you aware of Rep. James Langevin's interest in President Woodrow Wilson? Were you aware of Wilson's prejudice, statist views about minorities and the government?

 I wasn’t aware of Langevin’s interest, but I am definitely aware of Wilson’s prejudicial views. But seriously, the guy was born in the 19thcentury and was president during the early part of the 20th century when women couldn’t vote and minorities were living in a Jim Crow era. I’d say a majority of white people held pretty prejudicial views on people of color.

Q: Do you think that Langevin should repudiate his connections with Wilson? Why or why not?
No, because it’s easy to look back in time and find fault with nearly every historical actor who held views that the modern world considers antiquated. There’s good and bad in all of us and we’re all products of our environments. That was a different era, and a different time. I find no fault in Langevin taking the good from Wilson and not agreeing with some of Wilson’s other quotes.

Q: You once labeled the Rhode Island Republican Party "Idiots." Why? How can the Republican Party survive and thrive in Rhode Island and in the Northeast?
RI Republicans are idiots because they refuse to deal with politics through the lens of the Rhode Island community. Here’s what I mean, most of RI’ers are independent. What’s that mean? It means party affiliation isn’t all that important but candidate substance is. Don’t go all “Democrats are bad, we’re good” mantra. It’s not going to work here. Might in Texas, but not RI. Also – bring forth a plan to address the problems facing the community head on, like jobs, property taxes, schools, etc.

Q: What will it take for a Republican to take back a Congressional seat in Rhode Island?
This is tricky. Last year Doherty lost as a well-financed and relatively independent leaning Republican to the much maligned (by me, especially) David Cicilline. I’ve always maintained that Cicilline is an excellent politician and Doherty losing the minority vote in Providence the way he did was sick. It illustrated what’s wrong in the RI GOP. Messaging has to be important to all RI GOP candidates. We can win these seats we just need to create messages that are relevant to people.

Q: How can Republicans expand their voting registration to minorities, particularly African-Americans? (African-American State Senator Elbert Guillory of Louisiana just joined the Republican Party - how did you take the news?)
Republicans need to make it a priority. It’s not rocket science. Really, there’s no other secret to it than that.

Q: Welfare and dependence have become featured issues in Northeast politics. What reforms do you think that Republicans should advance in order to help people help themselves?
Welfare reform is great, but the greatest area of reform I see is middle-class reform. People trying to move from low to middle income have a devil of a time because the assistance is concentrated at lower levels of income. The government itself, if it is going to provide programs, should provide programs that help people help themselves and help those who are really working to make a life for themselves. Lifetime welfare is just bad.

Q: Did you run for state office at one time? Do you have plans to do so in the future?

I ran for state senate in 2006, but that was because I wanted to run for office before turning 30 and that was my last opportunity to do so. I ran for city council in 2010. That was a legit run and the most fun I’ve had in my life. I find no greater high than discussing issues with my neighbors. It’s sad but running for office was like breathing and you can better believe I’ll do it again. I believe my political philosophy is very different from others and I believe it can really serve the people well.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with this California Conservative, Don!
Here's to a resurgence of Life Liberty in the State whose motto is Hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment