Wednesday, November 09, 2005


There's this ad for the new investigative reporter (Jim Taricani is, I assume, writing his memoirs which I will be first in line to buy) on the NBC affiliate in Rhode Island that says "Rhode Island isn't politics as usual, it's political theater." And, in a story that will be told for years to come, we get two assclowns who will end up on the political blooper reel with Bush's camera flip-off.
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Play it again, Sam. That tune never gets old.
Here's a transcript of what went down. Allow me to provide the dramatis persone for this interlude.

Guy Dufault is a lobbyist and consultant, who is renowned for being in cahoots with the Narragansett Indians and their decade-plus long quest to build a casino in Rhode Island.
J. Michael Levesque is a former state GOP chairman who was uncomfortably glancing at the cameras and smiling and nodding while Dufault hung himself on camera.
Don Carcieri is the Republican governor of Rhode Island.
Charles Fogarty is the Democratic Leautenant Governor, and a likely candidate to run against Carcieri next year.
The setting is a pre-show soundcheck for "The Real Deal" which is basically an advertisement for the casino proposal disguised as an issues show.

Levesque: Are we still on for breakfast?
Dufault: We're off for breakfast now. No promise or anything, I uh, I'm meeting with [Lt. Gov. Charles] Fogarty at 8 a.m.
Levesque: Oh, OK. Well, we'll make it next week.
Dufault: Yeah. We'll just do it next week. Uh yeah, I got . . . Fogarty, uh, wants to see me.
Levesque: Jesus, I hope you breathe some life into him.
Dufault: That's what I'm gonna do. That's why I'm going. We've called the campaign to bitch. I mean literally that's what I did. I called their campaign to bitch. I said 'look, I can't uh, ya know, I can't be out there telling the unions to support you when you can't even take simple positions.'
Levesque: What are you talking about?
Dufault: Miminum wage. Uh, uh, right to vote on the casino. I mean these are simple things and you're on the right side of the issue. Eighty percent of the people want the right to vote. Eighty percent of the people want a minimum wage increase. The governor is on the wrong side of both those issues. Why are you not out there slamming him at every chance?' And he's, he's, afraid of alienating . . .[muffled "typical"].
A technician reminds them of an audio check.
Dufault: Okay, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Levesque: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Levesque: Even some of the money people are saying 'I'm not jumping on him now. We don't think he's got a shot.'
Dufault: I know. The only thing we can do is bring the other guy down. I can bring Carcieri down [pause]. I got stuff. (Laughter) If nothing else, I got the names of the past comattas [Italian slang for girlfriends]. I just gotta start throwin' 'em out there.
Levesque: . . . send a little brown envelope.
Dufault: He was active.
Levesque: Well, ya know, I told you when he first popped on the scene. That that was the big worry.
Technician: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Dufault: Welcome to this week's edition of The Real Deal . . . .

(Thanks to for the transcript.)
Now I am not idealistic enough to think politicians don't talk this way. It's a skeezy, horrible business to be in politics, especially on the local instead of national level. But I would hope that said skeezebags would have enough sense to know that talking shit about someone in a room full of bloody cameras and microphones may not be the smartest thing one can do. Christ, even Bush had a snafu when he called a reporter an asshole during his 2000 campaign. Pay attention! It's one thing if Taricani comes at you with a hidden camera, but this was pretty obvious. Not only that, but you send part of the raw tape to be aired? Even if it wasn't a simple human error, all it would take is one ambitious intern to make a huge story out of that. It's fucking stupid all around.
So Dufault lost his $10,000 a month job working for the Narragansetts, and he still won't apologize for what he said, but essentially said he's sorry it got out that way. The governor won't rest until Dufault says he's sorry, the RI Democrats are backpeadaling away from Dufault as quickly as possible, and Rhode Islanders just roll their eyes at the histrionics. My grandfather, ever the conspiracy theorist, believes someone purposely aired that footage. My mother, who is on vicodin for her hip and was flipping channels when she saw the footage air for the first time, thought it was time to dial down her dose since she didn't believe her eyes. I agree with channel 10-- it's just political theater as usual in Rhode Island.

(You can try to watch the video here. Hopefully the link works.)

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