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Carcieri and the bully pulpit


As Governor Carcieri prepares to tonight deliver his penultimate State of the State address, it's worth considering the governor's once-lauded communication skills -- and how they might have been deployed to greater effect.

As I wrote in 2006:

[A]lthough it seemed clear at the outset that Carcieri was going to project a more robust presence than the quietly effective Lincoln Almond, he has emerged, to the begrudging admiration of his partisan detractors, as Rhode Island’s version of the great communicator. Carcieri’s message mastery and comfort in speaking is so natural, says one Democratic observer, "[That] you can’t teach it. There’s no speaking coach that’s going to create Don Carcieri, or the image of him. He comes across as very genuine, and if anyone is responsible for that, it’s Don Carcieri."

Brown University political science professor Darrell West calls the 63-year-old former corporate CEO the most effective gubernatorial communicator he has seen at the State House. "He knows how to frame a message and to talk to people in a way that they understand," West says. "He understands that you need to boil down your message to a few simple points, and repeat those points over and over so they sink in with the voters."

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