September 13, 2005

A Snapshot of Senator Chafee's Problem

Carroll Andrew Morse

If you want a snapshot of why Senator Lincoln Chafee is facing a primary challenge, you can find it in this quote (from Jim Baron's Pawtucket Times article) from the Senator…

So having had a hand in starting Laffey's political career, Chafee said, "I will take great satisfaction in ending it."
He repeated the sentiment on Friday evening’s WJAR 6-o’clock news story about his visit hurricane barrier, when asked about the Laffey challenge.

Now ask yourself, or better yet, ask Senator Chafee the following questions. Did the Senator take great satisfaction in ending the political career of Robert Weygand, his 2000 election opponent? If the Senator wins the Republican primary, will he take great satisfaction in ending the political careers of Sheldon Whitehouse or Matt Brown?

To the best of my knowledge, when facing a Democrat, the Senator has never publicly described his challenge as ending his opponent's political career, nor has he declared that ending a Democratic opponent's political career will give him great satisifaction. Senator Chafee would never display the level of personal animus he has shown towards Steve Laffey, a fellow Republican, towards a liberal or a Democrat, yet he somehow still expects unquestioning Republican support.

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My my aren't we being a bit overly sensitive Andrew?? lol
Seems to me Chafee's strident comments concerning your boy are a good thing.
It means he's fully engaged in this battle.

Posted by: Tim at September 13, 2005 8:47 AM

Personal animus? I guess if I helped someone run for political office and that person decided to run against me changing from saying positive things to negative things, I might be a little ticked, too. It's not about liberal or conservative, it's about a word called INTEGRITY.

I think Chafee will become more aggressive in this run than we've ever seen him before.

Posted by: Anthony at September 13, 2005 9:45 AM

I am a very conservative republican living in Rhode Island. I want to make that clear from the start. I am very upset at the Laffey campaign. It seems as if our (conservative republicans) candidate is ignoring us. Why does he sound so democratic? So progressive? Also, I am very dissappointed that he entered this race in the first place. While I disagree with many of Chafee's views on issues, I never question his motives, he always does what he thinks is best for Rhode Island. I now question Laffey's motives very much. He clearly is in this for himself. I think he just wants to see his name in lights and have everybody talking about him. I wish he was he would have challenged Senator Reed (when that situation presented itself) or Congressman Langevin (now)...why does he have to try and get rid of Chafee. Is Chafee my ideal senator no, but at least he has rhode island's best interests at heart, I don't know I can say the saem for Laffey....unfortunate.

I am waiting for Anchor Rising, the Laffey shills they are, to make a post that will counter the Brown poll. Come on, tell us everything the folks at Brown did wrong, why it isn't a true sample. They can talk all they want, but the number show Laffey with no chance. Granted, there is a lot of time to go, but this isn't good for Laffey, no matter how Anchor Rising spins it!

Posted by: Kip/Waiting at September 13, 2005 10:49 AM

I'll still vote for Laffey in the primary in order to boot Linc - but it's looking more and more like Laffey is just another RINO - so at that time of the general election it might just be time to sit out what will, in effect, be a Democratic primary!
Laffey Launches Campaign Ad Blitz
09-13-2005 2:20 PM

(Cranston, RI) -- Less than a week after announcing he's a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey's campaign has started running a TV commercial. The ad criticizes national energy policy and outlines Laffey's proposals for alternative energy.


Laffey is challenging Senator Lincoln Chafee for the 2006 Republican nomination.

Posted by: Tom W at September 13, 2005 3:09 PM

In Laffey's ad he is criticizing both R's and D's for not doing enough for a number of issues, including gas prices. What does he hope to accomplish when he is criticizing his own political party. I am having a tough time understanding his motives.

Posted by: Robert at September 13, 2005 3:32 PM

Kip, I understand your frustration regarding Laffey and I am far from fully convinced on him myself. Remember: I am conservative first, Republican second. So long as Laffey speaks to conservative issues I will lean towards him over the known quantity of Sen. Chafee. I have not been encouraged by everything I've seen by Laffey so far, but I'm still waiting. We have a long year ahead.

My earlier column has been interpreted, understandably, as an endorsement for Laffey. For of sounding as if I'm equivocating already, my goal was to explain that what I really and truly want is a more conservative RIGOP and that, right now, Laffey appears to be the best vehicle to see if such a thing is possible. I am far from a Laffey shill as I hope some of my earlier posts on his Guatemalan escapade and my general musings about him as a viable Senate candidate. I am a reluctant supporter because, despite his faults, to me he is still a better option than Sen. Chafee....for now.

Finally, I can't speak for all here at AR, but if some "ideal" conservative candidate emerged he would find some support here at AR. But, unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world. I am no Laffey "kool-aid" drinker, but right now , I repeat, right NOW, he appears to be the better of the two candidates. If I continue to see signs that he seems to be taking his conservative base for granted, I will definitely call him on it.

Posted by: Marc Comtois at September 13, 2005 7:50 PM

Further, and this point should be made very clear, Laffey is taking a serious political risk by playing down both Democrats and Republicans. At first glance, it seems...well...stupid, but it's not. It's called the some 300K+ independent voters of Rhode Island - all of whom are eligible to vote in the Republican primary. In a sense, it's better for Laffey to go after these voters than all of the 60k+ registered republicans in the state.

It's simply a matter of numbers and if Laffey can drum of support among independent voters he gets a twofold benefit. First, he would have a legit shot to beat Chafee in the primary and second, he gains an advantage over these same 'independent' voters in the general election who have already voted for him once. By shifting further to the left, not a whole heck of a lot, but just a little, he can hope to win conservative Dems, reunite the GOP, and grab a significant portion of the independent vote. If he can, he's got a very legitamate shot.

But, it's a very long shot and things must go nearly perfectly for him. Whether or not Chafee would like to end Laffey's political career or not is irrelevant to me, though amusing. Whatever Linc's feelings toward Laffey, Chafee needs to tread carefully through the minefield Laffey will set up.

Posted by: don roach at September 14, 2005 5:10 AM