December 7, 2005

NEA Thinks the NSRC has hurt Chafee

Marc Comtois

In a piece titled "Teachers consider endorsing Chafee before it’s too late," Peter Savodnik of The Hill reports:

In yet another sign that Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s (R-R.I.) election prospects are in doubt, the National Education Association (NEA) is “seriously considering” endorsing him in the GOP primary, the head of the organization’s Rhode Island chapter said yesterday.

Bob Walsh, the chapter’s executive director, said that Chafee’s primary opponent, Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey (R), would have plenty of money and that recent television ads run by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) had led political insiders to worry about the senator’s odds. . .

“We don’t always agree with Senator Chafee, but we’ve always had a good relationship,” Walsh said. “It would be foolish to ignore the opportunity to influence that.”

Meanwhile, the NSRC thinks their ad campaign has been effective:
Dan Ronayne, a spokesman for the NRSC, dismissed Laffey’s claim to be a tax-cutter, adding that the two ads the campaign committee had run in Rhode Island were meant to set the record straight.

Ronayne asserted that since the television ads had aired — the second one stopped running in mid-November — and the committee had sent direct-mail pieces to many Rhode Island Republicans, Laffey’s support had ebbed.

As an aside, I wonder when actual poll numbers will be release? There have been claims on both sides that the other guy has been hurt, but nobody is showing us any proof. Until then, their claims have to be regarded suspiciously.

That being said, what to make of the NEA endorsement? On the face of it, it seems like common sense. The NEA has no love for Laffey. But could it be that a deeper calculation is being made? Could Walsh et al be betting that an endorsement of Chafee by them would push conservative Republicans further towards Laffey. This, they may be hoping, will lead to a Laffey primary win and--they presume--will give their "real" candidate (probably Sheldon Whitehouse) a better chance in the general election. Just some idle speculation. Anyone else have a good conspiracy theory?

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I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories, but I do agree with the assessment from yesterday's Newport Daily News. It said if the GOP primary were held now, "Laffey would be heading back to the private sector."

Posted by: Sarah at December 7, 2005 4:16 PM

I think Bob Walsh is basically talking to his constituency and reminding them that a Republican like Chafee is better than giving Laffey a shot. They think Laffey is evil because he points out the obvious fact that teachers cannot go on sucking all the money out of municipal budgets.

The copay bills for my recent pregnancy added up to over $2000. I'd like to divvy up the bill and send it on to all the teachers I know in Cranston. Let them subsidize my healthcare like I'm subsidizing theirs.

Posted by: ngay at December 7, 2005 8:59 PM

It's 2005 - NOBODY CARES!!!
Save your rigged polls and your silly commentary.
This nonsensical foolishness about these irrelevant commercials run a year ahead of the primary having any effect on anything is embarrassing.
Get a life Laffey crowd!!
Your guy is unelectable on statewide level for any office in any format.
Multiple tax increases, traffic cameras, ID cards for illegals and an ego that's beyond over the top make Laffey unappealing and unelectable in this state.
The guy doesn't need a new job.
He needs a psychiatrist and a reality check.
The reality check is coming next September. Hopefully the professional help is coming soon after.
The man is a fraud.
I feel bad for all who have bought into the fake world of Steve Laffey.
Sadly I will proven right.

Posted by: Tim at December 7, 2005 10:40 PM

Sounds like Timmyboy forgot to take the meds before blogging. You really shouldn't get so riled up there. It's just a Senate primary, not the end of civilization.

I wouldn't give too much credence to poll numbers right now, as most people simply are not engaged in the process yet. However, I do subscribe to conspricy theories, being that I'm part of about half of them ;)

So, I do believe that if a group such as the NEA were to endorse Chafee, that it would only serve to further alienate him from members of his own party. It would be more intellectually consistent of the NEA to endorse one of the Democrat candidates, who would parrot their approach to educating children (i.e. "who cares if the children are learning, so long as I get my check and benefits"). Being that the NEA considers Mayor Laffey to be "public enemy #1," as Laffey actually supports kids learning in school, the support of Sen. Chafee by the NEA I'm sure would be most welcome by Laffey.

The NEA is really gambling though, if they are looking to hurt Chafee by supporting him, hoping to get Whitehouse in there as a result; they may just end up giving Laffey a little extra boost towards ultimate victory.

Posted by: Will at December 8, 2005 12:47 AM

Does anyone besides teachers care about who the NEA endorses?

Most conservatives and independents aren't going to vote against someone just because a NEA endorses a candidate. They probably were already voting against the endorsed candidate anyway, but nobody is going to say "Oh, the teachers want this guy, I had better oppose him." Most teachers who do vote according the the NEA will probably vote in the Democrat primary. This endorsement means a few thousand dollars and a couple of hundred votes. Not a big deal.

Posted by: Anthony at December 8, 2005 9:17 AM

Will, I'm not riled up at all.
I'm laughing at all you Laffey sycophants and your obsession with this guy.
He's a phoney and sooner or later everyone comes to see the real Steve Laffey.
It'll hurt for awhile but you will get over it.

Posted by: Tim at December 8, 2005 9:34 AM


Here's the address of the National Republican Senatorial Committee:

Ronald Reagan Republican Center
425 2nd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

They're the ones you should be complaining to about an obsession with Laffey.

Posted by: Andrew at December 8, 2005 9:54 AM

Tim, At this point, if you haven't figured out by now that "against Chafee" is not = "Laffey sycophant" by now, I can only assign your caterwauling on this subject as being informed by willful ignorance. I will say it again, in simple sentences to help you understand:

I'm not a supporter of Sen. Chafee.

I'm not convinced Mayor Laffey is Senate material.

Nonetheless, that is our choice.

Anchor Rising is a political website, we discuss (gasp) politics. Including the the most talked-about RI race of the year, the RIGOP Senate Primary.

We're not forcing you to visit Anchor Rising.

If you don't like posts about RI Senate '06, ignore 'em.

Posted by: Marc Comtois at December 8, 2005 11:43 AM

I am not against or "anti" Sen. Chafee. What I am against are many of the policies that he helps promote, which are more often than not, inconsistent with those of the vast majority of the members of his own party.

Political parties serve a specific purpose: they provide a vehicle by which people of similar political philosophy can work together to bring about positive changes in public policy. Sen. Chafee has made it known that he wants no part in promoting that philosophy.

I support Mayor Laffey, not because I think he is perfect, but because I think he is right. If he were perfect, he'd be running for Deity, not US Senate. I don't fault him for wanting to give back to his community and state in a more meaningful way. Being a Mayor has somewhat limited impact. He knows he can accomplish more for average Rhode Islanders in the US Senate.

I, for one enjoy this debate. However, it's important to keep it on substance, not by name calling, like using "phony" or "sycophant". Those are just subjective labels, with little, if any basis in reality. Stick to the issues!

Posted by: Will at December 9, 2005 12:45 AM

Will, the problem is that I'm not sure Laffey knows he isn't running for deity!

Everyone knows Laffey likes to generate controversy and get people talking. No Laffey supporter should be outraged at the NRSC or early debate on this race because I'm sure Laffey must be eating the attention up. Dr. Phil would probably say that he is compensating for not getting enough parental attention in childhood, but who am I to say?

I'm voting for Chafee, but in a way, I admit that I get some entertainment from watching Laffey go into temper tantrums. At times, you want to put him in time-out.

He has also "taken on so many special interest groups" (if you're a supporter) or "backstabbed so many people" (if you're not a supporter) that he's developed more enemies in a couple of years than most politicians have through decades of holding office!

Rush Limbaugh readily admits that, "Hey I'm in the radio business which means I depend on ratings. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but at least I'll be entertaining."

That's my view on Laffey. I don't think Laffey is a fit for the Senate, although I'm closer in idealogy to him than Chafee. More important, I don't want to lose the US Senate, so I won't vote for him. But Laffey does bring entertainment value to the table and I'd hate to see that go.

As for not discussing the Senate race on this blog, entertaining or not it's still one of the most important races in the country and it's happening in our own backyard. I'd question the value of this blog if the Senate race weren't a topic of discussion.

Posted by: Anthyony at December 9, 2005 8:34 AM


When has mayor Laffey ever had a "Temper Tantrum". I see references to these alleged "tantrums" on the blogs from time to time but has anyone ever witnessed one?

I'm afraid that you have fallen prey to a common misnomer about Mayor Laffey, people like to characterize him as a "hothead" but I can never find anyone who has actually witnessed one.

By the way, voting for someone just to hold on to the seat is exactly the problem in RI, we are so defeatist in our attitude! What other things do you settle for in your life. If a restaurant messes up your order, do you just accept it? If your mechanic screws up you car, do you just drive away?

It is time for all of us to stop accepting less than we deserve simply to hold onto the seat. If we don't, we will always have to accept the current mediocrity in DC that we all currently endure.

Posted by: John at December 9, 2005 12:25 PM

John, when you talk about mediocrity remember that there are very few moderate Republicans serving. Most incumbent Republicans got elected to office as conservatives, but somehow forgot what the phrase "limited government" meant once they had the power to spend money.

Now on the mediocrity issue. I do believe that on a rare occassion, Rhode Islanders will elect a conservative like Don Carcieri to a federal seat and I would for vote him if he were to run. He would make an excellent candidate.

I don't believe Laffey can win. Nor do I believe he is an excellent candidate. I question his management style and his ability to move ANY agenda forward in a legislative body such as the US Senate.

Carcieri's warmth evokes Reagan. Laffey's combativeness evokes Bob Dornan. While both were California conservatives with very similar beliefs, one was far more successful than the other.

Frankly, I don't think Laffey would raise the bar beyond the current level of mediocrity. He is unquestionably bright and articulate, but his management style is so confrontational that he would be ineffectual. I think he ran into the same issue at Morgan Keegan, is now experiencing it in Cranston and will probably run into the same problem for the rest of his life.

In a democracy, bright, talented people are only an asset in public office if they understand that they are public SERVANTS and can persuade others through reason and discussion. I don't see Laffey considering himself to be a servant to anyone, much less the public nor have I seen him exhibit an ability to lead in any way other than by fiat. Most intelligent people will not respond to an "I know what's best for you, so don't challenge me" approach.

I'm sure others would disagree with my assessment, but then again I'm sure a fair number of people would agree.

Posted by: Anthony at December 9, 2005 11:26 PM

John, I've seen him go into temper tantrums plenty of times. I was using that term in the sense of showing anger, not necessarily kicking and screaming.

Posted by: Anthony at December 9, 2005 11:29 PM

You seem to be confusing "temper tantrum" with "righteous indignation." Anger is not always a bad thing, esp. when it's for the right reasons. Mayor Laffey certainly is angry that a tiny political elite control our lives in this state, and do their level best to screw the average Rhode Islander at every chance they get. He's doing his best to change that.

Posted by: Laffeyite at December 10, 2005 2:13 AM

I am hearing rumors that Laffey may not run as a republican after all. The chances of him beating the Senator in a primary look grim.

He has skipped a number of GOP meetings over the last couple of months and he has yet to confirm that he will run in the September '06 primary saying only that he has always been a Republican. Roll Call reported Laffey designated his campaign loan to the general election – His spokesperson said it was a mistake but doesn't that seem a little careless?

Laffey has not appeared at the following GOP events over the course of the last two months –

South County GOP Breakfast in Charlestown – October 15

North Kingstown GOP Fundraiser in North Kingstown – October 15

Foster GOP Italian Dinner – November 12

Roast for Former Smithfield Town Council President Al LaGreca – November 12

South County GOP Breakfast in East Greenwich – November 19

East Bay GOP Breakfast -- November 19

Rep. Joe Amaral Breakfast in Portsmouth – November 20

Providence GOP event – Nov. 22

RI Young Republican Holiday Party – December 3

North Kingstown GOP Endorsement Meeting – December 7

During that time he has only made a South Kingstown event, the Narragansett GOP fundraiser, and a speech at URI

Posted by: caswell cooke, Jr at December 11, 2005 11:24 PM

The description stems from the fact that the player can always draw another card to a soft online casino Cats ya heard; ran from San Fran to Manhattan to Newburg.

Posted by: Alexandra Laney at January 8, 2006 8:24 PM