January 4, 2006

Do RI GOP Members Want a "Bottom Up" or "Top Down" Party?

Marc Comtois

Craig Shirley is president of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., and an author (Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started it All). He thinks the National Republican Party may be facing an identity crisis similar to that it faced after Watergate. I think that such a contention is a bit hyperbolic, but I also recognize that he raises some valid concerns. As such, his observations can help prompt corrective action before things get too far astray.

As Shirley points out, historically, the "GOP, at the leadership level from the time of William Howard Taft up until Ford’s presidency, was a Tory-like party in which power flowed downward and the status quo was always defended. . ." Then Ronald Reagan and his more populist, bottom-up conservative movement took over, "And Reagan’s sunny optimism, was not just about being a nice guy, it reflected his outlook for the future of America. It was a crucial part of his ideology."

Shirley also quotes Jeff Bell, who wrote, "“Reagan invariably gravitated toward the aspects of American conservatism that were optimistic not cynical, populist not elitist, egalitarian, not hierarchical, moral not relativistic—in short, what is distinctly American in American conservatism.”

Then Shirley gets to the meat of his complaint, with a local angle:

At the close of 2005, the GOP is fast becoming the party of big government, tax cuts and corruption. It is evolving back into a Tory party. . .

. . . the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee recently ran ads attacking the conservative mayor of Cranston, RI because he has the temerity to consider a primary challenge to incumbent liberal Senator Lincoln Chaffee. Their actions may be unprecedented. The first rule of the bureaucracy…any bureaucracy ... is to protect itself ... and everybody understands that the party committees give money and support to incumbents. This is one thing. But it is quite another thing when those same committees engage in ad homonym attacks on a member of their own party. . .

Shirley also points to the growth of government and cites a memo by the National Republican Congressional Committee in which members were told to play up the pork they brought home. Not a very conservative message which "awakened the grassroots of the conservative movement. . . to rise up in righteous indignation, demanding cuts in spending." That would include Anchor Rising, I might add!

Shirley also points to the growing influence of "non-believers" that is an unfortunate characteristic of being the majority party. As exemplified by the Abramoff scandal, "the excesses of money and greed have led some in the party to abandon their core beliefs. Or worse, attempt to remake conservativism into something it is not."

All is not lost, though. The President still enjoys conservative support on "tax cuts, or the war on terror or nominating John Bolton to the United Nations, or reforming Social Security," but "when Bush chose Harriet Miers, it cut deeply with his biggest supporters because they know he is 'one of us' ... and that he is deeply distrustful of the real elites who dominate Washington and much of American culture."


Bush is not alone in facing a revolt among his own people. Reagan sometimes acted in a pragmatic fashion too, and conservatives let him know of their displeasure. In this, though, Bush can take some solace. Conservatives angst is not personal. They desperately want Bush, the conservative, to succeed.

In many ways, the GOP has become a victim of its own successes, attracting new people who are interested in the party, not for reasons of ideology, but for reasons of money, access, power and fame. These statists are ironically taking the party back into the past. Exactly where Reagan never wanted it to go. Reagan’s banner of “bold unmistakable colors” is being struck and the party is running up a white bed sheet of surrender.

These insiders, few of which have ever read “Free to Choose” or “Conscience of a Conservative” are taking Reagan’s revolutionary party of the future, created within the framework of freedom, down the road to minority status once again.

For years, the mantra of the Democratic Party has been, “given us power so we can do good things for you,” an emotional appeal. The Republicans rejoined was, “give us power, so we can give you more freedom,” requiring an intellectual discipline. Clearly, this message of Reagan’s is becoming too difficult for some in today’s Republican Party.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

People like Craig Shirley are so hard to take seriously.
Mr. Shirley is either too lazy to look into the actual liberal record of Steve Laffey or he's simply promoting the agenda of Laffey's Washington handlers.
Steve Laffey is no conservative and these clueless folk from DC need to stop making themselves look like dupes.

Posted by: Tim at January 4, 2006 6:34 PM

Tim, if you truely believe Laffey's got a "liberal record" then in comparison Chafee's a downright socialist (then again, amigo Chavez wouldn't disagree...)

Honestly, brush up on your political idealogy:

Laffey's for tax cuts, against pork spending, supports the war... and yes, he's Pro-Life, too!

Conservative enough for you?

Posted by: ian at January 4, 2006 7:57 PM

Time to shoot down this argument.

1, Laffey is for Bush's tax cuts.
2, Laffey is for cutting pork like the bridge to nowhere.
3, Laffey is for cutting gov. spending by 40 billion.

Chafee has the opposite postion on all of the above.

Return to Chafee base, and try again.

Posted by: The Red Baron at January 4, 2006 8:14 PM

Come come now Laffeyites do tell us how illegal alien ID cards, hidden roadside traffic cameras and multiple tax hikes fit into the conservative agenda?
Here's the bad news for you guys: I'm not in the Chafee camp and never have been. I do vote Republican 99.9% of the time in RI elections yet I'll never vote for Steve Laffey.
Why you ask?
Because he's a fraud and a phoney and a man who needs a psychiatrist much more than he needs a job in Washington DC.

Posted by: Tim at January 4, 2006 9:21 PM

Hey Timmyboy,
There is nothing you say that resonates with reasonable people. Keep believing your mindless drivel. It'll be over soon - only 9 month to go. You Chafee lightweights are going down and you will be looking for a new job.

Posted by: aztec at January 4, 2006 10:36 PM


To be taken seriously in the marketplace of ideas you need to make cogent arguments based on the facts as discovered through personal study and research. Slamming Laffey by mimicking the NRSC and the Chafee camp is unoriginal and lacks true creativity. Calling him names makes you appear childish and irresponsible. You just don't sound very smart.

In the future take the time to get your facts straight, develop and fashion your own original arguments, and present them to the masses in a gentlemanly fashion. This will help you sound more like an astute and intelligent commentator and less like a fool.


Posted by: Sol Venturi at January 4, 2006 10:53 PM


Why are you wasting time arguing about Laffey's conservative credentials. The National Review, Club for Growth, etc. think he is conservative. This is not going to work. By the way, fining speeders is not liberal whether its done by police or technology. Consular id cards don't make illegals legal, its just a form of id for the police. Also, as you well know, the tax increases were unavoidable, but at least Laffey eliminated the crossing guards and stopped the schools from getting millions more...I wonder what other mayors who raised taxes in this state did in the past.

Now go back to focusing on non-substantive issues like pixelation. Well back to watching a real contest..Texas v. USC.

Posted by: Fred Sanford at January 4, 2006 11:12 PM

How are Tim's arguments any less valid than the talking points that the Laffey camp puts out continuously?

I think the mayor's support of illegal alien ID cards, Big Brother initiatives, and tax hikes are perfectly acceptable for debate.

And Sol, "in order to be taken seriously in the marketplace of ideas" one must first uphold a doctrine of fairness...

Where's your condemnation of the following statement made by aztec:

"Keep believing your mindless drivel... You Chafee lightweights are going down..."

or this one by the red baron where he engages in niether original thought or "personal experience":

"1, Laffey is for Bush's tax cuts.
2, Laffey is for cutting pork like the bridge to nowhere.
3, Laffey is for cutting gov. spending by 40 billion."

Tim DOES have another good point. When Washington DC types support Chafee, they are condemned for being outsiders and for intruding on RI's political scene. But when commentators such as Craig Shirley or Pat Toomey and the Club for Growth enbrace Laffey, they are heroes and welcomed with open arms.

Bottom line as I see it is that Steve Laffey isn't about conservatism or regan era republicanism, he's about Steve Laffey and I won't be voting for him either.

Posted by: james at January 4, 2006 11:27 PM

Any debate that characterizes politicians in "liberal" versus "conservative" terms makes my hair stand up immediately. Why? Because these terms' popular usage is about as malleable as any can be. By their true definitions, Reagan was actually a liberal. The definition of conservative is basically someone who wants to protect the status quo, i.e. "conserve".

Reagan was known as a "conservative" because the status quo he wanted to protect was that envisioned by the founding fathers. Although the term really wasn't appropriate, it stuck, so for the sake of argument I will equate conservative with Reagan and our founding fathers. George W does not qualify on this basis, given his zeal for faith-based initiatives, his overt abridgement of our civil liberties (the Patriot Act) and his utter disregard for keeping a lid on federal spending.

The major factor that puts Laffey squarely in the conservative camp is his regard for both the cost and revenue side of the federal income statement. He apparently understands that taxes as a percentage of GDP are only about one point above historical norms - yet spending is four points above. Taxes thus could be cut by a little, yet reckless spending needs to be crushed.

Limited government was one of the central tenets of our founding fathers and of Reagan. Our country began on this basis and it is every bit as relevant today, along with free markets and individual rights. Remember the Reagan line that "government is part of the problem". The free spending mentality of the current Republican group in the White House and Capital Hill must be changed, and Laffey is one who will work hard to achieve this end. How many other politicians are campaigning on the platform of completely eliminating corporate welfare and pork - even in their home states! That takes guts and a rock-solid commitment to an ideology. Reagan and Laffey share these admirable traits.

Another trait shared by Reagan and Laffey is a strong spirituality, yet not an overriding need to foist it upon the nation. Reagan was a non-denominational Christian who did most of his praying outdoors, as part of nature, not within a Church. Laffey does go to Church and has a strong belief in God, but is not a bible-thumper by any means. Too many Republicans these days are pandering to the fundamentalists and using the Bible as a means to justify policy.

"All men our created equal". Reckless growth in government spending shows distinct favoritism, as does a byzantine tax code. A true conservative, like Laffey, knows full well that boldly reforming both items will be the most important factor in returning our country to its roots.

Posted by: bountyhunter at January 5, 2006 12:07 AM

If the Republican Party can simply get back on track and follow the winning strategies that got it into the White House repeatedly, and brought it control of Congress, then we will remain America's majority party. We're supposed to be the party of limited government, personal responsibility, a strong national defense, the protection of the innocent, living within our means; and hope, growth, and opportunity -- in other words, the "Party of Reagan"; not the party of Rockefeller. If we continue to let Republicans continue to behave as if they were Democrats, and not holding them accountable for their behavior, then we will end up suffering their fate -- increasing national electoral irrelevance.

Steve Laffey, whether or not he chooses to label himself as a "conservative" (judging how some have mangled the meaning of the term as of late, I don't really blame him), has an objectively more conservative core set of beliefs, than does his "Republican" opponent. Better than that, he has a core set of beliefs, the ability to clearly articulate his views, to defend himself against unfair attacks, and perhaps most importantly, the proven ability to be a leader. Unfortunately, Chafee is "none of the above."

Posted by: Will at January 5, 2006 1:08 AM

Steve Laffey is more conservative than Lincoln Chafee. I don't particularly like Laffey and I won't vote for him, but there is no way that you can say he is not more conservative than Chafee.

Tim does ask valid questions about Laffey's stand on illegal immigration and his repeated tax increases that are fair game for discussion. I think I know the answers to those questions are fairly obvious.

Latinos are one of the fastest-growing voting blocks and Laffey needs their support, so he can't afford to alienate the Latino community. Most non-Latino Rhode Islanders could care less about illegal immigration, so he knows he's not losing many votes.

On the tax issue, Laffey took a short-term approach, raising taxes, so that he could run higher. He knows that there will be future problems in Cranston, which is why he needs to leave Cranston now. However, the state refused to take the city of Cranston over (remember that was Laffey's original plan) and creating a long-term plan to restructure Cranston economy correctly would take about a decade...longer than Laffey would like to remain in a small Rhode Island city that he views as a 'backwater' place.

Ultimately, most people do what is in their own best interest. Laffey is no different than many other politicians. He just cloaks his self-interest in more grandiose rhetoric than other politicians.

In reality, he is no different than the incumbents who try to do what is in their best interests, which is why I dismiss those who criticize the NRSC's efforts to keep Chafee in office.

I think most conservatives who are voting for Chafee aren't voting for him because Chafee is more conservative than Laffey or because Laffey has taken liberal positions on issues such as immigration. They (or at least I am) are voting for him because: 1. Chafee stands the best chance of keeping the Senate in Repbulican hands and 2. I trust Steve Laffey less than I trust most other politicians.

I've seen too many contradictions and I think that eventually Laffey will implode if he were elected to the Senate.

Now, before I get attacked by others on this blog, let me say that I regret having to make this comment. I would really love to have the opportunity to vote for an honest, viable conservative for the US Senate. But until Carcieri runs for Senate, I'm stuck voting for Chafee.

Posted by: Anthony at January 5, 2006 10:22 AM

No matter what you think of the tone of the debate or Laffey's motives, let's just be honest, at least with ourselves.

Whether you like him or not and whether you intend to vote for him or not, let's just have even a tiny bit of intellectual honesty here - Tim's attempt to characterize Laffey as a liberal is just incredibly outlandish.

Posted by: Jim at January 5, 2006 10:37 AM

Anthony, you offered a rather shallow analysis regarding Laffey's stance on immigration and the earlier tax hikes he implemented in Cranston.

Again, it was either hike taxes or default on municipal bonds. Raising taxes was the best solution in laying the groundwork for long-term economic development. The alternative would've left Cranston bearing the stigma of bankruptcy, which would be a far greater deterrence to future investors looking to start/expand a business in this city. (note: even the revered conservative Reagan himself raised taxes twice while Governor of CA).

Regarding immigration, Laffey’s call to document these workers goes much deeper than the basic assumption, ‘oh, he’s just trying to win the Latino vote’ (honestly, I don’t even think a majority of the Latino population in RI is even eligible to vote).

What documenting immigrants does do though is 1) ENHANCE NATIONAL SECURITY by getting these folks out from hiding and on the radar screen and 2) SECURES ECONOMIC GROWTH:

The U.S. Dept. of Commerce just announced yesterday that we are currently ill-prepared to support the looming retirement of 77 million baby boomers. To do so, we need to secure an adequate supply of working taxpayers to run a growing economy---and fast---since the baby boomer generation has just approached 60 and will start to retire in groves. By documenting the millions of presently illegal immigrants residing in this country we will be assuring they are paying taxes on their wages and not getting paid under the table.

This is not amnesty, Laffey does not support granting these folks green cards. He’s for giving them an i.d. so our government can keep better tabs on them. Again, this aids homeland security and makes economic sense.

Posted by: ian at January 5, 2006 11:33 AM


On the local level “party” or “friend based” politics are an unfortunate outgrowth of the human need for encouragement and affirmation. We join a party of friends and then look at the events and activities of the day through that filter. Football or baseball fans are another type of this phenomenon. We then commiserate with our friends and rally around the party/community rather than what is actually right or best. This is fine for sports, but doesn’t really work well when applied to government. These issues need an honest and circumspect review, and each of us must stand alone in the voting booth.

I didn’t condemn Tim. I merely pointed out that his remarks were party mimicry and therefore not his own original ideas. As far as I know neither Tim nor Aztec are running for the US Senate. Tim’s remarks were directed at a viable candidate for the US Senate. Those remarks were childish and irresponsible. Do you disagree?

I am sure if Tim evaluates my comments as “friendly” advise and not condemnation he would agree. Alexander Hamilton was killed in duel by Aaron Burr for less. Maybe Tim should stop by the Mayor’s office and tell him what he thinks personally. He didn’t even respond to me.

In this case the very top leaders (Bush, Rove, Dole, Mellman, etc.) of the “party” have chosen not to remain neutral or even just endorse their “friend” but have, like Tim, chosen to viciously attack a candidate who if he had been governor of the state for the past four years and did the same things with the same success rate that he did in Cranston we would be looking at a $150-200million surplus instead of a $70million deficit.

Regarding the issue of self serving vs. working for “the people,” to quote a well known source, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Don’t even go there. We all fail to be totally selfless.


Posted by: Sol Venturi at January 5, 2006 2:34 PM

As a Republican I favor Laffey over Chafee because Chafee is clearly a democrat and Laffey stands for limited government and lower taxes. But as a taxpayer, I enthusiastically support Laffey because of his strong capabilities as evidenced by his accomplishments.

Consider Chafee's abysmal record in the Senate. in the 107, 108 and 109th congresses he's in the bottom 10 percent in terms of the number of bills sponsored. Consider these bills, the only ones he sponsored in the 109th congress and ask the Chafee people to help you explain why I should pay this guy to work for me in DC when Mayor Laffey has a stalwart record of accomplishment in reform, in fiscal responsibility, in fighting against special interests and fighting for the taxpayers.

Bills for which Chafee was principle sponsor: (Source www.thomas.gov)

1. S.RES.301 : A resolution commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Audubon Society.
2. S.757 : A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize
the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences to make grants for the development and operation of research
centers regarding environmental factors that may be related to the
etiology of breast cancer.
3. S.1017 : A bill to reauthorize grants for the water resources
research and technology institutes established under the Water
Resources Research Act of 1984.
4. S.1387 : A bill to provide for an update of the Cultural Heritage
and Land Management Plan for the John H. Chafee Blackstone River
Valley National Heritage Corridor, to extend the authority of the John
H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
Commission, to authorize the undertaking of a special resource study of sites and landscape features within the Corridor, and to authorize
additional appropriations for the Corridor.
5. S.1400 : A bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act
and the Safe Drinking Water Act to improve water and wastewater
infrastructure in the United States.
6. S.1410 : A bill to reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, and for other purposes.

He also sponsored three amendments attempting to get more taxpayer money for the Water Pollution
Control State Revolving Fund

Compare to Laffey's accomplishments and it's a no-brainer!

Posted by: roadrunner at January 5, 2006 3:11 PM


The U.S. Dept. of Commerce just announced yesterday that we are currently ill-prepared to support the looming retirement of 77 million baby boomers. To do so, we need to secure an adequate supply of working taxpayers to run a growing economy---and fast---since the baby boomer generation has just approached 60 and will start to retire in groves. By documenting the millions of presently illegal immigrants residing in this country we will be assuring they are paying taxes on their wages and not getting paid under the table.


Even above the table, on average illegal immigrants, on a net basis, don't pay taxes but consume them ... so they are a drain, not a contributor.

Even abov ethe table, their low incomes mean they would qualify for the "reverse tax" - the "Earned Income Tax Credit." And whether under or over the table, the cost educating their children, plus health care etc. means that they consume far more in taxes than they pay in.

Look at Providence - the cost of educating just one child of an illegal ($10-14 thousand PER YEAR) is probably as much as the gross income of its parent(s).

Times K-12 years - plus subsidized in state tuition - educating just one child of an illegal will consume far far more in tax revenue than the parent(s) will ever pay in taxes.

Posted by: Tom W at January 5, 2006 4:06 PM


You have highlighted a truly shocking display of apathy and ineptitude. It is enough to make any RIer's blood boil, whether Democratic or Republican.

This is the opening line of his selling pitch as to why he deserves to be re-elected: "The United States Senate is a fascinating and intriguing institution". This clearly means that this guy is in the Senate only as an academic exercise. It is just another phase for him, just like his seven year horseshoeing phase. There is no ideological stand...no history of accomplishment.

Isn't a Senator's job to sponsor legislation and speak on the floor? All Chafee does is brag about his wasteful pork spending. Compare his website to another incumbent in trouble, Santorum. Santorum has a section entitled "accomplishments", among many others. At least Santorum is working hard to retain his job. Chafee just doesn't seem to care. His web site has only one section: News. And most of the "news" revolves around Steve Laffey and Chafee's wasteful pork spending. His web site could have been designed in less than an hour by a fifth grader.

Chafee is pathologically lazy and stands for nothing. The most passion we ever got out of him was his tearful eulogy on the Senate floor for Toby the Grizzly Bear.

Posted by: bountyhunter at January 5, 2006 4:34 PM

Chafee supporters: please be concise and factual, not verbose and argumentative.

1, Bush tax cuts, pork spending, war, and Supreme Court judges are federal issues very important to Republican primary voters in a Senate race.

2, ID cards, speed cameras, and municipal tax increases to avoid bankruptcy are local issues that are not importnat to Republican primary voters in a Senate race.

3, Laffey is conservative on these major federal issues, while Chafee is liberal.

4, Chafee allies are in power in DC, and therefore are insiders, responsible in part for the runaway government spending.

5, Laffey allies are not in power in DC, and therefore are outsiders, not responsible for runaway government spending.

6, Outsiders are liked by Rhode Island voters while insiders are not.

Return to Chafee base and try again.

Posted by: The Red Baron at January 5, 2006 4:57 PM

Here's a truly conservative idea that I would like to offer up for discussion - namely the importance of the voting process.

"Impress upon children that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called on to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee for others as well as for himself"--Daniel Webster

To know the real Lincoln Chafee, one needs to look no further than his write-in vote for George Bush Sr.

Lincoln Chafee now wants your vote when his actions say that the democratic voting process means nothing to him - other than as showcase for his vanity and as masquerade for a tenure singularly devoid of accomplishment.

Voting for the President of the United States is the most important act a citizen undertakes in our democracy. One would think that political figures at all levels - not to mention U.S. Senators - would take this responsibility most seriously.

Yet our Senator has cavalierly and shamelessly corrupted the process for the state, the country, and the entire world to see. This career-defining moment had nothing to do with courage and everything to do with a raw publicity stunt befitting none other than PT Barnum. However, even a small measure of fortitude could have been achieved if he voted for someone who actually ran in 2004, like Howard Dean.

Rhode Islanders demand character, fight, and substance from their leaders - not a series of publicity stunts. We do not mind those politicians born to a life of privilege, but hold them to a high standard when it comes to toiling on behalf of our real interests. Six years of collecting mostly useless pork for the state does not rate highly in this regard; neither does Mr. Chafee's professed disdain for campaigning (i.e. actually meeting the people)and for speaking on the senate floor (i.e. actually doing his job to promote our real interests). And of what use to Rhode Island are the ongoing Chafee political party theatrics, other than to destroy credibility?

Voters might consider asking this one question: Can we ever trust the motives and decisions of a man who has made such a travesty of the most important decision in the American political process?

Posted by: bountyhunter at January 5, 2006 5:17 PM

Bounty and Roadrunner, the guy just doesn't get it. Not surprising at all that Chafee's work ethic in the Senate is so poor. I don't think he believes in what he's doing. He's all about Toby the bear and could give a hoot about the economy and national security. He won't debate Laffey because he doesn't know what his positions are and he's affraid to take a position now that he'll have to change later to please the special interests he coddles ( and who coddle him).

Lets help him get back to his core competency... horse shoeing!

Posted by: warbucks at January 5, 2006 5:36 PM


huh? So...Pat Toomey and the Club for Growth are "outsiders"?

The Bush Administration doesn't exactly think too highly of Sen. Chafee, nor does Sen. Chafee seem to think too highly of them. and his Senate friends are not exactly what you would call mainstream: Sens. Snowe, Dole, Lieberman and the Gang of umpteen.

The reason Chafee is able to secure so much federal funding is because he has been able to keep the Administration off-guard. He is a maverick. He always has been, and to say that he's a washington politician is simply wrong.

Also, I really think you are missing the point about Laffey's record. It all goes to character. As Anthony pointed out, his political motivations raise questions about his personal character. I personally keep going back to his decision to run now when there's still a heck of alot of work to be done in Cranston and when Sen. Reed -- a TRUE liberal may be vulnerable in his upcoming '08 reelection bid.

As for the dig on Chafee's website, I just visited it, and the "pork" projects he has highlighted include the following "needless pork" projects plus some other interesting tid-bits about the senator:

> funding secured by Chafee enables demolition of old Jamestown Bridge

> Chafee delivers defense funds for RI

> Senator Lincoln Chafee Joins Bipartisan Effort to Extend Patriot Act

> 15 (m) million dollars for transportation and economic development projects.

> Nation’s Largest Business Group to work for Senator Chafee’s Re-election

> Chafee Secures Funds to Improve North Kingstown's Drinking Water

> Chafee Announces $54,OOO Department of Agriculture Grant, Money will help Rhode Island's Farmers and Shell Fishermen

> Administration Supports Chafee's Efforts to Protect Chemical Plants from Terrorist Attacks

> Concord Coalition Names Chafee Most Fiscally Conservative Senator. Group Praises Senator for Making "The Tough Choices."

> Electric Boat Project brings $34 mil. in work to Rhode Island.

And the list goes on...and on...and on..

Posted by: james at January 5, 2006 5:36 PM

I knew that eventually I would meet other people from TV land on this blog...like the three stooges supporting Chafee on this blog.

Smart move to switch from arguing that Laffey is liberal, and going to other issues... like electability (although its a small factor in primary voting), trust (ambiguous line of attack which doesn't trump substance unless you got crime/ethics violation involved), and pork (which doesn't matter to Repub primary voters who want to cut spending).

On electability, Laffey won in Cranston, a barometer for statewide elections, beating the strongest special interst in RI the unions, and the strongest Democrat they could find in 02, Garabedian. He is an outsider, and Whitehouse will be weak in Nov (if he gets there) because of his snobish personality and weak on corruption record- did anybody read about Roger Williams' President in the paper this week.

On trust, lets see I trust Laffey to vote with the Republicans on the big issues in the Senate, fight the special interests for the taxpayers, and shake up the Senate. I trust Chafee to vote with the Democrats on the big issues, kiss up to the NEA, Montanaro and the unions, and not rock the boat in the Senate. The rest of this trust/character stuff are style critiques more appropriate for an interior decorating show.

Posted by: Fred Sanford at January 5, 2006 6:19 PM


Thank you. Your inane comments make me laugh.

"I personally keep going back to his [Laffey's] decision to run now when there's still a heck of alot of work to be done in Cranston..."

You may recall that Chafee was appointed to the Senate. Why didn't he turn down the appointment knowing that there was so much more to do in Warwick? Another few years, and Chafee could have run for Governor....

Posted by: oz at January 5, 2006 9:22 PM

In fairness to james and the senator, chafee was appointed to his seat after his father died (much too soon). out of respect for both the senator and his late father, i hope that laffey supporters will consider respecting at the very least, the senator's legitimate claim to his seat -- which he subsequently won in 2000.

Posted by: john b at January 5, 2006 9:59 PM

Tom W.

I took off my Laffey bumpersticker yesterday. Thought long and hard about ANWAR comment that he would have voted against it. Still gets my vote in primary since Senator Chafee does not vote on big issue's with republicans.

To the rest of you so called conservatives.

The Real Republican Conservatives of Rhode Island aka: RIRA(Rhode Island Republican Assembly) will have there next meeting on 10 June 2006 at Bickford's On Jefferson Blvd. in Warwick time 6:30 pm All like minded conservatives are always welcome. I guess our group would be considered by Bountyhunter as a Liberal Ronald Reagan group.

Life is tough but it is tougher if your stupid

Posted by: Fred on the Blog at January 5, 2006 10:18 PM

Fred on blog, RIRA, formerly NFRA of RI still has its share of old guard Traficante republicans. I suspect you're one of them. With all due respect to the dedicated conservatives in the organization, RIRA won't be legitimately conservative until it rids itself of those who are beholden to special interests and turned a blind eye to years of corruption. If you're a single issue voter, particularly on ANWR, I doubt you ever had a Laffey bumpersticker.

Posted by: warbucks at January 5, 2006 10:37 PM

Tim W., Will and Anthony,

I did not know that there was comedy on this blog. Warbucks made a couple of jokes about the RIRA and myself.
Warbucks you are a comedian.
I am going to have to go to sleep now since I have a Job.

Posted by: Fred on the Blog at January 5, 2006 10:44 PM


7 years horseshoeing - 7 years in the Senate. I like the symmetry come September!

Posted by: bountyhunter at January 6, 2006 12:54 AM

Since I know who all of you, let me assure you, Mr. Warbucks, that Fred on the Blog is many things, but he's no Traficante Republican! He's actually a very solid conservative Republican, and absolutely is not a part of the "old guard." Fred's concern is mainly whether Mayor Laffey is a "true conservative"; not that he is too conservative, untrustworty, or unelectable. There is no circumstance under which he would support Sen. Chafee.

That being said, I agree with Mr. Warbucks that we should try to avoid being single issue Republicans. While I think that the ANWR issue is important to some, Mayor Laffey's stated reasons for opposing it are entirely valid. More notably, they are considerably different that those of Sen. Chafee. Chafee's problems with drilling at ANWR are almost entirely based on unfounded environmental concerns; whilst Mayor Laffey's stated concerns are based on more tangible and logical reasons, such as terrorism, the limited quantity of oil potentially available, and the fact that it would take many years to come to fruition, which does nothing to affect the market in the short term, deflects attention away from other alternatives, and still would leave us vulnerable to forces beyond our control. It's definitely not a deal killer to me.

Personally, I don't really care whether there is drilling in ANWR or not. It does not, nor if it ever were to be completed, would affect my daily life. Between the War on Terror, economic growth, controlling out of control spending, border security, the protection of innocent life, restoring trust in goverment, and so many other big issues, it barely registers a blip on my radar.

PS Just to correct Fred, as I'm very prone to do, the next RIRA meeting is Tuesday 10 January 2006 (not June)!

Posted by: Will at January 6, 2006 1:18 AM

Hey, sorry I've been away. Laffey is the breatest thing ever for Rhode Island. Just remember the Crossing Guards! he fired them and changed the whole debate in Rhode Island. Just like Reagan had the Air Traffic Controllers Laffey has the Cranston Crossing Guards! And I am thankful for that! Go Laffey Go.

Posted by: Ron Milton at January 6, 2006 10:49 AM

Will, I couln't agree with you more. I think ANWR is an issue the left uses to needle the far-right on the evironment and the far-right uses to needle the left on energy policy. I think neither side has a very strong case. ANWR has no big impact either way (neither on the environment nor on energy independence). ANWR would only increase the US share of the world's oil from 2.9% to 3.3%. As our economy grows, the amount only becomes more and more negligible. What separates Laffey and Chafee on ANWR (M. Charles Bakst are you reading this?) is that Laffey's position is well thought out, with Economy, National Security and the Environment considered; Chafee's position is based on his commitment to the environmental lobby (SPECIAL INTERESTS!).

Fred on the blog, its great having conservatives like you in RI. Get yourself another bumper sticker!

Posted by: roadrunner at January 6, 2006 12:11 PM

How about some "Who Is John Galt?" bumper stickers, then we can all be happy!

Perhaps sneaking into the General Assembly parking lot and putting one on each legislator's car! Few if any of them will know what it means, and perhaps once they find out at least a few would be inclined to temporarily put down their "bible" (i.e., Das Kapital) and read Atlas Shrugged.

While I don't think it would have any long term effect on that crowd, it might for a few days ameliorate the worst of their collectivist instincts.

Posted by: Tom W at January 6, 2006 3:25 PM

I have NOT read the numerous responses above except the first one perhaps and browsed it or a couple of others the same.PARTY ACTIVISTS AND CITY/TOWN COMMITTEES WILL ENDORSE BOTH THE SENATOR AND MAYOR IN THE PRIMARY SITUATIONS.THESE PEOPLE INVEST THEIR TIME,IDEAS,AND MONEY TO THE GOP!Both candidates will have PROVEN GOP LEADERS supporting them!

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at January 11, 2006 10:45 AM