April 7, 2006

The Lighter Side of RI Senate '06

Marc Comtois

OK, we've been staying away from the Laffey/Chafee race, despite protestations in various comments sections. To tell the truth, nothing really "new" is going on that you can't get from the candidate's web sites. Nonetheless, here are a couple items that can be classified as "on the lighter side."

Mayor Laffey made a big to-do of unveiling something he called the "Rhody Reformer" at the PawSox home opener. What the heck was it? Here it is. (Hint: "That there's an RV, Clark.")

Meanwhile, Senator Chafee has been busy talking horses and had a whole chapter in Hugh Hewitt's new book named after him! (“It’s No Longer the Party of Lincoln—Chafee, That Is.")

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I was driving to work at 6:15 in Barrington this morning and saw Laffey and a crew of people standing next to a GIANT RV, holding signs in traffic. Do you think Chafee, Whitehouse, Brown or Sheeler are even out of bed at 6:15???

Posted by: Colin Pachios at April 7, 2006 5:21 PM

I love the new Laffeymobile, though I did suggest that they put some token solar panels or a small windmill on top of it. Definitely not a Prius. Good for him.

PS Wait 'til you see the 747 ;)

Posted by: Will at April 8, 2006 12:55 AM

And to answer the question floating around in Ian Lang's head...

No, the Rhody Reformer does NOT have a wet bar.

Posted by: oz at April 8, 2006 1:12 PM

Did you see the journal this morning. Laffey donated to fred thompson's democrat opponent. No wonder Chafee has conservative Thompson's support. I guess Laffey also supported bill frist's opponent. Unreal????

Posted by: James at April 8, 2006 3:20 PM

Thompson's a good actor, but he's no conservative if he's supporting Chafee. True conservatives put principle before politics. Trying to hold on to power for it's own sake is not a conservative principle.

PS If anyone has the name and address of Thompson's opponent, I may consider giving to him myself.

Posted by: Will at April 8, 2006 6:36 PM

Thompson is a real conservative Will. The kind you and your Bickfords loving cronies love. He is anti-Roe, Pro-life - Laffey supports Hillary Clinton's position on abortion. He is anti-gay rights - Laffey supports civil unions. He is the kind of conservative you and your out of touch posse lap up.
Why don't you address the real issue - Laffey is not what he appears to be. He donates to liberal Democrats for Pete's sake. Instead you make light, because that contradicts your sycophancy.
By the by, the only reason that Laffey is up at 6 is that God or one of the other thousands of voices he routinely hears kept him up all night chattering.

Posted by: James at April 9, 2006 12:27 PM

Is President Bush not a real conservative Will? Because Bush supports Chafee. Where will it end?

Posted by: James at April 9, 2006 12:32 PM

Welcome back James. Sad to say that you surely haven't gotten any smarter since we last heard from you. No Mensa retreats for you over the last 60 days, apparently. My guess is that wherever you were staying, it was probably at a certain kind of facility that is funded by taxpayers and starts with the word "State". I am sure the Chafee bunker is thrilled to have your high degree of intellectual horsepower back supporting your brethren.

Posted by: bountyhunter at April 9, 2006 9:12 PM

My personal opinion only, is that President Bush is not a conservative, in the Reaganesque meaning of the term. I have stated that in this blog previously. While he may have some social conservative street cred, he tends to be very selective with it (the current debate over illegal immigration is a good example). His penchant to look to government to solve big problems concerns me deeply. However, I believe he is well-meaning and sincere.

PS By "Bush supports Chafee" I'll assume you mean the Bush Administration supports the incumbent senator for reelection regardless of what he/she believes on issues. President Bush has a lot more things to worry about than who the senator from RI (war on terror, etc.). Without in any way meaning to be insulting, I'd be surprised if he knows who the senator from RI actually is.

PPS You got something against Bickford's? ;)

Posted by: Will at April 9, 2006 11:06 PM

After reading the thing on Thompson, I checked owww.opensecrets.org. It shows that Laffey donated large amounts of money to Democrats for several years while living in Tennessee.

He didn't start to give to Republican candidates until he got to Rhode Island with two exceptions: contributions to Lamar Alexander and to an unsuccessful Pennsylvania congressional candidate by the name of Newman.

Although not mentioned in the Projo, Laffey also gave money to Jesse Jackson, Jr. from Illinois. Jesse Jackson, Jr. was national field director for the Rainbow Coaliton prior to getting elected to the House, filling Democrat Mel Reynolds' seat after Reynolds was convicted of sexually assaulting an underage girl and soliciting kiddie porn. Jackson continues to hold the seat today.

Laffey's contribution to Frist's opponent was actually to Jim Sasser, whose election many Democrats thought was key to ensuring a long-term Democratic Senate majority. However, Sasser's strong support for Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan led to the election of Bill Frist, a TN doctor who opposed what was basically a socialistic healthcare plan. Frist is still majority leader.

Laffey's contribution to Fred Thompson's opponent went to a guy by the name of Jim Cooper. Cooper was Al Gore's choice to replace Gore when he left the TN Senate seat to become Clinton's running mate. He was heavily involved in Tennessee's financial community handling private capital matters. As a member of Congress, he also played a key role for the Democrats in the so-called "Hillary-care" universal healthcare debate.

Over all Laffey has a 1-2 win/loss record in backing Senate candidates. Alexander won, Sasser and Cooper lost.

I found Laffey's support of Jesse Jackson, Jr. to be the most interesting. Most of the other Democrats were from his home state of Tennessee, but Jackson is from Illinois.

Out of curiousity, I also checked out Chafee's contributions before he became Senator. He gave money to John Chafee and George W. Bush prior to becoming a Senator.

I don't think Laffey's contributions to Democrats will do much to diminish the impression with many people that he is merely an ego-driven opportunist.

However, he may be able to convince liberal Rhode Island voters that he worked to prevent Bill Frist from becoming Senate majority leader, something that will go over well with Democrat-leaning voters.

I guess it does help explain why the national GOP opposes Laffey so strongly.

Posted by: Anthony at April 9, 2006 11:47 PM

Not sure I understand your logic: 'Thompson can't be a conservative because he's supporting Chafee' but Laffey can support Jesse Jackson, Jr. and still be a conservative!?!?

Do you call giving money to Jesse Jackson, Jr. "putting principles before politics"?!?

Thompson has been a conservative his entire life. Laffey became a conservative when he came back to RI and wanted to run for office. Who's more genuine?

Here's my read: People act the way they really are BEFORE they get into politics.

Laffey isn't about being conservative, moderate or liberal. He is about geting himself to the next level.

It's sad to watch true believers invest so much time and energy into this guy thinking he stands for something besides himself. Carcieri is a real conservative. Laffey is not.

Posted by: Anthony at April 10, 2006 12:10 AM

Nice try. Without knowing too much about the specific TN issue, you know as much as I do that high profile business figures often give to candidates of both parties, or to candidates who take stands on certain narrow issues relevant to the specific business interest done in that state. If you want to play that game, ask Alan Gelfuso why he gave large contributions to both Sen. Jack Reed and Sen. John Kerry amongst others in 2004, while at the same time being a then member of the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in RI. Don't even get me started. You have no idea what a can of worms you'd be opening.

There's a big difference between that, and the party -- which is supposed to espouse and promote certain core principles -- itself financially or otherwise supporting candidates who do not share the values of the party to which they are registered members of. Political parties are formed around common beliefs. Chafee shares next to none of them. In the longterm, it is counterproductive. Chafee is not only not a conservative, I cringe at even calling him a Republican. That will sort itself out soon enough.

Posted by: Will at April 10, 2006 2:08 AM

James and Anthony, this is some serious grasping at straws that you guys are up to.

You guys over at Chafee HQ must know that you're getting your a--es handed to you if this is the stuff you're resorting to.

Posted by: Leon Berg at April 10, 2006 9:49 AM

It's great to have James & Anthony back, isn't it? I wonder how their 60 day vacation went?

Anyway, this is all great inside baseball but does anyone even care? The fact that the NRSC is behind a liberal like Chafee just shows that politics make strange bed-fellows. Fred Thompson is a good man but he is obviously just doing the NRSC's bidding.

James had appropriately outlined Thompson's conservative credentials so there is only one explanation as to why he would be at a Chafee fundraiser, Politics makes STRANGE bedfellows indeed!

One other thought, I have been at all of Laffey's fundraisers and 2 of Chafee's (including the Thompson one on Friday) and never have a I heard a Laffey guest take a shot a Chafee as Thompson did to Laffey, what does that tell everyone, when the main focus of your fundraiser becomes your opponent, you are in deep trouble.

Posted by: Carl Elliott at April 10, 2006 9:51 AM


Welcome back....hey why your worried about donations laffey is probably working on another policy brief!

I got a call this morning from a friend that laffey and 10 budiies were out on a street corner in Warwick waving and holding signs!

Crush , Crush, Crush!

Posted by: JimboJimbo at April 10, 2006 9:53 AM

We got so tied up on the campaign contribution, I didn't share my thoughts on the RV. So here goes:

Is there some rule that if you're a Republican mayor from Cranston running for statewide office, you have to campaign in an RV?

I think Laffey should have used Ed DiPrete's Winnebago from the 80's. He could run a "retro" campaign, blast 80's music rom the RV at his events and give his campaign staffers "Members Only" jackets embroidered with their names. It would be wicked good.

Posted by: Anthony at April 10, 2006 4:25 PM

It does not end does it? Senator Chafee will win the primary and he will win the General. Laffey can ride in the Mobile all he likes, but gimmicks do not win votes.

Posted by: caswell cooke, Jr at April 14, 2006 9:59 AM