August 27, 2006

Chafee-Laffey IV: First Panel Round

Carroll Andrew Morse

Senator Lincoln Chafee and Mayor Steve Laffey debated on television on WJAR-TV Channel 10 this past Saturday. Here are the notes I jotted down during the panel's first round of questioning...

Bill Rappleye begins by telling Mayor Steve Laffey that he’s not interested in how he felt about Boy George 20 years ago, but will ask about his current campaign commercial where he mentions that his brother died of aids. Why bring up the cause of death?
Laffey says he understands how families go through struggles. The way he grew help helps him have empathy for the problems people face.
Senator Lincoln Chafee agrees with Rappleye’s premise that how candidates feel today is what’s important, then details his own gay rights record; he supports employment non-discrimination rights, opposes the Federal marriage amendment and supports hate crimes legislation. Chafee then brings up the Jackvony pixelation...
Gene Valicenti asks how the Jackovny pixelation is pertinent.
Chafee says it shows a vindictiveness on the part of Laffey.
Laffey says becoming a public official shouldn’t mean losing a sense of humor and he thought it was funny when he got pixelated by Chafee at the Rhode Island follies. This is not an issue for US Senate race.
Chafee, after acknowledging that people can’t be held accountable for things they did as college students, says neither the Boy George column or the pixelation were funny.
Rappleye asks Chafee if his campaign had anything to do with Boy George column finding its way to the Projo.
Chafee: ”Not that I know of.”

Jim Taricani asks if prosecutors should ask for the death penalty for Osama Bin Laden, if he’s found guilty.
Chafee says he opposes the death penalty because Rhode Island executed innocent people in the 19th century.
Laffey says the death penalty is inappropriate in many situations, but someone responsible for 3000 deaths should pay the ultimate penalty.
Taricani asks Chafee if his opposition to the death penalty is on moral/religious grounds.
Chafee cites a 19th-century example of mob violence and says that we have to be careful, plus the deterrent effect has not been shown to be strong.
Laffey says there’s no possibility of a mistake in a case involving Osama Bin Laden, because he openly takes credit for mass murder.
Chafee: Once you oppose the death penalty, you can’t make exceptions.

Michelle Johnson (For those unfamiliar with this name, note that many of the unbylined Associated Press stories on Rhode Island politics are written by Ms. Johnson) asks about Chafee’s previous statement that “A bad peace is better than a good war”. When is the use of military force appropriate?
Chafee cites the “religious parameters” of a just war. It must be a last resort, authorized by a legitimate authority, redress a wrong suffered, have a reasonable chance of success, have the ultimate goal of re-establishing peace, be proportional to the injury suffered, and avoid civilian targets.
Johnson asks if Afghanistan and Iraq met the criteria.
Chafee says no to Iraq and that he voted to authorize force in Afganistan. There have been shifting rationales for Iraq, first it was WMD, the bringing democracy, then remaking the Middle East, and now it’s a war on “Islamic fundamentalism”.
Johnson asks Laffey when he thinks the use of military force is appropriate.
Laffey: When the national interest or the people of the United States are at risk. Bad peaces lead to other wars.
Johnson asks Laffey how much diplomacy we should try in Iran.
Laffey answers we’ve already been working on diplomacy for past 3 years. Unfortunately, Russia & China won’t cooperate because of the price of oil. We need to move to economic sanctions against Iran, but they have to be sanctions that will really hurt.
Chafee: We have to be smart in our decisions or else “sometimes we incite the extremists”, leading to things likes the elections of Hamas and the Islamic brotherhood. Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

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Chafee's, er, "logic":

His position on gay rights is as to "pixellating" a former Cranston city council member, as hanging an innocent man in Rhode Island over 150 years ago, is to possibly putting to death the greatest terrorist of our age?

Please, for the love of Reagan, someone at Laffey HQ loop all this stuff and make a commerical out of it ASAP!

Posted by: Will at August 28, 2006 8:56 AM

Chafee's death penalty answer showed me that he does not have the courage to use judgement. To say you're just being "consistent" is taking the easy way out. He gave no justification as to why OBL should pay anything less than the ultimate price. You cannot apply the same penalty logic to street crime or even organized crime to the attrocities bin laden is responsible for. He probably lost thousands of votes over that answer...and unless Michael Moore has moved to RI...he gained none.

Posted by: Harry Frazee at August 28, 2006 6:46 PM

This same logic also applies to the "special interests" mix and match Chafee tries to foist on the voting public.

There are bad SIs and there are good SIs.

Big Pharma & Big Oil=bad

J Mahn

Posted by: Joe Mahn at August 28, 2006 10:44 PM