September 7, 2006

Associated Press: Senator Chafee “Pulls the Plug” on John Bolton

Carroll Andrew Morse

The Associated Press is reporting that Senator Lincoln Chafee is the source of today’s postponement of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote to confirm John Bolton as America’s United Nations ambassador…

Sen. Lincoln Chafee has pulled the plug on a push by his fellow Republicans to confirm John Bolton as U.N. ambassador, saying he had more questions that needed to be answered…

"Sen. Chafee said he still had questions that were not answered," said the senator's spokesman, Stephen Hourahan.

Chafee was expected to send a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later in the day outlining his questions about Bolton, Hourahan said.

Senator Chafee is courting electoral disaster with this action.

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Try, Republican Armageddon!

Posted by: Will at September 7, 2006 4:01 PM

Methinks Chafee has already written off the Republican vote on Tuesday. His only hope is that his union friends can mobilize enough people to defeat Laffey and we know how well that worked last time it was tried.

Posted by: Greg at September 7, 2006 4:34 PM

This is probably the best we could have expected from Senator Chafee, on several different levels.

I am convinced to a metaphysical certitude that the soon to be former Senator Chafee was/is planning to vote against Bolton as UN Ambassador. Of course, if he were to do that before the GOP primary on Tuesday, that would be "extremely bad" for him. It's the best "political" move for him to not put himself "on record" voting NO on Bolton before next Tuesday, as opposed to getting it delayed until after the primary, and pretending to be "contemplative." If you believe that this has anything to do with him being "thoughtful," I have a "Bridge to Nowhere" that I can sell you!

Regardless of the outcome of the primary next Tuesday, I'm convinced that he will still vote NO on Bolton. First, if he wins on Tuesday, he can kiss up to the general election electorate with a NO vote, because he no longer would need any local GOP backing. However, in the more likely event that he loses, he can vote against Bolton, and say he "voted his conscience," because he really has nothing to lose at that point, because he's then heading for unemployment.

When someone (like Chafee's Democrat Chief of Staff) says "politics had nothing to do with it" -- trust me, politics has everything to do with it! Anyway, Chafee is taking some risk with this strategy, but it's probably the best he could do under the circumstances. I'm pretty sure that this action will still be seen negatively by the Republican electorate next Tuesday, regardless of their best attempts to mitigate against it.

This is a BIG boost for Laffey.

Posted by: Will at September 7, 2006 5:39 PM

Agree 100% Greg.
Busting the Prez balls over who gets the unenviable task to be ambassador to that cesspool of third world corruption (the UN) is nonsensical. But in all honestly I've been amazed at the tone of Chafee's campaign run this year. He may win next Tuesday but he's damaged himself beyond repair in my opinion.

Posted by: Tim at September 7, 2006 5:42 PM

I've been quite impressed by Bolton's performance, actually. Attempts to paint him as your garden-variety Bush cacophant have fallen very short, IMO. It seems as though whenever Chafee is faced with a difficult decision he says, "I have a few more questions" and then he votes his "conscience". Bolton has been in office for months and has a record that should make for an easy qualitative decision for Chafee without the political drama.

I hate to say it, but I'm eagerly awaiting casting my vote for Steve Laffey on Tuesday.

Posted by: don roach at September 7, 2006 5:46 PM

sorry, meant sycophant in preceding post.

Posted by: donroach at September 7, 2006 5:49 PM

I'm excitedly awaiting Anthony's spin on this. I assume he's waiting to get the fax from the Chafee camp telling him which way to gyrate.

Posted by: Greg at September 7, 2006 6:37 PM

Guys, I hate to tell you, but the people who are going to vote for Laffey have been set on that for months. I really seriously doubt that this will alienate anyone who was teetering. Laffey has his hard-core following and that's about it.

There will be two (D-RI) senators come next January. Might actually have to send Laffey a "thank you" card for turning the seat over to the other side.

Posted by: klaus at September 7, 2006 7:49 PM

Chafee has just handed the primary to Laffey!

Bolton’s performance as Ambassador has been exactly what the US needs at this juncture.

If Chafee had ANY questions concerning Bolton, they should have been raised months ago.

He has totally blown it!

Up until this point, he had my vote… Emphasis on HAD…

Draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday will be a very interesting day…….

Posted by: Aldo at September 7, 2006 8:27 PM

Dear Don,

I agree with you.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at September 7, 2006 8:33 PM

Voting on the Senate isn't always about pleasing the Laffeyites. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Rhody at September 7, 2006 8:38 PM

Voting on the Senate floor isn't always about pleasing the Laffeyites. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Rhody at September 7, 2006 8:39 PM

Voting on the Senate floor isn't always about pleasing the Laffeyites.

Posted by: rhody at September 7, 2006 8:40 PM

Computer screwup - moderator, you have my permission to erase a couple of the above posts.

Posted by: rhody at September 7, 2006 8:41 PM

By "Laffeyites", I assume you mean "Republican Base". As in, the BASE upon which you BUILD your election upon.

Posted by: Greg at September 7, 2006 9:23 PM

The Laffey camp has fired a full salvo. A smart next move will involve a press conference in mid-afternoon tomorrow in order to capture the momentum into the weekend news cycle in an attempt to keep this alive and in the voters' minds the last few hours before the primary.

September 7, 2006

Mayor Laffey Takes Chafee to Task for Vacillation on Bolton
According to the Associated Press today, Senator Chafee “pulled the plug” on John Bolton’s confirmation as UN Ambassador, “saying he had more questions that needed to be answered.” Once again, Senator Chafee has demonstrated how indecisive he is on the critical issues. Whether it is his vote on Justice Alito, or his vote in the 2004 Presidential election, or his vote on Bolton, Senator Chafee clearly lacks the decision-making skills required of a US Senator.

Over the past year, John Bolton has demonstrated that he is a capable and effective representative of America’s interests in the United Nations. It is because of him that the U.S. has achieved unanimous Security Council resolutions condemning North Korea’s missile tests and ending the Israeli-Lebanese war, as well as a near-unanimous resolution setting a deadline for Iran to suspend its nuclear program. Even previous critics of Ambassador Bolton have admitted that the Ambassador has proven himself over the past year as an effective leader and defender of U.S. interests.

“All the other Senators have made up their minds on how to vote except Lincoln Chafee, who, like always, can’t figure out where he stands,” said U.S. Senate candidate and Mayor Steve Laffey. “It is outrageous that a vote had to be postponed because Senator Chafee can’t make up his mind. Rhode Island and America deserve better.”

Posted by: Greg at September 7, 2006 10:10 PM

My only concern is the cacophony of ads that are blurring the lines. I received five (5) flyers today for Laffey, and think that it was due, in part, to the post office.

Be that as it may, does everyone think people are going to understand what Will so well articulated? i.e., that no matter how you slice it, Chafee is gunning for Bolton. Win or lose, he's intending to vote no on Bolton. I'm not so sure the voters will pick that up. I hope they do, mind you.

We'll see in just five days.

Posted by: Chuck at September 7, 2006 10:44 PM

Honestly, the more I see Chafee operate during this 'campaign' (if you can honestly call it that) I get the feeling he doesn't really WANT to be a Senator anymore. God knows he's trying VERY hard to not get re-elected.

Like not supporting the death penalty, despite something maybe, possibly, being able to sway his opinion in the future, the murder of 3,000 civilians didn't rise to the level of 'I'll make a special exception'.

Posted by: Greg at September 7, 2006 10:55 PM


As usual you don't defend your positions on other topics but you continue to pop up here and there with your little barb attacks. Be a man not a mouse.

Tuesday will be a landslide for Laffey because he is the only candidate running for the US Senate in RI with the talents, tools and gifts to actually get the job done, and the people know it. This Bolton vote is just another in a long line of Chafee mistakes. What is he thinking? I guess the Chafee plan is to gain notoriety by employing the absurd.

Tuesday night I will be celebrating a well fought victory while you head home alone, destitute and rejected.

J Mahn

Posted by: Joe Mahn at September 7, 2006 10:55 PM

Anthony has been strangely silent tonight. Gee, I wonder why (insert sarcasm here). I'm really looking forward to seeing how he's going to try to make lemonade out of this one! Even he has to be disgusted by this!

Aldo's comments are right on the money -- and being from a well-known local (and possibly, former?) Chafee backer, I think his comments even have more weight. This has to be deflating to Chafee supporters, especially the types that are on the fence. While many people may have "made up their minds" -- that doesn't mean they are all going to vote the way you expect them to. It's not the kind of action that drives people to make a special effort to bail out your rear -- it's the kind that gives them all the more reason to either stay home, or to vote for your opponent! It was a purely political move -- don't you doubt it -- but I think it will ultimately prove to be the "straw that breaks the RINOs back," to modify a pun.

Once again, in his attempt to satisfy everyone, Chafee ends up pleasing absolutely no one. There is nothing "new" about Bolton to be learned. I think his record speaks volumes -- he's been good at the UN. The timing of this couldn't stink more -- there is nothing non-political about this decision by his campaign (note that I didn't say, decision by Chafee). I can't even think of a logical post-primary scenerio in which Chafee would vote FOR Bolton. It's all a matter of timing; nothing more. It wouldn't even surprise me if the folks up in Washington knew he was planning this stunt all along -- and knowing how he planned to vote -- convinced him to delay the vote in order not to be on record before the primary.

Anyway, I am anticipating this coming Tuesday night even more than before. Say bye, bye RINO guy!

PS Do you know how many copies I was sent of this AP article today? ... several of which contained the well-known Internet acronym "WTF"? People from other states think he's totally lost his marbles! Of course, it's hard to lose something that one might never have had!

Posted by: Will at September 8, 2006 2:03 AM

Bravo Senator Chafee!

No man in his 60s should wear a Beatles haircut.

Posted by: Rino Cooke at September 8, 2006 7:42 AM

Anthony's gathering some cleaning supplies, which may be needed to scrape Laffey backers' remains off the streets and sidewalks near tall buildings if Chafee finds a way to pull out the primary.
If Laffey wins, life goes on, and we simple vote Whitehouse in November (I'll consider the big leap if Don Mollis wins).
P.S.: What's everybody's take on the push poll?

Posted by: rhody at September 8, 2006 11:45 AM

I have to give it to Laffey. First he coordinates this right wing push poll and then gets operatives to hack into the Chafee campaign website. Laffey's working hard to win fair or unfair.


Posted by: Rino Cooke at September 8, 2006 12:18 PM


If Laffey doesn't pull this off after everything we've been through this week, I'm seriously going to start pricing property in New Hampshire!


Wow, even I didn't know we were that good! Remember, Karl Rove supports Chafee, not Laffey! I still think it's space aliens in the employ of the Russian mafia myself. For all we know, someone at the Chafee HQ tripped over the plug for the computer! Poor RINO...

Posted by: Will at September 8, 2006 3:44 PM

So, Joe, you're saying my comments resemble yours in that I don't provide evidence?

Evidence: RI is an overwhelmingly Dem state. Hence, what you call a RINO in Chafee: he can't be too conservative, or he won't get (re)elected.

Now comes a real conservative. Should Laffey win the primary, which I admit is a real possibility, I suspect he will find out what it means to run as a "real" Rep in a Dem state. That is, about a 30-35% share of the vote in the general election.

There is no evidence that can support this, aside from the numerous polls that show Whitehouse well ahead of Laffey.

Oh, and there's the vitriol that erupts between the Laffey/Chafee camps on the site. Whenever I step into the middle of one of these "debates" I'm more or less ignored while the opposing Rep camps go at it hammer and tongs. Doesn't bode well for a reconciliation of the two wings going into November.

But, even if all Reps vote 100% Laffey in Nov, that still won't carry the general election. A good-sized chunk of the middle will have to vote for Laffey, and, sorry, don't see that happening.

Happy now, Joe? Or are you going to call me names, imply I'm stupid, deranged, a liberal (to which I admit proudly) and/or claim that I'm making statements without evidence? Because that's about all I've ever seen for rebuttal, so I've kind of given up actually trying to convince anyone. I'm making a prediction. I may be wrong, but there it is.

Posted by: klaus at September 9, 2006 12:01 PM

Something tells me that the 'democrats' and 'independents' that are going to vote to overwhelminly re-elect pro-life, Republican governor Carcieri will PROBABLY find some way to support Laffey as well. Call me crazy, but I just think the people of Rhode Island are going to have a really hard time getting excited about Whitebread.

Posted by: Greg at September 9, 2006 1:10 PM

Mayor Laffey has run a very good issues-based campaign, and I am extremely hopeful that Tuesday night's results will bare that out as well. Chafee simply doesn't deserve to win, it's as simple as that.

PS I received a phone call from Rhode Island Right to Life PAC today, asking me to vote for Steve Laffey in the Republican Primary (or Langevin in the Democrat one). I'm hoping for a solid pro-life turnout Tuesday.

Posted by: Will at September 9, 2006 2:48 PM

Dear Will,

On your side of the ballot, you actually have me praying for one too.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at September 9, 2006 6:01 PM

Sorry for not posting. I just didn't see this as having any effect one way or the other. This postponement is like a rain-delayed game at Fenway in the second inning. It doesn't really mean that much.

It will come down to who votes.

Posted by: Anthony at September 9, 2006 11:24 PM

While driving to the beach today, I saw a trailer being pulled ahead of me on Route 4 which had rather graphic dipictions of what I'm assuming is a partial-birth abortion. It made me feel thinkful I didn't have a child in the car with me.
I'm guessing the driver had a heavy day of campaigning in mind, and I think we all know what candidate he's pulling for.
And when I returned home, I realized I was still pro-choice. Guess I'm a little too thick-skulled to have my mind changed by a shovel upside the head.

Posted by: rhody at September 10, 2006 12:40 AM

Hey, partial birth abortion isn't pretty -- it's sucking out a living baby's brains and crushing it's skull, so it can be more easily pulled out of the birth canal (I believe that's also called Dialation and Extraction or D&E). What makes it even worse is that the fetus/unborn human, is not only truly alive in the same way that you and I are, but that it would in nearly all cases be "viable" (able to live on its own) outside of the womb, if only the mother would allow that baby to continue living.

I'm more offended by the barbaric act itself, as opposed to pictures depecting something that happens every day in America, that we do nothing to actively prevent. There is no rational reason, as far as I know, why partial birth abortion should be legal under any circumstance. What is the moral difference of doing that, right up until the moment of birth, as compared to doing it right after the baby is born? Obviously, there is currently a legal difference, but what is the difference morally?

As to when life begins, I believe in what I like to call the "Dr. Suess rule," as stated so well in his book Horton Hears a Who: "A person's a person no matter how small."

Posted by: Will at September 10, 2006 4:23 AM

Dear Will,

I know for you that a science is a tough thing, but let's try:

How many partial birth abortions were there last year? 0.

Why is that? Because accoding to the Journal of American Medicine, it does not exist as a practice.

Wholly made up by the anti-choice, take rights away from women crowd. They did such a great job, that some doctors have done the procedure thinking it existed. However, the number in any given year has barely broken double digits.

Law is based on science, not myth and superstition.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at September 10, 2006 8:30 AM

"Why is that? Because accoding to the Journal of American Medicine, it does not exist as a practice."

Gee, is that because they like to call it 'late-term abortion'?

Good try, Bobby.

According to the CDC, 1.4% of all arbotions occur after the 21st week. That's roughly 18,000 proceedures a year.

In 1997, the Alan Guttmacher Institute estimated the number of abortions performed after the 24th week to be approximately 1,032 per year. A far cry from your ZERO number, huh?

And just to cement your wrongness, there's this:

"[Dr. George Tiller] presented the results of a study involving 2750 women aged between 10 and 45 who underwent abortions between 1994-97. The average gestational age was 27 weeks. The vast majority-2051-were performed because of either maternal health problems, with the remaining 699 abortions performed because of foetal abnormality." (Julie Ann Davies, "Abortionist Backs Sex Selection", The Age: 15 Nov 1999, Internet Edition)

Fetal abnormality, as it is used in this context, can include things like down's syndrome, hydrocephalus, cystic fibrosis, and other disabilities that are problematic, but not incompatible with meaningful life. Still, 3 out of 4 of the babies that were evaluated in the study were not abnormal.

This statistic is further confirmed in the Executive Summary for Fetal Indication Termination contained on Tiller's website. He claims that from January of 1989 to May of 2001 he aborted roughly 2,009 post-15 week fetuses for reasons of fetal abnormality. This means that, on average, only 167 of the post 15-week fetuses that he aborted each year were abnormal. As the data he provided to the state of Kansas indicates (with links below), he aborts roughly 600 post 22-week fetuses each year.

Have a nice day trying to refute my FACTS with your usual rambling gibberish.

Posted by: Greg at September 10, 2006 6:14 PM

Dear Greg,

Late term abortions and partial birth abortions are two different things. Since I'm a believer in the viability issue, late term abortions don't make me happy but rights are rights. I'm not exactly surprised that somebody from your side of the argument gets the science totally wrong.

Greg, the stat you site is for 1997 (last year was 2005 - but who's counting), before the term partial birth abortion was even invented.

Even in the study you site, 3 out of the 4 might have killed the mother. Even the Catholic Church teaches that abortion under those circumstances could be permissible.

It should also be noted that Dr. Tiller will not engage in this procedure without a physician's referral. You conviently left that out. You also left out that Kansas is an informed consent state. He also will not perform an abortion if the fetus is viable. Again, facts, especially when dealing with science issues, are not your strong suit.

At the end of the day, your facts are half truths. You should also realize that facts that dispute just about everything you say are not gibberish; rather, reality.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at September 10, 2006 6:33 PM

Partial Birth Abortion is just another name for late term abortion of a "viable" fetus. It's like the Death Tax vs. the Estate Tax.

Oh, "Dr. Tiller, the Baby Killer"! We remember him. If I recall correctly, he's awaiting some charges for trying to run down a pro-life protester.

Posted by: Will at September 11, 2006 2:05 PM

Dear Will,

1.) According to the medical profession, they are not the same thing.

2.) Should we list the names of those currently on or awaiting trial for committing acts of violence in the vicinity of abortion clinics?

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at September 12, 2006 1:06 AM