September 13, 2006

The Only Questions Now

Justin Katz

Is it worth forcing change in the Republican Party at Rhode Island and national levels by voting for a Democrat whom I despise, or would it be enough simply not to vote (or to write in Ronald Reagan)?

And a related question: Is the "slightly better" leadership of the Republican Party only postponing, perhaps with a consequent exacerbation of, those calamities that we fear were the Democrats regain control? If Democrat leadership let through a relatively minor terrorist attack, for example, mightn't the national-security-based backlash at the polls give hawks a stronger hand to prevent such outcomes as a nuclear Iran?

How horrible that we find ourselves in the position of asking such questions.

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For me, there isn't a question. I ended up voting for Laffey, and now I will vote for Chafee over Whitehouse. Vote for the best, even when the best isn't very good.

Think of it this way: would you rather have a Senator that reflexively votes the Democrat position without thinking, or a Senator that thinks long and hard, and votes the Democrat position anyway? At least Chafee could, theoretically, change his mind; Whitehouse doesn't have one.

Posted by: Mario at September 13, 2006 6:58 AM

If you honestly believe that Chafee spends a lot of time 'thinking' about votes you're a vegetable. He hangs back and waits to see which way the political wind blows and who offers him a better deal to buy his vote.

Posted by: Greg at September 13, 2006 7:07 AM

Dudes! Whatever you do, don't be like your fearless leader and support Chafee. That would be the wrong -- WRONG thing to do. Oh yeah, I forgot though, evidenced by the Iraq war, you guys prefer wrong and strong.

So like I said, don't vote for Chafee. Either vote for Whitehouse or write in one of your favorite Western cowboy movie heroes. Thanks ever so much!

Your friend the Democrat

Posted by: demcdem at September 13, 2006 8:52 AM

This is way funny. All the arrogant Laffyistas just knew they were going to win, right? Hahahaha Justin, you sound like a spoiled rotten child who didn't get his way. Grow up! and try to remember that a political party should have some flexibility for other ideas.

Oh yeah and get over yourself!

Posted by: Rino Cooke at September 13, 2006 9:02 AM

Will, oh Will? Where are you Will? Out having a little pity party with your moral certitude?

Well, when you're back among us make sure to let us know how you justify this as a great accomplishment for the Republican party in RI.


Posted by: citizenjane at September 13, 2006 9:04 AM

I am embarassed to be a Rhode Islander today.

J Mahn

Posted by: Joe Mahn at September 13, 2006 9:07 AM

*puts on spin doctor hat*

We could look at this election two ways. One, the conservative wing of the RI GOP was rebuffed....


The conservative wing of the RI GOP almost unseated an incumbent US Senator who is devoid of scandal and has some of the highest name recognition in the state. I hope Mr. Chafee realizes that he needs the almost 30k votes that went to his opponent in order to defeat Whitehouse.

Me, I'm thinking of voting in a Democrat instead of a RINO. If we're going to have a dem in the US Senate he might as well be upfront about it.

Posted by: don roach at September 13, 2006 9:10 AM


You forgot a big factor. Most of the bluehaired droolers think they voted for John Chafee. And the ones that KNOW it's Linc think he's "John's wonderful son" but couldn't tell you a single thing he's done (actually, none of us can, but that's another issue).

It's the same blind loyalty that keeps electing Kennedys because people loved JFK.

Posted by: Greg at September 13, 2006 9:15 AM

Look at this post from the open thread yesterday by Tom W(tool)...

Just got back from voting AGAINST Linc Chafee.

James Brown is now wafting through my mind:



Posted by Tom W at September 12, 2006 11:45 AM

Posted by: Rino Cooke at September 13, 2006 9:18 AM

Greg, You really need some anger management classes. Seek help! No one cares what your advice is. Don't you get that? Laffey lost big! How's that giant wedge of humble pie??


Posted by: Rino Cooke at September 13, 2006 9:20 AM

I honestly can't believe what I am reading. Because your boy didn't win you are now going to vote for Sheldon?? A liberal Democrat? Fine, Chafee is a liberal Republican, which is not ideal. And Tom W. can keep calling him a democrat, but at the end of the day in this post primary world, Chafee is going to vote for Mitch McConnell to be Majority Leader fo the Senate, Sheldon isn't and that means Committee Chairs like Ted Kennedy. Serisouly, all rhetoric aside, that is the deal now. So, support Chafee in the general and do it knowing who you are really supporting, the Republican Majority in the Senate, that is what it is down to now guys, keeping the Senate Majority. Sit out the race if you want to, but now if we lose the Senate....well, I don't want to think of that possibility. I would rather support a RINO who will support real R's by voting to keep them in the Senate leadership. And anyone who argues that Chafee voting to align the Senate under the Republicans isn't a lock really has lost touch with reality.

Posted by: Grady Shipley at September 13, 2006 9:21 AM

Grady, what you're failing to factor is the reality that Linc will pull a Jeffords if the margin gets narrow enough for his move to have 'meaning'. He's admitted to thinking about it the last two elections and if the Dems offer him a committee chair you KNOW he'll bolt.

Posted by: Greg at September 13, 2006 9:26 AM

Greg, with all due respect, I absolutely disagree. If that is what you think, you haven't been paying attention to Senator Chafee. I would hate to live in your cynical world. He is NOT going to bolt the party. He has made that crystal clear and especially not for a chairmanship. Even he understands he couldn't chair a major US Senate Committee and I am sure he doesn't desire to. Still, granting your premise that he may bolt, supporting Whitehouse assures a democratic Senate. There is no MAY in that scenario. I can't grant your premise though, because I think it is very, very unrealistic. Chafee will vote to align under the Republicans.

Posted by: Grady Shipley at September 13, 2006 9:33 AM

Could you cite where he said he wouldn't because I can cite two election cycles where he said he was thinking about it and back it up with multiple new sources if you need.

Posted by: Greg at September 13, 2006 9:39 AM


It would be nice if the Senator unambiguously stated that there is no circumstance under which he would leave the Republican party sometime during the upcoming campaign.

Posted by: Andrew at September 13, 2006 9:41 AM

Andrew and Greg,

With all due respect to the both of you, I have heard him say it at many, many events and the 2 fundraisers I went to during this campaign. Greg, I am sitting here at work, so if you need me to pull out a direct quote from an event, that isn't going to happen, as I have to make a living. Where are the citations for your stance? It is great you can cite two election cycles, but that offers no proof (what election cycles?). And Andrew, he has made it clear he is a Republican and is staying as a Republican. I can understand national pundits (Editor of NRO) believeing he might defect because they don't know the Senator or the relationship his family has had with the GOP here in RI, but a local pundit advocating that there is a real chance he won't vote to align the senate with the Republicans is hard to believe. Why can't you take him at his word? As conservative we can be angry with Chafee for a lot of things, but lying to us isn't one of them.

Posted by: Grady Shipley at September 13, 2006 10:05 AM

Joe Mahn:

I am not only embarassed to be a Rhode Islander this morning, I am also embarassed to be a Republican.

Posted by: David Davis at September 13, 2006 10:12 AM


From USA Today, November 3, 2004

Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee said he would consider switching parties if President Bush is re-elected.

"I'm not ruling it out," Chafee told The Providence Journal.
To the best of my knowledge, George Bush is still President. Is that direct enough for you?

Don’t shoot the messenger.

Posted by: Andrew at September 13, 2006 10:25 AM


That was two years ago. I appreciate the time you took to find a citation. When I have the time, I will find a citation for my argument as well. As I indicated earlier, I am at work and I don't have the luxery of time to search the net right now. I do know what I heard him say, when I heard him say it. I understand you haven't heard the words come out of his mouth, hopefully, you can understand that I don't put much weight in a two year-old quote when I have heard him say the opposite in the months leading up to today, right? Addmitting that doesn't admit I am right, I just see you as a least a reasonable person who can make room for the possibilty that in the two years since he made that quote that he may have changed his mind. By the way, I can't rule out the possibility that I will eat a grilled cheese for lunch today, that doesn't mean I am going to, does it? Lets also leave some room in our discussion that there could have been some political rhetoric at play when he made that quote, yes? Perhaps he was qualifying exactly how upset he was with the President at the time or using the quote as a tactic to extract something from the President. We both know these sorts of things happenin politics.

Posted by: Grady Shipley at September 13, 2006 10:53 AM

Other than “under no circumstances” will I vote for Lincoln Chafee, I haven’t reached a final conclusion about what I will do in the November race.

However, for those who speak of (now) keeping Chafee to maintain a Republican majority in the Senate, allow me to offer some thoughts:

If it all comes down to relying on Chafee, the Republican Party has much more serious issues, and relying on him, at best, provides temporary respite – and perhaps, like an enabler with an addict, may only delay necessary treatment and make the problem worse.

While the NRSC was giving him oodles of cash, and after Laura Bush was here campaigning for him, he (at a minimum) delays the Bolton nomination. How much loyalty do you expect of him after November when he’s “safe” for another six years???

If he wins in November, he will remain the presumptive candidate six years from now, meaning that after seeing what the RNC did to Laffey, no real Republican will even contemplate running against Chafee – so we will be stuck with him in perpetuity unless / until a Democrat defeats him. So the sooner he is defeated in a general election, the sooner our chances of getting a real Republican running for that seat.

Nobody seriously disputes the fact that, were it not for the NRSC, Laffey would have won in a primary vote of actual Republicans - so the party hierarchy (as they did in PA with Specter) said to the “base” a/k/a real Republicans “screw you.” In the short term it may “protect” the Republican majority in Congress, but it also emboldens the “moderates” to become even more “moderate.” And in the long term it waters down the Party, and eventually result in it becoming a minority Party of “lite Democrats” of the type we had between WWII and the Reagan administration. Shouldn’t we be more concerned with the “long term”???

The GOP / RIGOP has written off RI. They’ve also written off most of the northeast. And they’re on the cusp of (if they haven’t already) written off California. The “red state” map of the last election was deceiving – the trend is toward a shrinking Republican Party – largely because (its leadership) is no longer interested in the principles of the Party, but to preservation and incumbency (hence their short-term, election-cycle by election-cycle) thinking. Hence the “Republicans” in Congress becoming a de facto “tax and spend” party themselves. The Laffey / Toomey experience tells us that the Party hierarchy will trash Republican principles in return for (short term) preservation and incumbency – and will continue to do so as long as it works for them. Perhaps if their favored candidates start losing because the disgruntled “base,” in general elections, stays away from races with “Republican moderates” and/or actively votes for the Democrat challenger (while cringing and holding our noses, of course) - and thus the Republican base thereby swings the election – the RNC will come to realize that they should be attentive to the base and to Republican principles and ideals. In other words, perhaps the conservative Republican base will be more effective as coveted “swing voters” than as “in the end they’ll come around and support whoever has an ‘R’ beside their name” taken-for-granteds.

Ronald Reagan told us “never speak ill of a fellow Republican” (at least not publicly). Try to square that with the smear campaign run against Laffey by the NRSC.

As a Republican, shouldn’t I find it infuriating that the incumbent “Republican” openly solicited Democrats to game, if not hijack, the Republican primary in order to save his own bacon?

As a Republican, shouldn’t I find it even more infuriating that the Party hierarchy at the state and national level supported this effort to invoke Democrats to hijack a Republican primary?

And as a Republican, should I accept the fact that the RNC has become a de facto Politburo - unilaterally deciding from headquarters in D.C. who will be the Republican candidate - and then formulating a sham primary election to make it happen and make it appear that the sham process was valid?

Posted by: Tom W at September 13, 2006 10:57 AM

I can't say I've never been prouder to be a Rhode Islander, because helping keep Chafee came at a cost: letting Ralph Mollis onto the November ballot.
I can tell you this: Jon Scott won't win, but he'll fare better than many people think. A lot of Democrats are pissed with Kennedy for doing the Mollis robocalls. If the GOP runs a pro-choice woman against Kennedy (a Claudine Schneider-type candidate), Patches is toast.

Posted by: rhody at September 13, 2006 11:00 AM

Actually, I've been soundly asleep, because I've been up continuously since 6:00am yesterday...

Unfortunately, good doesn't always triumph over evil, except in the movies.

Whatever happens, I will not be voting for Lincoln Chafee. You have you RINO now, and you can have him. He's might be a "good guy," but I'm not going to reward his evil campaign with my vote. He doesn't represent my values, and I won't cooperate with evil.

Posted by: Will at September 13, 2006 3:14 PM

D Davis:

I agree with your sentiment.

Defeat, even one as bitter as this, is still a teacher.

One thing I learned is never underestimate the power of evil men and their diabolical schemes. Particularly when you know their track record.

Karl Rove and the late Lee Atwater were, and in Rove’s case, still are the masters of this malevolent craft. Drive the negatives unbearably up on your opponent with relentless fervor, and then spend whatever it takes on GOTV. It can backfire, and it has, but not this time in RI.

Like any addiction the lust for power at any price drives some to dark and devious shores. These foul tactics are reminiscent of Stalin and Pol Pot not Adams and Hopkins. Cowardice not valor is at the core of this approach. Like Longshanks (King Edward I) in the film Braveheart the beltway kings and princes rule with iron not grace, and their loyalty is not to the American people they are sworn to serve but rather to the wormwood of their own bellies.

Thankfully they will eventually reap what they have sown.


Posted by: Sol Venturi at September 13, 2006 10:01 PM

Tell me more about how to do a write-in vote...

Posted by: taxpayer at September 14, 2006 7:10 PM