November 6, 2006

So it comes down to this...

Marc Comtois

Don is going to "No Vote" and Justin is going to hold his nose and color in the Whitehouse arrow. I admire them for their ideological courage and consistency and for their honest explanations of why they're doing what they're doing.

Immediately after the primary, I was resigned toward the "pragmatic" solution of holding my own nose and voting for Chafee.

I'm as idealistic as the next conservative, but also recognize that there is a time for idealism and a time for pragmatism. For two years, I've attempted to rebut the pragmatic reasons for supporting Senator Chafee in the primary--he's more electable and he can vouchsafe a GOP controlled (and thus more conservative) U.S. Senate--by offering arguments rooted in conservative beliefs.

For me, the primary is the best time to argue over the ideas that should undergird a political party and in this primary I tried to convince Rhode Island Republicans the value of maintaining conservative ideals against practical politics. In the end, I was unsuccessful. It was a spirited debate, but ideas lost and pragmatism won. It's disappointing, but now pragmatism will simply have to be enough.

That last "will" should have been a "may." Two months later, and I'm not so sure. Yes, it's a sad commentary on the choices, but how does a conservative weigh short term objectives versus hoped-for long term goals? After all, if Whitehouse does win, what are the chances he'll ever be voted out in incumbent-loving li'l Rhody?

Or does it really just come down to punishing one whom you feel has served you poorly (Chafee) by either not voting for him (a swing of the electoral hammer) or the exponential act of voting for his opponent (a swing of the electoral sledgehammer)?

So what am I going to do? For the first time in my voting life, I actually don't know who I'm voting for before election day. It could be a long night.

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After all, if Whitehouse does win, what are the chances he'll ever be voted out in incumbent-loving li'l Rhody?

My conviction is that Sheldon Whitehouse will become a particularly apt example of why li'l Rhody (and, indeed, all of America) cannot afford its various unhealthy preferences.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 6, 2006 7:51 PM


Why vote Whitehouse into office? I don't want to pay Whitehouse's salary for six years - - Do YOU?????

Posted by: IndependentWoman at November 6, 2006 8:51 PM

For somebody like Whitehouse, the salary is hardly a consideration, and against the aggregate of problems that our country will face over the next half-century, it really oughtn't be a consideration for citizens, either. At any rate, somebody's got to get it, and I'm not particularly inclined to give it to Chafee.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 6, 2006 9:09 PM

This Chaffee/Whitehouse race should be the poster child for the failings of the two party system.

So-called "Third" parties have to be considered. Neither of the dominant two are interested in what the voters want.


Posted by: Brian D. Norton at November 6, 2006 9:38 PM

I'm no Chafee fan, but its not about him anymore, its about the committee appointments.

My perfect world would be to loose the house and keep the senate creating gridlock that ensure NOTHING happens. But if we loose the house and senate, well I just can't afford that.

Posted by: WJF at November 6, 2006 10:54 PM

I can't vote for Whitehouse and resign myself to six years, because it WON'T be six years, it will be 18 years. Once we give up the seat, it is gone and Whitehouse will be in place for a LONG time. Look at Kennedy, Langevin etc.. I just can't accept 4 members of Congress ALL Democrats representing the State of Rhode Island. Chafee is a Republican, sometimes in name only, but he is accessible to all Rhode Islanders and I don't believe that will be the case with Sheldon, unless I have a "D" next to my name to designate my party affiliation.

I just can't go there. I have that here in the State, I don't want that at the Federal level.

Posted by: Susan at November 6, 2006 11:10 PM

1) Though there is historical basis for the premise that once Whitehouse is in he's there forever, history is not destiny. He's not the type that generates warm and fuzzies, even among Democrats. With a good Republican candidate, he'd be vulnerable.

Also, if Chafee gets in he's there unless and until a Democrat beats him - for after what the RINO-establishment did to Laffey, no Republican would ever again challenge him in a primary.

So if Linc wins, it's either him or a Democrat as far as the eye can see - which means that we will have a liberal as far as the eye can see.

If Linc loses, we at least have the chance of a non-liberal Republican running, and winning.

2) What's to say that Linc won't pull a Jeffords (Independent) or switch over to the Democrats?

It is EXTREMELY telling that Linc refuses to promise that he won't do so.

If he goes Democrat, he becomes their incumbent ... and so we have a liberal Democrat in the seat after all.

3) If Linc had won the primary fair and square, I could perhaps resign myself to holding my nose and voting for him out of Republican Party loyalty.

But he stole the primary by soliciting Democrats to cross-over. The numbers demonstrate that this swung the primary.

Therefore Lincoln Chafee nullified the votes of Republican primary voters, thus DISENFRANCHISING them.

Given that, the fact that I'm only writing in "George H.W. Bush" is mild, for I've been really tempted to vote for Whitehouse for the express purpose of purging Chafee from the Republican Party (that he obviously disdains).

Posted by: Tom W at November 6, 2006 11:40 PM

"For the first time in my voting life, I actually don't know who I'm voting for before election day."

That makes at least two of us!

Basically, it's to heck with my principles and vote for Chafee; write-in a "principled" vote, but someone who can't win; or just leave that part of the ballot blank. All great choices! Totalitarianism isn't looking so bad ;)

I'm just glad that this will all soon be over!

Posted by: Will at November 7, 2006 1:12 AM

He has said repeatedly that "I am running as a Republican and will stay a Republican". Did you miss the millions of dollars worth of Democrat commercials with that video? take the smiles off the faces of Harry Reid, Dufault, Clinton, Marcia Reback, Marti Rosenberg and "Joe the Barber" and wannabe Senator-for-life Whitehouse-KEEP CHAFEE!

Posted by: Mike at November 7, 2006 8:08 AM

Okay, I filled in the arrow for Chafee. I did it. I'm not proud. I'm not happy. In my secret heart, I hope he loses AND gets a painful boil on the bum. But I did it.

Posted by: S. Weasel at November 7, 2006 11:57 AM
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