December 28, 2009

Blueblood Political Legacy #3 to Enter Race

Justin Katz

Well, when readers take to emailing me breaking news, I suppose I must assume broader interest, even when I can only muster an amused snort: Linc Chafee has announced his intention to announce his intention to run for governor:

In a brief media alert released Monday afternoon, Chafee said he would kick off the campaign with an announcement at the Iron Works Tavern at the Hilton Garden Inn on Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick.

Hopefully he'll participate in the Rhode Island Voter Coalition at the Crown Plaza in Warwick on January 8th with Frank Caprio and Patrick Lynch, so that attendees can observe just how unrepresentative our current slate of candidates actually is — or rather, how representative they all are of the same limited group.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

"A Ringing Announcement to Ring in the New Year"

I think he means Ringling.

Its going to be a three ring circus.


Posted by: Sol Venturi at December 28, 2009 7:27 PM


Does your "amused snort" reflect your contempt for the man, his chances of winning, or both?

Posted by: Thomas Schmeling at December 28, 2009 7:48 PM

"[A]ttendees can observe just how unrepresentative our current slate of candidates actually is"

Representatives only represent themselves. To think that anyone can adequately represent more than themselves or maybe one other person is a ludicrous myth. It doesn't matter whether it is Linc Chafee or anybody else.

There is a good reason why the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit or strongly caution against an attorney representing more than one client in a single action, depending upon the circumstances. And even then there are countless potential conflicts of interest.

Posted by: Dan at December 28, 2009 8:02 PM

The amused snort indicates nothing more than what I expressed in the post with my gentle mocking of the notion of announced intentions of announcing intentions.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 28, 2009 8:05 PM


I see. I hope you'll forgive me for missing that you were mocking a candidate's statement that he/she will officially announce his/her intention to run for office at a specified future date. The reason I missed that, I think, is that candidates do it all the time and it comes as close as it can be to SOP. For instance, Fred Thompson, Tim Johnson, leader of the Arkansas Tea Party, Parker Griffin (you know him, right?), and so on.

And then there are those who schedule press conferences to announce that they will NOT run, like Rudy Giuliani

Sorry that I can't seem to handle html tags better here, but I hope you see my point.

However, does your response mean that I can conclude, that you have contempt for neither Mr. Chafee nor his chances of winning?

Posted by: Thomas Schmeling at December 28, 2009 8:25 PM

Sheesh, Thomas. You sound like the collection agents with whom I've been having to deal on the phone, lately.

"Can I verify that you intend to send your payment of $57.77 within the next three days? Is there a reason that you cannot make the payment over the phone right now? What is the reason for your late payment? Can I verify your address again?"

Look, I'm amused that multiple people have thought it worth noting the candidate's mention of his intention to mention his intention to run. The SOP of politics is, in fact, amusing, no matter how common it is for politicians to grub after every little bit of media attention with every plan to make a plan to plan the plan's planning.

As for contempt, I can't say I'm generally a contemptuous person. (Opinions vary widely, I'm sure, on whether I'm contemptible.) I see Chafee mainly as an oaf who's been successfully stumbling about in a very dim, sickly political culture and am generally inclined more toward pity than spite for those whom I don't believe to be cognizant of their foolishness. As for his chances of winning, I'm not inclined to guess. Rhode Islanders haven't proven themselves to have the best judgment.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 28, 2009 8:33 PM

"The SOP of politics is, in fact, amusing, no matter how common it is for politicians to grub after every little bit of media attention with every plan to make a plan to plan the plan's planning."

I'm glad to hear that you're catholic (small "c") in your snorting, but if you've ever taken the many chances to mock a GOP candidate for announcing that he will announce his candidacy, I guess I missed it. I'll keep an eye out, though.

I don't know anyone who finds you contemptible, but surely you're contemptuous of many (you do read what you write, yes? Much if it fairly seethes with contempt), and specifically of Chafee ("an oaf who's been successfully stumbling about..")

My real question was....where do you put his chances of winning?

Posted by: Thomas Schmeling at December 28, 2009 8:47 PM


I missed that you answered my last question in your last line. Sorry.

Posted by: Thomas Schmeling at December 28, 2009 8:49 PM

Thomas-do you answer e mails?I do.
So much for that.
Linc Chafee sounds disoriented when he speaks."Train station"sounds like Danny De Vito repeating "hotel"in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".
He actually makes little sense for someone who spent 8 years in the Senate.But then,the Senate has changed.We have SNL comedic jerkoffs in there.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 28, 2009 9:38 PM

Can Chafee win a 3-way race?

He probably remembers Lowell Weicker's Connecticut example. Weicker, a maverick Republican U.S. Senator lost his seat in 1988 to then A.G. Joe Lieberman.

Weicker formed a third party to run for the open Gov. seat in 1990 and was narrowly elected.

Ct. was in a fiscal crisis and Weicker promised to solve the problem without a broad-based state income tax. He ran with support from labor unions.

After he took office, though, Weicker changed positions and supported the income tax (a course that would evoke some memories for Linc Chafee if he thought about it for a few minutes). Weicker (wisely) did not seek reelection in 1994.

Could Chafee replicate Weicker's 1990 victory in RI 2010?

I'm not yet convinced that he can.

Weicker was a very forceful personality . . . Chafee? . . . not so much.

Still, if he puts together a credible recovery plan and persuades a plurality of voters that he can bring partisan forces together to make it work . . . who knows?

Posted by: brassband at December 28, 2009 9:47 PM


If I get an email that requires a response (a request for information or action) I do my best to respond quickly. If you've sent such an email and I failed to respond, I apologize. Please send it again.

best regards,

PS. I totally forgot that De Vito was in OFOTCN. Thanks for that. (that's a left-wing play/film, right?)

Posted by: Thomas Schmeling at December 28, 2009 10:04 PM

Dear Brass,

I'd like to say what a pleasure it is to see you posting/commenting again.

The Weiker/Chafee comparison is interesting. What remains to be seen is whether a) Chafee would put forward a "broad-based income tax" proposal, as opposed to something like rolling back the flat tax and b) whether personality or ideas will matter more to RI voters in 2010.

Anyway, thank you for the interesting historical perspective and non-ideological analysis.


Posted by: Thomas Schmeling at December 28, 2009 10:20 PM

Please, please, Linc, enter the race! You'll assure Laffey's victory and finally expose you and your followers' fraud. No more GOP to hide behind as a charlatan!

Posted by: Jackson at December 28, 2009 10:32 PM

As it is going to take more than proposing raising taxes, during a recession, when other high-tax states are also on the fiscal brink, to make a recovery plan credible, I'm skeptical that Chafee can come up with a credible fiscal plan that would also win the support of labor. What cuts in the state budget are there that labor will go along with?

The bottom line is that Chafee has to go completely into the tank for labor, or else they'll settle for Patrick Lynch-style vagueness. Without labor, Chafee won't have enough of a base to function effectively as a candidate.

Posted by: Andrew at December 28, 2009 10:43 PM

The online invitation to the January 4th soiree encourages attendees to join Linc for "this historic event'. Historic? That, Mr. Schmeling, is a positively snortable notion.

Posted by: Madmom at December 29, 2009 12:26 AM

Linc is a nice guy, but...

Being a fan of a certain kind of comedy, I am greatly looking forward to Linc getting into the race; in fact, I'm kind of counting on it. I look forward to him getting the political beat-down that he so richly deserves. He needs to have his egotistical sense of entitlement brought back down to Earth. Yes, Linc Chafee, the meek and wimpy -- has an enormous ego (I really am holding back).

The difference between 2010 and 2006 races will be simple. Linc pretended to be one thing and was clearly another. He managed to string a good number of people along for a while, who only realized their error after the fact. People know -- or will soon know -- what they're going to get in the future if they elect someone like him -- more of the same, but even worse.

In addition, he's burned a great number of bridges. He has no institutional support network from anyone of importance. He seems to be trying to create one within the state employee unions perhaps, but I'm not even convinced they'll buy his schtick. Even his wife won't let him spend their money! Who exactly are his friends now?

Posted by: Will at December 29, 2009 12:39 AM


Why is it "snortable"?

And why address me particularly?

Posted by: Thomas Schmeling at December 29, 2009 12:50 AM

Well, I guess Laffey's officially in now.
If he takes his personal animus out on Chafee, yes, he'll drive Linc's negs up, but also his own. Caprio will walk - he can triangulate the hell out of it.
Can Laffey pull off fighting a long two-front war?
Linc, meanwhile, probably gets some votes from those who aren't thrilled with Whitehouse and regret voting him out.

Posted by: rhody at December 29, 2009 1:17 AM

Laffey is not officially in, but it is more likely than it was this past Spring.

I expect this to be a very issues-oriented campaign. Top 3 issues: Jobs, jobs, jobs. Chafee is yesterday's news. Chafee is a non-factor. Think Ralph Nader. If Laffey gets into the race, don't expect him to spend any effort directly addressing his existence. Personally, I'd prefer Chafee to stay in the race as long as possible.

Posted by: Will at December 29, 2009 4:12 AM

Tom-maybe the email didn't actually require a response now that I think of it.I just wondered if you got it,because sometimes when I get one from an unfamiliar source,the Spam filter blocks it.
Was OFOTCN a left wing film?Maybe if you were to really analyze it,you could say that.OTOH it could be seen as a crtique of the screwy mental health system.The interesting thing is that the doctor was actually the medical director of the very mental hospital where it was filmed in Oregon(or Wahhington state??)-it seemed more Kafkaesque than overtly left wing.
In any event,I don't limit what I read/watch by political parameters.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 29, 2009 5:45 AM

Back to Chafee-during the 10 News Conference interview with Taricani and Rapleye,Chafee made a strange and illuminating comment.He said"they primaried me!!"and his facial expression was one of disbelief that such lese-majesty could be allowed to take place-him being the anointed one to hold his father's former Senate and all.It was telling flash of the same sort of shallow arrogance displayed by Sheldon Whitehouse-the oblesse noblige attitude that is so dismissive of the "little people".
Chafee's father was not like that as I recall,and while I didn't necessarily always agree with him,I admired him as a patriot and statesman.
Someone needs to remind Linc that primaries are part of the American political process.And this nitwit teaches government at Brown?
Claiborne Pell also came from wealth,yet was never the least bit arrogant nor condesending in any way.
He was kind of eccentric,but so what?He actually did some very good things,such as the Pell Grant program.He also represented Rhode Island with dignity,unlike the thief and the buffoon we now have in the Senate.I voted for Pell because he was just good at the job,regardless of political philosophy,which was liberal,but hardly antithetical to American values,unlike White house.
I called Reed a thief-there is no other way to explain taking millions of dollars from companies under the purview of the committee on which he serves.What he did was technically legal,but morally reprehensible.
Our Federal delegation is now very much like most of our General Assembly-sleazy and self-serving.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 29, 2009 6:57 AM

"non-ideological" analysis?!?

Yeah, sorry about that.

My daily orders from the VRWC apparently got diverted to my spam folder, so I had to think this one out for myself . . .

C ya l8r . . I gotta get back to Going Rogue (which, so far anyway, is a fairly entertaining read!).

Posted by: brassband at December 29, 2009 12:22 PM

Don't you all think it's slightly presumptuous to dismiss a candidate before he makes public proposals to address some of Rhode Island's critical needs?

Senator Chafee does have a proven legislative record that anyone can either support or attack on the merits... which, by the way, is more than we can say for the other candidates currently in the race, isn't it? Furthermore, when he lost his Senate seat in the 2006 election, his job approval rating was still nearly 60%. Seems to me that his loss was more of a referendum on the national Republican Party, and how out-of-touch it seemed with the people of America, rather than a response to any poor job on the part of Senator Chafee.

While his running as an independent does allow him to forgo the traditional partisan primary process, it also allows him to move forward with campaign planks and policy proposals that may not have been as well-received as a member of the Republican Party. I think this is just the senator waking up to the reality of a 21st-century America.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have shown me a proposal for how to fix the serious economic, educational, and environmental problems facing our state and our country. Both parties have had more than enough chances to do so over the past few years too. For that reason alone, I'm willing to explore other options.

However, I do agree that it's going to come down to which candidate can best articulate a vision for bringing and keeping jobs in our state. Why not give them all a chance to do just that before making your decisions? I am a supporter of Senator Chafee. He deserves a chance to prove why he should be Rhode Island's next governor... and I certainly don't think it has anything to do with his name.

Posted by: Jake Paris at December 29, 2009 2:48 PM

The whole "Chafee is a nice guy" thing is one of Rhode Island's greatest myths. [I'm sure there are people out there who think Christopher Hightower is a nice guy (though as someone who knew him; I always saw him for the narcissistic weirdo that he is)].

Wanting to get involved back in 1999, and being new to the game, I fell for the "Linc is a nice guy/Weygand is a jerk" paradigm. As a Republican, I wanted the "Republican" to win. So I signed up to help his campaign. Wow, what a learning experience that was. Mr. "nice guy", I found, does not have the ability to communicate with common people. His blue blood is so thick (and perhapds polluted from drug use) that he cannot carry on a coherent conversation. He seems affraid of every word that may come out of his mouth. (I'll bet he had to rehearse that "train station" bit for weeks).

I've mentioned before how he hadn't even bothered to get to know some of his hardest working volunteers. That's water under the bridge now. But, about as soon as he won his 2000 election, I learned enough to realize my energy would be better spent somewhere else.

My personal experience with Linc Chafee is small potatoes compared to what he's done to many good, honest people since then. Consider the knives he's left in the backs of powerful, star-powered people who ardently supported his campaign for re-election. But it is not just John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Elizabeth Dole, Mitch McConnell, Bill Frist, Ken Mehlman and Presidents and Mrs Bush 41 and 43 who he stabbed in the back: Consider all the stalwart Republicans, many of whome could not stomach his politics, who stood by him, only to be abandoned by him months later. Consider all the GOP candidates for office in 2006 who were led to believe the $500,000 in “Rule 11” money was going to help them gain seats in the legislature, only to find out that every cent would be taken by Chafee’s campaign.
Consider the people of Warwick whose hard earned money has been given away year-after-year to the Unions in exchange for their quiet support for him and his successor.

These are not the traits of a “nice guy”.

I think “nice guy” has become the default label for Lincoln Chafee because there is absolutely nothing else good you can say about him.

Posted by: Stretch Cunningham at December 29, 2009 3:08 PM

where is Rory, I miss him already and I didn't even know him. Which is why I would have voted for him....he is not one of the same old RI political names this state keeps recycling. When will RI wake up?

Posted by: gina at December 29, 2009 3:20 PM

Gina, if you think Rory Smith had absolutely anything to offer, then you are obviously one of those voters who keeps "recycling".

Posted by: George at December 29, 2009 5:28 PM


A better strategy than telling people that they can't draw conclusions from the informaton that is available would be to put better information out. (More information to voters, by the way, what the RIVC is trying to achieve, despite the Democratic party's efforts to shut that process down).

On a more tactical note, a "vote for the respected incumbent" communication strategy isn't going to work for a candidate who isn't the incumbent. If that's going to be the base of the Chafee campaign's strategy, he's probably not going to make it very far.

Posted by: Andrew at December 29, 2009 5:30 PM

Dan said,

"Representatives only represent themselves. To think that anyone can adequately represent more than themselves or maybe one other person is a ludicrous myth. It doesn't matter whether it is Linc Chafee or anybody else."

I assume you're a lawyer, which is why you view representation through the lens of the ABA rules. However, as regards politics, the statement above goes against at least 2,500 years of political theory, including the foundations of our own institutions.

Are you really saying that only direct democracy is legitimate because representative government is a "ludicrous myth"?

Posted by: Thomas Schmeling at December 29, 2009 7:25 PM

Don't know why you can't accept my comment as a sincere compliment. Perhaps you were reading into it something I did not intend.

Posted by: Thomas Schmeling at December 29, 2009 7:39 PM


A lot of email to me goes into the spam filter.

To the extent that OFOTCCN, is a political film, I take it as a critique of totalitarianism, of which there are both left and right-wing varieties.

Posted by: thomas Schmeling at December 29, 2009 7:42 PM


No, I do not believe in direct democracy, as a majority of people thinking something is right does not make it so. Nor do I believe in representative democracy, for the same principle as well as the reasons I gave above. I am a voluntaryist/minarchist libertarian and only believe in the minimum amount of government necessary for the functioning of "courts, cops, and roads" (which has yet to be determined through trial and error). The laws those institutions operate under are only legitimate as far they prevent individuals from initiating force or a substitute for force, such as theft of fraud, against other individuals.

I will remind you, with respect to your appeal to "2500 years of political theory," that every political system of governance that ever existed purported itself to be the one true system proven by the errors of the past. This was especially true of the middle age monarchies, which invoked the divine right of kings and the principles described in Hobbes' wildly popular at the time "Leviathan." The "2500 years of political theory" argument has also been used to justify fascism and communism.

All the past has proven is that systems of government have been evolving and off-shooting over time and that there is no "one true way," despite the best efforts of our current system's government-run schools to indoctrinate children to the contrary through pledges of allegiance and revisionist history lessons glorifying the status quo. There is no reason why different systems could not work for different peoples, or why a voluntaryist/minarchist society could not prosper in the near future as part of that evolution. To think that our current system is the only way human beings can interact with each other, or that it is the one definitive best way that will stand the test of time is to commit the same hubris as Ozymandias and will end similarly.

Posted by: Dan at December 29, 2009 8:40 PM

Dan says No, I do not believe in direct democracy ...Nor do I believe in representative democracy..

I like a man who makes his position clear.

I also like a man who cites Shelley.


Posted by: thomas Schmeling at December 29, 2009 9:02 PM

"The whole "Chafee is a nice guy" thing is one of Rhode Island's greatest myths. [I'm sure there are people out there who think Christopher Hightower is a nice guy (though as someone who knew him; I always saw him for the narcissistic weirdo that he is)]."

Funny you should say that... I actually live about a 1/2 mile down the road from where Chris Hightower lived prior to his crossbow usage difficulties. He actually was a nice guy... unless he was killing you.

If Linc wants to kill the state off, in my book, that's not nice!

Anyway, it's not like we (meaning Republicans) didn't give Linc a chance! I actually voted for him in 2000... fortunately by 2006 I realized that wasn't a good course of action. He burnt all the bridges it is possible to burn. Frankly, I can't imagine him coming up with an original thought. He's probably one of the most "handled" individuals that I have ever met.

Posted by: Will at December 30, 2009 3:24 AM

I totally agree that putting more/clearer policy information out there is the only way to go. You'll definitely see some of that at Senator Chafee's official announcement on the 4th, as I would certainly hope will continue from all candidates throughout the race.

As to the "respected incumbent" strategy, I don't think that incumbents deserve respect AT ALL just for being incumbents... there's nothing particularly appealing about that strategy.

Our political system, flawed as it might be, depends on us judging candidates on their current merits, not their past ones. I think it's pretty clear (from his press release, amongst other things) that the senator would like to show Rhode Islanders that he does have some new ideas, and that a new course is required to help make the state prosperous again.

And for what it's worth, I have met Senator Chafee a number of times, and that's why I volunteered to work on his campaign. I was raised in a house with no insulation for the first few years, and a wood-burning stove as our only source of heat. A blue-blood I am certainly not, and yet, I find him approachable.

Maybe that's just a personal thing, but even then, I don't want a governor I can have a beer with... I want a governor who can help form policies to create jobs, protect the environment, and ensure a fairer educational system.

Lastly, drawing upon the posts here regarding Democracy, it's worth noting one of my favorite Churchill quotes: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried."

Posted by: Jake Paris at December 30, 2009 9:14 AM


Every candidate shares the aspirational goals in a list like this one...

I want a governor who can help form policies to create jobs, protect the environment, and ensure a fairer educational system.
Tell us where Senator Chafee believes in an actual policy that is different from the usual Democratic offerings -- especially in light of the 3rd item on your list, which is standard Rhode Island polspeak for expressing support for education without telling the public what an education policy actually entails.

Posted by: Andrew at December 30, 2009 10:08 AM

"Lastly, drawing upon the posts here regarding Democracy, it's worth noting one of my favorite Churchill quotes: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.""

Could not agree more! Except of course that there are many forms of government that have not yet been tried! Voluntaryism for example.

Some claim that the reason these have not been tried is because they are inherently infeasible, but this is not really a valid argument since it could (and certainly would) have been made regarding democratic forms of government as recently as a few hundred years ago by the citizenry at that time. Also it is not inconsequential that the government we have now has sought to expand itself exponentially and has been extremely hostile towards new experimentations in nearby territories and amongst its states. In other words, those in power now have a strong interest in seeing that new and more liberty-oriented forms of governance do not succeed.

Posted by: Dan at December 30, 2009 2:21 PM

I may not agree with all the Tea Party actions but Gina is a leader and organizer!
Two things!
1. Anyone who thinks the tea party movement or least concern with the economy is not widespread in people generally is "missing the boat!"
2. Running government is NOT easy. The state needs to look at its relationships with its cities and towns and such things as unfunded mandates, budget caps, and other things. GENERAL STATEMENTS ARE NOT WISE! One personal thing that may be impossible to rectify is the problem of regional school districts where town councils have no control over the bottom line of the school budget. In single school districts within one municipality they do.
Scott Bill Hirst
Vice Chairman, Hopkinton Republican Town Committee
Member, Hopkinton Town Council,1996-2004

P.S. I only speak for myself!

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at December 30, 2009 3:53 PM

We're not quite there yet Andrew, this still being 2009 and all. However, as a former community college teacher and current high school tutor I can at least say that reading detailed education plans from all candidates is one of my top priorities for this campaign. Yet another part of the reason I want to be involved in the process... education is too important not to become involved.

What I do know is that Senator Chafee seems very interested in hearing ideas about how to best address some of the serious educational inequities in the state.

Dan: I'm all for governmental experiments to try out newer or more radical theories. However, I think you would agree that empirical data should be collected on a smaller scale before trying it out on the world's largest economy, with a system of government which has remained largely in-tact for over 225 years.

Posted by: Jake Paris at December 30, 2009 4:24 PM

Does "we're not quite there yet" mean that there is no plan yet, because it's only 2009, or that there is a plan, but you can't tell us about it yet, because it's only 2009?

Posted by: Andrew at December 30, 2009 4:40 PM

Jake, I have no desire to convert anyone in the United States, and I could not care less what others choose to do in their own states or communities. We in the Free State Project only wish to be left alone in New Hampshire or certain parts of New Hampshire like Keene where most of the liberty activism has been occurring so far.

Posted by: Dan at December 30, 2009 6:02 PM
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