February 17, 2005

Mayor Laffey to Run for...

Justin Katz

After his speech for a gathering of (mostly) Portsmouth Republicans, Mayor Laffey took a sweeping path to not answering a question about whether he'll challenge Lincoln Chafee for a seat in the U.S. Senate. It didn't take much listening between the words to hear a "yes" — albeit an indeterminate one.

Considering that the sweeping path led through Laffey's motivation for entering politics — fixing things that he sees broken first-hand — and his repeated preference for the "knocking on doors" aspect of the occupation, my ear picked up tones suggesting that the choice may not be between senator and businessman, but between senator and governor. Personally, I think sending Stephen Laffey to the U.S. Senate would be a waste of talent for Rhode Island. Given his particular strengths and chutzpa, he'd do us much more good here than in Washington. (And it isn't a certainty by any means that he could beat a Democrat for Chafee's seat, even if he manages to best Chafee in a primary.)

As for the rest of the event, it was certainly worth the time to attend. The sore need, however — one that organizer Deborah Mitchell Young cited as a reason for inviting bloggers — was to bring fresh ideas and, more importantly, passion to a largely atrophied state party. There's a clear split, a rejuvenating split, coming within the RI GOP, displacing those who've become accustomed to the quality in Rhode Island politics that raises "business as usual" to the level of a virtue.

Come to think of it, perhaps the question mark for Mayor Laffey, as smart as he is, punctuates a shrewd intuition to wait for the necessary intraparty disruption to occur so that, rather than ride one side of the resulting wave away from the action, his cohort can fill the trough that results.

One observation, offered with emphasis on its mildness: during his speech, Mayor Laffey's frequent statements of "I did" became jarring. When I've heard him speak on the radio and in other venues, I haven't noticed a similar self-referentialism. So perhaps it was the audience. Perhaps he was tired. But the mayor should take care to remember that "we" sounds incomparably better than "I" when it can be understood to mean the same thing.

I've posted some related thoughts on Dust in the Light.

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Mayor Laffey would have a very hard time beating Congressman Langevin in a Senate race, but it would be much more doable for him to beta Lincoln Chafee in a general election should Chafee switch to the Democrats.

And how about Laffey for Lt. Governor?

Posted by: AuH2ORepublican at February 22, 2005 4:43 PM