August 10, 2006

Laffey-Chafee I: War and the Middle East

Carroll Andrew Morse

Senator Lincoln Chafee and Mayor Steve Laffey, the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, debated on today’s Arlene Violet Show on WHJJ-AM radio. Here are the notes I jotted down as they were debating...

Arlene Violet asks if American foreign policy should always be in tandem with Israel’s.
Mayor Steve Laffey addresses the current Israel-Hezbollah conflict. Israel was attacked and they have the right to respond. We all want a cease-fire, but only if it leads to a lasting peace, which can only happen if Hezbollah is degraded.
Senator Lincoln Chafee decries the escalation of the current war, says it’s been escalated until it’s a war on “Islamic extremism” (this reference to extremism is the one point where I’m going to interject myself, and opine that maybe Senator Chafee didn’t say quite what he meant here) and where does that take us? Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

Violet presses for an answer on Israel that is wider than just the current conflict.
Laffey: Israel has tried to live in peace. If Hezbollah laid down its arms, there would be peace. If Israel laid down its arms, they would be annihilated.
Chafee stresses that he does not come to this issue from naivety. A bad peace is better than a good war. We should return to the peace process that started with Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat.

Violet asks if there is a civil war in Iraq, and if should Donald Rumsfeld should resign as secretary of defense.
Chafee emphasizes engaging Iraq’s neighbors to improve the situation there.
Laffey says Rumsfeld should resign. He has a tough job and has to be held accountable for the failures.

Violet asks about President Bush’s use of wiretapping and signing statements.
Laffey: Courts should decide signing statement issue. Today’s events in Great Britain show us that wiretapping is justified, but the President should get the proper authorization from judges and keep congress informed.
Chafee criticizes Laffey for supporting the war but opposing Rumsfeld. Chafee says that the Constitution is a sacred document that protects people from wiretapping. The Constitution says the Presdient is Commander-in-Chief, but that shouldn’t be stretched too far.

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Nice job Andrew. We're going to try to live blog one of the upcoming debates as well.

All in all, I think Laffey did well, was clear and articulate, and the average listener will see he's a thinker, and very quick on his feet.

Chafee held his own, though he had a few pet peeves; and he taunted Laffey a few times on past faux pas, but it didn't win him anything to do so. He came across a little as a whiner. His handlers are on the wrong track.

Non political junkies will likely call it a draw, but that's good for Laffey in my view.

Posted by: Chuck Nevola at August 10, 2006 7:33 PM

Nobody would mark this for Laffey. At best, it was a draw. However, it doesn't speak well for Laffey when he essentially campaigned on a "I wanna debate" platform and was unable to put Linc away. He suffered from Gore syndrome and set expectations way, way too high. It's a loss for Laffey.

Posted by: cabot lodge at August 10, 2006 9:12 PM

Couldn't believe that Laffey -- after calling Chafee not a real Republican -- would join liberal senators like Hilary Clinton and John Kerry in calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. Oh I forgot Laffey liked Clinton's record and stance on abortion.

Posted by: bob at August 10, 2006 9:54 PM

I actually thought Laffey did great calling for Rumsfeld to step down -- it certainly caught Chafee off guard didn't he? Rumsfeld served his time honorably, but he's run his course, and I am very comfortable with the idea of getting some fresh blood in there. If anything, that was a major coup for Laffey (and puts Chafee is a terrible bind at the same time). Laffey wants to win the war on terror -- that's larger than the career of one man. Kudos!

PS Make sure to say hi to Beth!

Posted by: Will at August 10, 2006 10:57 PM

By the way, this isn't the first time Laffey has called for Rumsfeld to step down. He did so on Arlene's show several months ago.

Posted by: Tracy Woodson at August 11, 2006 8:20 AM

Will, well said regarding Rumsfeld.

Winning is more important and loyalty to the Nation and the free world is superior to loyalty to one man. Laffey is calling for a change because he wants the U.S. to be succesful. Democrats want Rummy's head because they want Bush to fail.

Laffey is right, sometimes you need to make changes to win. (Mr. Luccino, Mr. Henry, Mr. Epstein, you reading this?)

Posted by: Stretch Cunningham at August 11, 2006 5:10 PM

Weak Stetch, weak. Laffey is just being a weathervane. Time to admit it.

Posted by: cabot lodge at August 11, 2006 10:12 PM

Weak Stretch, weak. Laffey is just being a weathervane. Time to admit it.

Posted by: cabot lodge at August 11, 2006 10:12 PM

Weak Stretch, weak. Laffey is just being a weathervane. Time to admit it.

Posted by: cabot lodge at August 11, 2006 10:12 PM

cabot lodge:

I'm really starting to lose any modicum of respect I may have had for you.

Three posts?


J Mahn

Posted by: Joe Mahn at August 14, 2006 12:10 AM

After reading projo_20060228_mcbcol28.da095f5.html I suggest you do not cast a vote for either of these two shitbags. However, I do suggest you read Paul Findley’s book, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby.

Posted by: PDM at August 20, 2006 11:05 PM