As I noted late last night, Senator Chafee of Rhode Island told the Associated Press that the newest revelations about John Bolton were enough to make him withdraw his support for the nomination and oppose a recess appointment. As Chafee said, “Any intimidation of the facts, or suppression of information getting to the public which led us to the war, absolutely should preclude him from a recess appointment.”
While I appreciate Chafee’s new-found opposition to Bolton, as I said last night, his timing could not be worse. The time for opposition to Bolton was, well, anytime prior to late last night – and Chafee missed the boat. While I feel like I spend half my time defending fellow moderate/centrist/liberal Republicans from criticism, I cannot defend Chafee on this. I said in comments earlier this morning, and will repeat here, that this latest from Chafee only adds to his reputation as the “very model of a modern mushy moderate”… a description which in this case is quite apt.
For those of us working diligently, both in and out of the blogosphere, to overcome the stigma that centrism or moderation is the same thing as wishy-washiness, Chafee has been a great disappointment, particularly but not only when it comes to John Bolton. He had a tremendous opportunity to play an important centrist role, an opportunity which he squandered completely. Unlike his father John, who once held the seat Linc occupies, the current Senator Chafee does not relish his position as a “charging centrist” within the Republican Party; all too often he wilts under pressure from the White House and Senate leadership, emitting only meek chirps of half-dissent.
John Chafee is one of my personal and political heroes, and I have the greatest respect for him and his accomplishments as one of the greatest senators and Republicans of the twentieth century. I wish that the son had inherited a bit more of his father’s intestinal fortitude, as well as his backbone. I probably agree practically with Linc Chafee on 90% of the issues, but his tactics depress me.
This has been a hard post to write, but it had to be said. No offense intended, Linc – but we centrists need your voice. You need to find it, and start charging.
— Jeremy Dibbell (Charging RINO)