Why I Support Senator Lincoln Chafee

-

chafee in rhode island.jpg
This blog has highlighted both the weaknesses and strengths of Senator Lincoln Chafee — occasionally in very strong terms.
When Chafee himself articulated the many reasons to oppose John Bolton’s confirmation as America’s Ambassador to the United Nations and then voted in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support him, I wrote a scathing critique of his decision at that time. Chafee made a couple of miscalculations at the time — but so did many of the Republicans and Democrats involved in the Bolton battle.
Chafee believed that Bolton was too obscure a bureaucrat going for a position that Americans would not be up-in-arms about given the many other controversies of the day. Senators pick their battles, and Bolton seemed too insignificant to spend political capital on during the Spring and Summer of 2005. This blog disagreed, but people of civil mind and good intention — even if they disagree — move on.
But my criticism aside, Chafee did articulate precisely the concerns that mattered most about Bolton, the vapid state of American foreign policy, and the harm that the White House had done to undermine a potentially more fruitful course with North Korea than the result today, as well as other enormous mistakes of the administration — particularly in failing miserably in curbing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Chafee’s confidence has grown enormously this year, and while it would have been easy for him to just stay where he had been on Bolton, he actually changed direction. Lincoln Chafee replaced Voinovich as a key no vote on Bolton — but in contrast to Voinovich, Chafee would not vote in favor of sending Bolton’s nomination to the floor of the Senate. This was an admirable stand, but more importantly, Chafee went further. Chafee then attached his opposition to Bolton to the miserable and worsening state of American foreign policy in the Middle East.
Chafee has been arguing something that others like Richard Lugar and Chuck Hagel have been lobbying for in Republcan foreign policy circles: a new push on establishing a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. This might help spark a virtuous cycle for American foreign policy in the region, rather than the deteriorating situation now.
Chafee was bold in other areas as well. He supported Chief Justice John Roberts — which this blog did as well — and he opposed strongly Samuel Alito, also consistent with the position of this blog.
He worked hard in deals with the White House to maintain Rhode Island’s important naval base infrastructure, which had been on the chopping block of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Last year, Rhode Island had the smallest number of closures in the country. Rhode Island constituents should remember that.
Right now, polls show former Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse as leading Chafee in the forthcoming Senate race. Polls can be deceptive, and I don’t think that Chafee is anywhere near out of the race. One of my disappointments in the Whitehouse campaign is that there is nothing more than cosmetic commentary on Iraq as the entirety of his commentary on foreign policy.
But while many progressives are focused on supporting Democrats everywhere, that’s not what this blog is about. I have already received near apoplectic emails from some political commentators about the strongly positive commentary I offered about Chafee at the time of his primary race.
This blog is about promoting healty discourse and new policy ideas along with principled leadership. I have nothing against Whitehouse’s candidacy — and if proves victorious, TWN plans to help encourage him to take the kind of enlightened foreign policy positions that Lincoln Chafee has been articulating. My understanding is that Whitehouse is a very decent and smart guy. Chafee is as well.
But I’m in favor of Chafee winning his race.
I agree with Zbigniew Brzezinski that America’s engagement in the Middle East is the defining challenge for this nation in this century.
Chafee is one of the few Senators of either political party who has articulated a workable vision for American engagement in the Middle East, and I think that he could be the kind of key bridge politically in attempting to restart a new positive cycle in foreign policy — particularly after the 2008 elections.
Chafee opposed John Bolton. Chafee promoted an enlightened new course in the Middle East. Chafee challenged the Bush administration for dropping the ball on North Korea over the last several years. Chafee opposed Samuel Alito’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Chafee did what needed to be done on behalf of constituents concerned with base closures — and succeeded.
I do hope that the Dems do well in the next race and support their taking the House and the Senate, but particularly the House — so as to undo the power dynamics that Tom DeLay built which have kept the Congress from defending its prerogatives in our system of checks and balances.
But I do support Chafee in this upcoming race. We need to support moderates who are willing to stand up to extremists. I think Chafee is such a sensible and thoughtful moderate.
If he wins, we hope he’ll stay on the course he has been bravely taking. If he loses, we hope he won’t leave public life and will find a way to work on American foreign policy in the Middle East. And in that case, Sheldon Whitehouse would be wise to stay on the track that Chafee has laid.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

78 comments on “Why I Support Senator Lincoln Chafee

  1. Jim DiPeso says:

    It would be a shame if Lincoln Chafee were tossed from the Senate simply because he has “R” after his name.
    If “R” is the sole criterion for judging Chafee’s long record of temperate public service, then, unfortunately, too many Democrats fall prey to the kind of hyper-partisan, we-are-always-right dogmatism that afflicts too many Republicans. Ultimately, that is destructive to our constitutional democracy.
    From an issues standpoint, Chafee gets it on the key issues facing America, most especially on energy, the central point of America’s vulnerability on many levels, from foreign relations to climate change.
    No matter who takes the Senate next week, we need Linc Chafee’s mainstream thoughtfulness in the Senate, to serve as a check on the irrational exuberance of frothing ideologues on both sides.

    Reply

  2. MNPundit says:

    Sorry Steve, a vote for Chafee is a vote for majority leader McConnell and a Rubber Stamp Senate. I have not seen much evidence of Chafee doing anything but providing token opposition to keep his seat.
    Chafee needs to either go down or switch parties because the GOP has made it very clear there is no room for moderates and absent a crushing defeat that almost destroys the party, they will not change their ways.

    Reply

  3. brendan says:

    Chaffee?
    Nope. he’s gotta go. ALL of the republicans have to go: they have failed to provide oversight, and to a man/woman, they have voted in lockstep at the end of the day, with rare exception.
    As Glenn Greenwald points out, there are no moderate republicans. Moderate-talking republicans, yes. But when they vote, it is typically in lock-step.
    So I disagree with you: Chafee has to go.

    Reply

  4. Carl Nyberg says:

    Steve, what is the evidence Chafee is a “sensible moderate”?

    Reply

  5. Carl Nyberg says:

    Steve, the fact that you don’t see how the game is played in Washington reflects poorly on your judgment.
    You may want the rules to be different than they are, but the rules have been set by the GOP, the Bush administration and the Neo Cons.
    It may be good for your professional career to be friendly with Republicans. However, supporting Republican control of Congress is bad for the country.
    The Democrats might be screw-ups too. But I seriously doubt you could draw a nice think-tank salary preaching the gospel of dumping the Dems and Republicans.

    Reply

  6. trip says:

    But he won’t win. So?

    Reply

  7. David G. Stahl says:

    Dear Steve Clemmons:
    Very thoughtful piece on Chafee – a piece which points out the difficulty of being a moderate in a political structure that is based on two parties.
    If their was a viable third-party, Chafee could switch allegiance, maintain his integrity, and help maintain oversight of the Administration on important foreign policy and other issues. But in the American two-party system (which is not a part of the constitution – or declaration of independence – or federalist papers) Chafee cannot provide effective leadership as a Republican – nor can he win in Rhode Island.
    Another question your article brings up in my mind is “what sort of Democratic party leadership will exist on Nov 8th?”. That question is complex – and it will be the effectiveness of that leadership to work with the administration that will chart the course of this country for the next two years.
    As a person who reads way too much news, I am not hopeful that the political health of this country will improve; and that moderates will be able to play an effective role in government.
    Yours,
    David G. Stahl

    Reply

  8. Pissed Off American says:

    Geez Steve, you got hammered on the Huffington Post too, eh?
    http://tinyurl.com/yarecg
    I’m a bit curious; When you think you are right, and over one hundred and twenty people think that you are wrong, do you reflect on your position, or do you just hypnotize yourself into believing that everyone else has no idea what they are talking about?

    Reply

  9. David says:

    Steve: I want to start by seconding Phil, and by referring to the article in Slate supporting voting by party.
    Then I am passing to a thought I had about the conference on the report to promote democracy that you held in the Senate office building. One key speaker was Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. Way too late, I’ve thought of a question that I would like to ask him, based on what he said that day:
    Senator, Why are you a Republican?
    You have rightly criticized the president’s dangerous and disasterous adventurism in Iraq, and his refusal to change course. The problem is, responsible critism such as yours is simply ignored by an arrogant White House that refuses to consider the possibility that it has made mistakes that have made our country more vulnerable. Yes, you are an intelligent and responsible public servant, and that only makes it more perplexing that you would allow yourself to be used to perpetuate flawed policies and a pattern of behavior that weakens our country and undermines our democracy.
    So, why are you a Republican?
    We have to ask every Republican candidate that question. Some, like George Allen, will have their usual clue, and the question will be wasted. For some, like Chaffey and Hagel, the question is significant.

    Reply

  10. phil from new york says:

    Steve,
    Just wanted to re-iterate what I posted yesterday: You’re a great sport for letting us taking our shots at you. We may disagree with you on the Chafee election, but I think I’m speaking for all of your readers when I say that we respect your views and love your blog. Keep up the great work.

    Reply

  11. Punchy says:

    Mr. Clemons announces:
    “particularly as I’m not thrilled with the prospect of the Dems winning the Senate.”
    Excuse me while I spend a minute picking my jaw up off the floor. After all the arguments that have been made about the importance of SC justice appointments, Mr. Clemons fears “inaction” in his dislike for a Dem Senate.
    So, holding back the reigns of this Admin (i.e., protecting this nation from impulse and malacious policies) is something to fear, but the fifth and final SC whackjob is not. Further words escape me as my anger builds…

    Reply

  12. Frank says:

    “On the Senate side, I’m really ambivalent about the Dems winning the Senate, and there are a couple of reasons, though I acknowledge that the Supreme Court role that the Senate may play in the next two years is a counterpoint to my position. I think that the Dems are in disarray and not ready to hold both chambers. They need to engage in a process of pinning accountability on those that took us into this incredibly self-destructive war. There are also untended scandals still out there on Enron, Abramoff, the Energy meetings with Cheney, etc….so lots to do. But if Dems get both Chambers, they will be held accountable by the public for inaction.”
    How many martinis have you downed before you wrote this paragraph? Or is it political mental masturbation gone awry.

    Reply

  13. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear jf, FDRDem, and others — yes, my pup still loves me — as well as my significant other, who nonetheless agrees with most of you that this is the time to win and not pine on about the diminishing number of sensible moderates in Congress.
    To be clear, I was very irritated by Chafee’s collapse in the first round on Bolton. Look back on the blog. I wrote a really scathing critique of the Senator then and argued that he had miscalculated about the prominence of Bolton in the collective consciousness of Rhode Island voters.
    But this year, Chafee simply blew me away. I’ve never seen a Senator make a bigger recovery in performance. He blasted Samuel Alito — a battle that I think Dems could have and should have won. He also wiped up the floor with Bolton at the July 27th hearings this year — and he has been hammering the White House and State Department on a vapid and counter-productive Middle East strategy, which should be a core concern of all of ours.
    Blogging journalism is a blend of advocacy, punditry and analysis. Different blogs bring different balances and sensibilities to what they do. I want the Dems back in the House and have been working with a number of folks for quite a while to do my small part in that effort — but I want smart Republicans and smart Democrats and can’t sell out that fundamental position I hold.
    On the Senate side, I’m really ambivalent about the Dems winning the Senate, and there are a couple of reasons, though I acknowledge that the Supreme Court role that the Senate may play in the next two years is a counterpoint to my position. I think that the Dems are in disarray and not ready to hold both chambers. They need to engage in a process of pinning accountability on those that took us into this incredibly self-destructive war. There are also untended scandals still out there on Enron, Abramoff, the Energy meetings with Cheney, etc….so lots to do. But if Dems get both Chambers, they will be held accountable by the public for inaction.
    But that is only a side point. I’ve tried hard to make this point but readers seem more taken by the headline than the substance. I have nothing against Sheldon Whitehouse and would gladly meet him and support him if he wins — but he needs to sell me on his broad national security policy views at some point if he is going to keep people like me in his camp.
    I think that the right grooves are those that have been laid by Chafee, and thus since he is saying and doing the right things this year — I had to say so. It would have been against my ethical framework for me to write that Chafee had to go given his important performance this year.
    If he loses, we lose a Senator who really gets the Middle East — and we’ll have to figure out some way to draft him into an envoy role for the Middle East if he’s up for it. But as I said, I really do think that it’s not good for the country just to lose him in the Senate — particularly as I’m not thrilled with the prospect of the Dems winning the Senate.
    I would like to see the Dems take the White House in 08 — and I think McCain is very tough to beat.
    I have a long McCain post coming out soon that will revisit some of my comments about him in the past — and will take issue with the McCain that is unfolding.
    I’m also going to share my own views of how Dems should now try to position to get the presidency.
    But I have to do the Krugman conference first.
    best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  14. jf says:

    Ouch. Looks like you and Oakley against the world. My guess is that your affection for Chafee because he “gets it” with regard to your area of expertise prevents you from feeling as betrayed by him as the rest of us do. Should Republicans pull off the upset next week, imagine the “capital” Bush will claim to have won. At the V-party they’ll be awarding contracts to private security firms for the identification and arrest of enemy combatants. I know that’s still somewhat far-fetched, but Chafee hasn’t done much oversight in my opinion. Agree to disagree. Your blog is absolutely on fire recently. Thank you.

    Reply

  15. FDRDemocrat says:

    As a moderate Democrat, I enjoy your blog and have it bookmarked as a must read. That said, I am sorry to read you are endorsing Chafee.
    Was it not Chafee who sat there silently in the first Bolton hearing letting Voinovich step forward instead? Hardly the profile in courage. He has been a nullity on Iraq, and it has taken Warner to finally speak up and crack the damn for GOP critics of Bush-Cheney policy failures.
    And the fact remains, Chafee if re-elected will generally vote with the GOP. Endorsing him, in raw political terms, endorses the status quo. Bad call, especially when you have someone as decent and thoughtful as Whitehouse.
    Given that Chafee is at the top of the list of likely GOP seats to change hands, it is also a bit of a throw-away to endorse him. I don’t want to believe you would endorse him just to “keep credibility” among the conservatives, but I admit the thought did occur.

    Reply

  16. Frank says:

    Steve I’am shocked, shocked that you would support any republican after what that party has done to this country these last six years. I care about which party chairs the committees. They are the backbone of the checks and balance mechanisms this country sorely lacked with republicans in charge. That fact alone trumps subjective nicetys you elucidated in your reasons for supporting Chaffee.

    Reply

  17. John Steinberg says:

    Steve:
    Have you ever seen “The Bridge on the River Kwai”? Because there are some essential ways in which Linc Chafee is Colonel Nicholson, and you are hoisting a hammer to help him build the Republican bridge. Chafee, like the Alec Guinness character, is a proud and honorable man. I’d be happy to have him on my team. But he isn’t. (His personal beliefs, like Colonel Nicholson’s, simply don’t matter here.) And stopping the building of that bridge — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rolling repeal of the Bill of Rights, and the hostile takeover of the Supreme Court — stopping that nightmare is more important than one man’s honor and good intentions.

    Reply

  18. PUBLIUS says:

    Steve,
    Yes, you were one of those chosen to receive one of the hard copies of my strategic plan delivered by messenger. Thanks for the clarification regarding Whitehouse’s positions on Iraq and for the compliments. Whitehouse’s apparent failure to understand the gravity of the national security issue and failure to produce a credible position on this critical issue is baffling, strategically irresponsible and inexcusable – without even considering partisan advantages. Foreseeing such blindness explains my earlier proposal for all Democratic Senate candidates to meet in strategic council with the Steve Clemonses and Brzezinskis of the world months ago to avoid exactly this situation. The RNC may well be poised to hammer Whitehouse as an uninformed novice in a dangerous time in the nation’s history during the final, critical 5 days of the campaign season. Whitehouse’s current lead in the polls could thus diminish substantially or evaporate in the days ahead.
    I agree heartily with Steve that a bare Democratic majority in the Senate is perilous for 2008 prospects. Democratic control of BOTH chambers of Congress yields divided government and exposes Dems to the charge in 2008 that they are responsible for gridlock and “harassment of the commander-in-chief” in time of war – arguments that will be used to deflect Republican responsibility for what will certainly be a troubled 2 years for the nation in our dealings with the challenges of Iraq, Iran and North Korea. I would prefer a Democratic Senate with a sizable majority and a Republican House – a hugely ambitious task that would have required no Foley/Delay scandals and a far more aggressive and unified Democratic Party than we’ve seen in the past 9 months. Unfortunately, the opposite arrangement of the chambers of Congress is likely to result, if not the bare Democratic Party control of the Senate + House control.
    That said, maintenance of Republican control of the Senate will well result in further conservative domination of the quiet Third Branch of government: the Judiciary (appellate and Supreme Court levels). This is deeply troubling for all concerned with a host of progressive stances. Unlike the NRSC and RNC, the DSCC and DNC have so far both failed to make the issue of judicial appointments a significant one in nationwide campaigning efforts for Senate seats. This omission likely helps to explain the poor prospects for a substantial Democratic Party majority in the Senate. Too many D Senate candidates were also under-promoted or weak – Carter, Radnofsky come to mind. The issue of D control of the Senate for the sake of moderating the appointment process for foreign policy as well as for the judiciary has so far been under-developed in this campaign season. There is still meager time to implement a more aggressive posture on these subjects.
    I look forward to discussing these and other issues with you in Washington or Texas in the months and years ahead. Thank you for providing your readers an invaluable forum for discussion of unique insights into the formulation of foreign and domestic policy in the nation’s capital.
    Cheers,
    PUBLIUS

    Reply

  19. Robert Morrow says:

    You are for Chafee because if he loses he will be a LAME DUCK and he can vote to appoint John Bolton to the UN without fear of any political retribution.
    The Republicans gave that boy $1,000,000 and pulled his butt out of the fire in the primary; my money is on Chafee to go along with the Bolton team after he loses in about one week.

    Reply

  20. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear Rob —
    Your Supreme Court commentary is the most compelling to me. I’ve always held that same view and argued it passionately on this blog before the last election — and much to my dismay, John Kerry did not appeal to every one in the country on this front until late in the debates while letting Bush define the race in terms of military competence. But I argued that before — and we lost two judges already because of the last election. I still feel that Justice appointments are important in the next two years…. but it’s a cloudy picture and there is no clear pattern that works. I really do feel that if the Dems win the Senate with a bare margin that it strengthens Bush ironically…but you are clearly right on the Supreme Court Justice issue…
    best, Steve

    Reply

  21. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear PUBLIUS:
    Nice to hear from you — and congrats on running one of the best subterrenean education campaigns on foreign policy I have ever seen. I’m constantly running into references to your huge compedium on these issues — and assume you are responsible for the one that landed on my porch a while back. Many thanks.
    On Whitehouse, I don’t want to criticize him harshly as I hear from many in Rhode Island that he is smart, amiable, etc….but to answer your question directly, I did go to his campaign requesting more full articulations of his foreign policy views — ranging from his views on the breakdown of the non-proliferation regime, brinskmanship with Iran and North Korea over nuke programs, Middle East policy, and views on the economic and military dimensions of policy towards China.
    I got nothing, but I was referred to his web-evident views on getting out of Iraq.
    He needs to do more — but my hope is that if Whitehouse does win, he’ll keep an open mind on foreign policy and crib A LOT from Lincoln Chafee, who actually is very on target in my opinion.
    Thanks for asking — and best to the rest of you for letting me know your views. Debate is good.
    best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  22. ccobb says:

    If you support what Chafee stands for, you must hope for his defeat.
    Because his party does not back what he stands for, and those principed stances will never amnount to anything so long as his party is in power.
    If you merely support the man himself, regardless of what he stands for — which I didn’t think true but now have cause to wonder — then declare that so that many of us can take you off of our blog reading list.

    Reply

  23. PUBLIUS says:

    Question to Steve:
    Did you request from Sheldon Whitehouse or his senior staff an updated Iraq policy web statement or other Iraq position explanation before finalizing your decision to endorse Lincoln Chafee publicly as the Republican Party holder of one of Rhode Island’s two Senate seats?
    I agree that the current Whitehouse statement on this grave matter is grossly inadequate, as I sought to convey to the Whitehouse campaign months ago.
    PUBLIUS

    Reply

  24. Rob says:

    Steve
    I would agree with you whole-heartedly in your reasons for wanting Republicans to keep control of the Senate if it were not for one thing – the Supreme Court. The thought of Bush nominating and the Senate pushing through more radical right wingers like Alito and Roberts scares the hell out of me.
    Your expertise and focus is on international affairs, but let’s not forget about domestic matters. Two years is a lot of time for BushCo. and a Republican Senate to finally kill off all civil liberties and labor, consumer and enviromental rights in our country. One more Bush nominated Supreme Court justice and we all become nothing more than corporate property.

    Reply

  25. Oakley says:

    Dear Daddy,
    Even if no one else here agrees with your stand on
    Lincoln Chaffee, I think you’re right. In fact,
    I always think you’re right. Well, OK, not when
    you think that I should not have a slice of pizza,
    but all the rest of the time.
    Your beloved,
    Oakley
    PS: I love this Internet thing because on the
    Internet no one knows you’re a dog.

    Reply

  26. Steve Clemons says:

    Easy E — I am dedicated to Dems winning again, but not at all costs. I’m very sure that they have the House. The Senate is more in question — and frankly, I think that the Presidency is more important in the long run and that winning both chambers makes a victory in ’08 a bit tougher sell than otherwise.
    You can answer your own question as I know you have been reading this blog long enough.
    Read through my posts. Do I sound like a “stay the course” pundit. I don’t think so.
    But if you thought — at any time — that I wasn’t a genuine “radical centrist” then you were mistaken. I do want the Dems back. I want checks and balances — but I want Chafee in the mix.
    If we can’t have Chafee in the mix, then I want to send a signal to the impressive but untested Sheldon Whitehouse that the grooves Chafee has cut this past year are impressive and important — for Dems and Republicans.
    You may disagree….Actually, I think you do. But I’m one who feels that Lincoln Chafee’s views on the Middle East are exactly the right course to take to try and start a new virtuous cycle of events there. In fact, I think that the forthcoming James Baker-Lee Hamilton report will essentially launder many of Chafee’s views.
    I realize that many are at odds with my notion about moderates and have taken an extreme position on what Dems and Republicans should look like. I have to write things as I see them.
    And while there is much I like about Sheldon Whitehouse, there is much I don’t know about him and it’s not for lack of trying. He just doesn’t articulate foreign policy positions that seem compelling or anything but conventionally bland. I hope I’m wrong — and I have an open mind.
    But my blog post was not anti-Whitehouse as much as it was pro-Chafee given his leadership on matters I care about. He believes in a woman’s right to choose and fought Republican right-wingers for his vote against Samuel Alito. He articulated a view on John Bolton that really became the grooves that other Dems and Republicans used to oppose Bolton — though Chafee supported and then opposed the Ambassador’s confirmation. This issue matters greatly to me — and everyone in the realm of political commentary and advocacy loses credibility if we don’t give credit where credit is due — and I am.
    Chafee has also articulated views on North Korea and the Middle East that the Democratic Party would be wise to steal from the Republicans. They are quite sensible and sound — very Brzezinski like I think.
    So, I know people want to win the Congress back. I do too — but not at all costs, and frankly not to the point of executing all moderates in the Congress.
    I am not interested in that kind of win. My blog attempts to not only convey what I think are the factions, nuances, and inside games of policy battles and politics, it also advocates civil and honest debate.
    There is a poster on another blog who has been a poster on my blog in a guest capacity that railed against me for my positive commentary about Chafee during his primary. Many hoped for Chafee to lose his primary so as to have an easier win for Whitehouse. This poster regularly railed against the inadequacies of both parties and called for a third party.
    But after my post on Chafee in September, this person railed at me. I have always been clear and consistent about my views of people and politics and have been honest about my relationships with and admiration for some of the heroes in Republican circles. I also want the Dems to win on November 7th, and in many cases have helped provide counsel and foreign policy/national security policy advise in a private capacity.
    So Easy E and others, I do respect your views — and if you think that this post on Chafee undermines the role this blog has played in challenging the Bush administration on a broad number of fronts as well as lapses of leadership in Democratic policy circles, then I apologize for that. Sorry you see it that way.
    Frankly, I want to applaud leadership in either party because this country needs something better than either fanaticism of the right or the left — and unless we rebuild that space, it will never happen.
    I’m in that space and will stay there — and will welcome as many folks as possible back to a sensible balance in politics and a future-oriented, solutions-focused, pragmatic policy process.
    best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  27. Easy E says:

    MANIPULATION.
    Not surprisingly, Administration/GOP controlled mainstream media is not asking How and Why Saddam Verdict was set for Nov. 5th—two days before Midterm Elections
    http://mediamatters.org/items/200610270011
    Disappointingly, so-called “independent” blogs (i.e. TWN) also seemingly appear to be manipulating Republicans to maintain control.
    How else to justify TWN’s support of Chafee (aka “stay the course”)?

    Reply

  28. Easy E says:

    Supporting Chafee and having R’s maintain control—isn’t that kind of like “Stay the Course”?
    Amazing. Does this mean TWN is really something other than what we thought it was.

    Reply

  29. MP says:

    “Being of an age that I had the privilege, as a Democratic consultant, to work on a number of pieces of legislation with intelligent, honest, thoughtful Republicans such as John Heinz and Jacob Javits in the Senate and John Anderson in the House, I can say I would vote against any Republican possessing any credentials without a second thought. Even if he was my brother! Why? Because there will be just one vote in the Senate that will have serious meaning: the vote to organize. If at least one side of the Hill is not controlled by Democrats, there will be no investigations backed by supoena power that can begin to head off the constitutional trainwreck toward which we are hurtling.”
    I’m in agreement with Don (and others) here. Unless the Democratic PARTY controls one of the houses, we have no hope of steering the ship in a new direction. The hope may not be great even so, but it is our only reasonable hope, I think.
    On the other hand, I do pine for the days when Republicans were normal people and the party hadn’t been taken over by radicals with the most regressive agenda. In general, it’s important that the Republicans come back into balance, and that is a reason to support moderate Republicans like Linc.
    However, I believe the Republicans will only head back toward the center when they learn–the hard way–that their radical agenda leads to electoral defeat. Only when the Old Rove Magic stops working to get them elected will the moderates be emboldened and have genuine power in the party.
    As it is, even if Linc and friends WANT to stand up to the president, they can’t stop him, and they only get punished by their party for their “disloyalty.”
    So Steve, while I can sympathize with your sentiments, I can’t support your tactics at this moment in our political history.

    Reply

  30. Don says:

    Being of an age that I had the privilege, as a Democratic consultant, to work on a number of pieces of legislation with intelligent, honest, thoughtful Republicans such as John Heinz and Jacob Javits in the Senate and John Anderson in the House, I can say I would vote against any Republican possessing any credentials without a second thought. Even if he was my brother! Why? Because there will be just one vote in the Senate that will have serious meaning: the vote to organize. If at least one side of the Hill is not controlled by Democrats, there will be no investigations backed by supoena power that can begin to head off the constitutional trainwreck toward which we are hurtling.

    Reply

  31. Punchy says:

    I am stunned that Mr. Clemons would support a man (reasonable) while completely ignoring that man’s party and their actions (unforgiveable). To disingenuously believe that we need a “moderate” Republican instead of a Democrat in the Senate is just incredible. Linc did you ONE favor–Bolton–and has booted the rest of his “moderation” with votes for a multitude of Congressional malfeasance.
    I may still read this blog, but I’ve tossed a huge chunk of respectibility for it out the window. And let me be clear why–I respect your ability to support whomever you want, but the ways in which you complain, disagree with, and offer digust at myriad of Republican issues, legislation, and policies….THEN offer to support one of them, is hypocrisy in the highest. Whether you’re too “beltway” or not, if you cannot see this hypocrisy then…well…perhaps you’ve become one of them.
    Finally–please, when R’s maintain control, and you’re “shocked” when the moderates don’t act “moderate”, don’t complain to us about it. It’s what you’ve asked for. Congrats.

    Reply

  32. bob@t.com says:

    The only relevant question in this election is “Who will you vote for as Senate majority leadder?”
    I like Chafee, too, but his answer on that question is the wrong one.

    Reply

  33. Jacob Matthan says:

    I said “agree” when I meants “disagree” in my earlier post.
    Tried to correct this but your limit on time to reposting was too long for me to keep the message on hold.

    Reply

  34. Pissed Off American says:

    “The only issue she has going for her with me is she acknowledges global climate change.”
    Good God, you mean she thinks the world isn’t flat? I hope she’s in hiding, because Bush is liable to declare her an enemy combatant.

    Reply

  35. sdemetri says:

    I might add, I have nothing but loathing for my other Republican senator, also supposedly moderate, Susan Collins. The only issue she has going for her with me is she acknowledges global climate change. Her “bipartisanship,” frequently is in reference to her work with Bush apologist Joe Leiberman.

    Reply

  36. Tope says:

    Chafee seems like a level headed, rational, moderate thinker. However, we are long past the points where these attributes are the issue. What you fail to do in your analysis is concern yourself with probability and the 800lb gorilla. The Republican party has purposefully turned diplomacy on a radical track and Mr. Chafee had neither the inclination nor the legitimacy to confront the radicals and force them to change course. If Mr. CHafee wins, can he force the Administration to change? Obviously not. All the more so given that he was reliant on their help to buck his primary challenger. The focus at this point should be on verbs not adjectives. Can candidate X moderate public discourse/diplomacy? If the answer is no, then don’t support him. As it happens, this means supporting Democrats in this election.

    Reply

  37. phil from new york says:

    Steve, I respect your views, and if times were “normal,” I’d agree with you. In fact, I think the whole Republican Party ought to be like Chafee. But we have to live in reality. And the reality is that the Republican majority is controlled by radicals who are destroying the America you and all your readers love and admire. So for the sake of the future of our way of life (and I know that sounds dire, but that’s the way it is), we have to oust Republicans and put Democrats in control of at least one house of Congress to stop this radicalism that is destroying our country.
    I just wish Chafee had become a Democrat. Then he’d probably have virtually no opposition and would win easily. Unfortunately, he didn’t, and I hope he loses.
    This is not to say the Democrats are great or have a monopoly on being right, but the best thing one can say about Democrats today is that they aren’t Republicans. And that’s a big, big distinction.
    I know I haven’t added anything new or different from what the other commenters have said, but as someone who reads your blog daily, I just wanted to weigh in with my opinion. Thanks for giving all of us the opportunity to tell you what we think. And thanks for having the courage to post your views, knowing that your readers would tee off on you.

    Reply

  38. Pissed Off American says:

    The following is from an older Fox News article…
    “Though Democrats who strongly oppose Alito’s confirmation to the high court may have been cheered by Chafee’s support, he said Democrats could not count on his help in blocking a vote.”
    “”How are we going to get anything done if we can’t work together?” Chafee asked after saying he would vote against a filibuster, a procedural move designed to prevent a vote on a nomination.”
    So, Although Steve is more than willing to tell us that Chafee was opposed to the Alito nomination, Steve fails to comment on the fact that Chafee did not have the integrity to stand behind his own convictions, and instead joined the rest of his asslicking compatriots kneeling under Bush’s desk.
    And how about his statement about “working together”? Ironic coming from some party yes-man whose clan of thieves and liars were consigning basement storage closets to John Conyers in which to hold hearings on how these fuckers STOLE a presidential election, eh? “Working together” my ass. When have these Republican bastards shown a willingness to “work together” with the Democrats?
    In another thread I describe my opinion that all we get from these people is RHETORIC, and the rhetoric rarely mirrors the action. So what, chafee said he opposed Alito? Did he vote for fillibuster? Did he stand behind his convictions, or did he fold?
    Screw Chafee.

    Reply

  39. sdemetri says:

    Huge swings in any system are usually a sign of instability. I want the dems to regain control but if they don’t make substantial successful improvements to some of the problems Bush et al have created for us, in two short years we may be out of the frying pan right back into the fire.
    Olympia Snowe, one of my senators, has had my support in the past. I will be voting against her this year. She has gained considerable notariety as a moderate, but has remained virtually silent on many of the major concerns: secret renditions (which flights Jane Mayer in the New Yorker this week claims are organized by a subsidiary of Boeing Aerospace for the CIA, lavishously I might add), illegal surveillance (echoing the party line), and even angering reproductive rights advocates with her support of Alito and Roberts. She has done well by Maine workers at Bath Shipyard with helping secure Navy contracts, and in keeping Portsmouth Naval Shipyard open, but her continual support by silence of Bush policies has gone too far. She will win in Maine. Jean Hay Bright is possibly credible but unknown, inexperienced, and underfunded. Bob Slavik is a great guy but is also unknown, inexperienced, and underfunded.
    In a recent letter from her she told me that IAEA inspectors had been barred from inspecting nuclear sites in Iran in February. The IAEA Director General’s report of Sept 06 contradicts her statement to me, with several inspections taking place at numerous nuclear sites. I was surprized she got that wrong.
    I agree with Steve on the need for moderates and a sane Middle East policy. Unfortunately, the Bush/Repubican machine has pushed the pendulum too far right. On its return trajectory we’ll see where it goes. The instability that has been created by the strength of Bush reactionary policy is done significant damage to the whole process for some time. An equilibrium will eventually return but when and at what point it will settle is hard to say.

    Reply

  40. Doug T says:

    I agree with you that Chafee is the sort of Republican the party needs more of and that they are most likely to be found in states like Rhode Island than Idaho. But there is nothing more important to me than John Paul Stevens, Ruth Ginsberg, the ninth, fifth, DC circuits, etc. If re-electing Chafee meant a Sentate that was 53-47 rather than 54-46 Democratic or if he switched parties, fine. But we are looking at 51-49 on a good day. Judges. They are for life. I’m saddened that politics in this country has become so hardened. But we must deal with the politics in front of us, not that which we idealize.

    Reply

  41. kim says:

    He is a Republican. And like the very few other moderate Republican senators, more times than not, he goes along with Bush when intensely pressured.
    Olympia Snowe is an excellent senator. But if she had a credible opponent, I’d be writing a check for the Dem.
    The Republicans have been so destructive to this country that no Republican should be supported until we rid the Senate of extremism. Arrogant, abusive, heinous extremism. Lincoln and Olympia, by their party membership, enable it.
    It’s a harsh thing to say, but these times demand harsh actions.

    Reply

  42. Chris Charuhas says:

    Very disappointing. There’s a perfectly good replacement waiting in the wings, yet Mr. Clemons’ endorses the GOP incumbent.
    The GOP–and the ideas on which it has operated for the past 20 years–have proven to be disastrous for our country. If Chafee was as decent and smart as Mr. Clemons seems to think, he would have left that party.
    Hopefully the Republican Party will remake itself into something akin to the party of Teddy Roosevelt and Ike Eisenhower. But, like a religious fundamentalist who keeps his blind faith contrary to all evidence and reason, the GOP requires a personal disaster to shock it out of its current mindset.
    Dumping Chafee could be part of that shock, but Mr. Clemons evidently doesn’t want that shock to occur. Instead, he’d prefer that the “moderate” survive to reform his party from the inside.
    That plan worked out real well for Colin Powell, didn’t it?

    Reply

  43. Alex says:

    I like Olympia Snowe too, but like Chaffee, she votes Rep from the ridiculous $2T+ tax cut in 2001 to almost everything else.
    So she either needs to change her denomination to Dem or Ind.
    Most of the time, they do as they’re told. No thinking about what’s best for their constituency. Only the party and the corporations they represent.
    That’s not a reason to keep them.
    Likewise, the Dems need to rid themselves of the members that consistently vote with the Reps. They’re masquerading as Dems.

    Reply

  44. Alex says:

    Then Lincoln Chaffee needs to change his denomination from Rep to Dem or better yet Independent.
    The current Rep party has no room for moderates, only wingnuts and extremists.
    The days of Eisenhower Reps are long gone.
    The days of Reagan Reps are also long gone.
    Maybe in the future, but I doubt it until the US goes back to the separation of church and state.

    Reply

  45. buck turgidson says:

    Steve, you’ve got a problem. So far, virtually all comments have turned against you with various degrees of derision. Like a appelate court judge, I dissent, but concur in their judgment. I don’t think Chafee should continue in the Senate, but I do not believe this just because he happens to be a Republican. In part, I agree with some of the comments that, when push comes to shove, one cannot count on Chafee to stand up to the Republican agenda. Particularly, I agree with the comment that the prospect of McConnell taking over the Senate Majority Leader post is not pleasant–McConnell is pure evil. Chafee is not McConnell, so you have a point there. But that’s not the end of the story.
    I oppose Chafee because he is a spineless slug. Sure, he stood up to the neo-cons on Bolton and went a lot further than Hagel and Voinovich in the first Bolton vote. But remember that Chafee went along with Bolton in that vote, only to change his mind later. In the grand scheme of things, the outcome of the first Bolton nomination would have been the same–he would not have been approved by the Senate, but he would still have been granted a recess appointment. The difference is that had Chafee stood up against Bolton and joined Voinovich, the nomination never would have left the committee. There is a big difference between a bipartisan shut down of a nomination in the committee and a relatively partisan filibuster of the nomination on the floor.
    Chafee folded like a cheap beach chair. He is not principled and independed like his father and he is not decisive. He always appears to be lost on issues until he–usually–finally ends up voting along with the Republicans. This is not a great plan for savind the Senate.
    I agree with you on another point–Dems have a much better chance in ’08 if they don’t take both Chambers. But I would still prefer a 50-50 Senate. Chafee would have easily been reelected had he had the guts to switch parties. The problem is that most switchers do it out of personal ambition and Chafee would have struck out on both counts–he has no senatorial ambitions and Dems had little to offer at the time. Jeffords made a principled decision and Chafee should have joined him even then. Instead, he chose to stick it out.
    Another point has been made that the RNC and the White House threw their support behind Chafee, instead of allowing the more conservative challenger to beat him like a drum. This support likely made a difference in the primary, so now they got Chafee by the scrotum. The only way I could possibly waiver in my opposition to Chafee is if we could know for a fact that he would switch parties after the elections.
    At the moment, we have to put with such Republican-lite as Harold Ford, Salazar, the two Nelsons, Baucus and Conrad. I have no problem with most of them, except for Ben Nelson and Salazar. Unfortunately, we’ll have to deal with Nelson for another six years and I am less sure that he will stick to his party affiliation than I am on Chafee. If the result is 50-50, I expect him to jump ship in exchange for a plum committee. He votes with the Republicans even more than Chafee (or Lieberman). I have no such worries about the rest of the bunch.
    Let me propose a test for your support for Chafee. Suppose that you knew that of two Senators–Lieberman and Chafee–only one can win. And you have the deciding vote to make that choice. For whom would you vote? If you would vote for Lieberman, than there is no reason for you to support Chafee.
    As it stand, I suspect that this is exactly what will happen anyway. Unless Republicans in Connecticut suddenly decide that they really don’t like Joe, Lieberman will win and Chafee will lose, your support notwithstanding. As much as I would have preferred both of them to go down, I am willing to take this result. I am not willing to try to count on both of them to stop the raging idiots in the White House, especially since both are now beholden to them.

    Reply

  46. Easy E says:

    For someone who seemingly has had problems with our country’s direction the past six years, your endorsement of Republican Chafee is quite amazing. Perhaps not, given that Steve Clemmons’ name appears on the following weblink:
    http://rightweb.irc-online.org/charts/pnac-chart.php

    Reply

  47. Jacob Matthan says:

    I strongly agree with you, Steve.
    I have watched Chafee perform in many investigations, hearings, etc.
    He is a person who speaks with a forked tongue. He never has meant what he has said. He knows what his constituents want him to say but the final outcome, when based on his vote, he has been subservient to the dictates of the White House.
    That does not give him much character to stand on.
    Of course, you are entitled to your views. But anyone to support someone who stood to remove the right of habeas corpus and to permit torture?
    Steve, Americans are entitled to the Government they vote for. With Chafee is “what you see in his vote is what you get”!
    I am sure when it comes to setting up gulags for Americans – he will be at the forefront VOTING for it.
    Remember well the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller – and Steve, your stance as a reasoned American makes it difficult for me to believe in any “American”.

    Reply

  48. Marcia says:

    This election is about curbing the extension of presidential power which is the most dangerous situation we face, far above and beyond terror, war and political parties.
    The Athenian democracy lasted a hundred years and ours is on the brink of collapse. All other issues are secondary.
    If there is a Republican majority, standing up to extremists will be in verb only just as it has been since 2000. Our motto now is, “everything for sale.” Money bought the WH and in this election may well buy the Senate.
    I have no illusions about our present corrupt media and system of government. The choice is between two evils, so I have already voted for the lesser one. This is the last stop before total power, and we can not say we did not know!
    There is always the real issue dominating the ME…Oil.

    Reply

  49. Carroll says:

    Can’t comment on whether Chafee should be elected or not since I don’t vote there and know nothing about his opponent.
    However I disagree somewhat with most everyone upthread in the sense that I do not think straight “party” voting is a good thing.
    I understand many feel that the Dems MUST regain control..but I am not convinced that the Dems are going to do what people think they are if they do gain the majority.
    Let us not forget these are ALL politicans. 90% PARTY creatures. Both these parties got us into this mess. I would rather pick out people regardless of party that are closest to what I think is right then trust in either party.
    How do we expect this ‘partianship” to end if we continue it oursleves? I think it sends a message if people are voted in and out according to their record and own statements regardless of party.
    We have some dems just as pro war as the repubs, and some repubs less war mongering than some dems…
    I am voting next week for a repub congressman because
    1)Of his opposition to any US “empire” or further war in the ME. He actually said about Iraq…”I was Wrong, I acted in haste, I shouldn’t have done it”….period, no excuses,no spin.
    2) He actually is honest. I would trust him with my personal money or my children’s inheritance.
    Vote for the man… not the party. Do it often enough and “we the people” will get back some control.

    Reply

  50. Barbara P says:

    The RNC rescued Chafee in the primary because he was a “moderate”. I think not. They did it becasue he has an “R” behind his name. His votes never matter no matter how tortured and pricipled they may be. When push comes to shove he does and votes as told. That’s the bottom line to this discourse. I can only figure you must think the Dems won’t get the Senate. I’ll take my chances. Every time a soldiers family get’s that knock on the door is a direct result of this adminstrations (and it’s rubberstamp supporters) hideous policies. I couldn’t live with myself knowing I facilitaed that. You apparently can.

    Reply

  51. bakho says:

    What do you think of the President’s comments on Iraq and foreign policy in the USNWR transcript? Is it just me or is Bush clueless?
    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/061025/25bushtranscript.htm

    Reply

  52. bakho says:

    If Chafee would caucus with the Dems and make Reid the Majority leader and put oversight committees in control of key Democrats, then he would deserve to win. However, if he helps make Mitch McConnell the next Senate Majority Leader, then any good that Chafee could possibly do would be more than offset by the actions of McConnell and his committee chairmen like Pat Roberts.
    The Republican Congress has refused to provide adequate oversight. The return of Congressional oversight is far more important than the contribution of any single senator. So what if Chafee has good ideas. Other than his caucus votes for Majority Leader, his party ignores any wisdom he cares to offer. What use is that? Better to have a less elegant spokeman who gets a fair hearing.

    Reply

  53. Robert Colbert says:

    Shame on you Mr. Clemons! This election is about accountability and oversight, two things the Republican Senate and House have ignored for SIX years This election proves all politics are NOT local. Chafee is a Republican and therefore must not be re-elected. Only a Democratic House and/or Senate will provide accountability and oversight. YOU DON’T GET IT! I’M SHOCKED!Consider your blog deleted from my PC and laptop.

    Reply

  54. Pissed Off American says:

    ROFLMAO!!!!! Oh what the hell, Chaffe is an honorable man, lets just vote him in so that the lying bastards in the White House can continue to destroy our country unckecked. I mean hey, whats two more years of torture, death, and using our constitution as toilet paper while Congress and the Senate applaud from the wings? Hell, theres more than one way to “stay the course”, by golly.
    Maybe Chaffee can solve the mystery for us….just what position IS Bolton qualified for??? (Something tells me that his duties will require a jar of vaseline and a cattle prod.)
    Steve, you amaze me.

    Reply

  55. steve kyle says:

    “We need to support moderates who are willing to stand up to extremists”
    Are you serious? Lincoln Chafee did this exactly once and that in the runup to an election and it happened to be on YOUR issue. On everything else he is perhaps the most spineless creature in Washington. Can it have escaped your notice that he is a Republican who voted for a majority leader and committee structure that voted in Rumsfeld, Rice and all the rest of the merry band that have so trashed our image and foreign policy that it wont be put right in our lifetimes?
    I thought better of you. Yes, there is such a thing as a reasonable Republican but not until we get rid of the current Republican leadership (and drive a stake through its heart) will they be able to make any meaningful difference.
    Proof? Ask yourself this. Who is representing the USA in the UN at this moment? Case closed.

    Reply

  56. JRB says:

    I understand your endorsement of Chafee and NOT Republican moderates across the board. Right?
    The wording of the post was ambiguous as to whether you’d support other so-called moderates in the Republican party this year.

    Reply

  57. meowomon says:

    Any vote for a rethuglican, even a moderate one, is a vote for Bush. We need a new direction. The Rethuglican control of congress has done nothing but put this country back to the bad old days. We need change and we need it fast.

    Reply

  58. Richard says:

    If Chafee wins, it would likely make the difference between every Senate Committee being chaired by a Republican, and Republicans controlling the legislative calendar. Every progressive issue that Lincoln Chafee finds meritorious would have virtually no chance of being advanced under Republican leadership. NARAL’s and the Sierra Club’s endorsements of Chafee, were he to win and Republicans remain in control of the Senate, would most probably doom any reversal of the Republican agenda on these issues.

    Reply

  59. Fred F. says:

    Chafee can certainly be considered one of the good Republicans which is saying alot with this current Congress. But most importantly, and most important to Foreign Relations in particular, is a check on this President, not by the individual but by the Legislative body as a whole. That check requires a Democratic majority in the Senate. Whitehouse would do well in his position as Senator specifically on the subject of that check on the President though that is not the sole reason I would support him. I would urge people to not vote for Chafee though to support him in any endeavors he chooses to pursue after Nov. 7th in or out of politics.
    Our Government has soured and the first step to turn things around is a strong route of the current power structure.

    Reply

  60. Arun says:

    “I agree with Zbigniew Brzezinski that America’s engagement in the Middle East is the defining challenge for this nation in this century.”
    This is looking backwards, not forwards. The Middle East had better be settled in 10 years or less, and that leaves 84% of this century.
    In my opinion, the defining challenge for this nation in this century is how to achieve environmentally sustainable economic growth for itself and the world. This is infinitely harder than the Apollo mission.

    Regarding whom you support, you ought to support anyone who will put a check on this runaway Presidency. There is no bipartisanship, no bridges to build, no United States, no nation that can face anything, without the Constitution, and the Constitution is gravely wounded. Habeas Corpus was flushed down the toilet by the Executive and Legislative branches. And there is this.
    If you must vote Republican, at least let it be for a Republican who will vote to repair the legislation (e.g., Ron Paul of Texas).

    Reply

  61. matt says:

    one more comment to weigh in on the rather pathetic “endorsement” of lincoln chafee. there are times when it is absolutely about “policy” – not people. Lincoln Chafee doesn’t matter. the vote that he represents matters. end of story. I’m sure that he is the archetype of a decent, reasonable, measured politician.
    The “R” after his name means he must go.

    Reply

  62. Carl Nyberg says:

    BTW, how did Chafee vote on habeus corpus? Did he criticize the Bush Torture Bill forcefully?

    Reply

  63. Carl Nyberg says:

    If Chafee is re-elected will he be the one vote needed to block the Bush agenda?
    Based on his past record the answer is, “Almost never.”

    Reply

  64. p.lukasiak says:

    Typical Beltway BULLSHIT.
    as Marchon put it….
    All anyone has to know about Chaffee is the “R” next to his name. A vote for Chaffee is a vote for Republicans retaining control of the Senate.
    an endorsement of Chaffee is an ENDORSEMENT OF CONTINUED GOP LEADERSHIP OF THE EVERY FREAKING COMMITTEE IN THE SENATE. You want those who think torture is constitutional on the supreme court? Endorse Chafee. You want Bolton at the UN? Endorse Chafee. You want TO BE NECK DEEP IN THE BLOOD OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO WILL BE KILLED IF BUSH IS NOT STOPPED? Endorse Chafee…
    Of course, endorsing Chafee will make sure that you will still get invited to all the right cocktail parties on the DC social circuit — so what’s if the drink you have in your hand is deep red with the blood of innocents, steve?

    Reply

  65. Boston Raven says:

    I disagree with your priorities. In the time of Rockefeller Republicans, Chaffee and other so-called moderate Repubs would be fine. Whether you like it or not, that time has passed.
    When the goal of Repubs is to eliminate the opposition, as manifested by Tom DeLay and the K-Street project, survival is necessary. A Republican-organized Senate means that Bush will have a better chance to push thru more schemes and policy dangerous to the country, to the Constitution, and to the people of Rhode Island.
    The highest priority here MUST be to elect a Democratic Senate in order to blunt the thrust, insofar as possible, of George Bush. As far as I am concerned, anything less is simply wrong-headed. We do NOT need more Supreme Court Justices like Roberts or Alito, we do NOT need to have the Department of the Interior acting as a tool of the timber and extractive industries, we do NOT need to have more tax cuts for the rich, and we do NOT need to have the Constitution further undermined! Our political structure is organized to have Congressional oversight of the executive, just as the judicial branch has oversight of legislation passed.
    Over the past six years we have found that Republicans are unable to perform this function because their primary goal is to support a Republican president.
    Think again! Keep your eyes on the prize!

    Reply

  66. bob mcmanus says:

    Heck, Steve endorsing Chaffee is about the least bad thing he could do. The fact is, progressives really aren’t going to destroy the Republican Party, so maintaining some kind of relationship, as in “these are the kind of Republicans etc” is a very good idea. I have nothing to be upset about here. He can endorse Lugar if he wants.
    However I remember 1980, when some of the best men of the greatest generation were removed from public life, and I make my own decisions on partisan grounds.

    Reply

  67. mbowdoin says:

    Sorry, Steve, gotta go with the flow on this one. Lincoln Chaffee should remain in the Senate under only one circumstance — that is that he becomes a Democrat. Everything I know about Chaffee suggests to me that, if he were true to his apparent policy preferences, he would, in fact, be a Democrat. But he’s not — and he casts an important vote for the wrong side.
    Don’t worry too much, though. If you lose Chaffee, it looks like Lieberman will win and I’d put even money on him being willing to hand the Senate back to the R’s in the event of a squeeker. He’s about as mushy a middle roader as Chaffee is. Course, Joe has just recently endorsed Bolton, so maybe he won’t be the best trade-off for Chafee.
    Sure hope your wishes don’t come true on this one. We need a sweep of both houses to have even a prayer of stopping the madness that infects our government. The only good Republican is a defeated Republican.

    Reply

  68. Marky says:

    Clearly your desire to keep the Democrats from becoming too powerful factors into your support of Chafee. What a monstrous joke. Even if the Democrats win the House and Senate, Bush will exercise his unitary authority as he sees fit.
    No subpoenas will be honored; more and more outrageous signing statements will be issues; no doubt more anthrax letters, fake or real, will be sent as well.
    Your support of Chaffee is aimed squarely at the wishy-washy “moderate Republicans” who still believe that fiction that Cheney is the cause of this administration’s missteps, and that Bush can be saved.
    Get this through your head: Bush has no interest in being “saved”. He will stay in Iraq with the maximum troop level possible because HE will not admit error.
    The timing of a choice to endorse Chaffee is very suspect, although realistically Chaffee has no chance. Perhaps this endorsement is an attempt to ingratiate yourself to the moderate Republicans you so dearly want to see in power.
    I really don’t think you need to kiss ass any more, to be blunt. Your recent praise of Rice was as fatuous as it was wrong.

    Reply

  69. Prabhata says:

    Setting the agenda in the Senate is the most important aspect of having a Democratic majority. Chafee works against that goal. The second goal, is to send a big loud no confidence vote to the Bush regime. Bush needs to know that the country does not support his agenda.

    Reply

  70. Alan says:

    Steve:
    I am sorry but your politics seems to have a limited scope: Lincoln Chafee is a great guy but still a Republican. I want a Democrat to take RI. No amount of rationalisation can get round the fact that fgor all the time LC voted against the Reps he was and still is a Republicans. Very frankly, only a Dem takeover of the Senate can push Dem policies.
    You have done some great work both is the capital and on yoru travels. But yo still come across as an establishmentarians. Sorry. In the struggle ahead we need Dems to win. And i simply don’t agree with your rationalisation.
    Quite honestly, Steve, you are either a Democrat or you are not. Sitinf on the fence and spewing a lot os in hose establishment rhetoric is not enough.
    Take it from some one who has worked for five Commonwealth (British?) Prime Ministers: Canada, Australia, Britain, Singapore and Malaysia: the Repubs are a despised political class – you will be surprised to know what the current Australian PM actually thinks of “shallow George”.
    Given you reference to your connections in Washington I want you to know that my connections to 5 governments leads me to believe that the contempt for the current occupant of the White House by his so called friends runs deep.
    My regret is that Washington is not the beacon for freedom: it is the home of sanctioned turture dressed up is euphemisms.
    Get real Steve.
    Alan

    Reply

  71. Eli Rabett says:

    You need to ask yourself a very simple question. What happens to US policy if the Republicans keep the Senate and McConnell is majority leader(remember the SENATE votes to confirm officials, not the House). Give us an honest answer to that one please.
    We don’t doubt that Chafee is honest, and frankly, if he would vote against McConnell as majority leader a lot of us would be mollified, but Whitehouse is as good or better on the issues and a lot less dangerous because he is NOT going to vote for the Republicans organizing the Senate.
    Then we get to the issue of Chafee’s responsibility for the mess we are in. He loses on that alone and I don’t care how nice a guy he is.

    Reply

  72. Steve Clemons says:

    David and others — Thanks for your comments. Obviously, I want the Dems to come back strong. Actually, to tell you the truth, I think that the Dems have a much stronger chance of taking the White House in ’08 if they do not take back both Chambers of Congress….but to your basic point of whether I’m blindly committed to the Democrats — my answer is No. Dems need to earn my support with legitimate and healthy policy positions. Getting them back in power to challenge Bush is important — and I support that fully.
    As I said, I will support Whitehouse if he wins — but I think Chafee has done a good job, and we lose credibility if we don’t note that.
    I’m angry at Schumer over Bolton — and would take Chafee over Schumer in a battle between them….that is the crux of the problem.
    In any case, this was a post that was about my political ethics — and given Chafee’s fine performance of late, I felt the need to make it clear that progressive support of reasonable Republicans is also wise.
    Sorry to offend your sensibilities on this — but I need to speak my own conscience on this — and really like Chafee’s behavior and performance this year.
    best, Steve Clemons

    Reply

  73. David Sousa says:

    I have profited from reading your blog and think of you as a great American doing good work for the republic. But this position is as wrong as it can be. Do you really think that it’s better for the country that Linc Chafee be reelected and the Rs hold the Senate than it is to see a decent man go down while the Ds take control? This contest has national implications, bearing upon the capacity of the out party to hold a reckless executive responsible for his actions. Chafee should be decent enough to vote against himself–he knows what’s at stake here. He works with and is despised by the guys running the Senate.

    Reply

  74. SomeCallMeTim says:

    **We need to support moderates who are willing to stand up to extremists.**
    “Moderates” has been drained of all content. Four years ago, all of the media-identified moderates, especially on the Democratic side, were in favor of invading Iraq. The people who had been widely identified as moderates not ten years previously–George H.W. Bush and Co., for example, who were considered too moderate for the Republican base–opposed the invasion. If you really believe that “moderates” are important, you might spend some time sorting out who qualifies and by what criteria. From the sidelines, it looks like we’ve found a fair bit of trouble because, in part, we’ve mistaken the nomenclature of moderation for the moderate–meaning, really, standard–policies previously signified.

    Reply

  75. Marchon! Marchon! says:

    All anyone has to know about Chaffee is the “R” next to his name. A vote for Chaffee is a vote for Republicans retaining control of the Senate. Down with all Republicans and up with a semblance of the Democracy the the founding fathers envisioned for America; a government of checks and balances instead of the corrupt tyranny of one party rule.
    All Republicans are the problem this election and they must be voted against to the save the country against further depredations.

    Reply

  76. rw says:

    Yes, in a different world Chafee would be fine. But all these moderates crumble when the crazy right wing needs them. For the first time in my life I’m going to pull the “D” lever and head on home on election day….

    Reply

  77. JRB says:

    Steve,
    What about races like Republican Tom Kean Jr. against Democratic Senator Bob Menendez in NJ? Kean Jr has repeatedly expressed that he is “willing to stand up to extremists” in his party.
    To me, your endorsement doesn’t weigh Chafee’s positions against those of Whitehouse and justifies Chafee’s re-election based on his moderate credentials.

    Reply

  78. Jon G says:

    I actually like Chafee, but want him to lose because the Republicans in Congress aren’t properly acting as a check on the executive branch. Right now, we need a Democratic Congress to reign in the administration more than we need a Republican Chafee in the Senate. However, I’d have been pefectly happy if Chafee just switched parties to help make that happen. Chafee will probably suffer the same fate as Moderate Democrats have in the south.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *