Six Minutes with Lincoln Chafee on Bush/Cheney Experiences, The Decline of Bipartisanship, Sarah Palin and More


Former Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) is now a political Independent and helped spearhead with former Bush 2000 campaign New York co-chair Rita Hauser and former Congressman Jim Leach “Republicans for Obama.”
I think that there is a very good chance that Chafee could end up as a senior member of an Obama administration — or even more interestingly, he may be preparing himself for a bid as an Independent to run for the governorship of Rhode Island.
I spent a few minutes with him yesterday talking about the current policy and political terrain as well as his recently released book, Against the Tide: How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President.
A more full version of Lincoln Chafee’s talk at the New America Foundation yesterday titled “What Patriotism Looks LIke” can be viewed here. His comments about Sarah Palin in the Q&A were ‘colorful’. (the Palin comments come about 53:08. He calls Sarah Palin a “cocky whacko.”)
But in the interview above, Chafee said this about Sarah Palin:

I do think she is dangerous for the future of the country having such limited experience and sharing that aggressive, belligerent approach to the world.
That’s not in our long term best interests. It’s a dangerous planet — nuclear weapons — a
tremendous capacity of destruction exists.
It’s going to take some wisdom and ability to see gray sometimes, and lessons of the Cold War are that sometimes containment can work.
New generations come along, the Gorbachevs come along — and we haven’t fired missiles at each other and killed each other.
That’s the lesson of the Cold War we seem to have ignored, Lessons that worked.

Chapter 13 — the chapter of Chafee’s book — on the John Bolton battle in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is my favorite.
More later.
— Steve Clemons


21 comments on “Six Minutes with Lincoln Chafee on Bush/Cheney Experiences, The Decline of Bipartisanship, Sarah Palin and More

  1. ReturnToReason says:

    “Red Herring”
    “A fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue.”


  2. Tahoe Editor says:

    “knowing what you’re doing”
    “I am a believer in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job. If I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now there are some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I’m not one of those people.” — Barack Obama


  3. ReturnToReason says:

    Mr. Chaffee is simply pointing out that Sarah Palin is “dangerous” because she does not know what she’s doing. From the interview with Charlie Gibson, we now know that Palin was not familiar with the “Bush Doctrine,” which is not a good sign. Her lack of knowledge of the Bush Doctrine nothwithstanding, she made it clear that her outlook is consistent with it. This is why Mr. Chaffee refers to her as dangerous, etc. It’s time to stop being lured in by the logical fallacies of “emotional appeal” and “wishful thinking” that are at the center of Republican strategy right now. We need someone level-headed, informed, intelligent, and reasonable at the helm of our country right now. You’ll decide for yourself who fits the bill, but by saying that Mr. Chaffee’s comments are just “ludicrous” and only reflect his supposedly negative attitudes about women, you are indicating that you are just as irrational, uninformed, unreasonable, and emotionally charged as the person he is concerned about as a potential VP. If you want to convince people that the Republican Party is not on the verge of turning into a cult, then start showing signs of reason and rational thinking as opposed to emotional, knee-jerk reactions to criticism. It is definitely a serious “red flag,” and does nothing to convince me that you may have a point here.


  4. Will says:

    Excellent interview and discussion, but get a tripod and a decent microphone. Seems trivial, but I assure you it’s not.


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Remember one thing ass hole….”
    Thats two things. If you want us to remember one thing, you’ll have to spell it right.


  6. Dick says:

    Remember one thing ass hole, you are the biggest scum sucking piece of garbage on this planet!!!!! You could take your brain and put it in an ants ass and it would rattle like a BB in a box car.


  7. Laura says:

    “cocky whacko”???
    What and why? Mr. Chaffee’s comment is ridiculous. One must believe he has something against strong women.
    Seriously, a “cocky whacko”?? Why would he say such a thing. Enough with the Palin attacks. It’s getting a bit old!


  8. Dan says:

    Lincoln’s given the first intelligent analysis of Palin that I’ve seen, and a beautifully straightforward rebuttal of all the neocons’ warmongering and hysteria. I’m sorry he had to suffer from the reaction of true patriots to Bush’s insanity, but I’m glad he’s joined them in the fight against Bush’s surrogate McCain. I remember John Chafee well having grown up in SE MA and lived in Providence for 7 years.


  9. Catherine S says:

    Lincoln makes a whole lot of sense.
    It can never simply be about killing, killing, killing, and hoarding, hoarding, hoarding.
    We must be more focused on strategy, and thoughtful planning to keep the peace in the entire region (after we pull out our troops in Iraq). We must use smart diplomacy and war as an absolute last resort.
    This is the only way.
    Many of the speeches at the Republican convention were truly frightening, with such limited understanding of the complex web of our global civilization.
    Obama & Biden in 2008.


  10. kateallwine says:

    She is amusing. She is nothing more.


  11. Mireille says:

    Lincoln Chaffee is one of the smartest and most honorable politicians I have ever encountered. I hope to see him in the Obama administration. We need more pols like him!


  12. Mary Jane says:

    Well said , Mr. Chaffee. You are absolutely right.
    It is frightening to think that Palin, whose claim to foreign experience, is living next to Russia.
    Good God, what kind of people are we? Our expectations and standards are so low. Are we going to vote for her on the ticket, because she is a mum?
    I am sorry, but a VP job is unique, and it is sometimes a 24 hour job. As a woman, I know how tough it is to juggle your job and mother your children. No job in this country can be compared to a VP position, because it is totally different.
    People in this country, unfortunately, are like sheep. They just do as they are told, and vote for cultural issues, not for jobs, health, and a cleaner country.


  13. Mark says:

    Hey Steve C.
    have you forgotten that the first option for repubs is character as


  14. LInda says:

    Agree about Linc being wonderful, but there are forces among the Religious Right who like neocons and aren’t very impressed with Council on Foreign Relations.


  15. dottie says:

    you’re dumb as a rock for even thinking
    he’s dumb.


  16. Phil says:

    I was resident of Rhode Island for close to 20 years. It is a GREAT state. I have been an independant voter for over 35 years. Though I didn’t agree with all his positions, I have always supported him. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Chafee twice. He is thoughtful, intelligent,and a good person. He truly puts country ahead of party. The country needs more people like him in public office. I hope Mr. Obama finds a place for him in his administration. Thanks for speaking out Mr. Chafee. One vote,only one choice….Obama/Biden!
    PS: His Dad was a true public servant as well.


  17. JT says:

    Chafee is right on the mark. Palin’s hard-core attitude is dangerous. Inexperience aside, she’s just too mean. No political know-how, just more of the George Bush attitude that has gotten us into the terrible place where we are now. Conservative governors – haven’t we learned anything? Is America really this stupid?


  18. Steve Clemons says:

    rirepubs — Lincoln Chafee is one of the smartest thinkers I have met in the Senate. He is not a media hound and is very serious about issues and thinking them through. He reminds me of a Republican — now Independent — version of Jeff Bingaman.
    When Republicans for Obama was launched, Lincoln Chafee made very clear that he was no longer a Republican but that he would cooperate with Rita Hauser and Jim Leach because he had been a life-long Republican and had always voted Republican — but to answer your point, he is not dumb, and did not mislead anyone when he helped two other leading Republicans launch Republicans for Obama.
    best regards,
    Steve Clemons


  19. Bil says:

    Thanks Steve, good discussion.
    Bolton has been on NPR lately which is always kind of shocking to
    me that Dead Wrong Neocons like him and the Prince of Darkness,
    Perles, dare show their faces. Is it just me or has Bolton raised his
    voice an octave as if we wouldn’t recognize his WRONG WRONG
    WRONG on everything neocon voice?
    Feel free to read us that chapter…bedtime stories (a new feature?)
    Thanks in advance.


  20. Greg P says:

    Lincoln Chaffee, along with Chuck Hagel and Richard Haass, would be good people for Obama to bring on board in senior positions in his administration if he wins. (And god help us if he doesn’t and we end up with McCain/Palin…)
    I also think Les Gelb is onto something in this piece:


  21. rirepubs says:

    How can Lincoln Chafee lead Republicans for Obama when he has forsaken the Republican party to become a declared independent?
    This is why his knickname in the Senate was “the missing link.”
    He is dumb as a rock.


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