December 5, 2005


GOP embracing its maverick: Tough race makes Chafee an asset (Rick Klein, December 5, 2005, Boston Globe)

Chafee is the closest thing to a GOP flower child in Washington these days. He's a Brown University classics major who spent seven years shoeing horses before turning to the family business of politics. His liberal positions would be well-suited for a centrist Democrat. The ease with which he speaks of living in harmony with nature marks him as a product of the '60s, and a child of a household that always had a compost pile.

But with the Republican Party's hold on the Senate looking tenuous, the party of Wall Street and the religious right is suddenly chummy with its most prominent environmentalist. With a tough race looming, and a solid conservative challenging Chafee in the primary, Republican elites are sending checks to Rhode Island -- to help Chafee.

And the Democrats, eager to regain control of the Senate, are targeting the one Republican to the left of much of their own caucus. ''Chafee can deny that he is the elephant in the room until he is blue in the face," said Phil Singer, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, ''but he'll never be able to hide the degree to which he is beholden to George Bush and the Bush agenda."

The GOP is the majority party precisely because it contains those who would once have been moderate Democrats, a creature that no longer exists in the wild.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 5, 2005 8:40 AM

Contained? Like Arlen Specter? Olympia Snowe?
Chafee voted for John Kerry in the last election and made that public. I'll be sending money to his opponent in the primary.

Posted by: Melissa at December 5, 2005 8:51 AM

Melissa--I believe Chafee actually voted for Bush I in 2004, which is quite possibly even dumber than if he had voted for Kerry...

Party fundraising stats were released recently that showed that the Republicans had their usual huge edge, EXCEPT for the Republican Senate Committee. Either Chuck Schumer is a genius, or the party base really doesn't like being asked to fund the likes of Chafee...

Posted by: b at December 5, 2005 11:55 AM

I see no advantage to having Chafee sit on our side of the aisle. Get rid of him and put up a candidate who supports conservative issues. Let Chafee run as a Dem. or an Ind.

Posted by: erp at December 5, 2005 11:55 AM

It's the Republican party, not the conservative party. The difference is Goldwater numbers vs Reagan/Bush numbers

Posted by: oj at December 5, 2005 1:00 PM

Who was the last Dem who infuriated so many in his own party in this way, yet is tolerated and givensuch leeway in his behavior? (Please, not Zell Miller, as he never sought reelection after he began mildly bucking the party.) Moynihan could have had such a reputation if he hadn't always been party hack behind that cheap facade of intellectualism and prinicple.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 5, 2005 2:26 PM

The Democrats are a minority party--anyone who infuriates them loses his seat to a Republican.

Posted by: oj at December 5, 2005 2:59 PM

I mean back when the Dems ran things? When people from George Mitchell back to Lyndon Johnson had more power than thePresident himself. Maybe it's a combination of age and not paying attention, but I can't remember the solid Dem majority tolerating the kind of behavior Chafee exhibits.

Then again, weren't there back in the GOP minority days people like Jacob Javits and Wayne Morse (who started out GOP, right?). And didn't J.Buckley take care of the Javitts problem?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 5, 2005 5:03 PM

Raoul - They haven't tolerated dissent for a long time, but they have been declining for a long time ... since 1974. My political memory doesn't go back to a time when they were tolerant of conservative Democrats.

Posted by: pj at December 5, 2005 5:52 PM


Remember Phil Gramm? Strom Thurmond? etc.

Posted by: oj at December 5, 2005 6:20 PM
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