Friday, May 27, 2005

Chafee Overboard

I know what you're thinking. Is the Senescent Man sick or dead? Nothing emerging from the site in days. What gives?

It's been a busy season. Eye operations, and planning reviews. Not to mention the extracurricular.

I've been meaning to comment on a few exciting events. The Republican moderates who think they did us a favor, and buried in the middle of that the actions of Senator Lincoln Chafee, about whom I've been promising to keep updating readers as election day draws near.

Well National Review has gotten the jump on me with this fine piece by
Timothy P. Carney and David Freddoso. Some excerpts:

If there was ever any doubt, Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s vote Wednesday against the nomination of Priscilla Owen has made it clear that, save for leadership numbers games, conservatives would not be any worse off with a Democrat than with Chafee (R., R.I.) in the Senate. Rhode Island Republicans will have a chance next year to avert that painful choice only if a serious primary challenger emerges — and it could happen as soon as next week....[but o]n Wednesday, Chafee’s office confirmed that it was Owen’s dissent in a 2000 parental-notification case that pushed Chafee to vote against her. In that Texas supreme-court case, the four-judge majority effectively nullified the state’s parental-notification requirement for minors seeking abortions."


"As Chafee looks forward to his November 2006 reelection campaign, Rhode Island Republicans are baffled by the sloppiness of his political operation — a fact that the fundraising numbers bear out entirely. Chafee’s first-quarter figures were an absolute embarrassment for a sitting senator, even though they cover a time period when he expected the extremely popular Democrat Rep. James Langevin to challenge him. Chafee netted a pitiful $139,000, whereas both of his potential Democratic opponents raised more than twice as much by the end of March and are rapidly closing in on his $750,000 war chest.

A February 18 fundraiser for Chafee by Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) was disappointing in its sparse turnout, according to attendees. But even worse than the turnout was the campaign pitch his supporters were making at the event — the strained argument that Rhode Island cannot afford to send a congressional delegation composed entirely of Democrats to Washington. (Note to Chafee: It’s worked pretty well for North Dakota.)"


"If he chooses to run (and our sources say he will), moderate Cranston mayor Stephen Laffey (R) will be an easy choice for conservatives over Chafee in next year’s September primary. The popular two-term mayor of a thoroughly Democratic town, Laffey remains cagey about his intentions for next year. But his ambition is legendary to those who know him (smaller only than his ego) and he has to date resisted pleas from the White House, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman to swear off the race.

As one wag told us of Laffey’s plans to enter the race, “I’m pretty sure he’s waiting until he can be the only thing in the newspaper.”

In some ways the conservative label does not fit Laffey well. Although he says he is pro-life, he recently described Sen. Hillary Clinton’s attempt to position herself on the middle ground on abortion as “reasonable.” But even in this, Laffey is substantially more conservative than Chafee, and he may actually have a better chance in the general election to keep the seat in GOP hands."

Mac Owens over at Anchor Rising picked up on this bit by Hugh Hewitt for the Daily Standard a little while ago:

"Stephen Laffey, the mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, is being urged to take on Senator Lincoln Chafee in the 2006 primary so that GOP voters don't have to vote for a Democrat in November 2006. (Chafee voted against the war, against the president's reelection, and now for the filibuster. Chafee's presence was necessary with a Senate closely divided, but with a healthy majority, he should be booted before seniority puts him in a position to do real damage. Even big tent Republicans like me believe every tent needs an inside and an outside, and Chafee's way outside.)"

"A very well-known reporter whose poltics are conventionally liberal told me a couple of years ago that right after 9/11, he asked for Sen. Chafee's reaction to the attack. Chafee wouldn't answer him because he hadn't yet determined what OTHERS would say. Needless to say this honorable liberal was offended."

"The vote against Owen was the last straw. Chafee needs to go."

Hold on, it's coming.

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