Thursday, August 31, 2006

Laffey Takes Commanding Lead

For what it is worth - polls of primaries being very speculative - Victor Profughi at Rhode Island College has Laffey moving ahead of Chafee with "a commanding lead."
Those negative ads by Chafee are having their expected effect. HT: Andrew Morse at Anchor Rising

Coulter's View of the RI Senatorial Primary

Ann Coulter on Laffey v. Chafee:

President Bush is supporting the Democrat over the Republican in Rhode Island, too. In the Republican primary, Bush supports Lincoln Chafee -- who votes with Bush on the important issues less often than Sen. Lieberman does -- over the only actual Republican in the race, Stephen Laffey.

Apart from Bush, the only person who hasn't figured out that Lincoln Chafee is a Democrat is Lincoln Chafee. As the expression goes, if Chafee switched parties, the average IQ on both sides of the aisle would go up.

But read the whole thing.

In the mean time, Bakst has a problem with Laffey's opinion about the sovereignty of God in this morning's Projo.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

LGF has a video on how Reuters and other MSM agencies have fudged the news in the Middle East.

I Disapprove of this Message

Chafee has just started a new TV ad campaign that is a direct, frontal attack on his opponent.

This is no ad from one of those "notorious special interest groups" like the National Republican Senatorial Committee. No. Rather, this appears to be the act of a desperate pol who has taken the tack of last resort: Overtly smear your opponent.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Clear Win for Laffey in Debate IV this Evening

It's 1965 and Cassius Clay, better known today as Mohammed Ali, gets into the ring with world heavy weight champion Sonny Liston. In round one, with a swing so quick that no one really caught clear sight of it, Liston was knocked out and strewn on the floor of the ring.

Now imagine continuing the fight for the remaining 14 rounds. That's what the debate looked like tonight between Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey and U. S. Senator Lincoln Chafee.

Here are some of my notes:

Early in the debate, Chafee tried to distinguish himself as some sort of a stalwart Gay Rights defender (this is a Republican issue?) and somehow brings up the Randy Jackvony photograph on Laffey's web site. Huh!?! Round goes to Laffey.

Next is capital punishment. I must say Chafee is true to his convictions. Bin Laden would be spared capital punishment, says Chafee. Slam dunk for Laffey. How Chafee ever let himself be set up for that, I'll never know. Chafee handlers: booo!

Next issue is "bad peace versus good war" comment by Chafee. This is another easy one for Laffey making direct reference to the appeasers of the world wars. Chafee tries to weasel out of it by saying he supported the war in Afghanistan, but not Iraq. Then he loses the little ground he's gained by saying "we don't want to insight the bad guys," or some such words, showing clearly how much of an over pacifist he is. Laffey eats him for breakfast on this point.

Then there is a stupid question on "big oil." Somehow Chafee links "Big Oil" and the "Military Industrial Complex" as if it was 1969 all over again. The question falls right into the hands of Laffey who embarks on a dissertation on the need for national energy policy. Laffey now eats him for lunch.

The ads. The recent one by CFG is shown. Frankly it's their best ad, and pretty accurate about Chafee. What does Chafee do? He defends his vote on the bridge to nowhere to get the highway bill passed. Laffey responds with his pork barrel argument, and Chafee is doomed. They show the Chafee ad sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee on immigration cards. The ad is atrocious. Chafee defends it. He looks like an idiot for doing so.

On illegal immigration, Chafee does manage to get one in on Laffey. He says Laffey has flip flopped. Laffey responds with "it's public where I stand, on the radio stations, etc. etc., but Chafee is right, and the public record WILL show it. Laffey has altered his position here. Slight advantage Chafee.

Laffey now asks Chafee why he was one of three Senators, not three Republican Senators (meaning the others were likely Democrats) who voted against the "Working Family Tax Relief Act" which passed overwhelmingly. Chafee referred to the Concord Coalition which has praised his opposition to tax cuts to address the deficit. But Laffey hammers him on the pork barrel. Decisive advantage Laffey.

Chafee asks Laffey about being funded by the "notorious" Club for Growth. As a Republican, this is disappointing. CFG is for all the right things, and Laffey explains them.

Stupid question from the panel about how "God told Laffey" to run for mayor. Laffey gives a sane, non-threatening answer, that he is a man of faith, prays, etc. Chafee decides to bring up the separation of church and state in his rebuttal. Is he nuts? Easy win on this point to Laffey. People of faith everywhere will support him.

Jim Taricani asks Chafee about his voting with Democrats. Chafee's response, "I consider myself a traditional Republican," and then proceeds to list a litany of things reminiscent of a bygone era including "free of foreign entanglements." Since when? WWI? WWII? Where's he been? Driving home the point that he’s out of touch.

Disappointing answers from both Laffey and Chafee on global warming and the environment. Pro free market Laffey finds himself talking about raising the government edict on CAFE standards. Boo!

Final arguments, Chafee manages to bring up Vietnam during a discussion on tax cuts. It becomes clear that there is no tax cut that Chafee would ever support. He does not believe in supply side economics, and fears the results of deficits, but somehow manages to spend big, like most Democrats.

Republicans watching this debate have no where to go but to vote for Laffey on September 12.

The Chafee goose was well broiled this evening. I even felt badly for him.

The Rats are Coming Out of Hiding

Can you recall what you may have written about over 20 to 30 years ago?

Heck, I don't. But I remember I did some extracurricular writing when I was in college. Wrote for a couple of alternative newspapers. Actually became editor in chief of the most notorious anti-establishment news piece on campus. Only my friends and I took a much more conservative slant on things, and we tended to be brash. Very brash. Embarrassingly brash sometimes. So brash we had the administration up in arms. We were all hauled in front of some quasi-administration-student judicial board for exercising our first amendment rights to be brash.

Our satire was often unappreciated by the average, rank and file liberal student. And our writing was passionate as well as pointed. Do I regret saome of the things I wrote thirty years ago? Probably, if I could recall it, but would guess it was at the very least directionally correct.

The culture was different back 20 to 30 years ago. Things that are taboo today were often freely discussed and satirized in the public square back then.

Along comes some rat who excavates the writings of Steve Laffey when he was at Bowdoin College. Excerpts taken out of context from writings of 20 years ago.

First of all, Scott MacKay at the Journal should have had the good sense not to pay attention to someone's last minute attempt to impune the future US Senator in this manner. It is shameful that someone felt compelled to send those ancient manuscripts to the Journal's attention anonimously, and equally shameful that the Projo decided to write about them a couple of weeks before the Primary.

They should have ditched them. They don't mean anything, and they know it - or should have the common decency to know that.

There are acts of desperation taking place. It's a sign that we're closing in on the end, and the rats are coming out of hiding.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Laffey on Lardball to Dis Rummy - I get it!

Lardball invited Steve Laffey on his program tonight so he parade before the camera a roster of opponents to secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld.

Frankly, I understand the political capital of calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. I get it. By opposing Rumsfeld, Laffey can separate himself a tad from the President, and since the President is unpopular, and at the moment, the Republican minions in Washington are with Chafee (of course that will change in a nanosecond when Laffey wins the primary, then what?). I get it. I get it.

But what if someone were to ask Laffey, with whom he would replace Rumsfeld, what would be his answer? By asking Laffey that question, it will reveal where he stands on the war in Iraq and the president's policy there. So I'd be careful with this tack. It could come up in Saturday's debate since Chafee, rightly, pointed out this seeming inconsistency in Debate III on Channel 12 the other night.

I happen to think that, as course as people have found him, Rumsfeld has been the right man in the right place at the right time. Did anyone see his discourse with Hilary Rodham in the Senate recently? The MSM showed all her sound bites, but if you had the good fortunate to hear his rebuttals, you'd see how he absolutely blew her away, and in grand style, and that's the kind of Secretary of Defense we need.

I understand that Laffey is mixing populism with some excellent ideas, and he's usually right in his attacks on Chafee; but though I may be alone on this view, I am uncomfortable with this tack, and I'm hoping he changes it or augments it with something that ties his past position with his newer one. Right now, I'm blaming his handlers for this. They see a chance to get some national recognition on Lardball. They jump on it. I get it.

I'm just not sure it won't backfire.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Chafee v. Laffey - Debate III

What to say about the TV debate last night?

The seekers of truth will want to peruse the dialogue over at Anchor Rising. Some good debate going on there.

But to begin with, if I was a close confidant of Steve Laffey, I’d want to see a big shake up of his inner circle, his handlers, after last night’s debate.


Let’s begin with his appearance. Somebody decided he should dress up in a zoot suit. He looked more like a consigliore than a Senate candidate.

Chafee, as much as I never like his appearance, was dressed in brighter, yet staid and professional looking clothing. I’ve seen Chafee at public events, and he looks like a school kid. His hair is usually messed up, and his clothing wrinkled and wretched. Last night he looked like a US Senator. Laffey looked like someone from Godfather I.

Next, he talks in patronizing tones. “Listen folks,…”

A debate forum for the US Senate is not a corporate boardroom. You can’t talk to people like you would talk to a room full of business subordinates. And the US Senate is a unique institution requiring a certain demeanor in respect of the office. It is not a place to square off for a round of boxing, though, admittedly, in days of yore there had been violence the likes of which we’ve not seen. But in general, I found Laffey’s comments more like those of someone seeking reelection as mayor of the city of Cranston, than that of one seeking election to that august body in Washington. And he turned off a lot of his audience. Not me, but a lot of people he needs to convince to vote for him.

On the war, he had several openings to distinguish himself from Chafee. Someone, one of his inner circle most likely, has gotten Laffey to shift gears to sound more like he’s opposed to the President on the war “since the President and those in Washington (I’m paraphrasing) support my opponent,” and since he’s dissatisfied with Donald Rumsfeld. But you cannot have it both ways. You can’t have been supporting the war, the troops, the president all along the way, and then make it sound like you’re not anymore. It sounds inconsistent at the least and hypocritical at most.

And Chafee picked him off on that point.

On embryonic stem cells, Laffey had the opportunity to completely defuse the issue with the recent discovery that a single cell can now be extracted from embryonic cells that do not threaten the life of the pre-born human being. Ta da! Over. But no, he had to use an argument that made him sound inconsistent and even a little greedy, having invested in it.

Chafee won on that round too,

Was there anything I liked?

I liked his closing statement. He looked square into the camera without flinching and he said he’d be a fastball pitcher while his opponents will give more of the same. He also had a few very good moments, particularly when he distinguished himself from Chafee’s atrocious behavior on the Samuel Alito Supreme Court nomination.

He hurt the Senator on that point.

Who won the debate?

I know many have chimed in that Laffey won. In my opinion, it was, at best, a draw. Do I want Laffey to win. Those who read this blog know we have not been kindly to Chafee.

I would like to see Laffey defeat Chafee, and go on to beat Whitehouse. But, if he continues in this manner, and the debate on Saturday is similar in tone and style, he will lose.

He might still win the Republican Primary. And if he does, he’d have chance at beating Whitehouse, partly due to the fact that Whitehouse will implode before November, but he’ll shoot himself in the foot if he keeps up with this message, approach, style, consistency and appearance.

To change the tone in Washington, I say that Laffey needs to change his own tone first.

I base these comments - constructive criticism – in part on the observations of a wise and very conservative woman whom I know and trust.

You know, women use both halves of their brain. Men would be wise to take heed.

How does Laffey fix this? Add some good, polished, accomplished and conservative women to the inner circle. Do that, and then listen to them. Take their advice on how to dress and how to act. And dump the person(s) who is(are) making him sound incredibly inconsistent on things like embryonic stem cells and the war in Iraq.

Do it now, or it’s curtains.

I say this because we don’t need another Whitehouse in Washington. One is all we need, all we've ever needed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Demise of Liberalism

It seems that any ideology that promotes abortion, gay marriage, and a general resistance to traditional family values is doomed to failure. Arthur C. Brooks reports on the results of liberal thinking here

Who are Those Guys?

You recall the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where Butch (Paul Newman) yells out to Sundance as they skidattle away from those who were in hot pursuit, "Who are those guys?"

Well that's my question. There are Republican US Senators trying to protect pork barrel projects, and that's not good for Republican incumbents. I wonder who it (they) is (are)? Probably old money who care not a whit for poor middle class slob taxpayers.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Chafee v. Laffey in Today's WSJ

Excerpts from Kim Strassel's piece in today's (August 17, 2006) Opinion Journal:

If Lincoln Chafee has one thing going for him in his upcoming primary, it's fear--and don't think this perennial thorn in the GOP's side doesn't know it. In a recent debate against his more conservative primary challenger, he made the choice clear to voters: "Who can win in November?"

Rhode Island's few Republicans have been thinking of little else ever since Steve Laffey, the pork-busting mayor of Cranston, challenged the Senate's most liberal Republican to a showdown. The duel has forced upon them one of the more noteworthy choices in this year's election. Do they renominate Mr. Chafee, whose irritating voting record may make him more electable in this state that went 59% for John Kerry? Or do they vote their conscience for the upstart, and potentially lose a Senate seat--and even the majority?

But read the whole thing. This is available online free - does not require WSJ subscription.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Chafee v. Laffey - Debate I

Get your play by play of the fisrt Chafee - Laffey debate which was aired on WHJJ 920 AM earlier this evening at Anchor Rising here, here, here, and here transcribed by Andrew Morse.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What next in CT?

I am predicting that Lieberman win in November.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Why are some in the MSM so sympathetic to Terrorists?

Power Line blog has uncovered what appears to be deliberately manipulated photos from Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj. Hajj published a series of inconsistent photos from Lebanon which have been exploited by various media. Check these photos out here, here and, most importantly, here. It brings back visions of Dan Rather with his forged letters, only to be exposed by the new media.

Rush Limbaugh discussed this problem on his radio program today. He calls it the "drive by" media being sympathetic to terrorists. (HT: LGF) I call it pro-terrorist, MSM propaganda, and it has no place in the Western media outlets.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

NEWS FLASH: Castro has stomach cancer and is NOT likely to recover to resume his obscene dictatorship. Freedom may be on the Cuban horizon at last?

What's Significant About Qana?

Orde F. Kittrie, a professor of international law at Arizona State University, who also served in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. State Department from 1993 to 2003, has an excellent piece in today's WSJ (subscription required). Here are some excerpts:

At Qana, [Qana, BTW, is the place where Jesus changed water to wine at the wedding] Israeli aircraft fired toward a building to stop Hezbollah from shooting rockets at its cities. The aircraft did not deliberately target civilians; but Hezbollah rockets are targeted at civilians, a clear war crime. U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland last week called on Hezbollah to stop its "cowardly blending" among women and children: "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this." If Hezbollah used Lebanese civilians in Qana as "human shields," then Hezbollah, not Israel, is legally responsible for their deaths.


Israel did not expect civilian casualties; it warned civilians to leave Qana, and Israel's official investigation has concluded its military attacked based on "information that the building was not inhabited by civilians and was being used as a hiding place for terrorists." The law of war recognizes that mistakes are inevitable, and does not criminalize soldiers who seek in good faith seek to avoid them.


Israel is acting in self-defense and avoided killing civilians, even giving advance notice by phone to the occupants of homes targeted for attack as Hezbollah hideouts. While Hezbollah deliberately maximizes harm to Israeli and Lebanese civilians, Israel puts its soldiers at risk to minimize Lebanese civilian casualties.


The track record of many of Israel's most powerful accusers -- including China, Russia and the European Union -- is not nearly as good at balancing civilian risk against military goals.
China killed hundreds of peaceful Tiananmen Square protestors in 1989. It has for five decades occupied Tibet, slaughtering tens of thousands; and it vows to invade Taiwan if it declares independence. Neither the Tiananmen protesters nor Tibet nor Taiwan has ever threatened to "wipe China off the map."


Compared with how China, Russia, and the EU have dealt with non-existential threats -- and despite the law-flouting behavior of Hezbollah, Iran and Syria -- Israel's responses to the threats to its existence have been remarkably restrained rather than disproportionately violent.

But read the whole thing.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Helprin on Iran

I came across a piece by Mark Helprin the other day from the newlsetter of the Claremont Institute on the subject of how we should deal with Iran. Helprin is a brilliant thinker and an exquisite writer. His piece had been previously published in the Washington Post. Here is the link to "After Diplomacy Fails." I highly recommend a quick thumb through.

An excerpt:

Iran's claim of innocuous nuclear ambitions comports both with the Islamic doctrine of taqqiya (literal truth need not be conveyed to infidels) and the Western doctrine of state secrecy (the same thing), and it is part of a strategy of deception and false compromise deployed to buy time. After almost three years, the Bush administration has maneuvered the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, where it will fall under the protection of Russia and China, which will make any resolution meaningless or veto it outright. In the event of sanctions, Iran can sell oil to China in exchange for all the manufactures it might need, trade on the black market and eventually reenter the world economy after the inevitable unveiling of Iranian nuclear weapons stimulates the resignation of the West.

Coffee Shops and Wiener Joints: NR's John Miller on the Laffey / Chafee Race

Now, for a limited time, John J Miller's piece on the Laffey / Chafee race from the August 7 issue of National Review. For non-subsribers a copy is available in the Senescent Man library, Oblogatory Reading.

A few excerpts:

...Chafee might be the most irritating Republican in the Senate. The problem isn’t simply that he opposes tax cuts, supports partial-birth abortion, and believes that enemy combatants should enjoy habeas corpus rights. After all, somebody has to be the most liberal Republican senator, and chances are it will be a person who hails from a true-blue state like Rhode Island.

What makes Chafee stand out even among figures such as senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe — liberal Republicans from Maine — is his sheer flamboyance. In 2004, he announced that he wasn’t voting for President Bush’s reelection. In what he called a “symbolic protest,” he wrote in the name of Bush’s father on his ballot. He also threatened to switch parties, something he may very well do if Democrats can welcome him into a Senate majority. Last January, Chafee was the only Republican to oppose the confirmation of Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito. And in March, he described Sen. Russ Feingold’s censure resolution to condemn Bush as “positive,” because it helped put the issue of wiretapping “into the public awareness.” (When these comments achieved their own public awareness — or, more accurately, their own notoriety — he added that he opposed censure.)

A close look at Chafee’s congressional record suggests that the senator would fit comfortably within the Democratic fold: The American Conservative Union gives Chafee a lifetime rating of 37 out of a possible 100. This is not only the worst performance in the GOP, but it actually places Chafee to the left of Democratic senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Chafee’s rating for 2005 is a dismal 12, which is precisely the score of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Only 24 senators received a lower score. Twenty-three of them are liberal Democrats, and the other is Jim Jeffords, the “independent” who caucuses with the Democrats. Even Feingold, who is actively courting his party’s left wing in anticipation of a presidential run, was rated a point better than Chafee. So it’s no wonder that a lot of rank-and-file Republicans have run out of patience with Rhode Island’s junior senator.

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