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.

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