Chafee, the NRSC, Etc.

George Conway over at Reconcilable Differences continues to focus national attention on the RI GOP primary and has some good stuff. Last night, he discovered that the NRSC continues its campaign of taking down stories on its web site that contain anti-Chafee comments. He also pointed to another NRSC pro-Chafee story that could use some commenting (wink wink). I wonder what would happen if anti-Chafee/pro-Laffey opinions continued to be expressed in the comments section of those stories? (BTW, George has also preserved many of the since-removed comments in this PDF).
In the meantime, a letter to the editor in today’s ProJo exhibits the problem that Sen. Chafee is having by continuing to show indecisiveness and a lack of conviction:

For years, Sen. Lincoln Chafee has tiptoed between appeasing the radical wing of the Republican Party and maintaining his electability at home. However, with the Bush-Rove stranglehold over party discipline, Senator Chafee has lost his so-called independence. Rather, he has become better known for ruffling feathers in early opposition to Republican initiatives, but ultimately capitulating.
When it matters, Senator Chafee is nowhere to be found. His so-called conscience vote against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito was just a hollow gesture, aimed at mitigating his election-year vulnerability in an overwhelmingly liberal state.
Mr. Chafee may have taken a “stand” this time, but he has too often been on the wrong side when his vote could really have made a difference.

Sounds like the same arguments we’ve been making, but from the other side of the ideological spectrum.
Meanwhile, despite Sen. Chafee’s apparent belief that “moderate” and liberal (Democrat) voters will vote for him in the GOP primary, the tightening race on the Democratic side can do nothing but hurt his chances. And while Sen. Chafee “hems and haws” and hopes that the NRSC can continue to carry his water, Mayor Laffey continues to be out front in his campaign against pork barrel spending.

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Nathan R. Jessup
Nathan R. Jessup
15 years ago

NRSC won’t keep the Pro-Laffey nor the anti-Chafee comments because they know Laffey’s campaign is on fire and Chafee is losing ground in every camp. NRSC knows Chafee has trapped himself so badly he cannot put together a message without causing further damage to his standing with the many special interests to whom he kowtows. They censor their blog because THEY CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

Tom
Tom
15 years ago

I find it mildly entertaining that you’re willing to cite a letter from Tennessee on your blog when you’ve been so adament about outsiders staying out of our Senate race.
Chafee may not be a conservative’s dream, but, according to your Tennessee friend’s letter, he’s infuriating to the other side too.

ballottra
ballottra
15 years ago

Tom, no-one is annoyed with the NRSC for being “outsiders.” The opposite, in fact. They’re insiders who should know better than to behave this way. They are obliged to support the candidate who best represents the ideals of the party, or stay out of the primary fight entirely. Under no circumstances should they be taking unfair shots at a legitimate candidate from their own party.

Tom
Tom
15 years ago

Tom,
I don’t think the fact that the writer is from Tennessee is germane. Whether people from Tennessee write the ProJo to complain that Sen. Chafee isn’t liberal enough or non-RI commenters to the NRSC website complain that he is not conservative enough, the point still stands that in being a “centrist”, all Sen. Chafee has managed to do is tick of people on both sides from which he hopes to draw support. Given that primary voters tend to be the most ideologically motivated of those within a party, this can’t be good.
(Hint: here’s where you bring up the part about “independent” and “moderate” Rhode Islanders that aren’t part of the radical fringe on the left or right…)
My argument against the involvement of the NRSC in this race is that they are supporting a candidate who is not on the same ideological page as the majority of its members. I haven’t complained about the Club For Growth’s involvement at all. Besides, one is an official arm of the National GOP, the other is an interest group.
Red Herring = dead.

c stevens
c stevens
15 years ago

If I had known this guy earlier I would have rewritten the song…
Now I’ve been happy lately, thinking about laffey winning the race
And I believe it will be, something great for us.
Oh I’ve been smiling lately, dreaming of Laffey as our ace
And I believe this sept, this nov. it’s going to come
Cause out ont the edge of darkness, there rides the Laffey train
Oh Laffey train take this state, come take me home again
Now I’ve been smiling lately,thinking about laffey representing me
And I believe it could be, something to keep us all free
Oh Laffey train sounding louder
Glide on the laffey train
Come on now Laffey train
yes, Laffey train holy roller
Everyone’s jumping on the laffey train
Come on now Laffey train
We’re all Laffey together, All our friends are too
Cause it’s getting nearer, Laffey fighting for you
Now come and join with Laffey, his victory is close by
And it’s getting nearer, we won’t deny
Now I’ve been crying lately, thinking about chafee as he is
Why must we go on with him, why can’t we live in bliss
Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides the Laffey train
Oh Laffey train take this State, come take me home again.
Can’t be against this guy!

Bob Newton
Bob Newton
15 years ago

Chafee protests that his votes are votes of conscience. If he were honest, he would resign from the Senate now and run in November as a Democrat against the Republican appointed by the Governor. He won’t do that, which makes him a hypocrite (another typical Democrat trait).

Anthony
Anthony
15 years ago

Tom,
As you can probably tell, this blog represents a small but vocal group of conservatives who support Steve Laffey’s campaign.
As such there is a bias towards treating groups who support Laffey favorably, while treating groups who support Chafee negatively.
That is why you see criticism of the “out-of-state” national Republican Party while seeing praise for Club for Growth even though it is an out-of-state special interest group.
If it makes any difference, many bloggers on this site also feel that the RI Republican Party has abandoned the cause of conservativism because it is by and large supporting Chafee.
If you read this blog, you will find critcism launched at those entities that support Chafee and laudatory language towards those entities that support Laffey.

ballottra
ballottra
15 years ago

Pff! I wouldn’t know Laffey if he walked into my livingroom naked and introduced himself (how that might affect my vote, I couldn’t say). I’ve been far more active politically on the national than the local front, because it’s hard for a conservative not to see Rhode Island as a lost cause, even when it’s my lost cause.
But the slow drip of annoyance at having my senator always play spoiler for the party has made me pay attention, for once. And the NRSC’s idiotic behavior is working me up to a fine, ankle-biting rage. Laffey will have to turn out to be a pretty rotten candidate not to get my vote. And even then, I won’t make my mark for Chafee.

Bob Newton
Bob Newton
15 years ago

I am a Rhode Islander, not an outsider. As a matter of Realpolitik, the NRSC has to watch carefully and be prepared to adjust its strategy. Their full-out support for Chafee is painting them into a corner. Here are some decision factors:
1. If control of the Senate is at risk due to to seat losses in other states but it’s close, the RNC needs Chafee to keep committee chairs. Hold your nose.
2. If enough other seats are lost causes that it doesn’t matter whether we lose RI, then cutting Chafee loose frees $$ for other uses and gives RI Republicans a chance to find a real candidate.
3. If enough other seats stay/turn Republican so that there is a comfortable margin, the RNC should cut Chafee loose, save $$, demonstrate some spine, and find a real candidate for next time.
Laffey resembles Huey Long or Buddy Cianci a little too much for me to trust him. His acts as Mayor indicate that his ego is enraptured by political power.

Marc Comtois
15 years ago

Tom, What Anthony seems to continually miss (or dismiss) is that we are a conservative blog, not a Republican blog. We all haven’t been onboard the “Laffey train” from the start–not by any means. Go back and read some of the older posts and you’ll see that there were many comments sections in which Laffey supporters accused AR contributors of being Chafee shills. Thus, the two didn’t/don’t always line up, despite what Anthony implies. I’ve been critical of Mayor Laffey in the past (Guatamala, anyone?) I’ll continue to do so when he goes against conservative principles. In fact, it is the frequency with which Sen. Chafee has gone against conservative principles that made many of us on AR anti-Chafee long before becoming pro-Laffey.
If you’re truly interested in how the whole issue has evolved, this post shows where I was last year. Not enamored with Chafee, not convinced about Laffey. To get a true flavor of the last year of debate, go to our the RI Senate ’06 category, go all the way to the bottom and read up. It’s all there.

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