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This from R.I.'s lame-duck Senator:

Chafee, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters that he did not believe Bolton's nomination would move forward without his support.

"The American people have spoken out against the president's agenda on a number of fronts, and presumably one of those is on foreign policy," the Rhode Island moderate told The Associated Press.

"And at this late stage in my term, I'm not going to endorse something the American people have spoke out against."

In a way, it's sad that this last bastion of liberal Republicanism had to die for the cause, but I suppose it's his own fault for staying with the sinking ship.  Still, it's refeshing that he's probably leaving the party now anyway, even though it does him no political good.  Not to mention respecting the will of the voters and resisting a coup d'etat by a lame-duck congress.  The man has integrity.

Originally posted to Deeg on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:05 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree ... (13+ / 0-)

    I know I'll flamed for this, but he was one of the last "good" Republicans out there.  Even though his first vote is something that we disagreed with him on, he usually stood up for what was right.  

    I find it ironic that if he had been disloyal and switched parties, he would have been re-elected.  

    •  He should have jumped parties... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zack from the SFV
      ...long ago.

      That said, he's in a position to kill Pombo's Endangered Species Act "update", and probably will.  Pombo, in his way-late concession speech, said he wanted to push it through in the Lame Duck.

      I predict:  Pombo will go out failing (thank goodness), and Chaffee will go out on a good note.

  •  Too bad about Chafee (6+ / 0-)

    Lincoln Chafee really wasn't a bad guy.  He was the last holdout of the old Rockefeller wing of the GOP, and someone who understood that people of good faith can disagree.  It's really a pity he didn't follow Jim Jeffords and become and independent caucusing with the Democrats -- it almost certainly would have saved his seat.

    •  Being an independent isn't easy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sbdenmon

      Having a party infrastructure is very useful, particularly when it comes to fundraising, handling the intracacies of election law, hiring staff, etc.  Plus, it isn't easy for anyone to shake party loyalty, particularly when it's part of your family legacy, as it is with Chafee.  I feel bad for him too.  I grew up in New York State at a time when the GOP had officeholders who were more liberal/progressive than a hell of a lot of Democrats were -- Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, Louis Lefkowitz, Kenneth Keating, John Lindsay.  Then the Goldwater/Reagan faction in the party became predominent, and little by little these people were driven out of the party.  Hell, the first African-American Senator since Reconstruction was a Republican, Ed Brooke of Massachusetts (in fact, he was the first black senator elected by popular vote, senators used to be chosen by the state legislatures).  Times sure have changed.

      •  Goldwater and Brooke (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fairfax

        As it happens, I'm from Massachusetts.  I'm not old enough to remember Brooke, but he's thought of fondly here.  That legacy lives on a little in our new governor-elect, Deval Patrick, the Bay State's first black governor, and only the second in the nation.

        Goldwater is a figure who bears closer study.  He was a true conservative, who genuinely believed in smaller government.  He would have had no time for today's big-spending social conservatives and "neo-cons."  This is most epitomized in his attitude toward gays, which was essentially, "It's none of governemnt's business."  In some ways he was so far right he'd circled around to the left again.

        •  But Remember (0+ / 0-)

          Goldwater is a figure who bears closer study.  He was a true conservative, who genuinely believed in smaller government.  He would have had no time for today's big-spending social conservatives and "neo-cons."  This is most epitomized in his attitude toward gays, which was essentially, "It's none of governemnt's business."  In some ways he was so far right he'd circled around to the left again

          But Remember, Goldwater opposed the civil rights movement and exploited oppossition to it in the south and viola, the "southern startegy" was born and we as a nation have been paying dearly for it ever since.

          •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ducktape, fairfax

            I'm just saying he's a more interesting and complicated figure than one might think at first glance.  And unlike many of today's pols, he actually BELIEVED what he said.  That counts for something, even when you disagree.

            •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ducktape

              He also hated to see billions of dollars thrown away on military pork spending, I remember seeing him being interviewed by someone many years ago, maybe Charlie Rose, and he related how he managed to block appropriations for a plane that Al D'Amato was all hot for (it would have been built by Grumman which was then located in D'Amato's Nassau County, Long Island territory).  Goldwater told of actually going up and flying the plane, saying it was a very nice one, but we already had others just as good, and managing to kill it.  He also broke down in tears when discussing his late wife Peggy (she had died a year or two before), and spoke of his regrets about having pretty much abandoned her and the kids during most of his first stretch of duty in the Senate, and ended with some advice to anyone interested in a career in the upper reaches of politics:  Go home, hug the wife and kids, spend more time with them and less time prowling the halls of Congress and on the rubber chicken circuit, because the thing you'll regret most when you're old is not having been there when they were young.  He was relaxed and smiling when he said that, but you could see the pain behind the grin and the sparkling eyes.

          •  No, actually, he did not. (0+ / 0-)

            One thing to understand about Goldwater was that he was principled ... and uncompromising. He had voted FOR all of the civil rights bills up until the 1964 bill, and didn't then because of his interpretation of the effect that certain elements of its language would have. That was the "uncompromising" part.

            Of course, that was WAY too nuanced for all those rednecks who just decided that - yay! - they finally had a fellow racist they could vote for. I was in Alabama in 1964, and my parents had been working trying to get the Republican Party established as a viable alternative instead of just the RINOs who got the Post Office jobs when the Republicans took the White House. I saw all those racists flooding over -- the same ones that, two years before, I'd been fighting against when I would walk black people into the court house to register to vote.

            Listen to Goldwater's actual words. He despised the religious right and said that, in the future, they'd probably call him a liberal. He was very much a conservationist. He also said what came to his mind and, if someone misinterpreted it, that was their problem. Of course, that characteristic also was how he was used as an icon for authoritarian conservatives (instead of the libertarian conservatives, which he was), as well as the race politics of Nixon's Southern Strategy.

            And, by the way, he just despised Nixon. In the last election where he expressed a public preference, it was for the local Democratic candidate, and that so pissed off the Republican Party of AZ that they tried to have his name taken off the buildings they'd put it on.

            Barry Goldwater was a righteous dude and a man of character. I never did agree with everything he stood for, but I never doubted his sincerity or honesty,

            America will never again be the land of the free... Until she again becomes the home of the brave.

            by Ducktape on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 11:40:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  And the payoff of the Southern Strategy (0+ / 0-)

            is that it's now a Southern Party who alienated themselves out of the majority.  Goldwater was, then, good all around!

  •  Chaffe is a good guy (7+ / 0-)

    In almost any other situation I would have voted for him, I wish he had switched parties before the election(he is now considering it). However, I voted for Whitehouse because I wanted to see us get the majority and suponea power.

  •  Most people in his position (2+ / 0-)

    can't see for forest for the trees.  And now all the trees around him have been cut down.  

    If I seem a little insensitive or clueless it is due to my having Asperger's Syndrome.

    by altscott on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:20:08 AM PST

  •  It sucks... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ducktape, RoIn, flo58, sbdenmon, phriendlyjaime

    I would be happier to have Chafee as my senator than most southern Dems (and as it is I'm stuck with Alexander & soon Corker), because he's a good guy by any standard.

    One of the things I most resent about the modern GOP is that I will likely never have the option of voting for a person instead of a party, because they are a machine that chews decent people like Chafee up and spits them out.

    Democrats always act as though they're afraid they'll lose, so people look at them and see losers. -Paul Waldman

    by latts on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:20:39 AM PST

  •  It was a classy and courageous act. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spit, flo58, nickabood

    You can say "thanks" here.

    "I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." -- Adlai Stevenson

    by sbdenmon on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:26:03 AM PST

  •  Not a bad guy? (0+ / 0-)

    talk about damn with faint praise.  He was not a good guy by virtue of his remaining a Republican and caucusing with them.  If he had true progressive convictions or found the Republican party not representing his convictions, then he should have done what Jeffords did and gone independent and caucused with the Dems.  To leave his party now is a hollow gesture.  To do it when he was in office would have been courageous.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:26:20 AM PST

    •  Hey listen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ducktape, RoIn, sbdenmon

      He voted against the Iraq War Resolution (need I list the Dems who didn't?), and he's going to keep Bolton from being approved as Ambassador to the UN.  As I noted in another comment, it isn't easy to leave your party, particularly when it's part of your family legacy.  If you'd known a time when there were high profile liberal Republicans like I do, you'd realize how tough a thing this was for Chafee.  Besides, what makes you think the local Dems would have welcomed him?  Do you think the guy who just beat him wanted him to leave the GOP?  

      He was a thoroughly decent public servant, and his conduct the last couple of days is admirable.  

  •  The GOP left him (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peace voter, JDPITALIA, sbdenmon

    When Jeffords left the party back in 2001 he said that he did not feel like he was leaving the party, but that the party was leaving him.  I think that really describes what happened to Chaffee.  The GOP has no use for old line New England Republicans.   It is now mainly a Southern, profit oriented group.

    When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

    by flo58 on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:28:26 AM PST

  •  I do (9+ / 0-)

    I found a great deal to respect in Senator Chafee.

    That he understands his electorates reasoning for replacing him with a Dem despite his approval rating (+60%) says even more.

    I can't begin to imagine his frustration with the past Congress.

    I look forward to seeing how he decides to continue his public service.

  •  It's OK to give him credit NOW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peace voter

    but some dimwits (Carl Pope and the Sierra Club) and some not so dim (Steve Clemons) urged his re-election.

    I guess they wanted Cheney to have power choosing the Senate Leader and all of the committee chairs.

    I am contributing to the graying of the blogosphere.

    by forkush on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 10:28:59 AM PST

    •  Voters apparently thought like you (0+ / 0-)

      I heard that exit polling was pretty clear that a very large percentage of people honestly liked Chafee, but knew a vote for him was a vote to keep the Republicans in control and voted according to that rather than their thoughts on the candidates themselves.

      That is just sad. Although these lunatic neocons have a tendency to self-destruct for us, I'd give anything to have elections be a battle between decent, honest Republicans and decent, honest Democrats. Even though I disagree with them on an awful lot of issues, I don't have a problem with Republicans. However, I do have a serious problem with these Republicans - namely the neocons (formerly) in charge.

      If the Republican party cleaned themselves of those corrupt losers, I could really live with the occassional Republican majority. I'd certainly put my money and effort behind a Democratic majority all the time, but I can live with being occassionally in the minority when the majority is decent and honorable. It's too bad for the Republicans that their majority hasn't been decent, and it's hard to even use the word "honor" in the same sentence. With corrupt and destructive brain trusts like Newt, Delay, Cheney, Rove, etc. etc. it's not surprising that a lot of decent Republicans are feeling abandoned by their own party. I was quite surprised by the number of Democratic candidates this year that included "used to be Republican but felt abandoned by their party" in their bios!

  •  I never suggested a vote for him (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fabacube, sbdenmon, fairfax

    If for no other reason than the fact that Whitehouse is going to be a reliably progressive Senator.  Voting for Chafee given the national implications would have been silly, and the R.I. voters deserve credit for understanding that.  However, that doesn't mean you can't respect the guy for his personal integrity.

  •  Well (0+ / 0-)

    there's also the beginnings of rumors that he's leaving the GOP, finally.

    msnbc

    I've never had a big problem with Chafee. But I think he should've come to the conclusion a few years ago that his place was no longer with the GOP; had he gone indy, he'd probably still be in power after January.

    Anyway, better late than never, and it can only continue the narrative in our favor if he does switch and continue on with public life. His positions have always been fairly reasonable, it was his inadvertant "carrying water" for the republicans that was a problem.

  •  Interesting to speculate... (0+ / 0-)

    If Chafee had won, leaving the Senate at 50-50, would he have left the party like Jeffords did?  I suspect the answer is yes, but we'll never really know.

  •  I hope Chafee becomes a Democrat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    patginsd
  •  Chafee was sacrificed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kenmarable

    This guy has so much class, even after being defeated, he's going to help the Dems stop Bolton's confirmation. Here's the email I just sent to Senator Chafee:

    This isn't about a legislative issue and I'm not one of your constituents. I just wanted to say this is one Democrat sorry to see you sacrificed in our effort to stop the neo-cons in Washington. You have been an honorable Senator who considered issues on merit instead of party, and I dearly regret that you were caught up in this national message to Mr. Bush. I hope you will continue in politics in some capacity, even running again in 08. You are too valuable to sit on the sidelines.

    Thank you for your years of caring and concern for the residents of Rhode Island and all Americans.

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