For what it's worth, a friend of mine emailed me last night:
"I returned from the South Kingstown Town Hall meeting with Lincoln Chafee about an hour ago. I only attended about 45 min of the 1 hr 15 min meeting.
The attendance was OK, about 40-50 folks, but the room filled to capacity. Seemed primarily progressives, Democrats, or left wing types. Some Lyndon Larouche supporters were there handing out booklets-- one booklet entitled: "Stop George Shultz's Drive To Fascism".
I missed Chafee's discussion about Social Security. He was brave to face people obviously upset with him and his voting tendencies. People tried to ask him how he could support Bush. No answer. I think he just likes Bush, and is trying to be hopeful and optimistic that something good might come of his administration. The audience found this hard to believe.
I learned some things from big Linc tonight:
- "Hope" is Rhode Island's state motto. This was Linc's response to some lefty doomsayer that we're heading down the sewer drain.
- Sen McCain is a moderate. He was shaped into a moderate during his presidential run in 2000.
- Private SS accounts will probably not happen during this administration.
- Bolton has Chafee's vote, despite much applause from the audience to all speakers who condemned Bolton.
- National health care is DEAD.
- Homeland security and Medicaid are colossal programs that are robbing programs aimed to help the poor and middle class.
- When asked if he had a vision for the middle class, whose numbers are slipping, big Linc rambled on about FDR and Levittown, and post WW2 suburbanization and economic boom. Linc did not think this out before he spoke and he was pathetically out-of-touch. Too much time in the DC townhouse or at the Chafee beach compound.
- Condi Rice and Bushwacker are much more aligned in their political philosophy and vision than Powell and Bushleague were. According to big Link, Condi and Bushwood work out each morning at the WH on their exercise bikes and talk policy. They're doing a great job... according to Linc.
- One third of all blogs worldwide are in Iran's native language of Farsi. According to Linc, from this blog traffic the majority of Iranians support western philosophy. How this statement is supported is uncertain.
- There will be another presidential election where all Americans will have a chance to elect a new person as president. [Really? Is he implying that Bush won't ban future elections?]
My observations, for what it's worth:
- Chafee was brave to come meet with these folks, who were clearly on the other end of the political spectrum.
- Each showed complete respect for the other. However, many in the audience could not hide their disbelief that Linc could support Bushtrimmer in any way.
- If Linc's last name were Johnson, or Smith, or any other non-RI patriarchal name, he would be the night shift manager at the Starbucks in Garden City.
- He doesn't seem to understand the gravity of the problems Bushclipper has, or is, creating. He thinks opposite. He used the word "Hope" too many times.
- I won't vote for him if there is another, more viable candidate. He showed me nothing other than patience to listen to an opposing view. His counter arguments, rather statements, were weak and unrelated to the question.
- many audience speakers were nothing more than liberal wimps just complaining. In Chafee's defense, some of the statements made by people could not be responded to in kind. This must be the demise of the Democrats or liberals. They can't put thoughts and observations into stand-alone bullets. They have to revisit history and half-lecture and half-pontificate current problems with no question to be answered. One guy made a pointless statement about too much spending on defense and scare-tactics and on and on. Then he started to complain about education budgets! 5 minutes of bantering. Then the guy stopped and thanked Chafee for listening to him complain, without ever getting to the question. Just awful. No wonder Ken Lay is golfing this weekend.
Anyway. Don't expect any big showdown between Big Linc and Bushshaker. I am looking to Jack Reed.
Many people around here are just totally fed up. Exasperated. They've just had enough. Chafee is a decent guy, but he ultimately does not represent Rhode Islanders. -N.B.