Rhode Island - Senate
It's time for another episode of the left wing's favorite TV, "Internecine". Where generally agreeable free-market capitalist types feast on their own to find out who reigns supreme.
The opening volley begins with an editorial from the National Review.
The argument that conservatives should support Chafee rests entirely on the assumption that he's the only Republican who can win in Rhode Island. This logic may be what has led the National Republican Senatorial Committee to continue throwing resources behind him. The assumption may or may not be true, but, whatever the case, it is far from clear that the GOP — to say nothing of conservatives — gains anything from Chafee's continued presence in the Senate. When votes really matter, he can't be counted on. Positions such as the one he took on Alito allow Democrats and the media to speak of "bipartisan opposition" to the Bush administration. And if the GOP's majority ever depended on Chafee alone, there's every reason to believe he'd bolt the party, just as James Jeffords of Vermont did in 2001.
There is an alternative. Steven Laffey, the Republican mayor of Cranston, is running against Chafee in the September primary. His underdog campaign has shown both pluck and promise. Laffey has a track record of winning Democratic votes: That's the only way he could have been elected two times as mayor of Cranston, a city of about 80,000 residents, most of them Democrats. But on key issues, Laffey is a conservative: He supports tax cuts and the war in Iraq, opposes corporate welfare and other forms of wasteful spending, and is pro-life. The Club for Growth has decided to back him. His campaign has unfortunately chosen to bash "Big Oil" in some of its early advertising — but, as we said, it's difficult to be a Republican in Rhode Island.
Nothing quite like picking at a scab. Read their whole editorial.
Posted by AlexC at February 7, 2006 6:30 PM
I had opposed this before on the grounds that Chafee votes for GOP leadership in the Senate and I think that the NR folks gloss over that lightly and that Committee Chairpersonships are important. Before Jeffords, the Democrats tried Chafee and he held.
The Club For Growth and certainly jk have limited resources to spend on elections. My point remains that there are better plays out there than Laffey's primary bid.
The editorial made me even less enthused after I read that Laffey is bashing big oil in his early ads. That portends poorly in a state where there will be intense pressure to "grow" in office; he might grow into a new Lincoln Chafee!