February 7, 2006

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.

Congress Internecine Politics 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!

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2006 7:23 PM

Well bashing big oil doesn't make him any different than Arlen Specter. http://www.threesources.com/archives/002323.html
.. and you defended him.

What important is what NRO outlined where Laffey beats Chafee.
"He supports tax cuts and the war in Iraq, opposes corporate welfare and other forms of wasteful spending"

Spirit of '94.

Posted by: AlexC at February 8, 2006 12:44 AM

Scurrilous charge! I believe that I have said exactly ONE nice thing about Senator Specter in four years of blogging. That was a well deserved kudo for his handling of the Alito hearings (where I was joined by many conservatives including Sugar Chuck who had convinced me to support the Toomey primary bid [which I did]).

I supported the Toomey bid because Specter was set to chair the Judiciary Committee and I didn't expect the future kudos I'd be sending his way.

I would support a primary against Voinovich in Ohio; I would not mind trying to bump Hegel in Nebraska (although a perusal of his voting record in the Almanac looks good). States where you could conceivably take out a wishy-washy-lican and have a good shot at electing a real conservative -- I'm in!

I'll even applaud a Quixotic thrust at a Chafee, Snowe, or Collins. I'm just going to spend my money where I feel it will have a better impact.

Defending Specter, jeez, the abuse I take around here...

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2006 10:43 AM

Over the weekend I heard Voinovich say nice things about John Bolton - no more tears! Still think he should go? (I don't know much more about him, I'm just askin'.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2006 10:48 AM

"Lachrymose George" came on my radar the day insisted that the final committee version of the 2003 tax cuts could not exceed $350 Billion or he wouldn't support them. From The Almanac of American Politics:

"Voinovich came to the Senate, after 32 years in public office, as a big government Republican, willing to back tax increases as he did in 1992 but dubious about cutting them, as he was in 1999 and 2000. In his previous positions he had been required to balance budgets, and he seemed viscerally repelled by deficits. In 1999 he voted against the Republicans' $792 billion tax cut, against the smaller Democratic tax cut, and against the bipartisan moderates' compromise tax cut. In April 2000 he was one of two Republicans to vote against the Republican budget. In July 2000 he was one of four Republicans to vote against estate tax repeal and the only Republican to vote against marriage penalty relief. He did support the Bush tax cuts in May 2001, when it looked as if the surplus would be permanent. In October 2001 he worked to scale back the tax cuts in House Republicans' stimulus package. In February 2003 he came out against the $700 billion Bush tax cut and in April he and Olympia Snowe insisted they would back no cut higher than $350 billion. That led Finance Chairman Charles Grassley and Majority Leader Bill Frist to say they would insist on that figure from conference, to the rage of the House Republican leadership."

EEEW! Again, browsing the "key votes," his other votes look pretty good: no to an ANWR ban, Yes to Iraq war funding. I'd take points off for backing an Assault Weapons ban, shrug my shoulders at a "Y" on same-sex marriage ban. He opposed Roe V. Wade and supported a partial-birth abortion ban -- I doubt if either votes gets him support from JohnGalt.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2006 11:11 AM

Ok, maybe defended was too harsh a term.

Oh, here's some more commentary this AM.
"Republicans in Rhode Island say that Sen. Chafee had given private assurances that he would be supporting the Alito Supreme Court nomination. His reversal on this issue drew a public rebuke from his most reluctant supporter, popular Gov. Don Carcieri (R), and endangers him in his primary race against Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey (R). Laffey must now be considered the narrow frontrunner in the Republican Senate primary after crossing the $1-million mark and outraising Chafee in individual contributions for the quarter."

Posted by: AlexC at February 8, 2006 12:29 PM | What do you think? [6]