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R.I. Senate: Does Chafee's Future Hinge on Alito Vote?

With the confirmation vote on Samuel A. Alito Jr. nearing, Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R) faces a Hobson's choice that could dramatically affect his reelection campaign this November.

GOP Sen. Chafee is being challenged on the left and the right. (AP Photo)

Chafee remains the most high-profile undecided senator on Alito, and regardless of which side he eventually chooses, he can expect to be bashed for it.

Chafee faces a primary challenge from Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey (R). Should he get through that race, he will face off against either former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (D) or Secretary of State Matt Brown (D) in a state that went for the Democratic presidential candidate by 20 points in 2004.

A Chafee vote for Alito will make for considerable fodder for either Brown or Whitehouse. But a vote against Alito could give Laffey the GOP nomination.

Asked about the seeming conundrum, Chafee campaign manager Ian Lang said that "from a purely political standpoint this is a lose-lose situation."  Lang said Chafee will put aside political interests, however, and make a decision that is in the "best interests of the country and the best interests of Rhode Island."

Laffey, who is running as a populist outsider and to Chafee's ideological right, has already sought to make the senator's indecision on Alito an issue in the campaign. "As long as we have known Senator Chafee he has shied away from taking a firm stance on the critical issues of the day," Laffey said in a recent news release.  The release also noted that Chafee didn't vote for President George W. Bush in 2004, recalling Chafee's decision to cast a symbolic vote for former President George H.W. Bush instead.

A source close to Laffey said "voting against Alito, and doing so in the indecisive manner in which [Chafee] is conducting himself, underscores exactly what Rhode Island Republicans most dislike about Chafee -- he sides with the liberals on all the big issues, and he's weak and can't make up his mind."

Chafee, perhaps the most moderate Republican in the Senate, must be cognizant of the Republican base as he weighs how to respond to Laffey's primary challenge.  All registered Republicans are eligible to vote in the Sept. 12 primary, as are registered independents. Democrats must re-register in order to vote in the Republican primary -- an unlikely proposition given that Brown and Whitehouse are staging their own competitive primary. 

So in order to win the GOP primary, Chafee must not only convince a cavalcade of independents to support him but also take a chunk of traditional Republican votes. With that calculation in mind, one source close to the Chafee campaign said the the senator "can survive a 'yes' [on Alito] vote a lot easier in the general election than he can survive a 'no' vote in the primary election."

So does Chafee vote "yes" in hopes of locking up a primary victory, thus putting his general election chances in doubt?  Or does he vote "no" and live with the consequences?  We will know soon. The full Senate is expected to vote on the Alito nomination as early as next week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 26, 2006; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Politics and the Court , Senate  
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As a Rhode Islander I can say without a doubt that Steve Laffey is not a populist.

As a political buff, I can back that statement up with facts and figures. Fact is, Laffey has the highest unfavorables out of anyone seeking state or federal office in RI. Hardly popular, let alone a populist

Posted by: peter | January 27, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Buck, I'm glad you brought up the Bolton hearings because I believe Chafee's position on Bolton has been pretty consistent: he said repeatedly that the senate ought to approve presidents' nominees except in the most extraordinary circumstances. He pledged to vote for Bolton.

I also don't think voting for Alito would especially hurt him amongst Democrats. The voters who are most concerned about Alito would have voted against Chafee anyway (that is, I think moderate Democrats and independents would not be too upset over a vote for Alito).

If I were Chafee, voting for Alito would be an easy decision. It would be both principled and beneficial to me in the primary.

Posted by: matt | January 27, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

from the RI Future blog (

To confirm, or not to confirm: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outraged primary voters,
Or to filibuster against a sea of Alitos,
And by opposing end them. To lose: to serve;
No more; and by a loss to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That service is heir to, ('tis an inheritance that put me in this position, after all)
To run, to lose;
To lose: but perhaps to win; aye, there's the rub;
For in that vote to confirm what opposition may come, when we have shuffled up this Supreme Court, must give us pause: There's the respect, that makes calamity of being a both a liberal and a Republican;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of Laffey: Carcieri's wrong, Delay's contumely,
The pangs of despised votes, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a vote to oppose? who would Bushs' bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary party,
But that the dread of something after losing,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No politician returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

Posted by: RI Populist | January 27, 2006 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Buck, Gary is touched. As you say, he brings up an entire article that completely obliterates his point. Gary, don't have a cow. There's enough medication for you man... Buck I actually feel sorry for people like Gary. They are in the majority in every sense of the word, but yet they are mad as hell when you try to have a sensible conversation...ooops...I forgot...they are not capable of that. Gary, you go to sleep you miserable fool! Oops, I forgot, you can't go to sleep, there are other mental patients in your ward that are making too much noise!

Posted by: Marve | January 26, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

As a liberal Democrat I have ambivalent feelings about Chafe. Obviously I prefer the Democrats recapture the Senate but it's a shame to lose a reasonable voice. Once upon a time the Republican Party had judicious minded people and were not the party of ignorant barbarians like today. Since then most so called "moderate Republicans" have become lap dogs who empower fundamentalists and corporatists. Chafe however has more integrity than many of the moderate Republicans who have caved and it's a shame if the country loses him.

Overall best term which describes these people now is "Brezhnev Republicans" becasue they personify corruption, incompetence, tyranny and everything that his indecent.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | January 26, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Good night liberals! Go to sleep miserable, have sweet dreams that make you miserable and wake up tomorrow being more miserable than ever. Blame it on Bush, losers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bucky:

The facts hurt don't they? Just like your party you're a loser. You can't debate on merit the facts that judges such as the one in Vermont are a disgrace, can you? Why? because it proves my point. Yes I brought up the issue but it ties into the Alito nomination and the hysteria from your liberal moron's in the Senate who fear the backlash from George Soros and MOVEON.ORG for not defeating him. You're bucked up!!! If I am a nut then why aren't you and the no idea defeatacrats who you support in the majority???????????? You liberals are the most uninformed idiotic people one can ever meet.

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Gary is becoming comical. If I didn't know any better, I would have guessed that Gary was really some liberal prankster mascarading as a wingnut. No such luck! I have met people like Gary... Unfortunately, they can't tell truth from fiction--even among their own crackpot writings. This is why Gary is teeing off on the issue that he himself had brought up. He thinks it's truth when it suits his purposes, but fiction when someone points out that it means exactly the opposite of what he intended.

Yup! Gary is a Republican. Welcome to the Bush-world.

Posted by: Buck | January 26, 2006 8:18 PM | Report abuse

You ignorant liberals ignore what your activist judges are doing to this country. It's your last bastian of power. You call Alito extreme yet Ginsburg is mainstream? How does a LIBERAL judge in Vermont sentence a child rapist to 60 days in prison and get away with it with no outrage from the people in Vermont? Do yu liberals have kids? Are you okay with these nutcase liberal judges legislating from the bench with their ideology instead reading the laws and doing whats right to put these slimebags away? what if it was your child who was molested and the guy got 60 days? Are you okay with this? who is the extremists! Bush is putting an end to this out of control liberal anarchy of judges with Alito & Roberts. You people can't stop it and shame on you in Vermont for not seeking to get this judge off the bench!!!! Liberals, Liberals, In Vermont if the guy killed a dog he would get 10 years in prison, go figure.

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Amidst your vitriol you continued to question: why should Democrats get to choose a nominee when Bush and the GOP are in power?

Strangely enough you provided the most compelling answer, a win-win situation that took place in the Clinton years. I quote below from your own posting.

I don't understand how the significance of an anecdote you posted yourself flew so substantially over your head.

"How Clinton Treated Hatch
When President Clinton made his two judicial nominations to the Supreme Court, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The following is an excerpt from Hatch's autobiography:

[It] was not a surprise when the President called to talk about the appointment and what he was thinking of doing.

President Clinton indicated he was leaning toward nominating Bruce Babbitt, his Secretary of the Interior, a name that had been bouncing around in the press. Bruce, a well-known western Democrat, had been the governor of Arizona and a candidate for president in 1988. Although he had been a state attorney general back during the 1970s, he was known far more for his activities as a politician than as a jurist. Clinton asked for my reaction.

I told him that confirmation would not be easy. At least one Democrat would probably vote against Bruce, and there would be a great deal of resistance from the Republican side. I explained to the President that although he might prevail in the end, he should consider whether he wanted a tough, political battle over his first appointment to the Court.

Our conversation moved to other potential candidates. I asked whether he had considered Judge Stephen Breyer of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. President Clinton indicated he had heard Breyer's name but had not thought about Judge Ginsberg."

Posted by: Perplexed by Gary | January 26, 2006 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, it seems the true Gary has come out! I don't see any further need to comment on this subject.

As for Alito, Chaffee's courageous statement would be to challenge his own party and vote the little conscience he has left. I suspect that the impact of this vote is overstated and he'll lose the general election any way. But, at least, he won't go down in history as a spineless slug that he was during the Bolton hearings, leaving it to Hagel and Voinovich to speak up. My second suspicion is that he does not have enough conscience to do it and that he is indeed the very spineless slug that he's demonstrated himself to be in the past. I would like to be pleasanly surprised, however. Positive surprises come so rarely from the Repubes.

Posted by: Buck | January 26, 2006 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Chaffee needs to vote for Alito and take his chances against a Democrat, even in RI. Perhaps if he has the guts to do so he'll get some help in the election campaign from other Repuplicans from other states like mine, North Carolina.

Posted by: Peter A. | January 26, 2006 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Buck:

I bet you have a nice slum somewhere for your minority friends who have been voting for your idiot do nothing democrats in congress for the past 40 years. Sooner or later they're going to wake up and understand its the democrat party who are doing nothing for them and keeping them oppressed so they can get their votes. What have the democrats done for the blacks over the past 40 years other than make sure they keep getting their handouts. Our black american friends can make it on their own thats why you racists liberals fear condeleeza and a Michael Steele from Maryland because they're republicans and sussessful, how dare them be successful and a republican!! So what do you priceless liberals you try and smear them! The only thing I can add to your ignorant posting is Buck you!!!

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Gary: Get out the blood pressure medication. You're killing yourself.

You could have kept that last blog to: We won. We have the votes. We choose. If you can ever win, you choose.

Posted by: RI Native in DC/VA | January 26, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Gary and Karen are prime examples of why Repubes in RI just might make the laughable choice and vote for Laffey. He can then proceed to lose by 40 points statewide.

Chaffee is by far the worst Senator at the moment. He lacks the intellectual capacity and conviction of his father, but he still has the name recognition and incumbency that gives him a chance in the state. If Repubes had any brain, they would take his floundering and soul searching (it's hard to find what's not there) and make sure that he is essentially unopposed. If Dems in RI had any brain, they'd make sure that the Chaffee books is finally closed.

Chances are that both voting blocks are too stupid and too entrenched to do what is best for themselves. Note that I am not implying that what's best for either party is good for either the state or the country, although getting rid of Lincoln is a pretty good thing for both, on the balance.

As for Alito being Italian, only the most prejudiced *Italians* would bother making that connection. No one cares about Alito's ethnic background. Filial piety is really inappropriate here. Alito's position represents a direct opposite of historical positions of Italian-Americans and American Catholics, with one exception. That exception has been blown out of proportion for the past 30 years with the sole purpose to polarize those who can't tell the difference between truth and propaganda, between what's good for them and what's good for the theives that seek to fleece them. People who vote Republican today have been sold the American dream... for someone else. I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn they might be interested in.

Posted by: Buck | January 26, 2006 6:29 PM | Report abuse

No one wants to answer the question. How about you Moron Marve? when a democrat is the president he gets to choose supreme court picks and when the republican is president he has to choose who the democrats want? When did this happen?

You down trodden defeatist miserable liberals need to face reality you are in the minority and there is a reason why. You're out of touch with mainstream americans, this is why you lose every election, your party is devoid of any ideas, you appease our enemies, your leaders give talking points to our enemies, its your party who are the racists and bigots and homophobes! Its your judges who give a 60 day sentence to a child rapist yet will give 10 years to someone who mistreats a dog or cat. Its your judges who seek foreign law to make decisions. Its your judges who want to take God out of the pledge and our money. Its your judges who try to hijack Christmas when 90% of the country celebrates it. Its your party and judges who won't let us seek energy independence because we may harm some caribou in Alaska.Its your judges who are the extremists, you fear Roberts and Alito because they will read the constitution and do wahats right thats what you socialist, communists Cindy Sheehan supporters fear. Do you think you will ever win elections when mainstream americans see Jimmie 17% interest rates Carter sits with Michael Moore at the democratic convention, Cindy Sheehan on the same stage with Hugo Chavez, Hillary Clinton with nutcase Harry Belafonte? You people don't understand mainstream americans feel sorry for you because you're nuts! Good luck trying to get back in power you lost again with Alito you losers get use to it!! Tell your do nothing hate american cut & run terrorist appeasing Senators to come up with some ideas, maybe the opposition party electorate will listen.

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

As Jason said earlier, "Regarding what the actual blog subject is..."

There's a good chance that the Alito issue will be history 10 months from now anyway. Assuming that Gary and those who are supporting him in the blogs are Rhode Island voters, with the anger and vitriol (it is just as much against Linc as it is the Clintons, right?) Linc may have much more trouble in the primary than I imagined.

Now if they are simply national Republicans and not Rhode Island voters, they're probably wasting their time on this blog.

If Linc is such a horrible Republican, please explain why the Republican National Committee had spent almost a quarter of a million dollars in the state by November 2005 paying for ads which attacked Laffey? You had better believe that the RNC didn't act without Mr. Rove and the White House's approval.

Incidently, for those bloggers who keep thinking that because RI has voted for the Democrat candidate for President since Nixon in 1972, it is so "Blue" that all Democrats are a "lock," be aware of the continual election of Republican governors, mixed election of Federal officials, and numerous Republican officials in the 39 cities and towns. Linc was elected Mayor of Warwick four times, Steve Laffey is Mayor of Cranston, the two largest cities other than Providence. Vinny Cianci was elected Mayor of Providence as a Republican (but that's another blog altogether)

As to the blooger who complained about Clinton and radicals, etc. then and linked that to the state being "95% white" What more could a conservative Republican want? Idaho? [In the interest of accuracy, according to the 2000 census, RI was 85% white, which ranked 23rd of the 50 states. (Idaho ranks 8th)]

Gary and his buddies seem to make the case that the primary is very dangerous territory for Linc.

Adam posed a "3rd way" with Linc running as an Independent. But, had him declaring before the primary. I don't see him doing that. But, what if Linc loses the Republican primary. Would he run in the general election as an Independent? That could be fun.

Would the extremists have any say? Or, would it be just like the general election would have been anyway, except with the extremists out on the margins, thinking that they have a say?

Lastly, with respect to Linc being "weak." Whenever there is a close vote which is important to the President, Linc becomes one of the most powerful people in the Capitol.

Posted by: RI Native in DC/VA | January 26, 2006 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Gary is obviously an idiot for not recognizing the truth of the matter. Thomas and others, don't waste your breath! Gary...go back to school! Scalito is a wolf in sheep's know that, and we all know that. He should be voted down.

Posted by: Marve | January 26, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I have to respond to Nut Case liberal exile. Since when has the minority opposition party dictated who the nominee is? Bush won by 5 million votes and ran on putting in judges who were constructionists not nutcase liberals like Sandra Day O'Connor & Ruth Buzzi Ginsburg who seek foreign law to make there judgements! Great judges! Get over it losers you people are in the minority for a reason, you're so far out of touch with mainstream americans you will never be in the majority again! Why? Because you no longer can manipulate the media like you did for 40 years. There's a new media that exposes you extremist liars.

Again, let me get this straight moron exile, when a democrat is the president he gets to choose supreme court picks and when the republican is president he has to choose who the democrats want? Today we learn (I served in Vietnam) John Kerry wants to filibuster Alito. Please do this and make fools of yourselves. You liberals are crumbling faster then the DNC Times & your do nothing no idea party! Tell your democrat friends to keep giving talking points to Osama!!! Cut & Run Sissies!!!

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Gary's comment on Republicans voting yes on Ginsburg is a masterstroke of spin and deception. Republican Senators did indeed vote for her. But Why? This is what he DOESN'T tell you. Because Ginsburg was chosen from a list of Republican-approved nominees that Orrin Hatch gave to Clinton. I have no problem with that-- arguably, it's how "advise and consent" is supposed to work. Had Bush chosen his nominee from a Democrat-approved list given to him by Harry Reid, the nomination would fly through mostly unopposed as well. If you think Ginsburg is a lefty extremist, Orrin Hatch and the Republican leadership clearly disagreed with you. Your beef is with Hatch, not with Clinton. Now it is BUSH and the right who insist on ramming through an extremist, deceptively trying to pretend that the Democrats are the obstructionists. No, Bush alone is responsible for choosing a nominee that the other side could not stomach. Why is this simple and (I thought) well-known fact so absent from the debate? I blame the democrats for not repeating this fact on a daily basis.

Posted by: the exile | January 26, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The vote for Supreme Court Justice should not be a political choice! Ha, look who's whistling in the wind. The Democrats are outflanked on this one, and Alito should be confirmed. As for Chafee he, like any other senator, should vote his conviction. If it means the end of a solid political career, so be it. He should be able to look every constituent in the eye and say: "I didn't play politics with my vote, I voted the way I saw it. If he does I believe he will vote against Alito. It will be interesting to see the final alignment. If Alito goes down to defeat, it will be the crusher of crushes for Bush. You can bet in Republican ranks the chips are down, and all GOPers are on the proverbial spot.

Posted by: Big Dave | January 26, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I think that Republicans are the most pissed off majority party in history. They control everything, yet they are the angry ones. You guys are getting about 80% of what you want right now. Be happy with it, it's the golden age of conservative Christian ideology. As with all golden ages, it's going to end, so just enjoy it while you've got it.

Posted by: adam | January 26, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bro:

How's Air America doing? What about the DNC Times "The New York Times Company said today that its fourth-quarter earnings fell 41% from the same period a year ago". How about CNN, MSNBC, CBS News? seems to me nobody is tuning in to hear these liars in the liberal media. All you people are getting upset at articles because the truth exposes you people for what you are a party of do nothing cut & run terrorist appeasing sissies! see you bro!!!! Again, run with this in 06 & 08!!! By the way I was thinking about when Kerry was campaigning for President we always saw him coming out of a church holding a bible, why don't we see those glorious photo ops anymore?

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Gary, I hope you are being snarky and aren't that stupid. Just in case you actually are as stupid as it appears, think:

You've just shown that if Clinton acted like Bush has now, he WOULD have nominated Bruce Babbitt like he wanted to. But instead, he chose a CONSENSUS nominee, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was NOT his FIRST CHOICE. In fact, he picked Ginsburg and Breyer because they were amenable to the Repubs. Bush might have invited Leahy to the White House for consult, but as Leahy said, "REAL consultation is a TWO-WAY street." In other words, Bush didn't ask for Leahy's consultation, he just said, "Listen, This is Who I'm Picking, and I Don't Care What You Think."

I capitalized all that last part so you would understand HOW BUSH TREATED DEMOCRATS compared to HOW CLINTON TREATED REPUBS.

And as far as Chafee, he should just vote like every Senator always should--with his heart.

I really like the idea of an Independent New England caucus. They're really stuck in the middle anyway and the Repub leadership is too beholden to the Religious Right for their get-out-the-vote-like-we-tell-you-to that they've lost the true conservative vision they at least still had some of during Nixon and Reagan.

Posted by: thomas | January 26, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey bro! Any kool-aid left?

Nah? That's OK, I'll just go over and listen to Rush and Hugh and fill up at Karl's Koolaid Korner.

Posted by: Gary's buddy | January 26, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"he's weak and can't make up his mind"
On the contrary - unlike most Republicans in Congress, Chafee makes up his own mind, instead of doing what he's told by the "leadership". And if standing up to that bunch of bullies isn't strength, I don't know what is.

Posted by: E | January 26, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

To Uncle Bastard: The truth hurts about your miserable do nothing democrats with no ideas. When was the last time a democrat came up with a new policy issue for moving the country forward? Alito!!! Alito!!!!! Go republican's were winning everywhere yahoo!!! Go Hillary!! Go Hillary!!! Cattle Futures, Travelgate, File Gate. By the way Senator Byrd just announced he's voting for Alito! poor miserable democrats!!

2008 presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton announced Wednesday that she will vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, accusing him of having a "radical ideology" and a record of insensitivity to the civil rights of African Americans and women.

In a speech on the Senate floor Mrs. Clinton warned that if Alito is allowed to join the High Court, "decades of progress would fall prey to his radical ideology, jeopardizing not only civil rights, civil liberties, health and safety and environmental protections, but also fundamental rights like the right to privacy."

In a bid to paint Judge Alito as bigoted, Mrs. Clinton went so far as to invoke the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education, along with another civil rights case, before complaining:

"I think we need judges who will maintain that forward progress and despite his distinguished academic credentials, Judge Alito has not shown himself to be that kind of judge."

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gary,

How about not PLAGIARIZING entire stories from other sources without attribution, you scurrilous piece of sh*t? Leaving in the following confirms everything we ever thought about your sad lack ofintellectual rigor:

"(Story continues below)


Ya sad hack!

Posted by: Your Uncle Bastard | January 26, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Andy, Andy so let me get this straight when a democrat is the president he gets to choose supreme court picks and when the republican is president he has to choose who the democrats want? You people are really moron's and I can see why you have lost power everywhere. Alito, Alito, Alito!!!

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

What would be Chafee's grounds be for not voting for Judge Alito? That he is not qualified? No. That he is a radical? No. That he is not mainstream? No. He has no grounds. Does he mysteriously know how Alito will vote on another Roe vs Wade case? I don't think so. I tell you what, as a Massachusetts Republican, (yes there are a few of us, we are vocal and we win elections) if he does vote against Alito I guarantee you that the entire Mass contingent of R's will work down there to beat him, with whomever we find.

The dem's do not understand, that in order to fix this, they have to win. But they will not win, if they are trufthful with the American people about what they stand for.

Posted by: Hammerhead | January 26, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Chafee is "most moderate?" No, Chris, he's a most liberal. Such is a real problem for you media types. You need to call people what they actually are, not what you want us to think they are.
If the guy is going to vote Democrat or Green on the big ones, then there is no point in having him around except possibly because of the power balance that determines chairmanships.
I hope Lincoln Chafee gets blown out and by some miracle, Rhode Islanders get a clue and vote for a real Republican in the general. The nation will be better off.

Posted by: Dave Skinner | January 26, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Gary gary gary...Clinton asked Hatch which candidates Hatch would support. Hatch picked. Don't think Bush did that, did he? Let me know where I missed that part.

Oh yeah, I also missed the reference to Alito in your post. Did I miss that too?

Posted by: Andy | January 26, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Regarding what the actual blog subject is, I feel that no matter what party he is in, Sen. Chaffee has to vote no on Judge Alito. Otherwise he has no chance in a deep blue state like Rhode Island. He's manged to win before because he is perceived to be independent from the GOP. Voting for Alito will negatively affect that perception.

Posted by: Jason | January 26, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

hey Joe (Joe/Joe)!
I love the idea of the renegade NE independents...think there's any chance of a staffer for any of the delegation picking up the ball and rolling with it? It's about time we took Congress down a parliamenterian path and "coalition" politics is the way to do it.

Posted by: activist kaza | January 26, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Karen, would you like to explain why it's okay for the Republicans to not even allow Harriet Meirs a hearing?

Posted by: Jason | January 26, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if most R.I.'ers truly oppose Alito, with his Catholic background and pro-life ethic; or just would have rather had somebody else? Would Linc be really out-of-step with R.I.'ers if he votes "Yes?"

As far as Linc staying in office goes, a number of us have been like Pats fans thinking Super Bowl, before playing Denver. In this race Linc has to win in September to get to November. That's where a number of us are missing the key equation in the process.

Primary = low turnout
low turnout = easier to win, as extremists who are more likely to vote can shanghai election

Because the R.I. Republican Party is smaller, it's extremeists can have an even greater impact.

Unlike one comment above, in my part of Virginia Laffey would not win.

But here's an example from Virginia from the other side of the political spectrum as to how primaries can be a major problem. When you look at it, you can see that a low turnout primary was how Leslie Byrne got the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor. If you consider the number of Virginians who voted for Kerry/Edwards (1,454,742 votes) as a "Democratic Base," Leslie Byrne was nominated by 2.6% of her Party. Although she didn't stand a chance in the General Election Tim Kaine had no say in how the ticket was put together. The primary voters did it all.

Which shows you why the fanatics (sorry, special interests) put so much money into primaries.

Linc can't afford to be the Independent Man until after the primary.
Lastly, Gary, say what you think in your own words, and stop simply cutting and pasting screen after screen of news stories.

Posted by: RI native in DC/VA | January 26, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Right on the money Karen! Chappaquiddick Ted Kennedy will drink to that!!!!

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The democratic senate okayed Alito without any objections when he was up for appeals court. It shows how beholden they are to the anarchists. To smear Alito is the work of senators so beholden to lobbyists that they have lost all sense of decency.

Posted by: Karen | January 26, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey Andy:

Once again you liberals can easily be exposed with facts thats why you always lose in the arena of new ideas. Bush did consult with your interest group laden democrat friends regarding judicial nominees. Nice try!!

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has invited key lawmakers to a White House meeting next week to begin consultations on a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (search), officials said Friday.

The meeting, to be held Wednesday, signals the White House is moving to find a successor to O'Connor as Judge John Roberts (search) awaits confirmation as chief justice.

Bush invited Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (search), R-Tenn., and Minority Leader Harry Reid (search), D-Nev., as well as Sen. Arlen Specter (search) (news, bio, voting record), the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (search) (news, bio, voting record) of Vermont, the panel's senior Democrat, the officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to disclose the invitations.

One official said the White House has begun making phone calls to key senators to get their views on finding a replacement for O'Connor.

The meeting would mirror a session Bush held with the same four lawmakers several weeks ago as he began consultations to fill the first Supreme Court vacancy in 11 years.

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At the time, O'Connor had announced her retirement and Bush subsequently selected Roberts to fill her seat.

Roberts' nomination was pending in the Senate when Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (search) died nearly two weeks ago. Bush quickly announced he wanted Roberts to succeed Rehnquist, leaving O'Connor on the bench until a replacement could be named, confirmed by the Senate and sworn in.

Roberts' confirmation is virtually assured, following hearings that ended Thursday. Roberts, 50, a former Reagan administration lawyer, is an appeals court judge based in Washington.

The meeting -- and others likely to follow -- allow the White House to say that Bush was consulting with the Senate before announcing his nominee. The administration has said the president and his aides reached out to most senators before the president settled on Roberts when he was originally nominated to succeed O'Connor.

Yet while consulting with senators, the White House has made the point that Bush did not intend to allow lawmakers to make his selection for him or to have a veto over the person he nominates.

"It's a good first step," Leahy said Friday night, "but real consultation is a two-way street."

Reid urged Bush to choose someone in O'Connor's mold. "Justice O'Connor has been a voice of reason and moderation on the court," the Democratic leader said in a statement.

Bush has been prodded to name either a woman or a minority to replace O'Connor, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' name has been mentioned.

Specter, appearing on television last weekend, urged the president not to name the attorney general, who would be the first Hispanic on the high court.

As far as Roberts is concerned, the only real question left about his nomination is how many Democrats will vote for him to become the nation's 17th chief justice.

This week's grueling four-day Senate confirmation hearings only confirmed for most of the Senate's majority Republicans their contention that Bush's pick to succeed Rehnquist is an ideal choice.

Since Democrats don't plan to filibuster, they must decide if it's worth casting a symbolic vote against the 50-year-old Roberts, knowing they can't stop his confirmation and that Bush will soon choose another conservative to replace O'Connor, a swing vote on the court.

Reid has asked his Democratic caucus members not to make a decision before a closed-door meeting Tuesday. But Sen. Kent Conrad (search) (news, bio, voting record), D-N.D., thinks about half of them ultimately will vote to confirm Roberts.

There are 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and independent Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont in the Senate, and Conrad told reporters, "I think he can get from 75 to 80 votes."

That would surprise conservatives, who say Democrats are too partisan on judicial picks to consider voting for Roberts. It would also disappoint liberals, who are hoping the Roberts vote can influence Bush's next pick.

Some of the largest liberal advocacy groups met with Reid on Thursday to push for a large vote against Roberts. With the president's job-approval rating at its lowest point because of Hurricane Katrina, dissatisfaction with the Iraq war and rising gas prices, some hope the president can't afford a filibuster fight with Democrats by nominating a hard-line conservative to replace O'Connor.

The last three Supreme Court nominees with significant opposition were Robert Bork (search), who was defeated 58-42 in 1987; Clarence Thomas (search), who was confirmed 52-48 in 1991; and Rehnquist, who was confirmed as a justice in a 68-26 vote in 1971, and as chief in a 65-33 vote in 1986.

No other Supreme Court nominee since 1970 got more than nine "no" votes from the 100-member Senate.

The first Roberts vote will be Thursday in the Judiciary Committee.

The panel's eight Democrats aren't talking about how they will vote. "I haven't made up my mind," Sen. Charles Schumer (search) (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., said Friday.

Democrats say Roberts didn't answer enough of their questions, and the White House should have released his paperwork from his time working in the solicitor general's office during the George H.W. Bush administration

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The comments by Jake about Chafee voting with his concience are absurd and show how clueless Jake is about Chafee. I am a Republican from RI and Chafee is a total joke. Talk about a political animal and that is Chafee. This state is so predominantly Democrat and Chafee knows the only way he can get re-elected is by pandering to the Democrats. He rode into office on the coat tails of his father and the only reason he won his last race against Democrat Bob Weygand is because Weygand is perceived as more conservative than Chafee with his pro-life stance. Chafee does not give a hoot about the real issues facing all Rhode Islanders. His main concern is his own job security, and I for one hope he is sent packing by registered Republicans in the primary coming up later this year.

Posted by: Tim Paulhus | January 26, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Not to be glib, but what does how Clinton treated Hatch or how R's voted for Ginsburg have to do with whether or not Chafee will be reelected in RI?

I think he will vote yes on Alito. And I think he'll be reelected anyway.

Posted by: AH | January 26, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Nice post Gary -- I think that's what advice and consent is all about. Clinton ran his choices by Hatch. Bush has shown no such willingness -- hence he reaction to his nominees.

But thanks for making the case that the opposition party should be consulted as a matter of courtesy...

Posted by: Andy | January 26, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Below is how Republicans Assisted Clinton with Judicial picks. You Democrats have the drunk Chappaquiddick Ted Kennedy preaching to Alito about morality? Ask Teddy why all of a sudden he quit the owl club after he was exposed?? You democrats have been losing ever since Bill Clinton & we pray you nominate the other. Get it through your liberal heads Alito is highly qualified and will be confirmed!

How Clinton Treated Hatch
When President Clinton made his two judicial nominations to the Supreme Court, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The following is an excerpt from Hatch's autobiography:

[It] was not a surprise when the President called to talk about the appointment and what he was thinking of doing.

President Clinton indicated he was leaning toward nominating Bruce Babbitt, his Secretary of the Interior, a name that had been bouncing around in the press. Bruce, a well-known western Democrat, had been the governor of Arizona and a candidate for president in 1988. Although he had been a state attorney general back during the 1970s, he was known far more for his activities as a politician than as a jurist. Clinton asked for my reaction.

I told him that confirmation would not be easy. At least one Democrat would probably vote against Bruce, and there would be a great deal of resistance from the Republican side. I explained to the President that although he might prevail in the end, he should consider whether he wanted a tough, political battle over his first appointment to the Court.

Our conversation moved to other potential candidates. I asked whether he had considered Judge Stephen Breyer of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. President Clinton indicated he had heard Breyer's name but had not thought about Judge Ginsberg.

I indicated I thought they would be confirmed easily. I knew them both and believed that, while liberal, they were highly honest and capable jurists and their confirmation would not embarrass the President. From my perspective, they were far better than the other likely candidates from a liberal Democrat administration.

In the end, the President did not select Secretary Babbitt. Instead, he nominated Judge Ginsburg and Judge Breyer a year later, when Harry Blackmun retired from the Court. Both were confirmed with relative ease.

How will President Bush treat Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the current ranking member of the Senate Judiciary committee?

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Here's a summary of what's between's Gary's ears: O_o

Posted by: Gary's buddy | January 26, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Chafee can't become an Independent and still caucus with the GOP - that would be the weakest in a series of weak positions.

If Lincoln Chafee were truly a leader he could convince Snowe, Collins, Lieberman, Sununu and Gregg to join Jeffords and drop the party labels in an Independent New England exodus and change the dynamics completely in DC.

Absent an absolute majority the Senate both parties would have to conduct business on an issue by issue basis and without unfettered partisan acrimony. Then all the New England pols could all vote their conciences and do what's right for their constituents without the constraints of a national party line.

And wouldn't that be nice?

Posted by: joejoejoe | January 26, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Yep, it's not a Hobson's Choice (i.e. no choice at all), but a Scylla-and-Charybidis choice (two equally bad but different consequences).

If I were Chafee, I would accidentally fall down a flight of stairs and get rushed to the E.R. just as the vote started.

[sigh. 'Gary' the spammer needs a dose of civility.]

Posted by: Nick S | January 26, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Lots of Italians in Rhode Island, and we resent the nastiness of the democrats. Somethings wrong with drunks like Kennedy and Leahy voting against a second generation self-made man. If the republicans can act like statemen and give Clinton his left-wing radicals, then the democrats should grow up and realize Bush beat them twice, in the senate races and in the congressional races. RI is losing population and aging faster than Madonna. They are so has-been, that their 95% white population is so unrealistic and elitist, the are out of touch with America. Don't blow about Hatch coming up with Clinton's appointees. It is a lie. Hatch was told pick one of the five. He was an adult, and did it. Instead the dems are acting like puppets on the strings of anarchist lobbyists. It will make great commercials to see the hold lobbyists have on dems.

Posted by: Karen | January 26, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Here's The Difference Between The Character Of You Hate America Democrats And Republicans.

Republicans Overwhelmingly Voted For Ginsburg Knowing She Was Once The Head Of The Ultra Socialist ACLU In Addition They Knew What Her Stance Was On Abortion Yet They Voted For Her.

Democrats Are Owned By Special Interest Groups And Can't Possibly Vote For Alito Because They Will Lose There Funding. What A Pitiful Party You Democrats Support!

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 103rd Congress - 1st Session
as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate
Vote Summary
Question: On the Nomination (ruth bader ginsburg to be an associate justice )
Vote Number: 232 Vote Date: August 3, 1993, 10:25 AM
Required For Majority: 1/2 Vote Result: Nomination Confirmed
Nomination Number: PN422
Nomination Description: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, of New York, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, vice Byron R. White, retired.
Vote Counts: YEAs 96
NAYs 3
Not Voting 1
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Alphabetical by Senator Name Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boren (D-OK), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Bradley (D-NJ), Yea
Breaux (D-LA), Yea
Brown (R-CO), Yea
Bryan (D-NV), Yea
Bumpers (D-AR), Yea
Burns (R-MT), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Campbell (D-CO), Yea
Chafee (R-RI), Yea
Coats (R-IN), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Cohen (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Coverdell (R-GA), Yea
Craig (R-ID), Yea
D'Amato (R-NY), Yea
Danforth (R-MO), Yea
Daschle (D-SD), Yea
DeConcini (D-AZ), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dole (R-KS), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durenberger (R-MN), Yea
Exon (D-NE), Yea
Faircloth (R-NC), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Ford (D-KY), Yea
Glenn (D-OH), Yea
Gorton (R-WA), Yea
Graham (D-FL), Yea
Gramm (R-TX), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hatfield (R-OR), Yea
Heflin (D-AL), Yea
Helms (R-NC), Nay
Hollings (D-SC), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Jeffords (R-VT), Yea
Johnston (D-LA), Yea
Kassebaum (R-KS), Yea
Kempthorne (R-ID), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Yea
Kerrey (D-NE), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (D-CT), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Mack (R-FL), Yea
Mathews (D-TN), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Metzenbaum (D-OH), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Mitchell (D-ME), Yea
Moseley-Braun (D-IL), Yea
Moynihan (D-NY), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nickles (R-OK), Nay
Nunn (D-GA), Yea
Packwood (R-OR), Yea
Pell (D-RI), Yea
Pressler (R-SD), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Riegle (D-MI), Not Voting
Robb (D-VA), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Roth (R-DE), Yea
Sarbanes (D-MD), Yea
Sasser (D-TN), Yea
Shelby (D-AL), Yea
Simon (D-IL), Yea
Simpson (R-WY), Yea
Smith (R-NH), Nay
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Thurmond (R-SC), Yea
Wallop (R-WY), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Wellstone (D-MN), Yea
Wofford (D-PA), Yea

Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Grouped By Vote Position YEAs ---96
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bennett (R-UT)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Bond (R-MO)
Boren (D-OK)
Boxer (D-CA)
Bradley (D-NJ)
Breaux (D-LA)
Brown (R-CO)
Bryan (D-NV)
Bumpers (D-AR)
Burns (R-MT)
Byrd (D-WV)
Campbell (D-CO)
Chafee (R-RI)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cohen (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Coverdell (R-GA)
Craig (R-ID)
D'Amato (R-NY)
Danforth (R-MO)
Daschle (D-SD)
DeConcini (D-AZ)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dole (R-KS)
Domenici (R-NM)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durenberger (R-MN)
Exon (D-NE)
Faircloth (R-NC)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Ford (D-KY)
Glenn (D-OH)
Gorton (R-WA)
Graham (D-FL)
Gramm (R-TX)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hatfield (R-OR)
Heflin (D-AL)
Hollings (D-SC)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (R-VT)
Johnston (D-LA)
Kassebaum (R-KS)
Kempthorne (R-ID)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerrey (D-NE)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Mack (R-FL)
Mathews (D-TN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Metzenbaum (D-OH)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Mitchell (D-ME)
Moseley-Braun (D-IL)
Moynihan (D-NY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murray (D-WA)
Nunn (D-GA)
Packwood (R-OR)
Pell (D-RI)
Pressler (R-SD)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reid (D-NV)
Robb (D-VA)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Roth (R-DE)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Sasser (D-TN)
Shelby (D-AL)
Simon (D-IL)
Simpson (R-WY)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Thurmond (R-SC)
Wallop (R-WY)
Warner (R-VA)
Wellstone (D-MN)
Wofford (D-PA)

NAYs ---3
Helms (R-NC)
Nickles (R-OK)
Smith (R-NH)

Not Voting - 1
Riegle (D-MI)

Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Grouped by Home State Alabama: Heflin (D-AL), Yea Shelby (D-AL), Yea
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Yea Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Arizona: DeConcini (D-AZ), Yea McCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas: Bumpers (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Yea
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Brown (R-CO), Yea Campbell (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (D-CT), Yea
Delaware: Biden (D-DE), Yea Roth (R-DE), Yea
Florida: Graham (D-FL), Yea Mack (R-FL), Yea
Georgia: Coverdell (R-GA), Yea Nunn (D-GA), Yea
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Yea Kempthorne (R-ID), Yea
Illinois: Moseley-Braun (D-IL), Yea Simon (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Coats (R-IN), Yea Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Yea Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Kansas: Dole (R-KS), Yea Kassebaum (R-KS), Yea
Kentucky: Ford (D-KY), Yea McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Louisiana: Breaux (D-LA), Yea Johnston (D-LA), Yea
Maine: Cohen (R-ME), Yea Mitchell (D-ME), Yea
Maryland: Mikulski (D-MD), Yea Sarbanes (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Yea Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Riegle (D-MI), Not Voting
Minnesota: Durenberger (R-MN), Yea Wellstone (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Yea Lott (R-MS), Yea
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Yea Danforth (R-MO), Yea
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Yea Burns (R-MT), Yea
Nebraska: Exon (D-NE), Yea Kerrey (D-NE), Yea
Nevada: Bryan (D-NV), Yea Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Yea Smith (R-NH), Nay
New Jersey: Bradley (D-NJ), Yea Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Yea Domenici (R-NM), Yea
New York: D'Amato (R-NY), Yea Moynihan (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Faircloth (R-NC), Yea Helms (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Ohio: Glenn (D-OH), Yea Metzenbaum (D-OH), Yea
Oklahoma: Boren (D-OK), Yea Nickles (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Hatfield (R-OR), Yea Packwood (R-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Specter (R-PA), Yea Wofford (D-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Chafee (R-RI), Yea Pell (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: Hollings (D-SC), Yea Thurmond (R-SC), Yea
South Dakota: Daschle (D-SD), Yea Pressler (R-SD), Yea
Tennessee: Mathews (D-TN), Yea Sasser (D-TN), Yea
Texas: Gramm (R-TX), Yea Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Yea Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Vermont: Jeffords (R-VT), Yea Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Virginia: Robb (D-VA), Yea Warner (R-VA), Yea
Washington: Gorton (R-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Yea Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Simpson (R-WY), Yea Wallop (R-WY), Yea

Posted by: Gary | January 26, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

why doesn`t chaffee just get a spine and turn democratic, he is just making his life
complicated. if he turns democratic and votes no all his problems are solved!

Posted by: joel | January 26, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Hobson's or Hobbesian? I don't know. But I'll be (really) surprised if Chafee votes for Alito. If he does survive the primary, as I think he will, a pro-Alito vote could really hurt him in the general election. The Chafee name will only carry him so far. I'm a Democrat, but Chafee is about as straightforward and transparent as a politician gets. I can't see him explaining a vote for Alito with a straight face.

Hardcore Republicans are determined to dump Chafee in the primary, but there are still moderate Republicans here. And I'm betting that the softspoken Linc will show a steely side that will leave Laffey looking laughable on primary day. Look for a close general election race between Chafee and Whitehouse (the latter a good, qualified candidate who, in a race between bluebloods, lacks Chafee's humility). Chafee is narrowly re-elected.

Posted by: Larry from RI | January 26, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Do you notice that repubicans who vote the way that the press wants them to are called "moderates" but democrats who don't vote the way the MSM demands are called "conservatives". The NY Times had grief conselors ready for Alito's confirmation. All the doormen in NY are complaining about grown men and women kicking their dogs more often than usual, and that nannies are being punished by their liberal "owners". If it gets any worse, the six Starbucks between 65th and 67th and Fifth Avenue might get bouncers. It is rumored even the bulimics are unable to vomit on demand at Maureen Dowd's men hating luncheons.

Posted by: Karen | January 26, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the pedantic question, but does Chafee face a Hobson's choice

(Hobson's choice \HOB-sunz-chois\, noun:
A choice without an alternative; the thing offered or nothing.)

or a Hobbesian Choice (a classic Hobbesian choice, which is no choice at all, the name of which derives from Thomas Hobbes' belief that man must choose between living in a state of nature (a life which is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short") or suffering under an arbitrary and absolute government.)

Posted by: Andy | January 26, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Another former Rhody here -- who worked on Dad Chafee's succesful campaign in '78. Former is correct, the Chafee name carries a lot of weight. Lincoln is his own man (at the chagrin of the RNC and the Religious Right). Laffey is a crackpot in RI politics -- but more in line with the national GOP in its current state. Laffey is in no way electable in November in RI == though he would be elected readily in my current home of Virginia.

John Chafee voted his conscience many times. Lincoln has too, and I would encourage Lincoln to continue with that practice and do the same (and disregard the impact on November). Rhode Islanders appreciate an Independent Man -- and not just on the State House dome. Caving in to the Right will be regarded as weakness.

Posted by: Former Rhody | January 26, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Chaffee's position here in RI is much stronger than I see it portrayed by observers from outside RI. Laffey's unprecedented property tax increases in Cranston can be used against him as much if not more than any Alito vote of Chaffee's which will not tip the result of the nomination in any event.

Laffey's free speech arguments to continue his radio talk show came across here as petty.

Chaffee's independence comes across here as a positive, in my observation, as a rare example of following common sense over partisanship.

Finally, Democrats and others turned off by Laffey's conservative views can vote in the Republican primary here to cut him off at the pass.

Posted by: Chris | January 26, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

There's a third way here as well, that would probably be the most appropriate way for Chafee to go. He's not liberal enough to be a RI Democrat, and he's far too liberal to be a national Republican.

There have been whispers for the last 6 years of Chafee declaring himself an independent. So, he could vote no on Alito, declare himself an independent, then the Republican primary is irrelevant.

He runs as an independent in the general election, declaring that he'll caucus with whichever party controls 50 seats in the Senate. He wins his race easy as an independent, plus has the advantage of keeping a RI Senator in the majority regardless of the outcome of other races.

Posted by: adam | January 26, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

laffey's borderline insane, and anybody who's actually from here is probably aware of it. the idea of him as a U.S. senator -- good lord, talk about the inmates running the asylum. he may get enough of our nutbag weirdos to vote for him in a primary, but should he somehow get the GOP nomination, he'll be absolutely slaughtered in the general election, regardless of who he runs against.

i tend to vote democratic, but I have no real beef with our elected republicans. the governor is fine, although he inists on pretending that he's a big Bush supporter. Chafee's a good, honest guy who speaks his mind and actually represents us. I'd much rather have someone like him -- someone with a pulse -- than some party stooge robot spewing talking points to us, be the R or DNC.

go lincoln! i'd give you some money, but you already have so much, i don't really see the point.

Posted by: sully | January 26, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the first former Rhode Islander. Those speculating about Chafee getting ousted have no conception of how RI politics works. Chafee benefits from his name and from his incumbency. Rhode Islanders elect their politicians for life and take glee in their exploits. And the challenger is not someone who Rhode Islanders are particularly crazy about.

Ultimately, it would take a person with equal name recognition or a Buddy Cianci-style scandal to cause Chafee to be ousted. The only option for #1 is Patrick Kennedy and, fortunately for him, I don't think that Chafee is any Buddy Cianci.

While I appreciate the attention being afforded my home state on this issue, I think that most bloggers taking this view are going to be proven wrong.

Posted by: AH | January 26, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I see Chafee's chances as somewhat grim. It is a shame that politics works the way it does, because if Chafee was simply a Democrat he would be easily returned to office. Most of his platform is very similar to the Democratic platform, and, let's face it, democrats would go nuts for the symbolic George H.W. Bush vote.
Chafee is a man who votes with his conscience and not with his party; a laudable record, but unfortunately making him an easy target for both parties. Thus, I say a fond farewell to a man of courage. The Senate would be a better place with more people like him.

Posted by: Jake | January 26, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Chafee has a name that resonates in RI politics. Also, he has the advantages of being an incumbent and preceding (alphabetically) his opponents on any ballot.

Chaffee votes for Alito..survives the primary challenge, and goes on to be returned for another term.

Posted by: Former RI resident | January 26, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Chafee has a name that resonates in RI politics. Also, he has the advantages of being an incumbent and preceding (alphabetically) his opponents on any ballot.

Chaffee votes for Alito..survives the primary challenge, and goes on to be returned for another term.

Posted by: Former RI resident | January 26, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

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