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R.I.: Club For Growth Backs Chafee Opponent

The Club for Growth, a powerful conservative third-party group, endorsed Cranston, R.I., Mayor Steve Laffey this morning, providing a boost to Laffey's primary campaign against Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R).

"Any way you look at it, Senator Chafee is a big government, tax and spend liberal," said Club president Pat Toomey in a conference call announcing the group's support this morning. "We are thrilled there is a candidate who decided to challenge Senator Chafee who is a Ronald Reagan conservative."

Ian Lang, Chafee's campaign manager, shot back that the endorsement of Laffey was inconsistent with the Club for Growth's fiscally conservative philosophy because he had raised taxes during his tenure as Cranston mayor. "While Mr. Laffey may talk a good game, his actions just don't live up to his rhetoric," Lang said.

Putting rhetoric aside, the Club for Growth's backing virtually ensures that Laffey will be financially viable in his challenge to Chafee. At the end of September, Chafee had $1.3 million on hand compared to Laffey's $593,000.

When the Club for Growth endorsed Toomey's 2004 primary challenge against Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the group helped direct $1 million in donations to Toomey and spent an additional $1 million on ads in the race.  Specter narrowly edged out Toomey, then a three-term congressman, 51 percent to 49 percent.

In many ways, the Chafee-Laffey race will be replay of the Specter-Toomey tussle. The same consulting firm -- Red Sea LLC -- that handled Toomey's race is the lead political adviser to Laffey. And Chafee has the same team that guided Specter to victory: Glen Bolger doing the polling, Chris Mottola handling media and Christopher Nicholas as a general consultant. In both races, the national party was firmly behind the incumbent while the Club for Growth was a strong supporter of the challenger. (Already this year the National Republican Senatorial Committee has sponsored two television ads in Rhode Island attacking Laffey's conservative credentials.) 

Having come so close to defeating a Senate incumbent in the last cycle, Club for Growth insiders admit they must knock off Chafee to bolster their reputation as a conservative political powerhouse. Chafee is clearly vulnerable to a primary challenge from his ideological right as one of the most moderate GOP members of the Senate. Many political insiders have floated the idea of Chafee running for reelection as an independent, but he has batted that idea down to date.

Chafee has until June 28 to make up his mind; should he remain a Republican he would face Laffey in a Sept. 12 primary.  Democrats currently have a primary of their own between former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse and Secretary of State Matt Brown.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 12, 2005; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

Merna really got it all wrong. The forty years that Democrats lead our country saw the United States surpass our European allies as the true world superpower. It was FDR who defeated the Nazis, and it was Truman who defeated the communists. (The Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan lead to the fall of communism, not a bunch of overhyped speeches by a B-movie actor turned mediocre president!)

I also welcome the communist debate. The party of Nixon and McCarthy has not become the new pro-communist party of Bush, Frist and Delay. While true conservatives like Lou Dobbs are trying to fight the Chinese, the Bush Republicans, taking their orders from the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, are willing to sell our security to the last communist power in the world.

And the flat tax will be the largest tax increase on the middle-class and poor that we will have ever seen. The high rates for the wealthy and the low rates for the middle-class and poor will have to meet in the middle in order to not break the federal treasury. This translates into a HUGE tax increase by the Club for Growth Republicans.

Right-wing Republicans are bad for America. Luckily, the American public is beginning to catch on!

Posted by: JR | December 13, 2005 10:00 PM | Report abuse

How incongruous to call Chaffee a "tax and spend liberal" when the "conservative" GOP majority has controlled Congress during he recent time periods, and they have pushed the deficit to record levels. Has Bush ever vetoed anything? "Pork" has operated without restraint during the Bush years. Intelligent dialog between this administration and concerned citizens is clearly impossible. We are spending billions toward "victory" in Iraq without any clear definition of "victory." Maybe a few more billion and we can "complete the mission." Ha!

Posted by: Bill | December 13, 2005 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, hopefully, there are a lot of primary Republicans in R.I. who feel just like this Merna fool and they dump Chaffey.

That will certainly help the Democrats recapture the Senate. Unfortunately, Chaffee isn't an idiot. He knows that R.I. is one of the most liberal states in the country and that Bush's popularity there in the November polling is below 30%. So, idiot Republicans want to punish Chaffey for not lining up with Bush on every issue?

If someone dumped a rotting fish into your lap and tried to smear it all over you, would you hold tight to that stinking carp or would you try to get as much distance from it as you could?

Expect Chaffey to do everything he can between now and election day to prove he's NOT in Bush's corner. The more he proves his independence the better for him.

And a widely publicized fight with the wing-nuts of his own party certainly isn't going to hurt him come election day.

Those idiots have yet to realize R.I. isn't South Carolina. If I didn't know the wing-nuts are serious about their neo-Stalinist purge, I'd think the whole tempest-in-a-teapot was stage-managed by Chaffee's P.R. team.

Posted by: Cugel | December 13, 2005 12:19 PM | Report abuse


Big companies are eliminating promises made that helped them get to where they are today. However, Wall Street has dicated a new standard. Proft margins in the high teen and low 20's used to be acceptable and health care and pensions were affordable. Today, those margins have to be in the 30's and 40% so larger dividends and capital gains can be distributed the wealthy Americans who pay the lowest taxes based upon a percentage of taxes to income. Capital gains taxes should be eliminated and treated as regular income period. Home mortgage deductions should be eliminated, then reestablish a new progressive tax structure. And while they are at it, eliminate corporate welfare by subsidizing overseas-off-shore companies.

So WWMD (what would Merna Do) or is that worlds weapons of mass destruction.

Posted by: ImpeachBushNow | December 13, 2005 2:29 AM | Report abuse

Part of the reason the big companies are renegging on the pension plans for the "regular Americans" is because of the record making salaries they're giving their CEO's. We need to break them up into small companies, like what happened to Ma Bell.

Posted by: Deuces | December 12, 2005 9:04 PM | Report abuse


Merna must be getting to be a lazy typer, this is the at leat the fifth time I have seen the same diatribe of drivel coming from this right wing zealot. Read carefully and Merna comes full circle and undermines his/her own arguement. WHen I started reading it, by the third sentence I already new it was Merna again.

For 40 years, for 40 years. Well excuse me, but what forty years is being talked about here. Its a broken record Merna, try enlightenment. Enlightenment starts with facts as a base for opinion otherwise it is drivel direct from the mouths of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, and other right wing nut cases.

Posted by: db | December 12, 2005 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Calling the Club for Growth, an organization that promotes overpaying CEOs just as much as it promotes anti-American concepts like offshoring American jobs, a "Republican" group is like calling Hitler's Gestapo a "Police" group.

Face it - the extremist pro-Red China hypocrites in the Club for Growth are definitely not pro-America or pro-American Growth, unless you count the anti-capitalist overpayments to CEOs voted for by their hand-picked lackeys.

Posted by: W. Affleck-Asch | December 12, 2005 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"because he makes more because he is in a higher tax bracket."

This should read something like, "because he makes more and is therefore in a higher tax bracket" or some other sentance that actually makes sense.

Sorry all.

Posted by: J. Crozier | December 12, 2005 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I'll go point by point here.

"For 40 years the Democrats have left our educational system broken as the donations from unions kept them in power. We sent Republicans up there to change that, no child left behind is a wonderful opportunity for this nations children, they need to push the Dem's and counter the Dem's lies about the program with facts."

Exactly what lies have the Dems told about this program? That it is underfunded compared to what Bush promised when he sold the program in order to get Democratic buy-in to make it look Bipartisan? No, that part is true. The fact that many of the RED states are protesting that it is an unfunded mandate? Hey, when UTAH is complaining about it then I'd say the red states don't like it anymore than the blue states.

"For 40 years the Dem's have used the Social Security Trust Fund as their own personal slush fund for running the government whlie they loot the budgets of funds for pork to buy votes with.
We sent the republicans to fix this, get the trust fund out of the hands of greedy politicians by setting up the partially-privatized accounts administered by the same system that administers retirement funds by congress."

Both parties have dipped into funds earmarked for social security in the past for any number of reasons. BUSH HIMSELF stated that the "let's privatize social security" kick wouldn't help it become solvent. If you are concerned with social security solvency then the tax cuts that are mainly geared towards the rich and the mega rich that the Republican controlled Congress has passed five years in a row would have funded it. Given that most of the Republicans in Congress fall into the upper income brackets that Bush's tax cuts are geared towards can we rightly call them "greedy politicians"?

"For 40 years the Democrats have used the IRS as their own personal information bank on citizens, their political assassin of choice.
We want rid of the IRS! Replace it with something like the Fair Tax, www.fairtax.org.
Democrats don't like the Fair Tax as it removes their best spy opportunities and it will insure that everyone pays their fair share, we all buy to our own level. If you buy a Yacht or a Rolls, no loop holes to crawl through! Kerry's won't get away with only paying 12% income tax while the rest of up pay up to 35%."

If privacy implications are a concern to you then you may want to look more closely at the Patriot Act than anything else. Maybe my imagination is a bit limited, but I don't quite understand how the government knowing how much people earn and how much they pay in taxes equates to "spying" on its citizens.

Regarding the Flat Tax vs. the Income Tax: The income tax is supposed to be a progressive method of taxation. Essentially that means that those people who can most afford it, those in the higher income brackets, pay a higher percentage of their income in taxation than those in the lower brackets. Seems pretty fair to me. The idea is that the more you make the MORE you pay in taxes, not less. In your John Kerry example earlier (I assume you know that the Bushes are mega rich too don't you?), John Kerry would pay MORE in taxes under the present progressive income tax than he does under a flat tax because he makes more because he is in a higher tax bracket. He'd pay 38% of his income next compared to the 15% that the poor guy pays.

You may want to look up the difference between a "Progressive" tax and a "Regressive" tax. A "Regressive" tax, in other words a tax where the richer you are the less you pay as a percentage of your income, is what you are describing in your diatribe above and the opposite of how the U.S. tax system is presently setup.

The appeal of a flat tax is its simplicity. Everyone pays the same percentage of their income. It doesn't matter if you make $10,000 a year or if you make 100,000 a year, you pay the same PERCENTAGE of your income.

The problem with a flat tax is that unless you RAISE the tax rate on the lower income brackets to compensate, then the total amount of revenue the government takes in will decline because the rich folk, instead of paying 40% of their revenue compared to the poor guy's 20%, would pay only 25% or something.

So in order for the government to take in the same amount of revenue, the lost revenue that we're no longer taxing the rich guy for has to come from SOMEWHERE. Either it comes from the poor or the government just collects less in taxes. If it collects less in taxes, then it can't provide as much services to its citizens. So what do you cut? Do you cut out Education that you mentioned that the Republicans were going to fix? How about cutting out Social Security that the Republicans were going to fix? I'd say that the poor need Social Security more than the rich do. In other words, the poor would subsidize the rich's tax break.

This stuff isn't very hard when you think it ALL the way through instead of repeating Republican talking points. ("Death" tax..."Fair" tax...etc.)


"For 40 years the Democrats have weakend our mailitary aand our national defense. their idea of a spy is some bleached=blonde Ambassador's wife dripping with diamonds and asking some foreign diplomat in her condessending tone, there, there dahhhhling, you don't have any of those nasty old weapons, now do you dahhhhhling?
That is really the Democrats idea of intelligence gathering, and people wonder why it was wrong? Might I remind all those Dem's who love to eat their own that Bill Clinton appointed George Tenent and then tied hiss hads behind his back?"

You DO know that it was the Democrats who won WW2 right? You DO know that Saddam DIDN'T have any of those "nasty ole weapons" right? When you say "tied Tenet's hands behind his back" (Actually you said Tenent, but I'll assume you meant Tenet) did you mean he forbade torture on his watch?

"For 40 years the Dem's have appointed liberals to the bench that would legislate and give them the power they could not win in elections. As a result we have our private property being taken for the good of the rich. We have child-molesters and child murderers being treated like victims and victims being treated like criminals."

You DO know that presidents appoint judges right? And that the Republicans have controlled the White House a lot more often than the Democrats over the last 40 years right?

Posted by: J. Crozier | December 12, 2005 6:15 PM | Report abuse

It's a no-lose situation for Dems, I think. If Laffey wins the primary, he'll scare the moderates that have been voting for Chafee. If Chafee moves "right" enough to defeat Laffey, he'll scare the moderates that have been voting for him.

Posted by: KarenJG | December 12, 2005 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Right on DZ, although referring to Merna's diatribe as semi-literate is a bit too kind.

Posted by: Mike 234 | December 12, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Merna, Dude or Dudette, whichever, based on the intellectual quality of your diatribe, there is no chance that you pay 35% income tax on any portion of your income. If that semi-literate crap is the best you have to offer, things are looking better for progressive thinkers than I thought. BUT, we do encourage you to continue with your campaign to give us more Senate seats.

Posted by: DZ | December 12, 2005 4:10 PM | Report abuse


== "So if we challange the weak ones, we are saying shape-up or ship-out. We don't want the "new and improved Democratic Communist State of America" we want our constitution, liberty and lives back." ==

Oh, dear. Your boys have had control in the House for ten years and held the WH for a good chunk of the past thirty-five years and yet STILL you whine and carp and moan. What has your party accomplished beyond bankrupting the treasury and dividing the nation? What are the high points of your party, beyond turning our government into a pig trough and setting up an American version of the Taliban in the Senate?

You people are never happy, you are never civil enough to merit a seat at the table, and that's okay because your kind wants the whole table for itself. Not Gonna Happen.. Recall that once the Bush thugettes are gone and Dems begin restoring sanity, Gitmo will be still available for your political rehabilitation, Comrade Clown. And if that dwoesn't work, there's alway Abu Ghraib, dontchaknow.

Posted by: Tab King-Khan | December 12, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break Merna. Calling Democrats "communists" is your "argument?" Not all voters are as gullible as the Republican base. Do you have anything substantive to say or, like most right wingers, is your rhetorical quiver limited to name calling?

Posted by: Mike 234 | December 12, 2005 3:28 PM | Report abuse

There is a moderate and then there is an abdicater.
Democrats see Republicans that consistantly abdicate to Democratic dictates as moderate. We who elect them see them as useless.
Arlen Specter seems to have gotten the message, moderate is fine, unconditional abdication is unacceptable.
Specter has been much stronger in standing up to the Democratic bullies and not allowing them full control of the process.
Those the Democrats love to call moderates, like Chafee, Snowe, Collins, McCain, Hagle, and a few others we see as weak. Republicans don't like those who are to weak to stand up for what is right.
We fought hard to give the Republicans the majority so that they could fix the mess the Democrats have made of our Government over the last 40 years. We don't need Republicans that still act as if the have to get permission from them Democrats to pee.
For 40 years the Democrats have left our educational system broken as the donations from unions kept them in power. We sent Republicans up there to change that, no child left behind is a wonderful opportunity for this nations children, they need to push the Dem's and counter the Dem's lies about the program with facts.
For 40 years the Dem's have used the Social Security Trust Fund as their own personal slush fund for running the government whlie they loot the budgets of funds for pork to buy votes with.
We sent the republicans to fix this, get the trust fund out of the hands of greedy politicians by setting up the partially-privatized accounts administered by the same system that administers retirement funds by congress.
For 40 years the Democrats have used the IRS as their own personal information bank on citizens, their political assassin of choice.
We want rid of the IRS! Replace it with something like the Fair Tax, www.fairtax.org.
Democrats don't like the Fair Tax as it removes their best spy opportunities and it will insure that everyone pays their fair share, we all buy to our own level. If you buy a Yacht or a Rolls, no loop holes to crawl through! Kerry's won't get away with only paying 12% income tax while the rest of up pay up to 35%.
For 40 years the Democrats have weakend our mailitary aand our national defense. their idea of a spy is some bleached=blonde Ambassador's wife dripping with diamonds and asking some foreign diplomat in her condessending tone, there, there dahhhhling, you don't have any of those nasty old weapons, now do you dahhhhhling?
That is really the Democrats idea of intelligence gathering, and people wonder why it was wrong? Might I remind all those Dem's who love to eat their own that Bill Clinton appointed George Tenent and then tied hiss hads behind his back?
For 40 years the Dem's have appointed liberals to the bench that would legislate and give them the power they could not win in elections. As a result we have our private property being taken for the good of the rich. We have child-molesters and child murderers being treated like victims and victims being treated like criminals.

So if we challange the weak ones, we are saying shape-up or ship-out.
We don't want the "new and improved Democratic Communist State of America" we want our constitution, liberty and lives back.

Posted by: Merna | December 12, 2005 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Eugene,

In regards to your not understanding the conservatives strategy in wanting to knock off a safe GOP Senator, basically giving up the seat...

There are plenty within the conservative movement (and liberal for that matter) who believe that a majority that isn't conservative (i.e. marches lockstep) isn't a majority. They are the type who will go down in flames, but claim a moral victory because they held to their principles.

It's basically the same thing that's brewing in CT right now for Lieberman.

Posted by: AR | December 12, 2005 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Knocking Chafee out would essentially be handing the Democrats a Senate seat. I don't quite understand the pragmatic aspect of the conservatives' strategy in trying to knock Chafee out (though I doubt they have thought any farther than the primary itself), but if they want to give the Democrats a Senate seat and help the Dems reclaim the Senate than more power to them.

Posted by: Eugene | December 12, 2005 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The point that the moderates and the RNC will end up having to make is that Chafee is the only one of the two that will beat whomever the Democrats ultimately field in the general election. A true right-winger, like Laffey, has little chance of winning in November. THAT's the case that Chafee will ultimately be making in his bid to keep his seat.

Posted by: corbett | December 12, 2005 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I disagree John. The "Righteous" Right is the tail that wags the Republican dog. They may not be a majority, but they control the majority. Republican officeholders jump through hoops to avoid offending them.

Posted by: Mike 234 | December 12, 2005 2:16 PM | Report abuse

And they say the Democrats are divided..

Extremes, right or left, can never become majorities. But they often are so deluded by their self-righteousness they tend to believe they represent a much larger number than they actually do.

Its called "Hubris."

JEP
PS still can't find that Abramoff money graphic...

Posted by: John Patterson | December 12, 2005 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The Republican base loathes Republican moderates as much as they do Democrats. Ergo they must drive Chafee from office. Which is no big deal, because he's unpatriotic anyway, right?

Posted by: Mike 234 | December 12, 2005 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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