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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

RI-Sen: Chafee Pulls Spectacular Double Blunder

Posted by DavidNYC

So Lincoln Chafee and his erstwhile primary challenger, Steve Laffey, are having a pissing contest over who supports Israel more, better, louder, etc. It's nothing more than a crass attempt to pander to Jewish voters, as though Jews will reflexively support whomever is most hawkish. Hint: 75% of Jews voted for Kerry. This ploy's not gonna work. Moreover, there are only some 16,000 Jews in RI - barely 1.5% of the population. So why bother? Well, Laffey's shilling for right-wing PAC money, and Chafee is trying to deny it to him. But along the way, Linc went a-blundering.

Indeed, check out this exceptional double blunder on Chafee's part. Trying to bolster his pro-Israel credentials, Chaffe apparently made the following remark:

Linc Chafee says the Christian right, increasingly active in Republican politics, also has a strong, Biblically inspired interest in Israel.

Whoa there! It's almost hard to unpack the enormous gaffes here. Let me try:

• Blunder #1: My good buddies in the GOP - those right-wing Christian fundamentalists - are super-mega-pro-Israel. Judge me based on the company I keep!

Wow. For a guy whose entire political career rests on pretending he's some kind of moderate, this is an outrageously glaring admission to make. We always knew that Chafee was in thrall to the far right. Now he's gone and admitted it.

• Blunder #2: Hey, Jewish voters! I know you'll like my stance on Israel because I'm good friends with Christian fundamentalists. Remember them, those guys who want to use Jews as kindling for their rapturous end-times fantasies?

Seems obvious to me, but Linc seemed to forget that fundamentalist "support" for Israel is perhaps Exhibit #1 when it comes to explaining why the modern GOP can never - and will never - tap the Jewish vote.

So congrats, Linc. In just one sentence, you managed to put the lie to your claims of being a moderate, and you helped turn off Jewish voters to your campaign. Good work! The DNC oughta put you on payroll.

Posted at 10:18 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Technorati

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And, for the record, Jews make up just 2% of the U.S. population as a whole, so any politician making pandering remarks re: Israel is foolish.

Posted by: AnthonySF [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 28, 2006 07:21 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think you are reading too much into this. He's simply making a statement of fact, and one that is seemingly (at this point in the campaign) aimed at drawing the Republicans of Rhode Island together - not such a terribly dumb thing to do given that Laffey is a serious danger to his reelection.

And it's hardly only Jewish voters that a strongly pro-Israeli stance appeals to. As you note, they are a tiny fraction of the electorate, so it's clearly not Jewish Americans who are responsible for our increasingly close ties to Israel.

Posted by: ArmandK [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 28, 2006 09:50 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Well, that's exactly why primaries have the potential be so dangerous, particularly to self-styled moderates. If you get drawn too far to the right (in a GOP primary) or too far to the left (in a Dem primary), you can wind up getting hurt in the general election.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 28, 2006 10:15 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think that it is simply wrong to attack this republican. Instead, Democrats should reach out to him and try to stop the left wing of the party from attacking him.
It is a strong possibility that this guy might switch sides, if Democrats pick up a few senate seats and come close to become to taking over the senate.

Posted by: nasir [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2006 03:33 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

If Chafee was ever going to switch sides, he would have done it by now to ensure an easier re-election.

Nope, sorry, Chafee has to be taken out.

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2006 04:38 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

How about Democrats try to win other senate seats and see Chafee switch sides 'after' the election.
This is will only show a large number of Northeastern republican(who are mostly liberal-liberterian) that republican party is no longer for them. Chaffee 'switch' will make the most impact for the Democrats on the local and national stage and portray republicans as a socially conservative right-wing party.

P.S----The best case for Chafee to switch parties is--if-- Democrats need one seat to win back the majority.

Posted by: nasir [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 16, 2006 04:12 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

nasir , that wont happen because it would mean we would have gotten the triple bank shot and gotten arizona or tennesse but then NOT gotten rhode island which wont happen

Posted by: yomoma2424 [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 16, 2006 05:29 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Plus, Chaffee's wobbly, sometimes-centrist voting record is not something that will strengthen Democratic caucus unity. He needs to be taken out and replaced with a liberal rather than absorbed into the caucus if the Democrats want some efficiency.

Bottom line: Chaffee talks a good game, but he's essentially an enabler to a far more destructive outcome.

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 16, 2006 08:00 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment