Lincoln Chafee Staying Put

From CNN.

Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who flirted with changing political parties in the wake of President Bush’s re-election victory, says he will stay in the GOP.

“My Republican colleagues have let me know that they want me in their caucus,” the Rhode Island senator said Monday.

“They value the voice I bring and they have made it very clear to me that they respect and want that voice to be heard.”

Chafee had said last week he would consider switching party affiliation if Bush won because he felt the president was taking the party too far to the right.

He said he got a flurry of phone calls from Republican leaders over the weekend, including Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, R-Kentcky, and a key White House staff member, urging him to stick with the GOP.

A moderate Republican who often votes with the Democrats on environmental matters and some tax issues, Chafee said he wants to press his views from within the party.

Look, Lincoln Chafee is not an idiot. He is not leaving the GOP for the same exact reason Zell Miller never left the Democratic party, media coverage. You can get a lot more media coverage if you are the lone member crticizing your own party. If Zell Miller became a Republiocan, he would become just one of many Republicans criticizing Democrats the same way if Chafee became a Democrat, he would one of many Democrats criticizing the Republicans. By sticking with their own parties, both Zell Miller and Lincoln Chafee are seen as mavericks and get a hell of a lot more coverage. Plus, in Chafee’s case, what exactly would be the incentive for him to go from the majority party to the minority party without any benefits. At least Jim Jeffords got a chairmanship out of his switch.

Posted by Dave at 12:46 pm
Filed under: Congress | Comments (84)

84 Responses to “Lincoln Chafee Staying Put”

  1. hellbelly says:

    Read it and Weep! First!!

  2. PoliBlog says:

    Chafee Says No to Switcheroo
    So reports CNN via Dave Wissing:Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who flirted with changing political parties in the wake of President Bush’s re-election victory, says he will stay in the GOP.

    “My Republican colleagues have let me know that they w…

  3. LargeBill says:

    The guy is still a goof. However, I don’t think we will get any Republican from that part of the country much better. Just like Guiliani or Pataki. In the heartland they would be considered fairly liberal and most likely be Dems. In NY they are considered “very conservative.” Our various labels mean different things in different parts of the country.

  4. McCain says:

    First bullet dodged for the Republicans. Now they put Specter in charge of the Judiciary committee, and disaster is averted.

  5. Ben Keeler says:

    Good analysis – he isnt going anywhere. Chafee will jsut continue to cause problems for the party, but that is better than a party switch

  6. MikeKS says:

    That’s too bad–wish he would have gone. Useless.

  7. eugenito says:

    Bush Concedes Defeat

    This just in:

    GW Bush has announced his concession of the 2004 presidential
    election to John Kerry. “Yes, America has spoken”, sighed a clearly
    exasperated Bush at this afternoon’s press conference. “But so has
    Karl Rove, through the radio transmitter I had hidden in my suit
    jacket during all 3 debates during the campaign”. “As a self-declared
    man of morals, I have reached the painful conclusion that I am not
    worthy of being president of the United States. “Any guy who would
    be willing to cheat during a debate in the way I did, cannot be trusted
    in any public office. Nobody really knows what other tricks I may have
    used to undermine public confidence in this race and in the previous
    election. But I think it is obvious that I am capable of pretty much
    anything and for this reason my conscience cannot allow me to accept
    victory in this election”.

  8. MikeKS says:

    And Specter leading the Judiciary would be the huge mistake. Specter is such a loser. Bush really stepped in it by not at least staying neutral in the primary. Toomey would have been great.

  9. McCain says:

    There are certain recognized criteria for posting spoofs in the world of blogging. The most obvious requirement is that the spoof must actually be funny.

    MikeKS, the Specter thing is a good test of Republican overreach in their expanded majority. The question to consider is what happens if Specter doesn’t get it? What are the ramifications? Will you lose Specter’s vote? What about Collins, Snowe, and Chaffee? Will they join the filibusters? I hope that you are prepared for the backlash that will ensue. But what if Specter gets the job? That guarantees his vote and averts the backlash. Seems like the obvious solution to get your way. And that is why I don’t think there is any way Specter gets the boot.

  10. Barbara says:

    Specter is so boxed in now, he will be harmless. He wants the chairmanship very badly and knows that shoud he act in any way that is hostile to the agenda of the Majority, that position would be yanked in a New York minute.

    The best thing now if for Republicans to stop fighting with each other. That just delights the Democrats and is counter productive.

  11. MikeKS says:

    McCain—I’m sick of letting FOUR moderates controlt he chamber. Screw them. Evangelical, pro-life, pro-marrage, pro-constructionists won the day last week and we’re going to let this bozo run the freaking Judiciary committee? Unbelievable. If those types want to leave, let them, they’re not Republicans anyway.

    Of course, supporting Specter in the primaries in the beginningi s what got us to this mess. I know you are a Libertarian, but to conservatives, the idea of Specter as chairman is basically the same as a Democrat.

    We need a true champion heading that committee.

  12. MikeKS says:

    Also, as for “true tests”, how baout listening to the voters? Specter types did not win the election for W. It was conservatives. Specter himself needs to realize that.

  13. eugenito says:

    Hmmmm….perhaps it wasn’t intended to be funny for reactionary republicans??

  14. Jeremy says:


    What’s up. How bout that election? About a week late on here, but that’s ok, lol. I was in FL before the election and then went on a celebration cruise. 🙂

    Karl Rove was right: He got those 4 million evangelicals to the polls this time.

    Side note: Jeb’s run in ’08 is looking less likely every day.

  15. HeavyM says:

    McCain, I believe your logic is flawed. If we block Specter from becoming the chairman, you say that guarantees he votes against us, joining in filibusters, etc. But it doesn’t necessarily. And you say if we give in, and let a RINO block Bush’s best nominees, then that guarantees that he will vote with us. But it most certainly does not, and to suggest otherwise is not only naive, but asinine I believe.

    If your logic is correct, and that is really what Specter is trying to do, then I say go ahead and boot him from the party, don’t let him make the choice to leave. We don’t need anybody with their own personal agenda making a power play to cause infighting amongst the party after conservatives just won a historical victory. Republicans now have the best shot we will ever have for many more congressional sessions to implement this culture of life that we believe in. And we’ll be danged if some agenda driven RINO is going to block that because he is seeking the spotlight for himself.

    Specter is utterly disgusting, and appeasing him with a chairmanship isn’t going to change that. Haven’t we learned our lesson on appeasement before? 😉

  16. HeavyM says:

    On Jeb — No sad news to me that he’s not running for Prez in ’08. I am of the belief that a lot of Americans will not for him just because of his last name. However, I am hoping he reconsiders a bid for the FL Senate in ’06…

  17. Jeremy says:


    Agreed about Jeb. I think he realizes the GOP will need a fresh face in ’08 and he would almost be like a third term. He’s pretty impressive though. I wonder what he could do between now and a possible run.

  18. MikeKS says:

    I totally disagree about Jeb. I also believe he will change his mind. He’s simply not going to say that right now, it would create a firestorm.

    Jeb in 08!!!

  19. Bill W says:


    I can’t agree with your comments about Specter and Chaffee. Kansas or Oklahoma-type
    conservatives cannot get elected in the Northeast. Toomey would almost certainly have
    been defeated in the general election. Like it or not, the price of being in the majority
    is having to ‘put up with’ Senators like Specter and Chaffee…and Snowe…and Collins…
    and Coleman…and McCain…and Gordon Smith. Would you prefer to have a solid conservative minority party? I didn’t think so.

    Still, I’ll bet you will be surprised at how well the Judiciary Committee will work with
    Specter in charge. Orrin Hatch was too much of a coward to lead the committee effectively;
    he wanted to hide behind Leahy’s skirts, and it didn’t work at all. That’s why Terrence
    Boyle never got a hearing, even after four years, and why the none of the ‘Michigan Four’
    have been confirmed.

    I don’t think Specter will let Leahy, Kennedy, Durbin, Schumer or any of the other
    Democrat bullies push him around. Even more importantly, the solid Republican majority in
    the Senate should allow the committee to change some rules: 1) perhaps to a 10/8 party
    split, and 2) to get rid of the ridiculous rule that no nominee can be voted unless at
    least one member of the minority party approves.

    Just MHO, of course!

  20. McCain says:

    I believe that Specter has made one so-called “bad” judicial vote in his long senate history. He voted against Bork on the up/down vote on the floor of the Senate. This fantastic obsession with the guy reminds me of the liberals’ preoccupation with a pile of bombs in the desert. There is a certain loss of perspective, and I believe a misreading of the election results. 59,000,000 people did not vote for Bush because he has Christian values. But go ahead and overreach and watch the bombs explode in your face. 1996 was not that long ago, dear Republican friends. It is called cutting off one’s nose to spite your face.

  21. Bill W says:

    All – sorry about the line length. I’m still trying to get used
    to this new comment system.

  22. McCain says:

    Jeb Bush for VICE-President ?

  23. Jeremy says:

    On the other side:

    I think this LA Times article goes even further than the WP or BG did in signaling Kerry’s ’08 intentions.,1,4264833.story

  24. Jeremy says:


    Specter definitely showed one case of “bad” judgment last Wednesday in his comments. Talk about being politically tone-deaf. We’ll see how it all shakes out, but you can tell he’s sweating bullets at the moment.

    Even if he does get the chairmanship, he’s made sure he’ll be kept on a short leash, lol.

  25. Bill W says:

    Speaking of switching parties, I hope Trent Lott and Mitch McConnell
    are also planning to buy a lot of lunches for Blanche Lincoln, Ben
    Nelson, Kent Conrad, and Mary Landrieu. As nice as it is to have 55
    Republicans in the Senate, 56 or 57 would be even better!

    It seems to me you could make the case that none of them has much of
    a future in the Democrat party: they are almost sure to be in the
    minority for the remainder of their terms, and with the South and
    Plains states solidly Republican, re-election will be very difficult.
    Both Conrad and Nelson have to run again in 2006.

  26. eugenito says:

    56 million people voted AGAINST bush. No mandate. No “political capital”

  27. Jeremy says:

    eugenito’s post made me think of something.

    Anybody think Dubya tops 60 million votes when all is said and done?

  28. eugenito says:

    I’m thinking maybe kerry will top 60 million if ohio is ever straightened out

  29. eugenito says:

    Vilsack/Richardson ’08

  30. eugenito says:

    would you guys really want a guy like zell miller in the republican party??

  31. McCain says:

    Indeed Jeremy. As Confucious say, people who have no muscles should not flex them. It seems to me that he has created perfect situation for conservatives. He has to be a good boy.

    Bill, I think your analysis is good but it depends on their higher aspirations. If the Democratic party does veer right, as it always does after bad defeats, those guys will be sitting pretty.

  32. Peter George says:

    Chafee is NOT a moderate. He is a liberal. Why does everyone continue to pretend that there are no LIBERALS in the Republican Party. Spector is a liberal too. Snowe and COllins are moderates.
    As for the problem with Spector, due to the size of the Republican majority, the majority of the Juducuart Committee can be increased from 1 to 2 members, negating the possible defection of Spector on Bush’s inevitable nomination of conservatives to the Supreme Court.

  33. Karl Marx says:

    What happened to Zell?

  34. hellbelly says:

    New Zogby Forecast: Giants to sign Arafat to Replace Strahan.

  35. chodie says:

    you can absolutely forget about Mary Landrieu. She would never switch to Republican. Her core support is the city of New Orleans, They come out in huge numbers for her and she would be toast if she switched.

  36. MikeKS says:

    I hope you all are right about Specter. I have no problem with his type being elected in the northeast, but Penn elected Santorum and would have elected Toomey. PA is not Maine. Even mccain and hagel are at least pro-life,though they can cause trouble. Outside of Specter, the mods are Snowe, Collins, and Chaffee.

    I do thinkt here is a chance Nelson will switch parties. He’s up for election and I think he’ll get beat in 06 by Johanns if he doesn’t switch. He was rumored to before.

    Jeb in 08 for VP is a thought I’ve been pondering today…how old is Jeb anyway?

  37. MikeKS says:

    Evans, Ashcroft, resign.

    I know that Senator Hutchinson wants to run for Governor of Texas, but how about Evans? Or Evans replacing Hutchinson as a Senator?

  38. McCain says:

    Jeb Bush is only 51 years old.

  39. Sam the honeyman says:

    I like the idea of Jeb for VP in’08. It would make a solid ticket with Florida assurred of its 27 EV’s. I love the comments of our Trolls out there that just can’t get over they lost, and lost big time with losing 4 senate and house seats. I guess it will take some time to sink in maybe?? I think Toomey would have won by a wisker in PA just like Rick Santorum did his first time for the senate seat in PA. Now that we have Specte, let’s keep him on a short lease on the judiciary committe.

  40. pw says:

    I think you’re drinking a little too much cool-aid.
    Kerry at 60,000?
    By the way, did Carter & Clinton have mandates.
    And more than 59 million voted for Bush.
    By the way, since you’re complaining about OH, what are your thoughts on WI & PA?
    Bush lost those states more narrowly than Kerry lost OH (that’s right; Kerry LOST OH), and there’s deafening silence there.

  41. Skaje says:

    I’m surprised at all this anger towards Sen. McCain.

    He’s probably gonna be your presidential nominee in 08 (and should have been in 2000, IMO).

    Democrats put up with Zell Miller, Robert Byrd etc, because they need a voice in conservative regions.

    Republicans should hold on to any support they can get in New England.

  42. pw says:

    I actually like McCain a lot (think campaign finance reform was bad), but I would vote for him without a problem in 2008.
    And Robert Byrd sure didn’t help Democrats in WV (Bush+14)..

  43. McCain says:

    I’d like to think McCain could win the nomination, but I’m not sure of it. The geographical problem against Hillary is he needs Florida and a state in the midwest. Could McCain & Jeb Bush win Ohio? Could McCain and Pawlenty win Florida? Interesting geographics. Think of all the combinations against Hillary. She will be the nominee, which makes playing defense rather easy knowing it.

  44. pw says:

    I bet McCain could win those states, along with states like NH (they love him there), WI, MI & PA.
    And do you think people in GA or UT would vote for Hillary just because McCain wasn’t conservative enough?
    President Bush would surely campaign for him, and I think Jeb on the ticket would lock up FL.

  45. McCain says:

    In any race, you start with a solid south for the Republicans, and a solid northeast and far west for the Democrats. Florida, Ohio, the upper midwest, and a couple of western states (Colorado, NM) are the turf battles. Seems like that is enough of a clue to construct the best ticket.

  46. pw says:

    I think McCain would win NH.

  47. eugenito says:

    Don’t write hillary’s name in ink just yet….she’s enormously popular
    among the base, but I’m not convinced she’s electable

  48. McCain says:

    Hillary is the Democratic nominee if she runs. There is no doubt.

  49. pw says:

    McCain, I agree.

  50. McCain says:

    And Hillary has 4 years to remake her image into a southern-drawling conservative Democrat. That is what she will attempt. Oh my, how the electorate has short memories. She will be tuff. Frist is perhaps the best geographical anecdote to her. He can win Missouri and Arkansas without problem. The battleground would remain Florida, Ohio, some western states, and the upper midwest.

  51. Ray J. Tuleya says:

    Keep Spector. He’ll help. It’s ridiculous to think you need 60 votes for Supreme Court nominees. That has never happened before. When will the Democrats next have 60 seats in the Senate if they elect a President. This is not workable. If our forefathers wanted a 3/5th or 2/3 vote of the Senate necessary, they would have put it in the Constitution.

    I don’t expect anyone to change parties for now. I suspect if Senator Chafee switched, he’d either do it in the face of an “important” decision, or in time to keep himself from being beat by a Democrat in Rhode Island. If he stays, and I hope he does, despite my being a life-long conservative, I’m sure President Bush would support him just like Spector.

    By the way, whoever was “first”, you are being dropped off since I’m comment #51.

  52. Alex says:

    I don’t see anybody with the power in the democratic party to beat Hillary. There will be better people out there but they don’t have the money or power to compete with her. But I do worry about her electability. I worry she is just too polarizing a figure. But one thing I do know: ever since she ran for the senate, she has been setting up for a presidential run. Her record isn’t liberal. She has voted for every tax cut, voted for war, etc. Her attendance in the senate is excellent. Every move she has made has been geared for a presidential run and she has done nothing or will do nothing to jeopardize it.

    If she ends up with the nomination, her vp will be Bayh or Mark Warner from VA in my opinion, which would be good choices as a vp candidate.

  53. Alex says:

    I don’t think Frist would be the best candidate for the repubs to run. He is boring. And if you think Kerry had a bad record in the senate, take a look at what Frist has done: absolutely nothing.

  54. Chuck Nevola says:

    I’m a Rhode Islander and have to put up with Lincoln Chafee. I agree with your assessment except for one thing. Zell Miller is articulate and Linc Chafee should be shoeing horses, like he was when he finished school. He dithers, and it is torture for the few conservatives left in the state. A good old conservative friend of mine once said that it is worse to have a liberal US Senator who is Republican than a liberal Democrat because with the Republican it tales two election cycles to have a chance to replace him/her with a conservative, at least with the Democrat it is onlyone.

  55. McCain says:

    Well Chuck, I admire your optimism, but I humbly suggest that you are sniffing Lincoln Chafee’s horse glue if you think Rhode Island can elect a conservative.

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