|BuzzFlash News Analysis|
May 20, 2006
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The Myth of the Republican "Moderate" Senator: Lincoln Chafee Case in Point
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
Dateline: Providence, Rhode Island
The tiny state of Rhode Island is tied with New York for giving Bush the lowest approval rating in a recent survey: just 23% of the New England state residents approve of George's reign.
So, to try to ensure that the Republicans maintain control of the Senate and one-party rule, the White House and RNC are working feverishly to back "moderate" GOP senators, like Lincoln Chafee.
George himself hasn't set foot in Rhode Island since he occupied the White House, so they sent up Laura to raise money for Chafee on Friday night at a hotel here in Providence. The thinking is that if George shows up, he'll galvanize the Democrats to vote against the Republican candidate. So send the Stepford "lady of the house" to fly in under the radar, knowing that if anyone criticizes her, they will appear unchivalrous and mean.
We have to hand it to the chair of the Rhode Island state party, who knew how to zing this tactic without appearing ungallant toward the cipher known as "First Lady": "She seems to be a nice person," said William Lynch, Democratic state chairman. "I don't have anything bad to say about her except for her taste in men." (As quoted in the Providence Journal.)
You see, Chafee, the ditzy offspring of a true Rhode Island moderate Republican senator (his father John), is facing a primary challenge from a conservative Republican. But the White House knows that Chafee always votes with them when they need his vote. He casts "moderate" votes now and then when Rove doesn't need him to put a White House bill over the top, so that Chafee can "appear" moderate, while actually being a Bush loyalist on close votes.
The Republicans are much, much better at this game than the Democrats. It's called maintaining power. And to maintain power, they need a majority of Republican seats in the senate. Lincoln Chafee can vote anyway he wants on bills that the GOP is going to pass easily, as long as he is there when they need him -- and he is.
Furthermore -- and this is the most important strategic point -- Chafee gives them one more seat to guarantee a majority, which means the GOP controls the Senate, including all its committees. Among other things, this means that people like Bush Boy Toy #1, Kansas State Senator Pat Roberts (Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee), can continue to cover up administration illegalities, betrayal and incompetence.
So, in the shell game that the GOP plays so well, they don't give a hoot if Chafee gives off the "appearance" of being moderate. He's their made man and is a more likely fall election winner in an uber blue state than a conservative candidate running against him in the primary. Besides which, when it comes to control of the Senate and voting with them when they need him, the White House knows Chafee isn't a moderate, he's just another Bush foot soldier. This is because rhetoric doesn't count; it's only control of the Senate and must-win votes.
Chafee talks a "moderate" game, but he never takes a stand on principle that actually derails or in any way impedes the goals of the Bush Administration. Liberal groups who believe that you need to reward so-called "moderate Republicans" in the Senate are letting appearances deceive them, while the GOP walks away with one-party rule.
According to the Providence Journal, Laura told the Chafee donors: "I'm so happy to be in Rhode Island and have this chance to support your U.S. senator, Lincoln Chafee. He is an important member of the U.S. Senate."
She meant it, because Chafee is another GOP pawn on their chess board.
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS