— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) April 9, 2015
… Which is probably unfair. I’m sure Mr. Chafee is a very nice person, he was indeed “the only Republican in the Senate” to vote against Dubya’s Iraq War resolution, and he was an early Obama supporter. The men in his family have always been Very Important People in Rhode Island (which, from the Massachusetts side of the border, translates as “the biggest roosters crowing on a small dunghill”). There is nothing in his resume that would disqualify him for the Presidency.
On the flip side, his qualifications are all of the sanded-down, last-year’s-best, tallest-midget model. He sidled from the leftmost edge of the GOP to the hopeless-progressive Democratic wing by way of a media-friendly stint as an Independent. He was mayor of the second-largest city in Rhode Island until he inherited his dad’s Senate seat, where his every vote seems to have been of the most high-minded, which didn’t save him from being ejected by an actual Democrat. Working to get Barack Obama elected President gave him sufficient credentials to be elected as governor in a state that leans Democratic, but the “irrational negativity“ of Rhode Island politics meant his approval rating stood at 25% when he decided he wouldn’t bother running for reelection.
So today, per CNN:
Lincoln Chafee announced a presidential exploratory committee as a Democrat on Thursday, arguing that Hillary Clinton’s 2002 vote authorizing the Iraq War disqualifies her from the presidency…
He also looked to demonstrate he is not afraid to attack Clinton, at the same time that other Democrats considering run — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders — have shied away from direct attacks…
“Yes,” Chafee said when asked if he plans on making the Iraq War central to his campaign against Clinton. “That’s one of our big differences.”…
Well, that campaign model worked beautifully for Barack Obama, eight years ago. And there are certainly many Progressives, some of them Democrats, who also feel that Hillary’s Iraq War vote should never be forgiven; not to mention those who believe that a fierce primary battle is all to the good. (Whether those forces constitute a voting bloc big enough to move beyond a rounding error in the polls is a separate issue.)
But when I look at the peevish expression in the photo at the top, I see a little thought balloon: Why her, and not me?
I don’t think O’Malley, Webb, or even Sanders would have much trouble knocking Chafee out of the arena. He’s a John Vliet Lindsay for the new millenium… and Lindsay didn’t do so well even in 1972.