Who thought the Democratic primary needed an elite white ex-Republican governor who had to end his reelection campaign because he was held in such contempt in his home state?
Chafee said the launch of his exploratory committee will be made via videos posted on his website, Chafee2016.com.
“Throughout my career, I exercised good judgment on a wide range of high-pressure decisions, decisions that require level-headedness and careful foresight,” said Chafee. “Often these decisions came in the face of political adversity. During the next weeks and months I look forward to sharing with you my thoughts about the future of our great country.”
Yes, the man who ran for reelection in the Senate as a Republican in those long ago days of 2006 is running for president as a Democrat. He pretty much has one issue–that Hillary Clinton voted for war in Iraq and that should disqualify you. And that’s a good enough point I guess. But Lincoln Chafee is still a Republican on economic policy and anyone who votes for him is basically telling me they don’t care about unions or progressive economic issues. Let me tell you a story. When I got to URI, we were negotiating a new contract with the state. It fell behind as these things will, but we eventually came to an agreement with Chafee’s Board of Trustees and his negotiators. And then Chafee decided to torpedo the whole thing because our gigantic 3 percent raise was too much of a precedent for the rest of state workers, especially since he’d have to pay into their pensions. Now we don’t have a traditional pension plan so this was not our problem. But it didn’t matter. This was a clear unfair labor practice. It eventually got worked out, but our raises were delayed by over a year.
This is clearly the kind of intelligent leadership the Democratic Party needs. I haven’t felt this excited since Joe Lieberman finished in a 3-way tie for 3rd place (which was actually a pretty decisive 5th) in the 2004 New Hampshire primaries.
Within Rhode Island, this has led to some interesting commentary if you are interested.