Skip to comments.Of RINOs and DINOs
Posted on 06/30/2006 1:14:04 PM PDT by qlangley
Two US Senators face serious primary challenges this year. Neither is guaranteed victory. They are Lincoln Chafee (R, RI) and Joe Lieberman (D, CT). Except that a great many people would change the party names to RINO and DINO. Thats Republican/Democrat In Name Only.
The charge of party disloyalty is easier to make against Chafee, who rarely votes with other Republicans, and even suggested that he would not vote Bush in advance of the 2004 election. Lieberman, of course, was ON his partys Presidential ticket just six years ago. It has been said that (without much exaggeration) that Chafee casts one important vote for the Republicans every two years: he votes for a Republican Majority Leader.
That is probably the reason the party establishment has rallied round him. Conservative activist, Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform has said a Republican from Rhode Island is a gift. Rhode Island has not voted Republican in a Presidential poll since 1984. It was one of just 10 states to vote for Dukakis and of the six that voted Carter in 1980. It is difficult to imagine Rhode Island electing a Republican of any other stripe than Chafee. So why do so many Republicans want him out? If the primary challenge of Cranston Mayor Steven Laffey is successful, then the Democrats will probably gain the seat. Surely, a Republican would prefer someone who usually votes for the Democrats to someone who always votes with them.
But Chafee is not the only RINO in the Senate, merely the most egregious offender. A successful challenge to him might cost the Republicans one seat, but if it makes four or five other Republicans toe the line a bit more effectively, perhaps it would create a stronger caucus.
For Democrats supporting Ned Lamonts challenge to Joe Lieberman the thinking is slightly different. Connecticut is almost as strongly Democrat as Rhode Island. Lieberman is far from being the only Democrat who can win there. Indeed, polls show that in a straight match with the Republican candidate, Lamont would win though not by as big a margin as Lieberman would.
Lieberman, while known for his independent mind, does not vote against his party as commonly as Chafee. But then, there is the war. It is difficult for Democrat activists to get past this one big issue. Although almost exactly half of Democrat Senators voted for the resolution authorizing the Iraq war, many, including John Kerry, and the now ex-Senator John Edwards, have since changed their minds. Lieberman has not, is a very vocal critic of those who have.
If Lieberman survives his increasingly tight primary, he will easily win in November. Chafee, by contrast, will face another equally close race.
Except that it might not turn out like that at all. Both could decide to run as independents. In strongly Democrat Connecticut, Lieberman could probably expect to see the Republican vote collapse in his favor. Since he would have the support of 50% of Democrats and most of the independents, this would be more than enough to win, which is what current polls suggest. Chafees task would be more difficult, and three way races are hard to predict, but leaving the Republican Party would probably not damage his chances of winning.
Together, they could hold the balance of power in the Senate.
Copyright © Quentin Langley 21 June 2006
Quentin Langley is editor of www.quentinlangley.net an academic at the University of Cardiff and is a columnist with Campaigns & Elections. This article was first published in the Common Sense series for Lake Champlain Weekly. Since this article was published it has become clear that Chafee WILL contest the Republican primary in Rhode Island.
Sounds like Lieberman figured out long ago that his name was only attached to the ticket to pick up the Jewish vote. He's realized the internal disharmony and insanity...
To keep him off of committees, and to keep other RINOs in line. He would not vote for a GOP majority leader if the vote was 50/50. No way, hell, he didn't even vote for Bush in the election.
True, and something we should accept. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are as good as we can expect in their states. But we can do better in most places. Look at Norm Coleman in a liberal state. He's loyal to the party even if we don't always agree with him, viz., ANWR. We need to make sure we have conservatives in conservative states (get rid of Linseed Graham, Specter and Chuck Hegel) and we need to do better in states where a conservative could carry the day but we got a RINO instead (Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arizona). When we have a majority, or close to it, of conservatives, and only a handful of moderate or liberal Republicans in the congress, then it will be easier to prevent the RINOs from hijacking the agenda.
>their presence allows the GOP to maintain the majority and in control of the agenda.
That's true, but the significance of this can be exaggerated. It gives the GOP the appearance of control, without the reality. It is very easy for Democrats to point the GOP control and say "Look, the Republicans control every branch of government, so everything is their fault". It makes it harder for Republican candidates to promise in swing states that with a few more Republican Senators they could deliver this, or that, because people will understandably say "but you are in control now".
Sure, there are advantages to being in control, but there are some advantages to being in opposition too.
Remember when Jim Jeffords defected and control of the Senate passed to the dems and Tom Daschle? They used their temporary majority to control what bills came to the floor and what oversight hearings took place. It was a nightmare. Carl Levin as the chairman of the Armed Services would be a real horror during this war.
It is precisely because Jim Jeffords defected that the GOP was able to successfully run a campaign against Daschle that led to the GOP takeover and the end of the Majority Leader's own Senate career.
Whereas, when 'control' depended on the personal veto of Jim Jeffords, the situation was much worse.
If Chafee is defeated, I won't much miss him. And I think the real 'loser talk' is the idea that Republicans cannot control the Senate without a handful of Chafee types holding the balance of power.
I gather that you don't agree, and that is fine.
Dachsle lost by a small margin. You are right that without that issue he would not have lost. But I doubt he would have lost without the Jeffords defection either. There were dozens of factors which moved enough votes to make that small difference.
The notion that without 50 Senators a party is 'powerless', however, is plainly nonsense. It is a lot more complicated than who has control. The Democrats, too, have people who won't stick directly to party line. Having a small margin of control puts you at the mercy of your weakest members.
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