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How Lincoln Chaffee Won (US Senate GOP Primary-RI)
Hotline/National Journal (subscripton only) ^ | September 13, 2006 | Marc Ambinder

Posted on 09/13/2006 9:11:40 AM PDT by gopwinsin04

September 13, 2006 How Chafee Won

Late last Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Dole hurried up to Sen. Lincoln Chafee on the floor of the Senate and put her foot down. You might lose this race, she told him, if you don’t put your best ads back up.

Chafee, gun-shy about the negative ads he knew Dole was referring to, relented, as he’s done innumerable times in the year and a half since it became clear that he’d face a primary challenge.

The next night, Rhode Island television viewers were once again treated to the sounds of Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey joking that old people should die off. They heard the charges that he had doctored his resume. The tag line: “Steve Laffey: Untrustworthy, unpredictable, unreliable.” And the most important part of the ad was the FEC-mandated ending. Lincoln Chafee approved this message. A contrast was drawn.

By Tuesday, six months worth of hard-hitting spots like these, many funded directly by the NRSC, had driven unfavorable perceptions of Laffey to scary heights among non-affiliated voters.

But Laffey’s campaign professed not to worry. They weren’t concerned about unaffiliated voters. They assumed that few would be motivated to spend an hour at the polls waiting to vote for Lincoln Chafee. Laffey ran his campaign as if he were a presidential candidate preparing for a caucus. He tried to meet as many Republicans as possible. His campaign identified and kept in touch with about 30,000 stalwarts. Based on past turnout, that seemed like enough.

In every speech, Laffey touted his conservative credentials, his record as mayor, and, somewhat discordantly, his independence. After all, his audience was the small and restive Republican base in RI – conservative and independent. The ads he ran were all positive, but the Club for Growth spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running spots that blasted Chafee. The messages were was confusing. Some of Laffeys’ ads were populist in content; he recalled how his brother died of AIDS and his parents live on Social Security. Others stressed his commitment to lowering taxes, securing borders and protecting America. Laffey’s campaign and the Club could not coordinate their strategy, and they often dismissed each other’s decisions in private.

Laffey hoped to convince Republicans that he was better on their issues and could get things done. Chafee’s ads were designed to prevent Laffey from making a gut-level connection with voters.

Rhode Island will become a case study in the effectiveness of the Republicans’ 72 Hour Program. Behind the curtain, Chafee’s campaign spent $500,000 to squeeze out every conceivable voter from neighborhoods across the state. They searched for independents who voted Democrat in municipal elections but who had once upon a time voted for a Republican for president or governor or senator. There were a few of those. They looked for non-affiliated voters in Republican neighborhoods. Using microtargeting techniques, they even tried to figure out which committed Democrats might be tempted to vote for Chafee.

By the end of the summer, Chafee’s campaign had identified 42,000 potential supporters. Then the second part of the program kicked in. Message, here, is a verb. The campaign “messaged” these voters, often individually. Chafee himself called more than 100 of them who were identified as being capable of swinging the votes of colleagues and friends. The standard complement of robocalls, mailings and personal visits were employed. In the twelve days of September, Chafee, the RNC and NRSC made more than 198,000 phone calls to the voters on their list. Many voters received one every two days.

On election day, the Chafee campaign stationed poll watchers at 100 key precincts across the state. By 10:00 am, the RNC and the NRSC were confident that Chafee would win.

It didn’t faze them when Laffey’s campaign bragged about meeting their targets. Chafee had simply found more voters. Laffey’s turnout was sufficient for a universe of Republicans and identified conservatives. But Chafee had found just about every Republican he could hope for and managed to attract at least 10,000 non-Republicans to his tally. One Republican in the state estimates that as many as 60 percent of the primary electorate were not affiliated with the Republican Party. (More than 20,000 Rhose Islanders requested formal disaffiliation forms after voting.) Chafee even managed to blunt Laffey's margin of victory in Cranston to just a few hundred votes.

The same factors that drove Chafee’s victory are giving his Democratic challenger, Sheldon Whitehouse, some comfort. The universe of identified Chafee voters is at least 20,000 less than the number of Democrats who voted for Whitehouse in yesterday’s noncompetitive primary. [MARC AMBINDER]


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Rhode Island
KEYWORDS: lincolnchafee; rino
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1 posted on 09/13/2006 9:11:41 AM PDT by gopwinsin04
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To: gopwinsin04

In other words, Rhode Island is hopeless.


2 posted on 09/13/2006 9:14:22 AM PDT by A Balrog of Morgoth (With fire, sword, and stinging whip I drive the RINOs in terror before me.)
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To: gopwinsin04

I always say when it's a choice between 2 'Rats in the general election, vote for the one whom is actually honest enough to declare himself one.


3 posted on 09/13/2006 9:17:31 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Cheney X -- Destroying the Liberal Democrat Traitors By Any Means Necessary -- Ya Dig ? Sho 'Nuff.)
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To: gopwinsin04

It's difficult to believe how aggressively the national Republicans attacked a serious conservative, in favor of a RINO like Chaffee.


4 posted on 09/13/2006 9:19:21 AM PDT by ER Doc
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To: gopwinsin04

And now we mack damn sure he will lose. And for the RINO appologists here, I'd rather give the Dems the whole Senate than continue to destroy "Conservatism" in the name of "he can win". At least then the 40some Republicans will find their backbone and vote on issues.


5 posted on 09/13/2006 9:19:51 AM PDT by Waywardson (Carry on! Nothing equals the splendor!)
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To: A Balrog of Morgoth

Chafee is a well known name in RI, he's a classic northeastern liberal Repub, he's against the war in Iraq, he voted against the tax cuts, ..., I'd say he has a better then 50/50 chance of winning re-election.


6 posted on 09/13/2006 9:20:00 AM PDT by moose2004 (You Can Run But You Can't Hide!)
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To: gopwinsin04

Well, well ... ol' Liddy finally puts her foot down for something.


7 posted on 09/13/2006 9:20:34 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: ER Doc

It's difficult to believe how aggressively the national Republicans attacked a serious conservative, in favor of a RINO like Chaffee.




Two Words: Liz Dole.


8 posted on 09/13/2006 9:20:38 AM PDT by Waywardson (Carry on! Nothing equals the splendor!)
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To: ER Doc
It's difficult to believe how aggressively the national Republicans attacked a serious conservative, in favor of a RINO like Chaffee.

So we are at a place where Elizabeth Dole and the RNC funded and ran attack ads against a conservative Republican to support a Senator with a ACU rating of 12...which ranks him behind a dozen or so Democratic senators. ...and the party still wants conservatives to turn out and vote for this clown in the general election. If there is a time for conservatives to take a stand and say "never again", it's by throwing Chaffee overboard in the general election.
9 posted on 09/13/2006 9:22:43 AM PDT by Old_Mil (http://www.constitutionparty.com/)
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To: gopwinsin04

He won the old fashion way. He got the most votes.


10 posted on 09/13/2006 9:23:41 AM PDT by Phlap (REDNECK@LIBARTS.EDU)
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To: gopwinsin04
Has anyone seen a story about how the Democrats are the party caving to their "extremists" (Lamont) while the GOP is holding the line toward moderation (Chafee)? Anyone, anyone

Not that I believe that crap, but if you were to extrapolate from all their stories about the restless extremists this year, that would be the inevitable conclusion.

11 posted on 09/13/2006 9:24:20 AM PDT by ElkGroveDan (The California Republican Party needs Arnold the way a drowning man needs an anvil.)
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To: gopwinsin04
Chafee, gun-shy about the negative ads he knew Dole was referring to

If either Chafee or the reporter expects us to believe this asseriton, they're lying losers. Chafee proved that he's quite happy to smear anyone who gets in his way, like the good little Clintonista RINO that he is.

12 posted on 09/13/2006 9:25:50 AM PDT by S.S. Monkeyface
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To: A Balrog of Morgoth

That RI is hopeless has been the reality for a long time.


13 posted on 09/13/2006 9:35:23 AM PDT by conservative blonde (Conservative Blonde)
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To: Waywardson

If it's Chafee's vote that makes the difference between Republican and Democrat control, he will all but certainly cross the aisle.

Why? it's all about Linc.


14 posted on 09/13/2006 9:38:11 AM PDT by S.S. Monkeyface
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To: ElkGroveDan

Naturally, the LSM keeps referring to the "moderate Republican" Chaffee. If he's a moderate, I'm Brad Pitt and believe me, I ain't near that good lookin'.

Of course, since about 98 percent of the media lurks in the neighborhood of Teddy Kennedy on the ideological scale, I suppose to them Chaffee appears moderate. But surely not by much.


15 posted on 09/13/2006 9:45:58 AM PDT by Sooner1938 (Disgusted)
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To: A Balrog of Morgoth

In other words, Rhode Island is hopeless.


Well it proves that RI has very few Republicans. No Republican in his right mind would vote for Chafee.


16 posted on 09/13/2006 9:47:05 AM PDT by John D
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To: gopwinsin04

Who is the bigger dunce -- Dole husband, or Dole wife?


17 posted on 09/13/2006 9:47:08 AM PDT by gaspar
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To: gopwinsin04

If they ever can get impeachment out of the House, Chaffee will be the deci Bush from office.ding vote to remove


18 posted on 09/13/2006 9:53:33 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: John D
I just moved from RI. I believe the reason Linc won was simple and underreported: He brings home lots of Washington money for infrastructure and he attends every ribbon-cutting ceremony around. Despite his crazy politics, people - even conservatives - vote for him because of this
19 posted on 09/13/2006 9:53:52 AM PDT by Dansong
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To: gopwinsin04

You would think after supporting Arlen Spector over the conservative candidate two years ago, that they would have learned something.


20 posted on 09/13/2006 9:54:32 AM PDT by markoman (The man with the rubber glove was....surprisingly gentle.)
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To: gopwinsin04

The national Republican Party consistently says conservatives should make their will known in the primaries, and then support whoever wins the primary in the general.

If they really mean that then the national party should be NEUTRAL in the primary. They were NOT. (Snarlin Arlen two years ago is another good example of this.)

I won't go along with this anymore. If I lived in Rhode Island I would either not vote for either candidate, or I would vote for the Democrat.


21 posted on 09/13/2006 9:58:32 AM PDT by EternalHope (Boycott everything French forever. Including their vassal nations.)
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To: conservative blonde

So what the article is tellling me is Laffey won the republican primary by getting 27k out of 30k or so republicans to vote for hhim. (There are 50k registered republicans in RI) Linc, the RNSC and RNC Got 20k out of 40k unaffiliated voters to vote for him.


22 posted on 09/13/2006 10:02:29 AM PDT by CPT Clay (Drill ANWR, Personal Accounts NOW.)
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To: markoman
They did. They learned conservatives support lefties, but not vice versa, and that's fine. Specter is working behind the scenes to get Santorum's opponent elected after Santorum pulled out all the stops for Specter. And Bush will do more for Chaffee than Santorum. It's a good lesson.
23 posted on 09/13/2006 10:03:10 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: gopwinsin04
When it comes to "anti-incumbent fervor", we in America always go around talking a big game about how this time we're going to throw out all those bums in Washington.

And then, like clockwork, we go to the polls and pull the lever one more time for our bum.

24 posted on 09/13/2006 10:05:05 AM PDT by jpl (Victorious warriors win first, then go to war; defeated warriors go to war first, then seek to win.)
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To: Waywardson
And now we mack damn sure he will lose. And for the RINO appologists here, I'd rather give the Dems the whole Senate than continue to destroy "Conservatism" in the name of "he can win". At least then the 40some Republicans will find their backbone and vote on issues.

Didn't Chaffee just single-handedly kill the Bolton nomination? Is the the Repub plan to hold on to power?

25 posted on 09/13/2006 10:06:37 AM PDT by detroitdarien
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To: CPT Clay

Where did the rest of Chaffees votes come from? (you have it 27k Laffey to 20k Chafee)


26 posted on 09/13/2006 10:07:37 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: CPT Clay

Hmmm, yeah and when those 27K republicans decide not to bother to go out to vote this year they can thank Ms Dole and her NRSC, and their new minority position.


27 posted on 09/13/2006 10:08:26 AM PDT by McGavin999 (Richard Armitage is a sniveling COWARD!)
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To: moose2004

Will he now support Bolton for UN Ambassador when the Senate Foreign Relations committee votes on it again?


28 posted on 09/13/2006 10:11:01 AM PDT by Otho
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To: gopwinsin04

Interesting article and in fact the bit about the 72 hour get out the vote campaign is encouraging.

As to Chafee well he is the nominee and we need to support him. He is my least favorite to say the least of the Senate but if his vote in 06 or more importantly in 08 keeps the Senate under Republican leadership then it worth the effort.

There seems to be a lot of griping about how the GOP was backing moderates in moderate to liberal states or districts. Well part of the job of the party is to make some hard pragmactic choices. The GOP is a conservative party and if truth be told the average Goper or Republican voter is a little bit more liberal or to it more precise a little bit more diverse than the base on certain issues.

If Chafee had been abandoned that might have sent the wrong message to the moderates to the liberals in the GOP wing. Occasionally you have to throw them a bone. In the end we need the Social Conservative , the conservative that are conservatives as to tax policy and similar conserns, and then a little extra to maintain control. People like Snowe and Chafee are that little bit extra that is needed. to have effective control in the Senate. Conservatives gain far more in the deal than lose.

That being said I just pray that Chafee has learned a valuable lesson about loyalty and will not have a repeat of the monkeyshines he did in the Bush/kerry race.


29 posted on 09/13/2006 10:13:02 AM PDT by catholicfreeper
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To: nickcarraway

Democrats pulling GOP ballots, probably.


30 posted on 09/13/2006 10:15:27 AM PDT by darkangel82 (Higher visibility leads to greater zottability.)
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To: gopwinsin04

Silver lining ...

At least the NSRC knows how to win a race.

Please have them do this well on 'microtargeting' in Ohio, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania! I dont care about Chaffee, but I want to see Steele, Santorum, DeWine, Talent and Kean beat their liberal Democr*p opponents.


31 posted on 09/13/2006 10:16:08 AM PDT by WOSG (Broken-glass time, Republicans! Save the Congress!)
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To: Otho

Probably not, pitiful isn't it?


32 posted on 09/13/2006 10:17:44 AM PDT by moose2004 (You Can Run But You Can't Hide!)
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To: fieldmarshaldj
I always say when it's a choice between 2 'Rats in the general election, vote for the one whom is actually honest enough to declare himself one.

What do we do in the CA Gov. race? The (R) is really a (D), and the (D) is really a Communist.

33 posted on 09/13/2006 10:18:15 AM PDT by LexBaird (Another member of the Bush/Halliburton/Zionist/CIA/NWO/Illuminati conspiracy for global domination!)
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To: catholicfreeper
That being said I just pray that Chafee has learned a valuable lesson about loyalty

Probably the same lesson Jeffords learned when the GOP made a gargantuan effort for him in 2000.

34 posted on 09/13/2006 10:20:25 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: WOSG

Exactly and that is the great thing to take out of this article if it was indeed a factor to which I hope it is. That gameplan is going to be much needed in some of these states. We need to hold on to everything we can because 08 might be brutal


35 posted on 09/13/2006 10:23:51 AM PDT by catholicfreeper
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To: nickcarraway

Well I am praying that will not happen.At the end of the day at least more Dems have defected than Repubs so that might give us some hope


36 posted on 09/13/2006 10:25:22 AM PDT by catholicfreeper
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To: RegulatorCountry
It would be nice if she put her foot down and told him to vote for the Senate GOP organizing group next year, and for Bush's appointees. But no.

This is very discouraging. Laffey would have won but for the Senate helping an incumbent who should have been defeated in the primary. That's what primaries are for. If we lose the seat, it's already lost to Chafee, but at least Laffey builds name recognition, and maybe he has a shot next time. Either way, it's a no-lose situation, and for the Senate Republicans to get involved in primaries is bad for the party, as it cuts the faithful out of the process.

It would have been nice to see what would have happened to Toomey if they had supported him, too.

37 posted on 09/13/2006 10:27:37 AM PDT by Defiant (Under Bush the adults are back in charge, but they are your friend's cool parents.)
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To: LexBaird; Clintonfatigued; AuH2ORepublican; JohnnyZ; Kuksool; AntiGuv; Torie

"What do we do in the CA Gov. race? The (R) is really a (D), and the (D) is really a Communist."

Well, I'd recommend the AIP candidate were it not for the fact that his position on the War on Terror is identical to the rabid moonbat left. So I guess that leaves this lady... (*WARNING -- pornographic, don't view at work or with kids nearby !!) http://www.marycareyforgovernor.com/ I guess if it's a choice between 2 boobs, might as well vote for an authentic (I think) pair of breasts.


38 posted on 09/13/2006 10:31:42 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Cheney X -- Destroying the Liberal Democrat Traitors By Any Means Necessary -- Ya Dig ? Sho 'Nuff.)
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To: gopwinsin04
One Republican in the state estimates that as many as 60 percent of the primary electorate were not affiliated with the Republican Party. (More than 20,000 Rhose Islanders requested formal disaffiliation forms after voting.)

If I read this right, he won because he got 20,000 dems to cross over to vote for him.

39 posted on 09/13/2006 10:55:07 AM PDT by T. P. Pole
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To: LexBaird

If I lived in CA, I'd inform the Re-Elect Arnold team that I am going to leave the Governor race blank, then vote for McClintock and other Republican candidates for office.


40 posted on 09/13/2006 11:03:33 AM PDT by Kuksool
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To: ER Doc

I don't believe any of you who are complaining understands the simple fact that if Laffey had won the seat would have been lost to the Democrats. I dislike Chafee as much as anyone but if it means the loss of control in the Senate to vote for a more conservative candidate then I'll opt for keeping control until the demographics of the State change.


41 posted on 09/13/2006 11:06:07 AM PDT by Eagles Talon IV
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To: moose2004


His has been a Chafee seat for 30 years. I guess it's part of the trust fund.


42 posted on 09/13/2006 11:07:01 AM PDT by onyx (1 Billion Muslims -- IF only 10% are radical, that's still 100 Million who want to kill us.)
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To: T. P. Pole
It makes no sense for dems to cross over for Chafee if the Democratic nominee would blow away Laffey, as I understand would happen.
43 posted on 09/13/2006 11:08:33 AM PDT by Eagles Talon IV
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To: LexBaird


You vote for Arnold.


44 posted on 09/13/2006 11:08:45 AM PDT by onyx (1 Billion Muslims -- IF only 10% are radical, that's still 100 Million who want to kill us.)
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To: T. P. Pole
If I read this right, he won because he got 20,000 dems to cross over to vote for him.

I was informed last night, that Independents can and did vote in the GOP primary.

45 posted on 09/13/2006 11:10:40 AM PDT by onyx (1 Billion Muslims -- IF only 10% are radical, that's still 100 Million who want to kill us.)
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To: catholicfreeper

The lesson is Santorum and Bush helped Specter win in tyhe primary in 2004. Specter then turned around and bashed them both. In 2004, there were "Kerry & Specter" signs all over the state. Now Specter is all but openly campaigning against Santorum. he's on the board of organizations actively campaigning against Santorum.


46 posted on 09/13/2006 11:15:17 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Waywardson
Sure - 40+ years of a 'Rat-dominated Congress really gave conservatives a boost.

You'd better re-read your political history. Conservatives have yet to succeed in rolling back any part of the welfare state (other than welfare reform).

Let me just give you one current issue: Iraq

If you want to live with the fallout of another retreat in disgrace and ingominy a la Vietnam then by all means stay home or vote 'Rat.

You want our soldiers and government officials indited and prosecuted by the ICC ? You want our foreign policy dictated by the Kyoto Protocol and the UN ? You want socialized medicine, gay marriage, and homosexual education pushed in schools a la Caliufornia ?

Sure, then, by all means vote 'Rat or stay home - same thing.

47 posted on 09/13/2006 11:19:17 AM PDT by cinives (On some planets what I do is considered normal.)
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To: Dansong
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (money-benefits) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years."

The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic (1776) By Alexander Fraser Tytler, Scottish professor of history at Edinburgh.

48 posted on 09/13/2006 11:22:01 AM PDT by cinives (On some planets what I do is considered normal.)
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To: gopwinsin04

If Laffey beat Chaffee, is it probable that Laffey would beat the Dem. in R.I.?


49 posted on 09/13/2006 11:22:22 AM PDT by muleskinner
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To: Waywardson

Oh please! The NRSC protects incumbents, as it should.

I didn't care who won, either way, we wound up with someone who makes Specter look like Helms (either Chafee or Whitehouse, lets face it, Laffey would be lucky to get 40%), but it's stupid to blame Dole. Coleman or whomever else would have done the same thing.


50 posted on 09/13/2006 11:30:50 AM PDT by zbigreddogz
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