Lincoln Chafee Isn’t Even A Republican In Name Only Anymore

Throughout his last term in the Senate, rumors were constantly floating around that Lincoln Chafee was about to change parties. In fact, just two days before the election, this story was floated at the Plank,

I have a friend in Rhode Island, a Democrat torn between his affections for Lincoln Chafee and his desire to make Harry Reid majority leader. Over the weekend, my friend attended a Chafee event and cornered the senator. Now, my friend doesn’t have a personal relationship with Chafee, but he put the question bluntly to him: Why should I stick with you in a race with so many national implications? Chafee pulled my friend aside, lowered his voice, and told him that he might not be a Republican for much longer.

Then, right after the election, this story broke,

“Two days after losing a bid for a second term, Sen. Lincoln Chafee said he was unsure whether he would remain a Republican.

Chafee lost to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in a race seen as a referendum on President Bush and the GOP. On Thursday, he was asked whether he would stick with the Republican Party or become an independent or Democrat.

“I haven’t made any decisions. I just haven’t even thought about where my place is,” Chafee said at a news conference. When pressed on whether his comments indicated he might leave the GOP, he replied: “That’s fair.”

So, the final chapter in Chafee’s RINO saga isn’t really a big surprise,

“Lincoln D. Chafee, who lost his Senate seat in the wave of anti-Republican sentiment in last November’s election, said yesterday that he has left the party.

Chafee said he disaffiliated with the party he had helped lead, and his father had led before him, because the national Republican Party has gone too far away from his stance on too many critical issues, from war to economics to the environment.

“It’s not my party any more,” he said.”

There were a lot of indications that the guy wasn’t going to stick with the GOP including the fact that he was legitimately left-of-center and didn’t vote for George W. Bush in 2004.

This raises an important question: why did the NRSC fight so hard for this guy? They poured money into his state and ran a scorched earth campaign against his opponent, Steven Laffey — which infuriated the base — all to help a guy who would have simply changed parties and thrown the Senate over to the Democrats had he been re-elected.

Chafee is just another reason why the Party should stay out of primary battles. Getting involved in primaries makes the base angry, it takes away a strong incentive to Republican office holders to act like conservatives, and in the end, the Party is supporting someone who’s just going to turn right around and stick a finger in the GOP’s eye even if that candidate does get re-elected. If you can’t win a primary without the help of the GOP, it’s a pretty good indication that you’re probably not worth having back in the first place.

Are you listening, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman, John Ensign?

Also see, Lincoln Chafee’s Compassionate Conservatism Blog (This was up at RWN on April Fool’s Day of this year).

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