Election 2016

Lincoln Chafee Will Probably Get Eaten Alive by Hillary Clinton, But Take a Look Anyway

Former R.I. senator really hoping people still care about Clinton's Iraq War vote.

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Formerly a Republican, yet attacking Clinton from the left.
U.S. Senate

Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee may not have any hope of putting a dent in Hillary Clinton's inevitability. It's nevertheless still worth noting that the former Rhode Island senator and governor, the only Republican senator who voted against the use of force in Iraq following Sept. 11, declared on CNN unofficially that he really is going to be running for president. He is really, really hoping that one vote on Iraq is going to differentiate himself from Clinton:

Chafee, a former Republican and former senator, announced he was forming an exploratory committee last week. Chafee's been differentiating himself from fellow Democratic primary contenders by taking sharp jabs at Clinton, willing to be more critical than would-be challengers former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley or former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb over her vote in Congress to authorize the war in Iraq.

"That was a moment where the premise for going to Iraq was so false that there were weapons of mass destruction; she didn't do her homework. We live with the ramifications," Chafee told CNN's "State of the Union" over the weekend. "You may say that's 12 years ago — that's a big motivator for me running. If you show a lack of judgment, lack of doing homework then, what can we expect in the future?"

If you weren't told Chafee had been a Republican and just looked at all of his positions, you'd think he was a Democrat anyway (pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-minimum wage increases, and eventually pro-Barack Obama). This was criticism he faced within his own party back when he was a senator. (David Weigel covered conservative efforts to oust Chafee in Reason back in 2007.)

Beyond his contrary position on the Iraq War, and his generally limp performance as a leader (he didn't even run for re-election as governor), he has done a few things worthy of note for Reason readers. He has lobbied the Drug Enforcement Agency to reclassify marijuana so that doctors could legally prescribe it as medication. Prior to election to governor he was opposed to Rhode Island providing $75 million in cronyist loan guarantees to the video game company founded by baseball celebrity Curt Schilling and did his best to shut the whole thing down once the project fell apart. And as governor he supported then-treasurer (and his successor as governor) Gina Raimondo in reforming the state's public employee pensions to make them solvent.

But so far there's no sign that any of these positions of the past are going to play any role in the Democratic primary, given the apparent lack of interest in restraining President Barack Obama's foreign interventionism by Democrats over the past six years. And ultimately, while Chafee may take positions friendly to libertarians in more situations than Clinton, that's a pretty low hurdle to jump over.

NEXT: Feds Rake in the Tax Dollars, Washington Auditor Indicted, Lincoln Chafee Declares He's—OMG NEW STAR WARS TRAILER: P.M. Links

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  1. Huh, I don’t know. He seems to be everything a lot of dems claim to be for. Plus Clinton isn’t getting anyone hot and bothered. He may come out of left field and do a lot of good.

    1. Lots of Progs trying to pull off a fake Hillary-gasm though. “Uh uh ohhh yes Hillaryyy oh yessss oh she’s so ready ohhhhh!!”

  2. He doesn’t look “Presidential”. End of story.

    1. I don’t think our last 3 or 4 presidents have looked particularly presidential. If he got his hair fixed and got some decent suits, he might be close to as presidential looking as W. Bush who also had that (presumably) involuntary smirk thing going on. But presidential appearance has really gone downhill since Reagan.

        1. Oi, some unpleasant dreams tonight.

    2. I was going to say he almost makes Hillary look pleasant.

      1. Decomposing Bea Arthur almost makes Hillary look pleasant.

        1. I’m stealing that, JG. Hilarious.

    3. Perhaps a powered wig and lacy knickers would help.

  3. That’s what Lincoln Chafee looks like?! I’d expect someone with a woody, robust name like that to look a little less weaselly. And have a beard. I guess he is from Rhode Island, so you can’t expect too much.

  4. Gosh, I thought he was a Republican.

    Let me guess…the Republicans were so extreme as to drive him into the arms of the Democrats.

    1. I think it was mostly that he didn’t get reelected despite being quite the RINO and he realized that people really are that idiotically partisan.

    2. Republican turned Independent turned Democrat. He’s like Charlie Crist without the tan.

      1. carol FTW.

    3. When he cast the single GOP Senate vote against the Iraq War the Bushpigs hauled him in and threatened him Cheney-style.

      That seemed to have turned him off to the GOP.

      1. Let me.

        BUUUTTT PLUUUUGGG !!

    4. His father was the most bland moderate Republican in the party. Now he’s the most bland moderate of the Dems.

    5. Naw, the Republicans turned him into an Independent. The Independents turned him into a Democrat. What the Democrats will turn him into is anyone’s guess.

  5. How did Bush vote on the Iraq War?

    1. “Yeehaw”

  6. Lincoln Chaffee is the Red Roof Inn of American politics.

    Think about it

    1. He has a red roof? That’s all I know about Red Roof Inn. If that’s even true.

  7. I would pay up to, let’s see, $350 to see Hillary literally eat him alive.

    1. Eeeeew! /teenage girl

  8. This limpdick pinko is so limp, lame, and mundane, I think we should discuss the new ‘Star Wars’ teaser instead.

    Is it just me, or is everything iconic being made to look really badly made? No modern quality, or effects, or anything, from what I see. The Stormtroopers’ armor looks plastic, for example, and even Chewbacca looks like a shitty costume.

    1. Isn’t Stormtrooper armor supposed to be plastic?

      I think I only saw the first of the new Star Wars movies. The old ones looked way better. I think they made very effective use of miniatures and clever costumes.

    2. I think this was a better trailer: http://www.digitaltrends.com/m…..hort-film/

  9. David Weigel covered conservative efforts to oust Chafee in Reason back in 2007.

    Is it just me, or is David Weigel being mentioned a lot in Reason posts lately?

    1. Election crap is starting. And the editors still seem to like him. I think they have been mentioning him fairly frequently since he left Reason.

    2. Maybe they are hoping he’ll throw them a bone in a Bloomberg article. Like McArdle sometimes links Suderman’s articles (though mostly through twitter).

  10. (David Weigel covered conservative efforts to oust Chafee in Reason back in 2007.)

    AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!

  11. He looks like a pedophile.

    1. Actually he does.

  12. Maybe they are trying to run someone who will cut into the Ron Paul vote….

    I’m not sure how that works in primary season. Maybe it would matter in open primaries, if you’re only allowed to vote in one party’s primary.

  13. Better hair than Bernie Sanders, what does he have to lose?

    1. He looks like some nebbish dweeb that Hillary Clinton can push around to look stronger.
      I don’t know if that will do wonders for her image though.

      Maybe as the ex-Republican he’s supposed to be a good foil.

      1. Good point, Hazel. He doesn’t lose gracefully; we all do, spectacularly.

    2. You have a point there. Bernie Sanders running for president would be fucking awesome. Leftoid from a state full of team blue twits that moved from other leftoid states nearby . It’s hilarious….Bernie, Bernie, Bernie….please let it go down.

      A dem debate with Bernie and the Hildog would be comedic gold. Team Blue, please make it happen, I’ll even say pretty please. My fingers are so crossed as is my lust for the entertainment that would result…MAKE IT HAPPEN, team Blue.

  14. It would be very interesting to see someone confront Hillary Clinton about Bill Clinton’s bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory. Basically ask her, if she were President, would she also blow up a pharmaceutical factory in a country with which the U.S. was not at war? And if she did blow up the pharmaceutical factory, would she then try to replace the production capacity of the medicines that were lost, or would she consider that the people who suffered for lack of the medicines deserved to suffer?

    1. I’d like to see the Clintons confronted on a great many issues. Like why they deployed our military to support al-Qaeda, the KLA and other designated Islamic terrorist organizations throughout the former YU (a region with which the USA was not at war with, posed no threat to the USA and which we had zero business being involved in) only months before the September 11, 2001 attacks is a question that’s seldom been asked and never been answered.

    2. Bah. There’s always far more important questions. Like what is Hillary’s favorite ice-cream flavor, has she seen any good movies lately and what’s it really like to be a grandmother…

  15. For the record, explanation (link) of the law and policy, fact basis for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Clinton voted for the 2002 AUMF because Bush’s case against Saddam was really her husband’s case against Saddam, Bush’s enforcement procedure for the Gulf War ceasefire mandates carried forward her husband’s enforcement procedure for the Gulf War ceasefire mandates, and as was the case for her husband’s administration, Saddam was guilty across the board of breaching the Gulf War ceasefire.

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