Lincoln Chafee

L.P. Presidential Hopeful Lincoln Chafee Is Against Iraq War and Drug War

The former Rhode Island governor and senator said state-level legalization efforts are “interesting, positive experiments.”


Lincoln Chafee, the former Republican senator from Rhode Island (and former independent governor of the state) who is running for the Libertarian Party (L.P.) presidential nomination, is no fan of what he calls "the failed drug war."

When he announced his presidential run earlier this week, he spoke out forcefully against the Iraq War and other military operations, telling Reason's Brian Doherty, "I am enthusiastically absolutely dedicated to not getting us into these quagmires overseas and ending foreign entanglements." In the same interview, he said the Bush administration's contention that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction was "the biggest lie in American history."

Now, he's speaking out against the drug war in similar fashion, tweeting, "The truth is that there is another war that needs to end. The failed war on drugs."

He also told Marijuana Moment's Kyle Jaeger:

Internationally, our policies of eradication, substitution and interdiction are an abject failure and have caused vastly more harm than good…. At home our prisons are full of non-violent drug offenders. What we need is an active, open-minded discussion in this country that results in real criminal justice reform—and that includes decriminalization…. There are other models around the world, whether it's Portugal or Uruguay or Holland, and we can learn from them.

Jaeger notes that during Chafee's time as Rhode Island's governor, he signed legislation decriminalizing marijuana possession "and urged the Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule cannabis under federal law." In 2016, during his short and extremely unsuccessful run for the Democratic presidential nomination, Chafee called the legalization of medical and recreational pot at the state level a series of "interesting, positive experiments."

Whether Chafee ends up winning the L.P. nomination, which will be settled in May, is anyone's guess. But his anti-prohibition views, especially coming from a former senator and governor, are a sign of immense progress when it comes to rethinking drug policy.

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  1. Is the LP going to keep going down to Goodwill to pick up discarded GOP politicians?

    1. To be sure.

    2. This one is from the Democratic discards too. He’s been around the block from one leftover pile to another.

      1. That means he is centrist, like libertarians. So what about his positions on gun control and economic liberties.

        1. What about his opinion on The Global Warming scam?

    3. So long as the TEAM LP morons keep voting for them.

    4. Fuck this Chafee. Trump is more Libertarian-ish than this guy, so Trump is getting my vote.

      1. Trump is vying for the position as Chief War Monger….now that Bomber John has bid us adios….

        1. Your citation fell off.

    5. I hope they at least went on a 50% sale day, because the regular price is a rip-off…even at Goodwill

    6. He’s such a Lincoln Chafee.

  2. He was on Kennedy earlier this week and she asked him point blank if drugs should be legal and he said no.

    1. Earlier this week…so his position had plenty of time to evolve since then.

    2. That Chafes me.

    3. I mean, if there is a libertarian litmus test, surely it’s drug legalization.
      But I guess if they want to try to be a real party, they won’t get far on a “legalize heroin” platform. But they aren’t going to succeed at that anyway, so might as well stick to some principled stands. At least say it should not be illegal at the federal level. That’s at least a pretty libertarian constitutionalist position.

      1. “I mean, if there is a libertarian litmus test, surely it’s drug legalization.”

        Nope. It’s open borders.

        1. The libertarian position is to defend our borders as we would our individual homes…

          1. Not according to Reason or CATO.

            1. Neither is the emperor of libertarians.

          2. If the libertarian position is that we can regulate speech on private property, by your logic government should control speech on public property, airwaves, etc. Do you agree?

            And if you want the government to treat all property as you would treat your private property, wouldn’t that make all property the property of the state? (which it is of course, try not paying property taxes)

            1. Yeah, the dumbest thing to come out of right-libertarianism/paleoconservatism is this idea that the citizens are property owners of the land that includes the border. Not only is this blatantly false, as 2/3 of that land is owned by individuals or states, but this reasoning would then justify any laws voted in by a majority, which could include income taxes, restrictions on gun ownership or free speech, the drug war, or anything else the whims of the majority could cook up. Truly dumb, and people like that promote this argument, like Hoppe, should be laughed out of town.

      2. Even Libertarian Presidential candidates can’t seem to make an argument for legalized heroin, so you’re probably right.

        1. Meanwhile libertarian candidates that don’t stick with libertarian principles are doing so well.

        2. Ron Paul made a good one at the 2012 GOP primary debate.

      3. Decriminalization and legalization are not the same. Heroin is not legal in Portugal for example but they don’t put you in prison for it.

        My feeling is that the real function of the LP in presidential elections is PR. You are just trying to raise awareness and keep the brand out there. So if you get someone who can raise money and get some media attention if not a place at the debate podium all good.

        As it is the candidate knows they will lose.

        I don’t think they have to pass a big litmus test. None of us agree with each other anyway.

        Don’t know much about this guy but if he is leaning to anti war and liberalizing drug laws that is a good start.

        Not a party member but you could run a cocker spaniel with an (l) next to his name and I would rather vote dog that the dems or Republicans.

        Bark For Liberty!!

        Btw there have been several towns who have canine mayors and it has worked out very well.

        1. The controlled substances act is unconstitutional. A constitutional amendment is required to ban products and services, like alcohol was. Government has no enumerated power to control what Americans ingest.

          AND drugs should be legal because Americans have a basic human right to decide what to ingest.

          1. not ‘legal’ but decriminalized…

            1. No, legal. Or are you a fan of black markets?

        2. “Decriminalization” gives you the worst of both worlds: Increased use, AND keeping the black market alive.

  3. Anyway, I don’t know if the LP delegates would nominate someone named Lincoln.

    1. *** rising intonation ***

      How about Hot Rod Lincoln?

        1. Third time’s the charm?!?

          Commander Cody

          1. Chafee, I expect, will get lost in the ozone again.

          2. So long as there is love for fingers moving on the fretboard of a telecaster and fast cars that stuff will never die.

            May it live forever.

            Good one. Thanks.

        2. Commander Cody, one of the rare times that the remake is better than the original.

    2. This Lincoln was a Drug Warrior.

    3. Dammit stupid pop up video made me flag this post. Sorry.

  4. That’s fine.

    But as a Koch / Reason libertarian, here’s what I need to know — does he support unlimited, unrestricted immigration? Because the Democratic nominee certainly will. That’s why I plan to #VoteBlueNoMatterWho.

    (Unless it’s Tulsi Gabbard.)


    1. You are not a libertarian of any kind, and you know shit….

      1. It’s a parody account.

  5. In the same interview, he said the Bush administration’s contention that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction was “the biggest lie in American history.”

    I could probably think of about a dozen equally huge lies with far greater long last damaging to the United States. At least half of those would probably be FDR, too.

    That said, aren’t we being told today that ‘experts’ are there to make decisions for the President? Wasn’t it ‘experts’ that told GWB that Saddam had WMD? I mean, Democrats at the time seemed to believe the same sources that Bush believed.

    Oh well, down into the memory hole with you!

  6. Iranian national found with knives

    In addition to the knives, police said the man had an undisclosed amount of U.S. currency on him.

    “Imported Iranian knives for sale! Oh, hello, Officer. Is there a problem?”

  7. Fuck another warmed over squish republican.

    Vote hornberger.

  8. Neil Peart died.

    Thank God Lou Reed is still around.

    1. OMG

      My favorite drummer of all time.

      I have been playing drums as a hobby since I was 12. First time I heard Tom Sawyer my world changed. He opened up a whole new universe of possibilities in drums and percussion.

      Got to see Rush and hear him play YYZ live. Getting choked up.

      RIP Professor

      1. The Necromancer.

        That song is one of the most under rated in their entire repertoire.

        1. Says he had a glioblastoma.

          Remember hearing that his wife died and he took a long time off riding all over the americas on his motorcycle.

          “From the point of conception to the moment of truth. From the point of surrender to the burden of proof. From the point of ignition to the final drive. The point of a journey is not to arrive, anything can happen.”
          Neal Peart


    2. I just came back from a show by a local band. The drummer owns a limited-edition snare made from a fallen tree, that was designed by Neil Peart, or something like that. All the drums of that design were made from the same tree, so there aren’t very many.

      He’s a huge Neil Peart fan and he’s still kind of in shock.

      1. Damn, not only was he a kick-ass drummer, but he designed trees as well?

    3. Whoa, RIP Neil Peart. Sad day. The dude never really recovered from the loss of his wife and daughter, it seems. I hope he found some peace in the end. He left us many great songs to enjoy and remember him by. Well, we still have Danny Carey.

      1. Like most rich people, he got married again to a much younger woman and had another kid

    1. LP needs to start small. Get some LP dog catchers elected and when we are up to our asses in feral dogs, move up to the next level.

  9. “LP Presidential Hopeful Lincoln Caffee…”

    Nobody cares

  10. While I was against the Iraq War and am against the drug war, Chaffee has a terrible record on the 2nd Amendment, which is a major litmus test of any Libertarian Party candidate.

    If the LP nominates Chaffee in 2020, it will be the first time I won’t vote for an on-the-ballot presidential candidate.

    1. According to longtime libertarian activist Michael Hihn, libertarians should support comprehensive gun safety laws. Including, but not limited to, a ban on deadly military style assault weapons.

    2. So? Bill Weld is/was way more anti-gun than even Bernie Sanders, yet he got the libertarian nomination as VP-he also was an enthusiastic participant in the drug war. Chafee has more right to call himself a libertarian than Weld ever did. Personally, I hope Adam Kokesh makes the ballot and gets to be in the debates.

  11. Well, Jacob Hornberger has been a libertarian for 40 years. Plus he hasn’t flipped parties the way a quarter flips at a football game coin toss.

    1. Well, Jacob Hornberger has been a libertarian for 40 years. Plus he hasn’t flipped parties the way a quarter flips at a football game coin toss.

    2. Hornberger is a verbal bomb thrower despite appearances (dresses professionally, doesn’t wear a boot on his head, etc.)
      Probably just what the LP needs after several rounds of milquetoast candidates.

  12. I would ask why Reason is pushing Chafee on us so hard, but I already know that. The real question is why do these beltway libertarians seek the approval of this country’s worthless establishment? Why is the veneer of respectability so important to them?

    1. Trump has proven that the “veneer of respectability” is unnecessary to win.

      1. Trump has proven that the “veneer of respectability” is unnecessary to win.

        More than unnecessary, it’s insulting. One of the few things anyone ought to be able to appreciate about the current president is that he is so crass and boorish. The so called respectable candidates, of which Chafee is meant to be a C-list substitute for, suppose that we’re so simple that we can’t see through their insincerity.

        There’s no reason for the LP to exist if it’s just going to model itself after the two major parties.

        1. I think this among other things comes from the left-right split among libertarians. Right-leaning ones tend to be of the “fuck you, get off my lawn” variety. Left-leaning ones tend to be heavily moralistic and emotional. They want to push everyone to sing kumbaya together regardless of differences of personality and opinion. Reason is almost exclusively the latter sort.

          1. Reason didn’t used to be, but in the end the long march through the institutions overtook them.

            Damn, that march must be getting close to its end, if they bothered with Reason.

  13. The HORNDOG 2020!!

    Lincoln Chafee is not remotely libertarian. He would be a huge mistake for the libertarian party. He has switched parties 3 times in the last 15 years, and he will abandon the LP after his presidential bid fails once again. His record is the opposite of libertarian:

    Voted for the Patriot Act (and voted to reauthorize it every time he had the chance)
    Voted to loosen restrictions on cell phone wiretapping
    Voted for reinstating the top federal income tax rate of 39.6%
    Received a “D” grade on his performance as Governor from the Cato Institute in 2012
    Raised taxes and spending as Governor of Rhode Island
    Supported banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
    Received an “F” grade from the NRA
    Supported the Obamacare individual mandate
    Supported universal healthcare
    Voted to increase the minimum wage
    Supported $48 billion in new military spending for the War on Terrorism
    Voted to continue foreign aid to the Israeli government
    Voted to enlarge NATO
    Supports more federal spending on education

    1. Sounds like Bill Weld.

      1. That’s a selling point for the likes of Sarwark, KMW, Gillespie and Welch

        1. the mises caucus will be running the LP shortly..the cosmo woke at Reason need to go back to Goldman Sachs or that Defense of Democracy neocon bolshevik place….join Cathy Young, Max Boot, and David From..hell throw Jennifer Rubin in as well..nothing more pathetic than cosmo libertarians..

    2. But he’s desperate enough to return the LP’s phone calls, and he has a smidge more media recognition than that guy who colored himself purple with colloidal silver, so he qualifies. Just a joke, like the rest of the Party.

      In other news, bank robber in NYC takes advantage of NY State’s no cash bail law to rob several banks, get caught while robbing another one, and get let back on the street. See,

      When the Daily Mail is laughing at you…

    3. So he supports some bad things from both sides. Probably the only thing I’ll agree with is aid to Israel. I don’t like foreign aid, but we basically created Israel and I’d rather support them as a FU to all their shitbag neighbors

    4. But he never liked Ron Paul…that alone qualifies anyone for LP at Reason

  14. And don’t forget Reason…old Lincoln never liked Ron Paul..that alone qualifies anyone for the LP nomination.

    RI is a socialist crony state with long known organized crime problems…we don’t need another NE “republican” the types of gave us the Bushes.

    If he is even going to get my consideration..does he support keynesian economics or austrian? Will he support a radical downsizing of the federal govt and removing the Fed to only cleaning checks in the system? Will he repeal the patriot act? Pledge to protect the life/liberty of Americans by shutting down sanctuary cities and crushing any state or local govt which infringes on our natural rights/Bill of Rights? Ending medicare and medicaid once and for all? Bring the troops home? Re-write the sections of the any law that are in direct violation of our natural rights (all economic transactions have to be agreed by both parties voluntarily). I honestly don’t care if he keep coke or herion illegal if we will willing to do the really critical things listed above. Liberty starts with my economic and natural rights…end the Fed, downsize the Federal Govt, bring the troops home and no more deficits..

  15. Even being in agreement on this issue it is not the biggest one for me. Entitlements, the government intrusion into healthcare the bloated Federal bureaucracy, useless and duplicative agencies. Cutting back on foreign intervention. Chafee is an old politician trying to remain relevant. Nothing even remotely interesting about his candidacy.

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