Monday, May 02, 2005

Whitehouse for Senate!

U.S. Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse is running to take the job of Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island. He started his campaign with some fiery rhetoric, sounding off against the Republican position of selling off Social Security, doing the bidding of the drug companies, and working to make life easier for credit card companies—as well as the rest of the debt industry. Whitehouse reminded Rhode Islanders that Chafee famously wavered over whom to vote for in the 2004 presidential election, and finally decided on Bush. Whitehouse said that Chafee “will vote for Bill Frist. I will not.”

Whitehouse seems like a solid candidate for the Senate, from what I’ve seen, and I wouldn’t mind having a guy like this in Washington. Of course, the only way he could do it would be by knocking out the most liberal Republican in the Senate. I have to admit that I’d be able to admire Chafee if he weren’t caucusing with the Republicans, if his presence weren’t making it easier for the likes of Bill Frist and George W. Bush to advance their ideas.

Am I a partisan? You bet. There was a time I could consider voting for a Republican, and there in fact have been a couple Republicans I’ve voted for in the past. But the modern Republican Party has declared war on the Democratic Party, so it seems foolish not to take a side.

I’d be sad to see Chafee go, in a way. He’s a Republican in the classic sense. His father, Senator John Chafee, was also a Republican, and also a decent leader. Lincoln Chafee took over his father’s seat when he died in 1999. But when the Republican leadership damns my party as being enemies of freedom, I don’t see how I can tolerate them or anyone who sides with them.

If Chafee is shown the door, then Senators Collins and Snowe over in Maine ought to consider defecting à la Jim Jeffords, if they don’t want to go all the way and become Democrats. The Northeast is growing understandably hostile toward Republicans—and it’s understandable, considering how hostile the Republicans have grown to the Northeast.

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