A Republican Who Speaks For Me

6 comments January 31st, 2008at 11:45pm Posted by Eli

Well, maybe not on everything, but certainly on Bush and his enablers… of both parties:

Former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s new political memoir is remarkable for its candor, its delicious window into life in America’s most exclusive club, and its condemnation of President Bush and the combination of right-wing Republicans and Democratic enablers who plunged the nation into an ill-fated war without end in Iraq.

(…)

The book excoriates Mr. Bush and his GOP allies who repeatedly fanned such wedge issues as changing the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage, abortion and flag-burning. But he saves some of his harshest words for Democrats who paved the way for Mr. Bush to use the U.S. military to invade Iraq. That includes New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, whom Chafee says put her presidential ambitions above standing up to Mr. Bush and the rush to war in Iraq.

“I find it surprising now, in 2008, how many Democrats are running for president after shirking their constitutional duty to check and balance this president,” writes Chafee. “Being wrong about sending Americans to kill and be killed, maim and be maimed, is not like making a punctuation mistake in a highway bill.

“They argue that the president duped them into war, but getting duped does not exactly recommend their leadership. Helping a rogue president start an unnecessary war should be a career-ending lapse of judgment.”

Chafee was the only Republican senator to vote against prosecuting the war. “The top Democrats were at their weakest when trying to show how tough they were,” writes Chafee. “They were afraid that Republicans would label them soft in the post-September 11 world, and when they acted in political self-interest, they helped the president send thousands of Americans and uncounted innocent Iraqis to their doom.

(…)

“Few members of Congress were willing to stand up to the schoolyard tough [Mr. Bush] and in the early morning hours of Oct. 11, 2002, weeks before the crucial midterm elections, he bullied them into declaring Saddam an imminent threat.”

(…)

Of the general election, Chafee writes that he was both “irked and amused” at the “parade of Democratic Bush enablers” who trekked to Rhode Island to campaign for Whitehouse.

“Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and others who had voted for the war urged my constituents” to defeat him, Chafee writes.

If he had followed Jeffords’ lead and jumped ship when he realized that the Republican party had jumped shark, he’d still be a Senator. Not that I’m disappointed to have Whitehouse in his place (although he did support retroactive immunity for the telecoms).

Maybe he can become the Republicans’ Zell or Lieberman; the “principled moderate” whose criticisms carry more weight and legitimacy because they’re coming from the same side. Or maybe he’ll just be demonized as an America-hating liberal who only pretended to be a Republican so that he could get elected in a conservative stronghold like Rhode Island…

(h/t Stoller)

Entry Filed under: Books,Bush,Politics,Republicans

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