Having never set foot in the Ocean State, I have written extensively about the politics in the region. Local conservatives welcomed my take on the back-and-forth governance there, too, telling me “You know more about the history of Rhode Island than some of the people who live here.”
|Big Blue Bug Drinking an Awful-Awful (Annie Babineau)|
From the Dancing Cop to Coffee Milk, to controversial twice-elected Mayor, twice-convicted felon then radio host Buddy Cianci, the quintessential Ocean State has its motely character and freedom-fighting past. Founder Roger Williams bucked the impure Pharisaical Puritans, and established a colony based on religious toleration: a tenet needed now more than ever, yet under attack from all sides. To Williams’ credit, he actually paid the Indians for their land. His colonial successors were the first to break away from the British Crown, the last to join the US Constitution, and the original site for the American Industrial Revolution. One famous Civil War General, widely-mustached Ambrose Burnside, served until his death as a Republican US Senator. Notable Conservative broadcaster John McLaughlin (Issue One! Issue Two! Wrong!) is a born and raised Providential, too.
A state with politics both fascinating yet disconcerting at the same time, small wonder that national politicos have ignored or written off the most Democratic state in the union and all of its four electoral votes. Until now, that is. From unprecedented pension reforms (Central Falls fell on hard times, scalped public sector pensions), to Rhode Map RI (a backdoor effort through President Barack Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development to implement UN style housing policies), and a tech administrator’s frustrated attempt to run for US Senate, now for the first time, a Rhode Island native son is running for President now Presidential Election 2016.
Former Republican US Senator, then Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee entered Election 2016 as a Democrat. He stumbled into full campaign mode, despite his initial announcement for an exploratory committee. Common Sense RI openly mocked his presidential ambitions with a loud retort: “Are you kidding me?” MSNBC took him seriously enough, asked him serious questions, and Chafee already looked like a deer in headlights. Joining the repeal of Glass-Steagal, Chafee admits that he voted for something he didn’t read. At least he admitted smoking and inhaling controlled substances.
Yet Washington Post columnist George Will gave him some gravitas (compared to his savagely witty send-up of Independent Democratic “socialist” Bernie Sanders). An implausible candidate, GOP Senator Chafee bucked his party on the Iraq War, voted against the rush to pass a Constitutional Amendment to ban flag burning. He pushed away the Bush label more than Hillary Clinton in 2006, yet lost to Climate Change advocate Sheldon Whitehouse. He rightly calls Hillary Clinton “a war hawk” and holds her responsible for the chaotic cauldron of multiple Islamic extremist interests destroying each other and threatening Israel in the Middle East.
Chafee also met with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and called the thankfully deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez a wannabe-friend of the USA. His naïve idealism, plus his plainspoken honesty, would merit embrace if not for his laughable praise for President Obama, and his dangerously blind foreign policy. “Make more friends and fewer enemies” makes as much sense as “don’t do stupid stuff” and “What difference does it make?”
I mentioned Rhode Island’s unique history. Littly Rhody has some interesting cuisine, too. From pizza strips and Johnny cakes, to Del’s Lemonade and clam bakes, the more I know, the more I hope to go. In sharp contrast, the more that the country learns about Chafee’s record (or lack thereof) and his abortive Presidential aspirations, the less they want to know. During his opening campaign announcement, he advocated for adoption of . . . the metric system. Missed me by a mile (or meter). He also wants to bring Edward Snowden home without punishment or conviction. Wikileaks, OK. Weak foreign policy creds, not OK. Ouch!
|Lincoln Chafee: Just Awful (Kenneth C. Zirkel)|
Something else in Rhode Island eateries may help us better understand this Chafee bid. Another unique confection from the Ocean State best defines Chaffee’s bid: The Awful-Awful.
SoRhodeIsland descibes this sweet treat:
Not quite a milkshake, definitely not a frappe, this creamy creation has delighted Rhode Island kids and adults for decades. When Newport Creamery opened its initial location in Middletown in 1940, they used this name for their drinkable ice cream treat, but it wasn’t until the ‘70s that they officially owned the “Awful Awful” brand. Whatever your flavor preference (vanilla, chocolate, coffee, mocha, strawberry, chocolate mint, cookies and cream), it’s going to be “awful big, awful good.” But hey, even if you don’t want something awful big, Newport Creamery’s Jr. sizes are still awful tasty.
Chafee falls this description in unique fashion. His lamentably liberal views would fit very well in the 1970s, during the economic and foreign policy malaise of Jimmy Carter. He has become a different flavor of the month, from his Republican tenure in the US Senate, to his liberal Independent status in the Smith Hill Governor’s mansion, then his final year and Presidential aspirations as a Democrat.
Not quite a milkshake or a frappe, his policy views are as lukewarm as they get. Nothing solid or certain, tasty at first to an uber-leftwing partisan, Chafee is the light and airy after meal retreat, but will not whet the American appetite for real leadership looking to right a ship sinking under heavy regulations, economic job growth, and diminished prestige on the global stage. He can’t even raise money, and has registers so low in Democratic Presidential polling, he could sit in a room with his wife and siblings, and ask: “Who voted against me?”
To sum up Rhode Island Chafee’s chances: “Awful bad; awful sad.”
For this California Conservative, I am awful glad. He is a not-so-guilty pleasure, for Chafee’s bald leftism, from gay marriage to Obamacare, from repealing E-verify to endorsing unflinching environmentalism and war on the Christmas Tree, will give this country a real picture of how extreme the Big Blue Bug Democratic Party has become.