Steve Clemons on Lincoln Chafee

chafee in rhode island.jpgHuffPo blogger Clemons provides a thoughtful analysis of Chafee's excellent work in the Senate, and argues persuasively for his re-election. What a bind. I really wish I could vote for him. I think he's a person of deep principle and integrity, and by god we need that in Washington. Twice in the past couple of years, I have called his office to thank him for votes, and that's more than I can say about any other Republican. (Or even, more to the point, about the Democractic congresscritter we have here. Let's remember which member of the RI delegation voted to authorize Bush's war in Iraq. Hint: it WASN'T Chafee.) But despite all the logical arguments that Clemons makes, I still don't think I could actually vote for Chafee next week, much as I want to. If only the race in the Senate weren't so close. But listen:

Chafee's confidence has grown enormously this year, and while it would have been easy for him to just stay where he had been on Bolton, he actually changed direction. Lincoln Chafee replaced Voinovich as a key no vote on Bolton -- but in contrast to Voinovich, Chafee would not vote in favor of sending Bolton's nomination to the floor of the Senate. This was an admirable stand, but more importantly, Chafee went further. Chafee then attached his opposition to Bolton to the miserable and worsening state of American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Chafee has been arguing something that others like Richard Lugar and Chuck Hagel have been lobbying for in Republcan foreign policy circles: a new push on establishing a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. This might help spark a virtuous cycle for American foreign policy in the region, rather than the deteriorating situation now.

Chafee was bold in other areas as well. He supported Chief Justice John Roberts -- which my blog, The Washington Note, did as well -- and he opposed strongly Samuel Alito, also consistent with my public position.

He worked hard in deals with the White House to maintain Rhode Island's important naval base infrastructure, which had been on the chopping block of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Last year, Rhode Island had the smallest number of closures in the country. Rhode Island constituents should remember that.

--Via the Huffington Post, Steve Clemons: Why I Support Lincoln Chafee's Re-Election