• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Lincoln Chafee Officially a Democrat

lincoln-chafee-democrat

Lincoln Chafee, who served eight years in the Senate as a Republican, was elected governor as an Independent, is now becoming a Democrat.

POLITICO (“Lincoln Chafee switches affiliation to Democrat“):

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee will formally switch his party registration Thursday, abandoning his status as an independent and joining the Democratic Party, the governor’s office told POLITICO.

Chafee quietly informed President Barack Obama of his intention to affiliate as a Democrat after reaching that decision in private, Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger said. The governor’s office confirmed Chafee’s plans after POLITICO reported that the governor had notified national Democrats that he’d be joining the party.

A former Republican who served with Obama in the Senate, Chafee has struggled with perilously low job approval ratings and faces a difficult reelection fight in 2014.

Hunsinger said politics had nothing to do with Chafee’s decision to sign up with Obama’s party. ”What you’re seeing in him affiliating as a Democrat is a recognition that there’s strength in numbers – that the Democratic Party and the president, he shares their agenda and the policy beliefs of the party,” she said. “It really is a matter of conviction with this governor. It’s been a long road from when he first left the Republican Party to here.”

The senior Chafee aide said the switch in registration would not change Chafee’s governing agenda. ”He’s fairly progressive on social issues. He’s about efficient and honest government and every move he’s made when in elected office has been to achieve that on behalf of the taxpayer,” Hunsinger said. “For anybody to imply that affiliating as a Democrat is simply about politics or about winning an election, doesn’t know Gov. Chafee.”

This move is hardly surprising. Chafee has been at odds with the GOP for more than a decade and not only endorsed Obama in 2008 but served as his state chairman. He spoke at the 2012 Democratic convention, too. Still, it’s yet another in a long series of signs that the northeastern wing of the GOP, long known as “Rockefeller Republicans,” is extinct.

Lincoln’s father, John, was governor from 1963 to 1969,  served as Richard Nixon’s Secretary of the Navy from 1968 to 1972, and served in the Senate from 1976 to his death in 1999. Lincoln was appointed his successor before winning a term of his own.  But, after surviving a bruising 2006 primary battle, he was rather easily defeated by Sheldon Whitehouse.

Essentially, it’s next to impossible for a northeastern Republican to simultaneously serve a left-of-center constituency and yet remain in good standing with an increasingly hard right party leadership. Doing the latter is essential if one is to get plum committee assignments and advance in the leadership—both of which maximize one’s chances of serving the people back home. As governor, Chafee doesn’t have those constraints but he’s apparently still too conservative for Rhode Island.

It remains to be seen whether aligning squarely with the Democratic Party will save him. It would seem to make it more likely for him to win, however. It’ll be hard to mount an effective primary fight against an incumbent governor and it’s doubtful the Republican nominee will be competitive.

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. edmondo says:

    If we could get Obama to switch parties then we could have a Democrat in the White House too!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

  2. Argon says:

    Rockefeller Republicans *and* Reagan Democrats are effectively extinct. And the GOP base shrinks further…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  3. edmondo says:


    but he’s apparently still too conservative for Rhode Island.

    Oh, and by the way James, his unpopularity has nothing to do with him being perceived as “too conservative” but being “ineffective.”

    http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=168729.0

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. superdestroyer says:

    Caffee was probably always a temperamental Democrat. He just ran as a Republican because his father was a Republican. Of course, the state of the economy in Rhode Island is horrible and there are no real solutions for the problems.

    Rhode island is never mentioned in the national media because it does not support the meme that Democrats are perfect when given full control.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  5. Scott says:

    You should try to be a Rockefeller Republican here in Texas! It’s a registration, nothing more. Don’t think I voted Republican in about 10 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So, he is running for President in 2016?

    @edmondo: Ha!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Kari Q says:

    Hunsinger said politics had nothing to do with Chafee’s decision to sign up with Obama’s party.

    This makes no sense. He changed political parties for non-political reasons. Okay….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. Pinky says:

    I hate to be that guy, but “full circle” would mean that he was going back to the Republicans. R to I to D is a straight line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  9. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “Rhode island is never mentioned in the national media because it does not support the meme that Democrats are perfect when given full control. ”

    Actually, Rhode Island is never mentioned in the national media because it’s roughly the size of a small Walmart store and has fewer people in it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  10. stonetools says:

    Now if more moderate Republicans and independents would say that they are voting Democratic or thinking of turning Democratic because the Republicans have gone too crazy right wing; maybe the Republican Party might be motivated to change direction…

    I know, crazy talk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  11. @stonetools:

    Now if more moderate Republicans and independents would say that they are voting Democratic or thinking of turning Democratic because the Republicans have gone too crazy right wing

    Yes, because obviously not liking the Republicans means they must like the Democrats. Because no one could possibly just dislike both of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  12. Ernieyeball says:

    @Kari Q: This makes no sense. He changed political parties for non-political reasons. Okay….

    Politician Cream 1968
    (Songwriters: BRUCE, JACK / BROWN, PETE)
    Hey now baby, get into my big black car
    I wanna just show you what my politics are.
    I’m a political man and I practice what I preach
    So don’t deny me baby, not while you’re in my reach.
    I support the left, tho’ I’m leanin’, leanin’ to the right
    I support the left, tho’ I’m leanin’ to the right
    But I’m just not there when it’s coming to a fight.
    Hey now baby, get into my big black car
    Hey now baby, get into my big black car
    I wanna just show you what my politics are.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfcgds8h0Xs

    (All credit due to Eric, Jack and Ginger)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @stonetools:

    maybe the Republican Party might be motivated to change direction…

    Phyllis Schafly thinks the GOP needs to concentrate even more on the white voter, but I’m sure she isn’t racist or anything like that.

    This does beg the question though: What is greater than 100%?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Yes, because obviously not liking the Republicans means they must like the Democrats. Because no one could possibly just dislike both of them.

    You can like who you want, mate. But to accomplish anything politically you have to support one or the other. That’s probably why Chaffee ended up Democratic.

    For example if you are an “independent” who favors gay rights, you can vote Libertarian or Green or whatever. But to actually ACHIEVE gay rights, you are going to have to elect Democrats, who will write and vote for pro-gay rights legislation. That’s reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  15. Ben says:

    @wr:

    And yet, even with an economy in the crapper and a sky-high unemployment rate, Rhode Island still contributes way more to other states than it gets back. In fact, it is 8th in the nation in net contribution per capita in the country. So at least they’re not a bunch of leeches like most of the red states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  16. James Joyner says:

    @Pinky: Okay, so he’s completed the circle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  17. PJ says:

    @James Joyner:
    Well, if you complete the circle, then you’ll end up where you started.

    You should probably use “he has completed the full betrayal” instead. ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I principle one could dislike both parties. As noted above, if you do so you’re throwing away your vote. In practice, I’ve observed that people around here who reject both parties seem to to articulate a list of sound reasons to dislike the GOPs, but when it comes to the Dems, it never seems to get much beyond, “I don’t like ‘em, so there!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. Caj says:

    Welcome aboard. Took a long time to get here but still, it’s better late than never. Best to be on the side of the angels. The devil is in the details and those details are the Republican Party. Some of those who profess to be independents are Republicans in reality, just don’t want to say the embarrassing words, I’m a Republican!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  20. @stonetools:

    I favor people not using physical violence or the threat thereof to make other people do things they are unable to convince them to do voluntarily. Neither party seems at all interested in that, so while you are correct that I can’t accomplish my goals without supporting one of the two majors parties, I can’t accomplish my goals even if I do suppor them.

    @gVOR08:

    In 2012, when I voted for Gary Johnson, Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney 65,899,660 votes to 60,932,152 votes. Had I voted for Barack Obama, he would have beat Mitt Romney 65,899,661 votes to 60,932,152 votes. Had I voted for Mitt Romney, Barack Obama would have beat him 65,899,660 votes to 60,932,153 votes.

    I’ve never understood why the first scenario qualifies as “throwing away my vote” but the other two don’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  21. PJ says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Well, if you hadn’t voted at all, Barack Obama would have still beaten Romney 65,899,660 votes to 60,932,152 votes.

    So, why did you bother voting at all? That’s time you could have spent sleeping, doodling or a number of other things that would have been more productive than casting a vote for Gary Johnson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  22. Moosebreath says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    “I favor people not using physical violence or the threat thereof to make other people do things they are unable to convince them to do voluntarily. Neither party seems at all interested in that…”

    True, they like being part of civilization. Libertarians like to pretend they can be their own island and no one should be able to make them do anything they don’t want to do. It just doesn’t work that way in the real world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  23. @PJ:

    So, why did you bother voting at all?

    Actually, I increasingly ask myself the same question, an the honest answer is a mix of inertia and a romantic notion of “duty” and that there really is no rational reason for me to vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. @Moosebreath:

    no one should be able to make them do anything they don’t want to do. It just doesn’t work that way in the real world.

    It doesn’t work that way in the real world? So you’ve never had an interaction with another human being that was based on the two of you agreeing to do something rather than one forcing the other?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. Rob in CT says:

    I favor people not using physical violence or the threat thereof to make other people do things they are unable to convince them to do voluntarily

    That violence or threat of violence is typically the last resort, behind a variety of non-violent or threat of violence means (taxes, fees, fines, licensing requirments, and so forth). Yes, if you drill all the way down, you get to violence (or at least folks with badges and guns and so forth).

    I think we’d all like a minimum of coercion. But we’d also like a stable, functional nation.

    As a thought experiment, how would an ideal libertarian nation respond to something like a company town?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. Moosebreath says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    “So you’ve never had an interaction with another human being that was based on the two of you agreeing to do something rather than one forcing the other?”

    Total non-sequitir, as that wasn’t what I said. Rather, I said “Libertarians like to pretend they can be their own island and no one should be able to make them do anything they don’t want to do.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. Ben says:

    @PJ:

    So, why did you bother voting at all? That’s time you could have spent sleeping, doodling or a number of other things that would have been more productive than casting a vote for Gary Johnson.

    Oh stop it. Look, I’m a liberal, and I voted for Johnson. It has nothing to do with Libertarianism or taxation-is-theft or any of that other claptrap. It’s because Johnson is FARRRRR better than any of the other candidates on the issues that are paramount to me: restoring civil liberties by ending the Patriot Act, ending the drug war, and having a sane foreign policy that isn’t based on sabre-rattling. I agree with Democrats more than Republicans on most issues, but they refuse to come out against the Patriot Act or the drug war, because they’re afraid the Republicans will call them “soft” and they’ll lose elections over it.

    It really depends on what you think your vote will accomplish. If you think your vote will be a deciding one in the election, then by all means, hold your nose and vote for the least-bad major candidate, so that you can be on the winning side. All I hoped to accomplish by voting for Johnson (or other Libertarians I’ve voted for in the past) is that maybe if the libertarian could pull down a few million votes, maybe their views on some issues I care about will get a little airtime. Maybe they’ll get some more articles written about them. Maybe someday, they’ll actually get invited to a debate (probably not). What is the goal of your vote to you, personally?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  28. Ben says:

    Really? I got down-voted for that? Oy vey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  29. @Ben:

    The only acceptable alternative is total and enthusiastic support for a Democrat. Any concern which would cause you to support anything or anyone else makes you a terrible person and thus deserving of downvoting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

  30. @Stormy Dragon:

    As Cal notes above, the Democrats are angels and the Republicans are devils. You don’t want to support the devil, do you Ben? And even if you don’t vote for Republicans, if you don’t vote for Democrats, we all know you’re just a secret Republican, and thus also the devil.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  31. stonetools says:

    @Ben:

    When I read your earnest and well meaning statement , I think of those who voted for Nader in 2000. They had their pet issues too-environmentalism and corporate accountability. They too hoped that their issues would get a hearing by voting for Nader.They too said that it was no use voting for Democrats because both parties were “the same” on issues that were “paramount to them.” How did that work out for the country?

    In my state of Virginia, the choice is between Cuccinelli- anti-science, anti-gay rights, anti-women’s rights-and MacAuliffe. I think MacAuliffe is too corporatist for my taste, and he almost certainly doesn’t agree with me 100 per cent on issues of helping the poor and the working class. But a protest vote or staying home risks putting in a man who would drive gays back into the closet, women to back alley abortion clinics, and climate scientists from university , and who would deny the poor the little bit of health care they are entitled to under Medicaid. Faced with that, my pet issues don’t seem all that paramount.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  32. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “The only acceptable alternative is total and enthusiastic support for a Democrat. Any concern which would cause you to support anything or anyone else makes you a terrible person and thus deserving of downvoting. ”

    Well you may be a libertarian, but you’ve mastered the art of the the Republican self-pity party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  33. Ben says:

    @stonetools:

    I can understand thinking the way you do, living in a purple state. But I’ve never lived in a state where the presidential vote was even remotely in doubt. He’ll, I’ve never even had the chance to vote in a senate or congressional election that was in doubt. Me just adding yet another vote for the democrat wouldn’t have mattered, so there was literally no reason for me to hold my nose and vote for the democrat when there has been a third party candidate who reflects my views on issues I care about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. @wr:

    Well you may be a libertarian

    Honestly, I don’t really consider myself a libertarian anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Tillman says:

    @Rob in CT:

    That violence or threat of violence is typically the last resort, behind a variety of non-violent or threat of violence means (taxes, fees, fines, licensing requirments, and so forth). Yes, if you drill all the way down, you get to violence (or at least folks with badges and guns and so forth).

    A lot of naive people I encounter focus on the state’s “monopoly on violence,” not understanding that most of human history has been trying to get away from a free market of violence.

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It doesn’t work that way in the real world? So you’ve never had an interaction with another human being that was based on the two of you agreeing to do something rather than one forcing the other?

    Sure, but I was never paid for it. And since without money I can’t avoid living outside and starving, I’m being forced one way or the other to do things I don’t wish to do. The focus on specific taskmasters is nearsighted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Ernieyeball says:

    @Ben: Cream got a down vote…
    With some people the only taste they have is in their mouth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  37. Kari Q says:

    I sympathize with wanting to vote third party because neither of the major parties is interested in the issues that concern you. I felt the same way until GWB. I voted third party almost all the time, except on the rare occasions when a politician would express support for ending the drug war, for example.

    If we still had two essentially sane parties, I’d still be doing that. But we don’t. We have one party that at least still believes in governing the country, however poorly they are doing it and however many things they get wrong, and one who would gleefully set the whole thing on fire and watch it burn just because they knew it would make the other side angry. Add in that the second party, if elected, would eliminate environmental protections (because who needs clean air and water any way), take away gay rights, restrict access to birth control, and wants to invade Syria, Iran, possibly North Korea, and any other country whose name happens to pop up into the news for some random reason, and there’s really no choice. I can’t vote for anyone other than the at least half sane Democrats until the GOP gets itself together enough so that they no longer sound like the crazy uncle you are all embarrassed by every time he leaves the house.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  38. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    It is hard for progressives to clam that a politicians is too small to talk about when progressives and liberals get excited about what school board members in Arkansas, local politicians in Virginia, or minor party officials in South Carolina are saying. However, if progressives believe that what every Republicans says applies to all Republicans but that Democrats should be invisible, it makes sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  39. Ben says:

    @Kari Q:

    I’m repeating myself, but one again, I agree with you if you happen to live in a state where the electoral results are at all in doubt. In my case, they aren’t. Ever. My vote for a third party is no more likely to result in a Republican winning a federal election in my state than it is to result in my winning the lottery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. Rob in CT says:

    Right, the whole “waste your vote” argument is only a little bit valid in states that are close. In a state like CT, it’ really doesn’t fly. A vote for Johnson here is utterly harmless. This is the case in most states.

    A vote for Johnson to signal displeasure on civil liberties is perfectly valid, with literally zero downside risk in most states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Kari Q:

    I sympathize with wanting to vote third party because neither of the major parties is interested in the issues that concern you. I felt the same way until GWB. I voted third party almost all the time, except on the rare occasions when a politician would express support for ending the drug war, for example.

    If we still had two essentially sane parties, I’d still be doing that. But we don’t…

    A thousand times this. Pre-2000 and pre-relocating from the Northeast to Texas, I would spend a lot of time reading up on the candidates and voting based on issues. But I got to vote for good Republicans like Bill Weld.

    It wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I truly understood the GOP that exists in most of the rest of the country, and I somehow became a center-right-Yankee-turned-Yellow-Dog. For state and federal elections, I don’t even look at the names anymore. I just apply the algorithm Democrat > Green > Libertarian > Leave Blank. Because even if I like a state or federal level GOP candidate, their simple existence allows people like Rick Perry and Ted Cruz and Louis Gohmert push their agenda.

    @superdestroyer: It is hard for progressives to clam that a politicians is too small to talk about when progressives and liberals get excited about what school board members in Arkansas, local politicians in Virginia, or minor party officials in South Carolina are saying.

    Those are exactly the politicians that we should care about, because those are the ones that we can actually have a direct say in electing. And today’s school board member or city councilor is next year’s state representative and next decade’s Congressperson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  42. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: oh, the joys of awkward blockquoting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. stonetools says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    Because even if I like a state or federal level GOP candidate, their simple existence allows people like Rick Perry and Ted Cruz and Louis Gohmert push their agenda.

    THIS times a thousand.

    Also too, KNOW what the eff you are doing when you vote. I’m sure lots of those who voted for Nader in 2000 thought what they were doing was harmless too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. stonetools says:

    @Rob in CT:

    A vote for Johnson to signal displeasure on civil liberties is perfectly valid, with literally zero downside risk in most states.

    This is what I don’t understand. How do those you don’t vote for get your signal?

    Let’s be blunt-they don’t. A vote for Johnson tells Obama or Romney zero about what either did wrong on civil rights. This is just to make you feel good. That’s OK, I guess-but understand that you aren’t actually accomplishing anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. Ben says:

    @stonetools:

    Let’s be blunt-they don’t. A vote for Johnson tells Obama or Romney zero about what either did wrong on civil rights. This is just to make you feel good. That’s OK, I guess-but understand that you aren’t actually accomplishing anything.

    Generally speaking, you’re right that the major candidates don’t care. (ignoring the talk among the Republican party about ten years ago about how they could bring libertarians into the party) However, if a third party gets a large amount of support, there are more stories about them, more articles written about their views, and that can lead to discussions that don’t happen otherwise. And at a certain level of support, they also gain federal campaign matching funds for their party for the next election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. stonetools says:

    @Ben:

    However, if a third party gets a large amount of support, there are more stories about them, more articles written about their views, and that can lead to discussions that don’t happen otherwise. And at a certain level of support, they also gain federal campaign matching funds for their party for the next election.

    Sounds exactly like whose who voted for Nader in 2000 said. Again, how did work out?
    In reality, it gave the Republicans the margin of victory, and then the Republicans went on to screw over the country on the very issues the Naderites thought “paramount.”

    Do you think that the Democrats and Republicans are “the same” on civil rights? If you think so, you are dead wrong, to be frank-and that’s even if you define civil rights narrowly to exclude huge areas like voting rights , employment discrimination, gay rights, etc.It’s one thing if a party reluctantly goes along with the national security program in order to forestall right wing agitprop about the Democrats being weak. That’s not unicorns and rainbows, and I’m all for pushing Democrats to do better. But it’s a helluva lot better than putting in a party that’s 100 percent for the NSP, include moar war, moar Gauntanamos, and moar surveillance of everybody.
    At this point, we can’t afford third party waffling. Its that simple. My view is that anything that helps Republicans get elected anywhere is wrong. That’s my algorithm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  47. Ben says:

    @stonetools:

    Do you think that the Democrats and Republicans are “the same” on civil rights? If you think so, you are dead wrong, to be frank

    Not exactly the same. But I think that Democrats’ dedication to civil liberties takes a significant hit when it would involve criticizing something the Obama administration is doing or plans to do. The Obama administration has not materially altered their stance from their predecessor on homeland security or surveillance (he’s actually reached for more authority than Bush ever did) or on the drug war (he’s actually executing more drug raids than Bush did). His administration continues to push for more and more erosion of the 4th amendment in every single case. Now, I’ll agree with you that the Republicans, if they had their way, would go even further in the wrong direction, but to me that’s a pretty weak defense.

    At this point, we can’t afford third party waffling. Its that simple. My view is that anything that helps Republicans get elected anywhere is wrong. That’s my algorithm.

    Once again, for the third freaking time, my voting for a third party does not help republicans one bit. The republicans have a zero point zero chance of winning anything in my state. Thus my third party vote has no negative impact. What would have been the point of voting for Obama? So he could win by another .000001 percent higher than the thirty something points he was already winning my state by?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. stonetools says:

    @Ben:

    But I think that Democrats’ dedication to civil liberties takes a significant hit when it would involve criticizing something the Obama administration is doing or plans to do. The Obama administration has not materially altered their stance from their predecessor on homeland security or surveillance (he’s actually reached for more authority than Bush ever did) or on the drug war (he’s actually executing more drug raids than Bush did). His administration continues to push for more and more erosion of the 4th amendment in every single case. Now, I’ll agree with you that the Republicans, if they had their way, would go even further in the wrong direction, but to me that’s a pretty weak defense.

    Actually, its a pretty good defense. You go with the politics you have, not the politics you wish you had. If the Republicans would be worse, you keep them out.

    I also disagree with you that liberals aren’t criticizing Obama on civil liberties. You’ll find plenty of critical articles in liberal blogs like Digby, Balloon Juice, and Firedoglake. Ever heard of Marcy Wheeler? She’s as obsessive about hammering Obama on these issues as Greenwald.
    Finally,
    Your Mumia Sweatshirt Won’t Get You Into Heaven.

    The Democrats really hate Nader because he points out the fact that they are asking those of us on the left to vote for them but they aren’t doing anything for us. Did they end funding for the Republican’s crime spree in Iraq? No. Have they moved for UHC? No. Have they tried to stop corporate crimes? No. Have they tried to reform the tax code to be progressive? No. Have they tried to protect homeowners from predatory lenders? No. Have they defended our constitutional rights? No. Take back the FDA from the corporations? No. The FCC? No.

    The Democrats don’t deserve my vote. They aren’t helping the left, why should the left help them?

    Let me see if I can explain it this way:

    Every year in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land all of the sprites and elves and woodland creatures gather together to pick the Rainbow Sunshine Queen. Everyone is there: the Lollipop Guild, the Star-Twinkle Toddlers, the Sparkly Unicorns, the Cookie Baking Apple-cheeked Grandmothers, the Fluffy Bunny Bund, the Rumbly-Tumbly Pupperoos, the Snowflake Princesses, the Baby Duckies All-In-A-Row, the Laughing Babies, and the Dykes on Bikes. They have a big picnic with cupcakes and gumdrops and pudding pops, stopping only to cast their votes by throwing Magic Wishing Rocks into the Well of Laughter, Comity, and Good Intentions. Afterward they spend the rest of the night dancing and singing and waving glow sticks until dawn when they tumble sleepy-eyed into beds made of the purest and whitest goose down where they dream of angels and clouds of spun sugar.

    You don’t live there.

    Grow the f@#k up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  49. Ben says:

    @stonetools:

    Actually, its a pretty good defense. You go with the politics you have, not the politics you wish you had. If the Republicans would be worse, you keep them out.

    I consider the Republicans and Democrats as having very little daylight between them when it comes to civil liberties. If Republicans are a zero out of hundred, I’d give the current Democrats about a 2 or 3. If I have the chance to vote for someone who’s an 80, I’m taking it.

    I also disagree with you that liberals aren’t criticizing Obama on civil liberties. You’ll find plenty of critical articles in liberal blogs like Digby, Balloon Juice, and Firedoglake. Ever heard of Marcy Wheeler? She’s as obsessive about hammering Obama on these issues as Greenwald.

    Well there’s where the disconnect is. I’m not talking about bloggers. I’m talking about high-ranking politicians and commentators that have a wide influence criticizing the administration. Like something analogous to the widespread criticisms that have been getting thrown at the Republicans from their own, most recently by Dole.

    Finally,
    Your Mumia Sweatshirt Won’t Get You Into Heaven.

    So in other words, just shut up and take it. You’re not getting anything you want from us, but we want your support anyways. And you should give it to us, because reasons. Look, Nader isn’t even relevant to this situation. Johnson wasn’t gonna spoil anything for Obama. Hell, I’d bet most Johnson voters were leeched from the right, not the left.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I will say that I think that voting even when it seems pointless (such as voting for Texas Democrats) is worthwhile simply as signalling, if nothing more. So if Johnson hits, say, a 5% threshold, that does then make Libertarians worth listening to, either from the persective of a) well, if 5% think his ideas are worthwhile, I should find out more about them or b) Hmm, if I can tap into that 5%, I can make my chances of winning much better. Or, in the case of Texas Dems, if we’re hitting 38% in a Senate race versus 44%, the 44% makes it easier to recruit competitive candidates. Yes, we’ll probably still lose, but at 38% the last time around, we’ll *definitely* lose next time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. superdestroyer says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    And how many members of Congress or people working in the Obama Administration were ever on a school board or on a city council. These days politics is limited to the rich who jump right to being governors or Senators (I am looking at you, terry McAuliffe) or were former staffers who jumped into politics.

    Considering how few of the leadership of the Democratic Party send their children to public schools, why would they be interested in being a school board member.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0