Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Lincoln Chafee: We were not surprised

In a previous blog (12/14/05) I castigated the Republican Senatorial Committee for its support in a primary election contest of the incumbent senator Lincoln Chafee (R(INO), RI) against fellow Republican mayor Steve Laffey. Others apparently felt similarly rankled, including Pat Toomey of the Club For Growth, who wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal about Chafee.

Elizabeth Dole later wrote a very defensive letter published December 21 in the Wall Street Journal. Senator Dole's comments included these observations about Sen. Chafee's record:

"His support for John Roberts's Supreme Court confirmation as well as for Judge Janice Rogers Brown shows that he is a man of principle who backs the right kind of justices. Indeed Sen. Chafee is far from a reliable vote for liberals -- which is just what we'll get out of Rhode Island if he's not chosen as the Republican nominee." (Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2005)

Well, Senator Dole apparently missed which "principle" the good senator from RI supports. He was the lone Republican to vote against Justice Alito.

I do like Senator Dole, and I volunteered to help her husband's campaign in 1996. I even gave a warm-up speech for a rally that she headlined. (My brother in law and I hauled in tractors and hay to the county fairgrounds to set up a backdrop suitable for Mrs. Dole. It was actually a lot of work, but the handlers seemed to appreciate it. We did not do so well at the polls that year, though.) However, she and others in leadership need to be reminded of core principles. Just winning for the sake of being in power isn't enough of a reason for winning. You need to believe and do something.

In order to make politics work, grass roots folks need to make themselves heard. Our leaders -- of both parties -- can get out of touch with what mainstreet people believe and want in their lives. We need to keep engaged in order to ensure that they keep connected.

The temptation for us is that our views don't matter, and that we can't do much after all. So we focus on earning a living, on our volunteer efforts to make things work in our communities (like the firefighters I mentioned previously) and on teaching our kids to do what's right. And that is a full time occupation. All of those things are also good, and they need to be done.

But to cede the political realm to those who make it their profession -- there is real danger there. So, I encourage you to stay involved and, at a minimum, send a message. I've sent my message to the RNC - three times in the last month when they called me to ask for funds, I've said no and told them why. The name of your particular party may differ, but the disconnectedness problem is likely to be the same. (If you read our blog, I hope that in the long run you experience even more disconnectedness.)

If we are silent, we will deserve the government we get. And may Heaven help us.

P.S. If you want to speak with dollars, you may support Laffey's campaign. The website is www.electlaffey.com. I'm sure he would appreciate your support.

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