David Limbaugh is out with a book about the bankruptcy of the Democratic Party but he is being met with complaints from Republicans about the bankruptcy of the GOP. A concrete example is the support the Republican establishment gave to Senator Lincoln Chaffee, who didn’t even vote for President Bush in 2004.
Senator Lincoln Chaffee refused to vote for Bolton at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, only to be rewarded with massive White House and Republican help in order to salvage his campaign for the Senate Republican nomination in Rhode Island. This entailed sabotaging his conservative opponent, Steve Laffey.
So by supporting Chafee, the White House sabotaged two conservatives for the price of one-Laffey and Bolton.
Taking the voters for fools, the Chafee ads against Laffey came from the right. They attacked Laffey for raising taxes as mayor of Cranston when the city was near bankruptcy and desperately needed funds. Laffey had inherited that dire situation and was forced to adopt desperate measures to save the city.
Make no mistake: Laffey was a conservative, unlike Chafee, and he had supported Ambassador Bolton, saying, “Over the past year, John Bolton has demonstrated that he is a capable and effective representative of America’s interests in the United Nations. It is because of him that the U.S. has achieved unanimous Security Council resolutions condemning North Korea’s missile tests and ending the Israeli-Lebanese war, as well as a near-unanimous resolution setting a deadline for Iran to suspend its nuclear program. Even previous critics of Ambassador Bolton have admitted that the Ambassador has proven himself over the past year as an effective leader and defender of U.S. interests.”
Yet the White House and Senate Republicans supported Chafee.
Senator Bill Frist, who has done some good things as Majority Leader, epitomizes the problem.
The anchorrising.com blog reported an interview in which Frist was asked why Republicans should support Chafee in his re-election “after he would not even vote for President Bush in the last election.”
Frist replied: “Senator Chafee is a colleague. He is a Republican. It is a big tent, the Republican party. He is a principled man and a man of integrity. Senator Chafee being a Republican means that we, in part, are in majority control of the United States Senate and that our leadership is Republican in terms of the majority leader, the whip, the conference director and the policy chairman” (emphasis added).
Frist postured as one of the leading proponents of Bolton’s confirmation but then it turned out that a nationwide “poll” he was running on Bolton’s behalf was actually designed to gather names for the Frist political action committee known as VOLPAC.
You may have noticed those ads, which ran on various blogs and asked people to “Sign the Petition to Confirm Bolton.” One can still be seen at Frist’s VOLPAC website. Frist declared: “If you think his nomination deserves a fair up-or-down vote and if you agree with his mission of cleaning up the U.N., then I urge you to join me in supporting John Bolton’s confirmation as our Ambassador to the United Nations by signing this digital petition.”
Where did the names go? One might think these petitions would be turned over to Senate Democrats, to send them a message. That’s what conservative blogger Robert B. Bluey of Human Events thought. He endorsed the petition, saying that Frist was using the drive “to put pressure on Democrats” to confirm Bolton. It certainly looked that way.
Unfortunately, I confirmed with the VOLPAC folks that the names were not used to pressure Democrats to do anything. The names were being used by VOLPAC itself to benefit Frist. They were used, I was told, to gauge the amount of public interest in the topic.
It doesn’t add up. Did VOLPAC really need an on-line poll to gauge interest in the topic? It was one of the most controversial nominations before the Senate and conservatives had strongly rallied around Bolton.
What we needed from Frist and the White House was leadership on Bolton’s behalf, not support for Bolton’s Republican enemies and phony on-line “polls.”
After I made inquiries about his phony on-line poll, Frist created a “blogging for Bolton” site, advising people to call Senate offices in support of Bolton. He should have done that in the first place.