I had hoped that Steve Laffey would beat Lincoln Chafee in yesterday’s primary, because Chafee has strayed so far from the fold, on vital issues, that it no longer makes sense to consider him a Republican. Nor was I impressed by the idea that we needed Chafee to hold on to the majority in the Senate, since I’ve always suspected that if control of the Senate hung in the balance, he would pull a Jumping Jim Jeffords, and proclaim himself a Democrat. Or Independent, or whatever.
But there are two possible silver linings to yesterday’s Chafee victory. First, given the major effort that the national party made on his behalf, it seems reasonable to suspect that they extracted a commitment that he would not pull a Jeffords. Second, Michael Barone finds an unexpected source of positive spin: Chafee’s victory shows the power of the Republicans’ turnout machine! As always, Michael makes a good case. I just hope the party can turn voters out impressively on behalf of conservative candidates, too.
PAUL wonders: One cheer and a question mark. Does that equal half a cheer?