My Apology To Former Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee

I would like to sincerely apologize to former Republican senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. Like many progressives I cheered when you lost to Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006. (I do like Whitehouse, by the way, and think he has done a good job.) I never personally disliked you. You were always very moderate by the standards of the Republican Party, but you were still a Republican.

At the time, I was operating under the misguided notion that if Democrats won elections, they would be in power. I thought that once in power, Democrats would try to fulfill their campaign promises. I confess I was pretty foolish in my youth.

I now see that it does not matter how many Democrats are elected. The Democratic leadership values “bipartisanship” above principles, the needs of working class Americans, or keeping their promises. The Democratic party in Washington insists on handing over complete control to whichever Republican senator will take it.

If, back in 2006, I had know that electing a Democratic president, 60 senators, and controlling huge margins in the House meant that I would live under the absolute reign of Empress Olympia Snowe, I would never have rooted for your defeat.

The senator that Democrats hand complete control over to must be a Republican. Look at the example of deposed King Arlen Specter. Back when he was a 41st Republican, the Senate was his oyster. All power rested in his hands. He could strip $100 billion in needed aid to states with a simple command. Now that he switched parties, no one cares about his positions, or that he strongly supports a public option. If Snowe ever switched parties, she would suffer the same fate. Formerly quasi-bipartisan is not good enough. The Democrats insist power must be given over to a Republican.

If I had know Democrats for some reason would instantly forfeit all their power to the least insanely conservative Republican senator, I would have worked hard to help you keep your seat. I would much prefer to be living under the mercy of a King Chafee instead of Empress Snowe.

Please accept my heartfelt apology, former Sen. Chafee. I foolishly thought electing Democrats would mean Democrats would be in power.

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