Saturday, August 12, 2006

Primary Challenge Reflects Extremist Takeover of Party

This fall the results of a senate race in New England may provide a grim warning about the direction being taken by an American political party which some say has lost its way. A well-respected member of the US Senate is facing a possible ouster by an upstart challenger in his party's primary organized by an extremist fringe enemy within. This unusual and alarming insurgency threatens to usher in a new a era of political incivility, upsetting the calm, reasoned and enlightened debate we so enjoy today. Indeed, the incumbent stands mightily as an icon of moderation, bravely stemming the tide against an ideological inquisition imposed by a small and angry faction of his party that has abandoned all pretense of objectivity in favor of petty squabbling and name-calling in the pursuit of cheap political points and a decidedly un-American agenda. These extremist zealots want the party to abandon the distinguished senator for what they perceive as the heinous crime of going against their strict orthodoxy. Shamefully, ideological purity concerns these moonbats far more than the good of this fair nation. What kind of nation, what kind of party would dare condone what is being done to poor, put-upon Lincoln Chafee (R) of Rhode Island?

Chaffee is well-known inside the beltway as a moderating voice in the senate chamber, a distinction that has put him at odds with out-of-the-mainstream purists within the Republican party. His brave stances on issues of national import are legend, from his vote against the use of force in Iraq (H.J.RES.114), his moderate and fair stance on Israel, his forceful investigation of John Bolton (Bush's nominee for UN Ambassador), to his vote in favor of investigating the war-profiteering of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan (S.AMDT.464 to H.R.1268) Senator Chafee has been the picture solid centrist sensibility and clearly in-touch with the American people.

But that's not good enough for those who sit on the fringe of the Republican far-right. So the perfectly reasonable Chafee now faces a challenge for his rightful seat from someone named Steve Laffey, the Mayor of Cranston, RI (CRANSTON? Not even
Providence???) who enters the race with lots of support from outside the state and from blogs (Egad, man! Blogs!!!). Far-right, northern, elitist extremists like Laffey and his irrational legion shrieking supporters stand to imperile their own party with their intransigence, holding that state's senate seat hostage as they apply an ideological litmus test to purge the party of rugged individualists like Lincoln Chafee, whose independence doesn't sit well with their twisted vision of party purity.

The challenge from Laffey is in keeping with a little-known provision of the
Rhode Island
constitution stipulating that its senators must have a name ending in some variation of "affie". In the general election the winner of this primary stands to face the likely Democratic nominee, Sheldon WhitehousAFFIE, while the campaign of independent challenger General Muammar KhadAFFI has struggled for support and will likely run out of money despite his stong ties to President Bush. But I digress.

The issue at hand, this primary challenge to a sitting member of the United States Senate, is unprecedented (UNPRECEDENTED I SAY!), in the storied history of American electoral politics. I can scarcely think of another such occurance. Can you??? The impudence!