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It should come as no shock to anyone who has followed Lincoln Chafee’s career in the Senate that he is firmly entrenched in the "no position as yet" category on the Specter bill.  In fact, that pretty much sums up the limp spine that is Lincoln Chafee in a nutshell.

Which is why I am so happy to point to a great interview that Howie Klein did with one of the Democratic candidates for US Senate in Rhode Island:  Carl Sheeler.  The joy of the Rhode Island race this year is that there is not just one good, solid, Democratic candidate vying for the ballot slot in the primary — but we have two good choices.  The other Democratic candidate is Sheldon Whitehouse, and honestly, the Democrats have a fantastic chance to pick up this Senate seat whichever candidate wins the primary.

But there was a portion of Howie’s interview of Carl Sheeler that I wanted to point out for everyone:

"Carl," [Howie] started, "it seems like the DSCC has made Sheldon Whitehouse’s primary victory seem inevitable but– at least from a California perspective– Whitehouse doesn’t seem like a bad choice, more like a Sherrod Brown or Amy Klobuchar than a Casey monstrosity. Or am I reading this wrong? Are there significant reasons we should be concerned that the DSCC is railroading Sheldon Whitehouse down our collective throats– other than the nature of railroading per se? It doesn’t seem that if he wins he’ll be a Paul Wellstone, but he’ll certainly be a big improvement over Chafee and probably better than most of the Democratic senatorial caucus."

CARL: "I’ll respond by asking what I think is an overarching reply to a fundamental question: Can we expect a change in leadership and party direction if we’re being enticed by establishment Democrats who are being prepackaged by DC?

In Rhode Island, the 80% of voters, who I implicitly trust, have no use for vanilla candidates with boilerplate responses to how we take back our country.

Chafee beats Sheldon on likeability. Heck, the DNC recognized this and tried to get Chafee to cross party lines. If they had, I’d not be runing right now. We need a US Senate majority leader to be a Democrat so we can regain checks and balances with people who want to hold special interests, large corporations and our executive branch accountable. We all know why we don’t have national healthcare and adequate funding for our schools, our seniors and our retirees. We need progressives with teeth and the courage of their conviction. Not carefully scripted soundbites bought with the millions raised from the same trough the GOP feeds from.

Next time someone asks what it is that Jane and I find so problematic about Joe Lieberman, point to this. The Senate is not something that you own — you are given an opportunity to serve: your nation, your constituents, your Constitution, the long-term interests of all those who depend on you to live up to your responsibilities and the trust your consituents have placed in you.

It is not a position that you are to use to line your own pockets and those of your cronies.  Nor is it your seat — you earn it every single day, or we will find someone who will.

And for every person who whines about the Democratic party not living up to your expectations, and on and on, this is a long, long road.  And the first step back to sanity in government in this nation of ours is to split up the Republican monopoly on power and their crony corruption machine.  To do that, the Democrats have to regain the Senate, the House or both — and since they are the only game in town for the next few, short months between now and November, the realist in me says get out there and work your butt off for them.

And after that, we’ll take the next step, and the next and the next…because we are not sitting back, taking the pat on the head, and hoping for the best any longer.  Don’t know about you guys, but I’m not ready to make nice (youtube video link).