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Chafee, having dumped GOP, flirts with Obama

February 11, 2008 |  3:59 pm

During his political career, Lincoln Chafee was perhaps the plainest example of what some GOPers contemptuously refer to as a RINO -- Republican In Name Only. Since losing his Senate seat in heavily Democratic Rhode Island in 2006, he's more than confirmed that moniker.

Last summer he left the GOP, re-registering as an unaffiliated voter in his home state. Now, he may be on the verge of burning whatever rickety bridge connects him to his former party.

Chafee, the Providence Journal recently reported, is on the cusp of casting a ballot for Barack Obama in Rhode Island's March 4 Democratic presidential primary.

Chafee was the sole Republican senator to vote against the 2002 congressional resolution authorizing the Iraq war, which would naturally tilt him toward Obama (who, in case your haven't heard, opposed that measure from his then-perch as a state senator in Illinois).

As the Journal article makes clear, Chafee views ...

the position taken on the Iraq resolution a political litmus test (meaning that there's no point in Hillary Clinton trying to woo him). Says the story:

In his upcoming book, Against the Tide [due April 1 from St. Martin’s Press], Chafee excoriates congressional Democrats who voted in 2002 to give President Bush the authority to invade Iraq.

He writes: "Being wrong about sending Americans to kill and be killed, maim and be maimed, is not like making a punctuation mistake in a highway bill." Some leading Democrats "argue that the president duped them into war, but getting duped does not exactly recommend their leadership. Helping a rogue president start an unnecessary war should be a career-ending lapse of judgment.''

He'll get no argument there from the Obama camp.

-- Don Frederick

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