Against the Tide
How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President
by Lincoln Chafee
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
Linc Chafee does not like George W. Bush. And he dislikes even more Dick Cheney. And according to this book, that's the reason Chafee left the Republican Party.
Chafee was elected as a Republican to the Senate in 2000 (after having served briefly as an appointed Senator in 1999 when his father, Sen. John Chafee, died; the senior Chafee had already announced his retirement and the junior Chafee was already running for the seat in 2000).
Chafee proudly joined the group of moderate Republican Senators. Vice President-Elect Cheney met with that group in early 2001 (pp. 14ff) and that's when the real trouble began. Chafee expected Cheney (and through him, President-Elect Bush) to accommodate the moderates, perhaps by focusing on common interests of the moderate parts of the Bush-Cheney agenda. Instead, Cheney ordered them (in Chafee's view) to vote in support of a more radicalized version of GOP platform -- in other words, to yield to partisan pressure. Chafee views that event as the indicator that the partisanship of the (then recent) Clinton impeachment was to be extended rather than healed.
The real break with Bush-Cheney came two years later, in the run-up to the Iraq War. Chafee believes, along with most progressive Democrats, that Bush and Cheney used 9-11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, as part of a bellicose neoconservative agenda for the Middle East. He voted against the Iraq War authorization (p. 164 and p. 203) -- the only Republican Senator to do so -- and he considers the Iraq War to be symbolic of Bush's arrogance in foreign policy as well as lying to the American people.
In that context, Chafee came up for re-election in 2006. He was met by a hard-core Republican in the primary, whose story is told in detail (pp. 176-8), but whose name is omitted from this book (it was Stephen Laffey). Chafee won in a bruising primary, but went on to lose the general election to Sheldon Whitehouse (whose name Chafee does mention, pp. 179-80) in heavily-Democratic Rhode Island.
Chafee blamed hyper-partisanship for his Senate loss, and switched his party affiliation to "independent." He ran for Governor of Rhode Island in 2010 as an independent and is currently the only independent governor. This book was published after the loss of his Senate seat in 2006 and before his announcement for the Governorship in 2010 -- hence it is a public declaration of his party affiliation switch.
This book is a good read for political junkies. However, it reads as "bitter": a lot of bitterness about the Republican Party and what could have been; and even more bitterness about Bush and Cheney and what should have been. One can view the Republican Party's loss of Chafee as a victim of Bush-Cheney partisanship. And one can view the Republican Party's loss of the entirety of its moderate wing as the eventual outcome of that same partisanship. Perhaps that's true -- Chafee certainly believes it.
-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, February 2013
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Lincoln Chafee: Emotional & divisive abortion debate takes over other issues.
Lincoln Chafee: Opposed Alito because he didn't respect right to privacy.
Olympia Snowe: Voted for Alito to avoid primary challenge on abortion.
Lincoln Chafee: 1964: Opposing Civil Rights Act was wrong side of history.
Lincoln Chafee: 2006: Marriage Amendment ignores states' rights.
Republican Party: 2006: Federalize gay marriage via Constitutional Amendment.
Lincoln Chafee: I doubt our culture would allow legalizing hard drugs.
Energy & Oil|
Christie Todd Whitman: Prepared EPA for regulating carbon dioxide.
Dick Cheney: 2000: No intention to keep campaign promise to regulate CO2.
Dwight Eisenhower: Signed ANWR into existence as a wildlife refuge.
George W. Bush: OpEd: Recanted on campaign promise of regulating CO2.
Lincoln Chafee: ANWR: Let's leave just one place off limits.
Lincoln Chafee: Close the SUV loophole and raise mileage standards overall.
Lincoln Chafee: 2000: Cleanup abandoned urban brownfields.
Cass Ballenger: Personal friendship with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Condoleezza Rice: Nothing positive about Hugo Chavez government in Venezuela.
Dick Cheney: Disavow or cancel numerous international agreements.
Dick Cheney: OpEd: Browbeat Pakistani leaders to get tough on Al Qaeda.
George W. Bush: OpEd: No focus on Latin America despite campaign rhetoric.
Jim Inhofe: Bible gives promised land to Israel; no Palestinian state.
Lincoln Chafee: War against Islamic extremism hinges on Pakistan.
Lincoln Chafee: Castro doesn't want end to Cuban embargo.
Lincoln Chafee: Hugo Chavez does not fit into all-good-or-all-bad rhetoric.
Lincoln Chafee: Strong supporter of Palestinian-Israeli land-for-peace deal.
Sam Brownback: No Palestinian state, even after ten years of peace.
Bill Clinton: 1990s terrorism commission concluded US would get hit big.
Condoleezza Rice: Post-9-11: Blamed structural reforms needed in FBI & CIA.
George W. Bush: OpEd: Failed to know Al Qaeda enemy, like UK did with Hitler.
George W. Bush: OpEd: Resisted 9-11 investigation exposing administration.
Lincoln Chafee: Know your enemy: Al Qaeda wants US troops away from Mecca.
Lincoln Chafee: False WMD fear hurt efforts at nuclear nonproliferation.
Principles & Values|
Dick Cheney: OpEd: Did not ask Senate for support, but ordered it.
Dick Cheney: OpEd: Welcomed partisan conflict, despite campaign promises.
Lincoln Chafee: 1994: two dozen moderate GOP Senators; by 1999: only 5.
Lincoln Chafee: 2000: GOP promised Americans an end to political conflict.
Lincoln Chafee: Mayor of Warwick RI, as the All-But-Lone Republican.
Lincoln Chafee: As mayor, I'd rather take a beating than be a no-show.
Lincoln Chafee: 1999: Appointed to Senate when his father died.
Lincoln Chafee: 2004 election: Voted for George H. W. Bush, underlining "H".
Lincoln Chafee: Real flag desecration is ignoring the First Amendment.
Lincoln Chafee: Disenchanted centrist voters will seek 3rd-party candidate.
Republican Party: Pass laws against those who desecrate the flag.
Sheldon Whitehouse: OpEd 2006: Ran against President Bush, not Sen. Chafee.
Tim Johnson: Won re-election with overwhelming Native Americans vote.
Bill Clinton: 2000: Vetoed abolition of the Marriage Tax.
Denny Hastert: Across-the-board $1.6 trillion tax cut is bad public policy.
Lincoln Chafee: 2000: Repeal the marriage tax penalty.
Lincoln Chafee: Draw down budget surplus to pay to abolish Marriage Tax.
War & Peace|
Barbara Lee: Post-9-11, only Representative to vote against Afghan war.
George W. Bush: 2002: First president to support Palestinian state.
Gordon Harold Smith: 2006: Withdrew support for Iraq War.
Howard Dean: 2003: Rivals for nomination all voted to authorize Iraq war.
Lincoln Chafee: Deny future Bin Ladens recruitment propaganda tools.
Lincoln Chafee: 2002: War authorization just ratchets up the hatred.
Lincoln Chafee: Only Republican vote against Iraq War.
Max Cleland: 2003: Resigned 9-11 Commission over lack of Bush cooperation.
The above quotations are from Against the Tide
How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President
by Lincoln Chafee.
Autobiographies and Biographies of Governors:
- What A Party!, by gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D, VA)
- The Last Line of Defense, by gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli (R, VA)
- Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power, by Bob Ingle and Michael Symons
- Can`t is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, April 2012
- Governor`s Travels, by Gov. Angus King, Oct. 2010
- The Governator, by Ian Halperin (about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-CA), Aug. 2011
- A Governor`s Story, by Jennifer Granholm (D-MI), Oct, 2005
- The Agenda for America, by Gov. Haley Barbour (R, MS), April 1996
- Blue Man in a Red State, by Greg Lemon, (about Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D, MT), June 2008
- Scorpions for Breakfast, by Gov. Jan Brewer (R, AZ), Nov. 2011
- Crossroads: The Future of American Politics, by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D, NY), Oct. 2003
- A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick (D, MA), April 2011
- Against the Tide, by Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I, RI), April 2008
- Teachers Under Attack, by Mike Spina, about Gov. Chris Christie (R, NJ), Feb. 2011
Press Releases etc. from Governors, Mayors, and Justices:
- Gubernatorial State of the State speeches, 2013
- Gubernatorial State of the State speeches, 2012
- Gubernatorial Press Releases, 2011
- Gubernatorial Press Releases, 2010
- Gubernatorial Press Releases, 2001-2009
- Mayoral Press Releases, 2011
- Gubernatorial Campaign websites, 2010-2011
- Mayoral Campaign websites, 2011
- Gubernatorial State of the State speeches, 2011
- Gubernatorial State of the State speeches, 2010
- Mayorial State of the City speeches, 2007-2011
- Gubernatorial Campaign websites, 2010
- Gubernatorial Campaign websites, 2001-2009
- My Grandfather's Son, by Justice Clarence Thomas, Oct. 2008
Page last edited: Jan 18, 2014