Lincoln Chafee: Already a 2016 punchline

Former Rhode Island governor and senator Lincoln Chafee – a former Republican and independent – announced his bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination at George Mason University yesterday.

By the end of the event, Chafee was already a punchline for the campaign.


If former Rhode Island Governor and Senator Lincoln Chafee takes the White House, history will record that his quest started a few metro stops away, on a college campus in Virginia—and that he mused about an American "rapprochement" with the Islamic state.

"You have to think that it's always possible," he told reporters after his speech at George Mason University. "ISIS is emerging. It's a phenomenon that's ever changing."

Of course, he's right.  ISIS has changed its methods of execution, from beheadings to burning alive.  That signifies growth, although how that might help bring about "rapprochement" with the terrorists is unclear.

His "platform" gets even funnier:

Chafee, a Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat, gave a brief and chipper address that called for America to re-engage with "international community" with diplomacy and "symbolic" moves. That meant everything from barring campaign donors from becoming diplomats, to allowing Edward Snowden to come home without punishment, to bringing America into the Metric system.

President Obama also thought "symbolic" moves in diplomacy would change the world.  "Symbolic" speeches in Cairo and Turkey; "symbolic" peace offerings to Iran and Venezuela; "symbolic" exercises in American military power almost everywhere.  How's that working out, Linc?

When students got a chance to interrogate Chafee, two of them demanded details on the Metric system reform. "It would be a symbolic integration of ourselves into the international community of the last 15 years," explained Chafee.

Another asked Chafee to clarify how he would reform drug policy after fulfilling a promise to end the drug war. The candidate demurred, saying that he would "listen to the neighborhoods" and build policy from there.

"Let’s unite with all of our experience to rethink the war on drugs," he said.

When another student asked Chafee an open-ended foreign policy question, the delighted candidate pulled out a speech by a former prime minister of Italy, before 9/11. He read excerpts and recalled how a "lasting peace" had looked possible.

"You had Bush, and Schroder, and Koizumi, and Putin—we had a chance to get together," said Chafee. He then began to reminisce about how in 2009 the Obama administration tried to reconstruct relations with Russia. We had some mistakes. We presented him with the reset button—we had the wrong label. That was a mistake, in my view."

Stop.  Enough.  Hillary putting the wrong Russian word on the reset button was a "mistake" in his view.  Can we stand someone so profound to be president? 

Chafee was an arrogant senator.  He has now demonstrated that he's so besotted with his own conceit that he's not worthy to run for president, even as a Democrat.  The campaign needs a little levity, so let's hope he sticks around for a few months and gives us some more laughs.

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