How silly, of course. As Democrats, we know that we can cravenly triangulate and calculate and polltake and cower in the political arena, and still be trusted to be courageous and principled on matters of war, peace, and liberty.
This article, about Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee, should shame every Democrat in Congress besides Russ Feingold and John Conyers:
EXETER, R.I. -- Lincoln Chafee was cleaning a horse stall on his well-manicured farm one recent early morning, describing his latest encounter with hostile home-state Republicans.
The GOP senator had appeared the previous night before the Scituate Republican Town Committee to seek the endorsement of the small but influential group. In his halting, soft-spoken way, Chafee defended his opposition to the war in Iraq, domestic wiretapping and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. as the principled positions of an old-school conservative.
Chafee, 53, once could count on voters in Rhode Island to tolerate his maverick ways, but this time the response was blank stares. "Nobody listened to my reasoning," Chafee recounted as he piled hay into a wheelbarrow. "They support the president on everything."***Chafee ... can be strong-willed and immovable once he makes up his mind. He shrugged off pressure from the GOP and voted against tax cuts and an energy bill packed with oil industry incentives. He was the only Senate Republican to oppose the Iraq war resolution. His greatest act of blasphemy was voting against Bush in the 2004 election. Instead, Chafee wrote in the president's father, former president George H.W. Bush....
I've said here that there are no good Republicans any more; Olympia Snowe's sellout on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Arlen Specter's vote on Samuel Alito despite his pro-choice claims and his refusal to swear Alberto Gonzalez despite his stated opposition to extrajudicial domestic spying, seemed like the last straws. But there's a Republican who, unlike most Democrats, has been willing, at some personal cost, to oppose his party's President and do the right thing.
JFK's "Profiles In Courage", the great treatise on political guts by one of the greatest Democrats, is now enacted best by a lone Republican. No Democrat has risked his own party's ire in the same way Chafee has, at least not for noble purposes (Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman, unlike Chafee, have betrayed their party in the service of ignoble greed, not principle).
I don't ask much, but might I ask: could the faux-centrist "Democrats" who control our party perhaps, if it's not too daunting, be progressive enough to copy the voting record of perhaps the last Constitution-respecting Republican?
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