Lincoln Chafee, the former Republican senator from Rhode Island, is clearly insane. It’s sort of sad having to say it, given that he was long one of the few marginally rational Republicans in Congress. Still, how else to explain this:
One of Barack Obama’s high-profile Republican endorsers during the campaign said he was “stunned” that the president could muster only three Republicans votes for his stimulus package and put the blame squarely at the president’s feet.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, former Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who endorsed Obama during the Democratic primary, acknowledged that the president’s post-partisan appeal was suffering from a dearth of moderate Republicans in Congress. But he added that the “onus was on” Obama to get broad backing on his first major piece of legislation. And by this metric, he failed.
“The whole appeal of the Obama candidacy was post-partisan, and to get off to that start I thought was surprising,” said the Rhode Island Republican. “Ultimately, the chief executive has so much power, and just as a spectator, I thought the onus was on him to just to make it happen. Get 80-or-so votes on your first big initiative, whatever it is.”
It would seem that you can take the senator out of the Beltway, but you can’t take the Beltway out of the senator. What unmitigated dog do-do. Here we are in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and what is Chafee despondent about? Is he feeling shame, per chance, for the disastrous failure of the GOP economic policies he aided and abetted? Or perhaps singing the blues over the fact that millions of Americans are losing their jobs?
No, the real tragedy, according to Chafee’s worldview, is Barack Obama’s “failure” to get more than a few Republican senators to support the stimulus package. Further, according to Chafee, this failure of post-partisanship is Obama’s fault, notwithstanding GOP obstructionism. You see, it was Obama’s obligation to do whatever was needed to get more Republicans onboard, even, apparently, if that meant stripping the guts out of the package, thereby destroying its effectiveness in fighting the deepening recession.
I think we may have just figured out why the Titanic sank. My guess is that one of Lincoln Chafee’s ancestors was the captain and, after the iceberg was sighted, he decided that trying to build consensus among the crew was more important than steering the ship to safety.
Allow me to repeat myself: this dude is certifiably insane. No one outside of the insular little world of Beltway insiders gives a rat’s ass about bipartisanship anymore: people have bigger fish to fry. And the only reason anyone ever cared about it was because they thought having people get along better in Washington might help get things done. But the GOP wasted no time after Obama’s election in making it clear that wasn’t going to happen. So people moved on.
Everyone that is except Lincoln Chafee.