Thursday, November 09, 2006

Party switchers?

There's a lot of talk about whether Joe Lieberman or Bernie Sanders will switch from independent to one of the other parties. Sanders could turn Democrat; Lieberman could go either way, though he has repeatedly said he'll caucus with the Democrats.

But what about moderate Republicans?

After the 1994 takeover by Republicans, two Senate Democrats jumped ship: Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Richard Shelby. So there's a precedent for it.

And Lincoln Chafee is openly talking about it. He's irrelevant until he gets elected again, but some of his comments are illuminating.

When asked whether he felt that his loss may have helped the country by switching control of power in Congress, he replied: "To be honest, yes."

"The people have spoken all across America. They want the Democrats and Republicans to work together," Chafee added. "I think the president now is going to have to talk to the Democrats. I think that's going to be good for America."

A lifelong Republican who succeeded his father, the late John Chafee, in the U.S. Senate, Chafee said he waged a lonely campaign to try to bring the party to the middle. He described attending weekly Thursday lunches with fellow Republican senators and standing up to argue his point of view, often alone.

"There were times walking into my caucus room where it wasn't fun," he said.

Chafee said he stuck with the party in large part because it allowed him to bring federal dollars home to Rhode Island.

So: Any bets on who among the Republicans might switch?

My money is on the two Maine senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. Both moderates, both from heavily Democratic states.

Any other contenders?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wont bet on the senators from Maine defecting.
Southern maine,particularly york county, thanks to good transportation options, is almost in the greater boston area now and heavily influenced by people moving in from mass. the same thing has happened to southern New Hampshire, so critical the electing the two democratic congressman/woman from NH.
The old alliance of libertarians supporting conservatives is dissapearing here.
There is a growing convergence of political views of people from Vermont , with people in NH and Maine and Mass. One should thank Bush and his radicalism for that.
Remember that the common thread that all New Englanders have is their history.and Bush has time and again reminded that he and his party dont care about it.
That was the reason for Lincoln Chafee getting the boot, that was the reason the moderate republican congressmen in NH getting the boot.
The soceties here have evolved in such a way that negative ads and personal attacks work in the opposite way than assumed.
There is clear ongoing realignment of social forces in New England and republicans dont have a clue about it.
Pat Buchanan had talked about the coming civil war in the republican party. I wont bet on it not happening, atleast here in New England.

11/10/2006 9:37 AM  

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