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The Tally Ho

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Chafee Ready to Jump?

According to Washington Post staff writers Charles Babington and Juliet Eilperin in their article Rightward Shift May Squeeze Centrists, it is.
Tuesday's Republican sweep of the South will reshape the next Senate, replacing moderate Democrats sometimes willing to cross party lines with ardent GOP conservatives who will press their leaders for a more right-leaning agenda, according to analysts...

...Replacing Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.), often a bridge between the two parties on spending and deficit questions, is Rep. Jim DeMint, whose call for abolishing federal income, payroll and estate taxes is considered extreme even by some fellow Republicans. Succeeding Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), a key broker on sticky issues such as Medicare, is mainstream Republican Rep. David Vitter, who seems unlikely to play such a bipartisan role.

"Regrettably, we have seen an erosion in the Senate of centrists on both sides of the aisle," said Sen. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, a Republican moderate whose leverage may drop substantially in the next Congress. She said she hoped Bush will push for cooperation between the two parties.

Another GOP moderate, Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R.I.), expressed even deeper disappointment, telling the Providence Journal he would not rule out switching to the Democratic Party...

..."The locus of power has moved dramatically to the right in the Senate," said Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow at the Democratic Leadership Council and former staff member for the Christian Coalition and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Whereas Democratic and moderate Republican senators often could derail or temper conservative initiatives from the House, he said, "that now becomes much more difficult."

I read somewhere that Patrick Kennedy probably has his eye on this Senate seat in 2006. Seeing how the President isn't very popular in Rhode Island, Chafee would probably lose if he ran again as a Republican. Well, that is just speculation.


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