Tag Archives: Lincoln Chafee

Has a Hillary alternative arrived … finally?

Count me as one who welcomes the entry of Jim Webb into the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

It might be his military experience, although as an Army veteran myself, I cringe — good naturedly, of course — at the idea of a Marine running for president of the United States.

Perhaps it is the fact that he has executive experience running the Department of the Navy.

Maybe it’s his understanding — gained through his experience serving in Vietnam — of the trials and fears of the young men and women we send into combat.

Hey, it might even be that he served in a Republican administration, which gives him an appreciation of the need to reach across to those on the other side of the political aisle.

Webb jumped into the race today. He’s now the fifth Democrat to declare.


Yes, he frontrunner remains Hillary Rodham Clinton, who’s no slouch herself in the realm of government experience.

The other three are running to the left of HRC, led by avowed “Democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders. Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee are seeking to join Sanders on the fringe left edge of their party.

Meanwhile, Webb — a former U.S. senator from Virginia — is camped out squarely in the middle.

Still, it well might be that Webb’s own military experience in combat during the Vietnam War has prepared him to avoid future blunders abroad. “I warned in writing five months before that (Iraq)  invasion that we do not belong as an occupying power in that part of the world, and that this invasion would be a strategic blunder of historic proportions, empowering Iran and in the long run China, unleashing sectarian violence inside Iraq and turning our troops into terrorist targets,” he said in announcing his presidential campaign.

Does he have a chance of derailing the HRC express? Maybe, to borrow a phrase, a puncher’s chance.

But I’m glad he’s in.


Hey, what’s happening on the Democratic side?

Republican presidential candidates are gobbling up all the attention these days.

Have you noticed what’s happening in the “other” party’s presidential race? The once-unstoppable Hillary Rodham Clinton is looking, well, a bit stoppable these days.

Polling data suggest that Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who’s running in the Democratic Party primary against Clinton, has closed a lot of the once-huge gap between the two of them.

He trails Clinton now by just 9 points in New Hampshire, according to new data.

OK, it’s fair to ask: Is that a home-boy advantage for Sanders, given that he hails from next-door Vermont?

His crowds are huge. The excitement appears to be real. He’s speaking to the Everyman among us, railing against wage equality and declaring — without equivocation — that he opposed the Iraq War authorization from the get-go, unlike Clinton, who approved it.

It’s still a significant stretch to believe that Sanders is going to be nominated next summer at the Democratic National Convention. Two others also are running to the left of HRC — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

Democrats aren’t likely to actually nominate an avowed socialist whose major campaign platform plank has been to call for massive redistribution of wealth.

Actually, of the three men running against Clinton, I find Chafee to be the most interesting, given that he once was a Republican.

But those gentlemen are far behind the two Democratic frontrunners.

How strange it seems to be talking today about Sen. Sanders as someone with at least a shot at derailing the Clinton Express.

Now, let’s all turn our attention back to those crazy Republicans … shall we?


HRC doesn’t deserve a free ride

Omalley runs for pres

One of the recurring themes of my column, back when I worked as a daily print journalist, used to drive incumbent officeholders nuts.

I liked to write during election season that no incumbent — regardless of his or her record — deserved to run unopposed for public office.

Every so often, I’d write such an essay and I’d hear from an incumbent who’d gripe half-heartedly about my insistence that they draw an opponent.

“Too bad,” I’d say. “You shouldn’t get a free pass. You need to work for it.”

So it is with some joy that I welcome the entrance of another challenger to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 Democratic Party primary race for president of the United States.

Wait. Hillary’s not an incumbent? Oh, I almost forgot. But she’s such a prohibitive favorite to win her party’s nomination next that she might as well be one.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has joined the field. I’m not sure precisely how he’s going to separate himself from Clinton. He wants wage equality; so does she. He wants to improve everyone economic future; same for Clinton. He calls himself a “liberal”; I’m betting Clinton will tack to the left as well.


He referred to Clinton as a “dinosaur,” and promises to bring fresh ideas. The “crowd” that greeted his campaign kickoff was, to say the least, modest in size — about 300 or so supporters; Clinton draws that many while she’s eating at a diner.

O’Malley’s in, along with Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a card-carrying socialist; it looks as though former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee — a one-time Republican — is going to run as a Democrat, too.

Good. The more the merrier.

Clinton remains the heavy favorite for the party’s nomination and is a favorite still to win the White House in November 2016.

But she’s going to get a test in her primary. The individuals who will challenge her will — and should — ask her about her coziness with big banks, overseas contributors, her work with the Clinton Foundation and whether she actually built a record as secretary of state and as a U.S. senator before that.

Competition is good for the process, not to mention for the candidates’ souls.


HRC set to launch bid; now the fun really begins

You may take this to the bank.

The moment Hillary Rodham Clinton declares her candidacy for the presidency is when the campaign for the White House becomes really and truly a blast.

Clinton is set to announce her candidacy on Sunday. She’ll make known what almost every political junkie on Planet Earth has known all along. She wants to make history by becoming the first woman president of the world’s greatest power.


Why the “blast” factor?

Because the growing horde of Republican candidates are going to set their sights on Clinton. They are going to virtually ignore each other. They’re going to be talking to their party’s base voters, trying to persuade them that only they — and no one else — can defeat the Democratic nominee in November 2016.

As for Clinton’s possible Democratic primary rivals, a couple of them are beginning to show themselves in public. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has talked openly about running. Just this seek, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a one-time Republican who’s turned Democrat, announced plans to form an exploratory committee to help him decide whether to run.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mass.? She says she isn’t running for the White House, but she has yet to make that statement that she won’t run change her mind between today and, say, the day after tomorrow.

Many on the left and far left yearn for an alternative to Clinton. Meanwhile, many on the right and far right think the former U.S. senator, secretary of state and first lady is as evil as her husband, the former president and the current president.

Oh, boy. This campaign is going to be worth watching.

Go for it, Hillary!