Chafee: Dad would not have backed Hillary


Linc Chafee, as we all know, has said goodbye to the Republican Party and embraced the Obama campaign. And in a letter to the editor in today's ProJo, he asserts that his late father, former governor and US senator John Chafee, would not have supported the presidential bid of Hillary Clinton.

I believe that writer Carl Bernstein has it right in his book on Mrs. Clinton, A Woman in Charge.

He writes of the health-care debate in 1993 that “when Republican Sen. John Chafee and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper introduced their own separate alternative proposals, the Clintons overlooked what may have been their best opportunity to compromise on a health-care plan. Chafee, a liberal Republican with no animus towards the Clintons or their politics, introduced his plan with 20 Republicans already pledged to support it in the Senate. House Republicans pitched a similar bill on the same day. And when Cooper and his principal House co-sponsor, Iowa Republican Fred Grandy, came forth with their bill, they were already endorsed by 46 other Democratic and Republican co-sponsors. Both Chafee’s and Cooper’s proposals would have given huge numbers of Americans adequate health-care coverage for the first time . . . and had enough support to make passage in the House and Senate likely. At such a pivotal juncture, Hillary could have thrown her support behind either bill. Later, Bill Clinton said perhaps he should have intervened.”

As the historic chances for passage of a bipartisan health-care-reform bill evaporated, Bernstein writes, “Hillary had earlier showed some willingness to compromise with Chafee, but when push came to shove, her unwillingness to compromise further undermined any chance of implementing real reform.”

For all her good intentions, Mrs. Clinton was unable to work with veteran friendly legislators and an opportunity was lost. Contrary to Ms. Rubiner’s hypothesis I am confident my father would not have supported Mrs. Clinton’s presidential candidacy.

So, would the elder Chafee have supported McCain? Linc's not saying, at least not in his letter.

In related Chafee news:

-- He's slated to appear on Dan Yorke this afternoon.

-- Fresh from a recent visit to 10 News Conference, Chafee will headline WPRI/WNAC-TV's Newsmakers this Sunday.

-- He's scheduled to do an appearance related to his new book tomorrow today at 6:45 at the Barnes & Noble on Bald Hill Road in Warwick.  

-- The peripatetic Mr. Crowley will be hosting a "book salon", featuring the new Chafee book, on firedoglake this Saturday, starting at 5 pm.

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