Chafee's "Holiday Tree" Play

Governor Lincoln Chafee has never been known for his political acumen. But today's handling of the "holiday tree" lighting was clever.

Chafee, of course, attracted national attention last year - much of it unflattering - when the local media latched onto the administration's decision to call the State House Christmas tree a "holiday tree." Never mind that his predecessors had done the same thing.

Talk radio host John DePetro, who has fully exploited the controversy in a way only he can, showed up to last year's lighting with a group of protesters to sing "O Christmas Tree."

So this year, with the controversy bubbling up yet again, Chafee provided just 30 minutes notice for the lighting - to take place while DePetro was on the air - and delivered a bravura performance at the event.

Last year, he said, the lighting turned into a "very disrespectful gathering." And with that, he seized the high road and went on the offensive in a way that might not have been imaginable just a few hours before.

All in time for his appearance on the Bill O'Reilly Show. Which seems like a terrible idea. As I said, Lincoln Chafee has never been known for his political acumen.


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