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.