Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.-R.I.) has bucked his party one too many times. Now it’s time for conservatives to do something about it.
Today, with Senate Republicans trying to shore up enough votes to pass the Defense Appropriations Conference Report, Chafee joined Democrats to thwart the bill, which includes a provision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
Yet, despite Chafee’s liberal voting record (lifetime American Conservative Union score: 41%), he has benefited from the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which paid for an attack ad against Chafee’s GOP primary opponent, Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey.
Unfortunately for conservatives, Laffey also opposes drilling in ANWR. Laffey’s campaign manager, John Dodenhoff, said whereas Chafee caves to environmental activists, his candidate opposes drilling for national security reasons. Whatever the case may be, it means Chafee isn’t facing any home-state critics on ANWR, and therefore, probably sees no reason to support drilling.
Conservatives don’t have to sit and watch, though. The National Republican Senatorial Committee could be spending its money on other races instead of Chafee’s — defending true conservatives such as Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.), who is trailing in a tough race against state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr.
When I asked the NRSC if it would pull its support for Chafee as a result of his vote on ANWR, spokesman Dan Ronayne told me: "Senator Chafee has the full support of the NRSC and is the only Republican who can keep that seat from falling into the hands of a liberal Democrat."
If you’re fed up with this tired reasoning, click here and tell the NRSC not to support a liberal Republican who votes against his party.