The Providence Journal is reporting this morning that Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) will vote against Alito.
It might sound bad, but this is actually the best of all worlds if you’re a conservative.
1) The Dems won’t be able to give Alito 60 votes, meaning that their base will be upset they didn’t filibuster. The DNC fundraising numbers should take a hit next month.
2) Alternatively, Democrats could be forced into a judicial filibuster — which would become their last, thanks to the so-called "nuclear option" and the current 55-seat Republican majority. That would make it much easier to confirm the next nominee, even in a more Democratic Congress.
3) Chafee will lose his primary. He promised several important Republicans in Rhode Island that he would vote in favor of Alito, and now he is reneging on those promises. It’s hard to fathom what the man is thinking, because this is a politically ruinous decision. Chafee may well leave the GOP and run for re-election as an independent, in which case I like Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey’s (R) chances. The Democrat in the race will be former Atty. Gen. Sheldon Whitehouse.