Lincoln Chafee: The Definition of Flip-Flop

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"Lincoln Chafee: The Definition of Flip-Flop"

Today, the full Senate will vote on the nomination of John Bolton for ambassador to the U.N. Bolton’s nomination hinges on the conscientious votes of bipartisan members of Congress who realize that Bolton is the antithesis of a diplomat and has a highly questionable record that does not support a promotion. Lincoln Chafee is one of those senators who must vote his conscience in order for the Bolton nomination to be rejected, but as his record has proven, he has found it extremely difficult to locate a principled stance on the matter:

FLIP: Chafee spokesman Stephen Hourahan: “We’re inclined to support the nomination.” [AP, 4/7/05]

FLOP: Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee that is weighing the nomination, “is less likely right now” to vote to confirm Bolton, his spokesman Stephen Hourahan said in an interview. [Washington Post, 4/21/05]

Chafee Does Not Even Meet His Own Standard:
Chafee said, “I try to be consistent.” He said he asks voters to trust him. “Trust is built with consistency,” he said. [Prov Journal, 5/15/05]

After Nomination Was Announced, Chafee Publicly Supported Bolton

Chafee: “I have been assured that he will bring a more balanced approach to his new role.” Chafee said he would make “no commitments” to vote for Bolton. [AP, 3/8/05; Roll Call, 3/9/05]

Chafee spokesman Stephen Hourahan: “We’re inclined to support the nomination.” [AP, 4/6/05]

Then As Opposition Mounted, Chafee Began To Waver

“He wouldn’t be my choice to be the nominee,” said Chafee. [AP, 5/12/05]

Chafee had “not made up his mind” and was “going to spend some time reading written testimony” from other witnesses, Hourahan said. [LAT, 4/13/05]

Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS): “He’s Irrelevant Today. In Every Way.” [AP, 4/13/05]

“No, I’m still listening, still consistent and want to go through the process. If there is some really damaging testimony, I want to reserve the right to say no, but generally would be inclined to vote yes.” [Prov Journal, 4/14/05]

Chafee said Bolton is “absolutely not” the best choice for the job. He compared Bolton’s temperament to that of bombastic New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. “It’s not my style. I don’t endorse it.” [AP, 4/14/05]

A poll is released showing over 80 percent of Rhode Islanders oppose the Bolton nomination. Stephen Hourahan, spokesperson for Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), said that the Senator was “keeping his ear to the ground.” [LAT, 4/17/05]

After Voinovich Announced His Opposition, Chafee Grabbed Hold of a New Position

“The dynamic has changed,” said Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I. “A lot of reservations surfaced today. It’s a new day.” [AP, 4/20/05]

Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee that is weighing the nomination, “is less likely right now” to vote to confirm Bolton, his spokesman Stephen Hourahan said in an interview. [Washington Post, 4/21/05]

Chafee: “I think it would be accurate to say I’m on the fence” on voting to confirm Bolton. [Providence Journal, 4/21/05]

As Committee Vote Neared, Chafee Flipped Again

Sen. Chafee said “he will reluctantly support the embattled nominee.” [AP, 5/10/05]

Chafee Votes For Bolton In Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing While Criticizing Him. Chafee: “I’m apprehensive that by promoting John Bolton we’re signaling an endorsement of that intimidation.” [Senate hearing, 5/12/05]

And What Does Chafee Say Now?

Chafee said, “I try to be consistent.” He said he asks voters to trust him. “Trust is built with consistency,” he said. [Prov Journal, 5/15/05]

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