The former very liberal Republican Senator from Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, has been one of my favorite politicians for a long time. Though I also really like his Democratic replacement Sheldon Whitehouse as well, Senator Chafee has long been one of the only voices of genuine reason in his party. In the following talk he gave before the New America Foundation, which was hosted by Steve Clemons who is a great commentator in his own right.
Via The Washington Note (its just over an hour long, but worth it):
One comment regarding a small point Lincoln Chafee makes in his
observations about they way John Kerry tried to play to the Republican
base instead of his own n the 2004 elections. The funny thing is that
at during the Q&A when he is actually asked what Obama is doing
wrong, he admittedly doesn't understand why its close. So it seems
that though he does know why the Deomcrats lose, he has yet to make the
specific connection to Obama's campaign. And actually the part about
why their strategists laugh at us isn't exactly true but I can only
assume that's why Rove is always smirking.
Essentially, and I think many on the progressive left understand
this, we spend our energy and time trying to placate and energize the
Republicans and the conservative independents because that is how the
Republicans always win elections, and the DNC assume they must follow
the same electoral strategy. The Republicans know that we have the
electoral advantage in terms of voter registration, and always have.
What they laugh and smirk about is the fact that Democrats seem to both
take for granted and dismiss the importance of their base once the
primary season is over. We don't need nearly the same amount of
conservatives to win as the Republicans need moderates, and they know
it. So when we spend our time and money playing dirty in their yard
they just can't help but laugh. They would be able to energize the
liberal base, and what gets them is that these Democrats actually
believe what they are saying and they still can't figure out how to
play to their own voters.