Former Senator Lincoln Chafee abandoned the Republican Party after making a big show of voting with Senate Democrats and castigating the GOP for not compromising on national policy. He consistently voted with Democrats on tax bills, voting against the Bush tax cuts, opposed the elimination of the estate tax, and voted to increase the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6% in 2005. Chafee also supported increases in the minimum wage, increases in federal control of health care, and opposed drilling in ANWR.
Now Chafee wants to run for Governor of Rhode Island as an independent. His opponents want to remind Rhode Island voters of Chafee’s big tax-and-spend record:
The title of this image is “A short list of things Lincoln Chafee wants to tax,” with a note below this image that tells voters, “Rhode Island is already paying for his votes as a Senator.”
So who paid for this attack microsite? Those nasty Republicans that Chafee insulted and rejected after the 2006 elections, whom Chafee blasted for not cooperating more with Democrats? Not exactly. That ad comes courtesy of the Democratic Governors Association, as noted in the small type at the bottom of the page. These would be the same Democrats with whom Chafee found so much in common, especially on tax policy. His votes on tax hikes mirrored that of the Senate Democratic Caucus, which was one of the reasons (among many) that Chafee became so unpopular among Republicans.
This is not new for Democrats. In 1990, the Democratic Congress pressured George H. W. Bush to compromise on tax increases despite his “read my lips” pledge in the 1988 election. At the time, they praised him for his bipartisanship. Two years later, Democrats ran shameful “read my lips” ads in the presidential election blasting him as an unreliable liar. That allowed them to get a man elected who would lose his law license during his presidency for perjury and obstruction of justice.
Shed no tears for Lincoln Chafee, who made his own bed with Democrats and now has to deal with the consequences. Other Republicans who want to play ball with Democrats on tax hikes and statist policies had better take heed of this lesson, however.