Although he’s still technically in the exploratory stage of a presidential run, former Rhode Island Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee has for all intents and purposes declared he’s making a bid for the White House in an interview with CNN.
Chafee, of course, stands no chance in hell of winning the Democratic Party nomination and he knows it. He’s been a Democrat for less than three years and most Democrats outside of Rhode Island probably still think of him as a Republican albeit a very liberal one.
But Chafee has made it clear why he is running: The Iraq War:
That was a moment where the premise for going to Iraq was so false that there were weapons of mass destruction; she didn’t do her homework. We live with the ramifications. You may say that’s 12 years ago — that’s a big motivator for me running. If you show a lack of judgment, lack of doing homework then, what can we expect in the future?”
There’s no question that Hillary’s support for the War in Iraq did not help her in 2008 against Barack Obama who had opposed American involvement in Iraq as early as 2002. OK, it’s true that once Obama got into office the Left (with the possible exception of the Code Pink crowd) stopped giving a crap about Iraq and everything surrounding it such as Gitmo. But I think that’s probably because they knew Obama wanted to end the war and would eventually withdraw U.S. troops. Of course, ISIS has effectively said, “The war is over when we say it’s over.” Consequently, Obama has had to send troops back into Iraq although on a far smaller scale.
This raises the question of what Hillary would do in Iraq against ISIS. This is where Chafee comes in. He will be there to remind Democrats that she supported the war before she was against it. Hillary does not do well when she is put on the defensive and if she replies with another, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” then she will be vulnerable. Of course, it won’t help Chafee. But it would create an opening for Elizabeth Warren.
Then again in 2015 the two issues which animate the Left are income inequality and reversing the Citizens United decision. It’s no accident that Hillary is embracing both issues especially the latter by suggesting a constitutional amendment as a possible remedy. Whether this neutralizes any criticism Chafee might have over her handling of the Iraq War remains to be seen. But given that our involvement in Iraq is far from over, Hillary could be chafed by Chafee.