Lincoln Chafee and Dynastic Politics

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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A note on Lincoln Chafee. He said Friday that he was dropping out of the presidential race. I’d say that he finally admitted that he wasn’t really running in the first place. He campaigned a bit more than his fellow ex-candidate Jim Webb, but never enough to deserve to be treated as a real candidate.

I’m trying to make a distinction, but I'm struggling to get it right. The problem with Chafee wasn’t that he had no chance of winning (though that’s also true), but that he wasn’t doing the sorts of things that presidential candidates do. Contrast that with, say, Martin O’Malley, whose odds of winning are probably zero, but who really is running.

At any rate, Chafee deserves to be remembered for giving perhaps the single worst answer in the history of presidential debates when he disavowed a vote he cast in the Senate by saying that he was a really new senator at the time. Suggesting a campaign slogan: “Chafee: Ready From Day … Let Me Get Back To You On That One.”

For more Lincolnology, see Molly Ball’s story at The Atlantic.

1. Dave Hopkins on dynastic politics.

2. At The New West, Meredith Conroy considers “Fatherhood, Motherhood, and Political Viability.”

3. In the New York Times, Kevin Quealy and Carl Hulse translate the House Freedom Caucus demands into plain language.

4. I talk about the conservative marketplace and the dysfunctional effects it has on Republican politics all the time. The Times' Eric Lipton and Jennifer Steinhauer show the extent to which a lot of the attacks on Republican congressional leaders (by conservatives) are basically scams.

5. And Matt Yglesias chimes in, citing the Ben Carson campaign.

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To contact the author of this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Max Berley at mberley@bloomberg.net