New York Times writer Matt Bai's Thursday "Political Times" column, "A Risky Campaign Tactic: Unpleasant Truth," heralded the comeback of former liberal Republican Lincoln Chafee, who left the party after losing his re-election bid in 2006 and is running for governor of Rhode Island as an independent. What brave-if-brutal "truth" is Chafee telling? The need for tax hikes, naturally.
There's a lot of talk in Washington these days about "hard choices"-- specifically, about why no one ever seems to make them. A lot of policy experts and former members of Congress (who no longer have to run) will assure you, for instance, that the only way to shrink the national debt is through some combination of higher taxes and reduced spending on entitlement and military programs. The problem is that politicians generally want to keep their jobs, and they highly doubt the proposition that voters can be persuaded to embrace even modestly painful solutions in an unforgiving political environment.

This is precisely the proposition being tested, however, in this tiny state, where Lincoln Chafee is running for governor as an independent. Mr. Chafee, you may recall, served seven seemingly tortured years as a Republican senator opposed to his own president's agenda, before the voters -- exasperated with Republicans, period -- cut him loose in 2006. Adrift like other Republican moderates, Mr. Chafee broke with the party altogether and has now decided to run his own kind of highly unusual campaign, based on the risky premise that unpleasant times demand some unpleasant truths.

"Rachel Maddow is the smartest person on TV," proclaims The Advocate magazine in a cover story on the newly christened MSNBC pundit and Air America Radio host.

That being the case, Maddow ought to know better than make some of the claims she does -- at least when it comes to politics, economics and American history.

Most recent example: Maddow's interview on Nov. 5 with former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee and their discussion of the Republican Party's future --

"Former GOP senator calls Palin a 'cocky wacko'" teased the Chicago Tribune on its online front page. Curious as to who that might be, I clicked the link to find out who.

Let's just say I didn't exactly spit out my coffee when I read the Associated Press story only to find out the culprit is none other than former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RINO-R.I.).

Of course, for those like NewsBusters readers who are well-informed and politically engaged, the only thing Republican about Linc's name is, well, his first name. But your average newspaper reader is likely unfamiliar with Chafee, particularly in a story carried over a national news wire.

Yet the reader doesn't get any hint of his leftist voting record in today's five-paragraph Associated Press article:

"Three prominent Republicans declare their support for Obama" insisted the August 13 Financial Times front page headline. But who are these "prominent" GOPers that have gone Obamacan? Staffer Edward Luce pointed to two left-of-center Republicans ousted in the 2006 mid-terms and one Rita Hauser, who is no stranger to supporting Democrats for president:

Barack Obama won the endorsement yesterday of three prominent Republicans, including Jim Leach and Lincoln Chafee, both of whom lost their congressional seats to Democratic opponents in the 2006 mid-term elections.


The three, who include Rita Hauser, a former White House intelligence adviser, stressed foreign policy as their principal motivation and alarm at what Ms Hauser described as the Republican nominee's "bellicose" stance on Russia's conflict with Georgia.