Democrat Lincoln Chafee, who hails from the great state of Rhode Island, recently announced that he is forming an exploratory committee and therefore will likely run for president of the United States.
“When the Republicans were last in power, they left the economy in shambles,” he averred in his announcement video, eliding the fact that he himself once served as a Republican Senator during the George W. Bush administration. “Over the last six years, President Obama has led admirably. He had revived our economy.”
“As we look to the future, in this age of nuclear weapons, I am alarmed about the international instability – especially in the Middle East and North Africa,” he continued. “I don’t like where this is going.”
At the same time, he also touched on his qualifications and experiences as a public servant, thus making the case for why he believes he is eminently qualified for the position.
“Throughout my career, as mayor, governor, and United States Senator, I exercised good judgment on a wide range of high pressure decisions – decisions that required level-headedness and careful foresight,” he said. “Often these decisions came in the face of political adversity.”
“During the next weeks and months, I look forward to sharing with you my thoughts about the future of our great country,” he added.
That’s all well and good, of course. But the simple fact is that Chafee is virtually unknown outside his home state of Rhode Island. His name hasn’t even registered in public opinion polls to my knowledge. This isn’t to say that he couldn’t enter the race and make some inroads with voters, but he’s starting from such a position of weakness that one wonders how he could possibly rebrand and reinvent himself into a serious candidate. (Let’s also not forget that Chafee is guilty of Charlie Crist-esque machinations: He is a Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat. Hence, how open will Democratic primarygoers be, I wonder, to a guy who once represented the party of Reagan and Bush in the federal Congress?)
Finally, we’re not the only ones who feel Chafee’s recent announcement is coming out of left field. Our friends over at Hot Air feel the exact same way:
Was Chafee on anyone's short list before today? Really under the radar.— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) April 9, 2015
Chafee, however, does have a point. As he said in the video, “campaigns are the time for debates about the vision of our future.” No disagreements there.
The more Democrats who run for president, the better.