THE BLOG
09/12/2006 11:29 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Lincoln Chafee's Criticism of Bush Foreign Policy -- Including John Bolton -- Gets Boost

Lincoln Chafee has triumphed in his primary vote count tonight. While many will groan about Chafee's victory because it makes the Rhode Island contest a greater hurdle for the Democratic challenger, I am pleased that Chafee has knocked out the far-right Laffey.

This Chafee victory is also a potential sign that Republicans who "look like Bush" are in trouble -- and that Republicans who are pragmatists and not ideologues may be on the comeback. This, in the mid to long run, is very healthy for the country -- just like the return of strength on the Democratic Party ledger is healthy for democracy.

Chafee showed backbone on the issue of whether John Bolton reflected a brand of foreign policy that Chafee could accept -- both at the end of July and again last Thursday. Laffey's endorsement of strident, pugnacious, anti-internationalism and attack on Chafee last Thursday backfired.

Another interesting by-product of tonight's Rhode Island race is that I think it makes it slightly harder for Senator Schumer to continue to promote a zero-sum approach to Israel-Middle East issues in which there has been a wrong-headed, reckless conflating of John Bolton with the question of America being a strong supporter of Israel's UN interests.

Someone needs to remind Schumer that Dems and Republicans equally have been strong stewards of Israeli security and interests -- and over-personalizing this around the identity of John Bolton demeans Israel, the American Jewish community, and his own approach to American foreign policy.

-- Steve Clemons is Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note.