Chafee Packs It In

It’s not that big a deal when a presidential candidate with no money and virtually no support drops out, but you’d have to say Lincoln Chafee’s withdrawal from the 2016 race today represents a nice little cherry on top of the sundae of Hillary Clinton’s perfect week. That’s because Chafee’s only real significance in the race flowed from his determination to let no one forget Clinton’s vote for (and his own vote against) the authorization to invade Iraq back in 2002.

As it happens, during the first Democratic debate Chafee did his number about Clinton’s “poor judgement” on Iraq and she came up with the excellent response that Iraq War opponent Barack Obama thought enough of her judgment to make her his Secretary of State. With Chafee out of the race, the subject may not even come up in future debates.

In any event, now that Webb and Chafee have packed it in and Biden has demurred, unless something strange happens, we now have a Democratic presidential field of just three candidates. The candidate this new situation helps the most could well be Martin O’Malley, though when it’s a matter of improving one’s odds of victory from none to very slim, it could be like getting a dollar-off coupon on the purchase of a new Lamborghini. From a media point of view, this could mean less attention for the Democrats for a while now, and a renewed focus on the wild spectacle the GOP continues to offer.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.