THE LESSON OF RHODE ISLAND. The Republican story on Connecticut and Rhode Island, repeated a little too credulously by much of the press, is that the Dems shoved aside their moderate incumbent, Joe Lieberman, while the Republicans wisely kept theirs, Lincoln Chafee. But hold on a minute. Didn't voters in both states' primaries choose the guy who is opposed to Bush's Iraq War? The man who narrowly lost to Chafee, Warwick Mayor Stephen Laffey, was actually the faithful Bush supporter, just like Joe Lieberman. The RNC held its nose and poured money into Chafee's race, calculating that the moderate Chafee had the better chance of holding onto the seat for the GOP in the blue, blue Ocean State. But Chafee's win hardly validates voter enthusiasm for Bush.

Maybe the Republican National Committee should be disparaging Chafee in the same terms they disparage Lamont. (How do you spell Defeat-o-Rep?)

--Robert Kuttner

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