It is not well known or recognized, but it is reality that more than half of the Democratic Presidential contenders for 2016 were actually NOT always identified as Democrats.
We have Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the most successful Independent and Socialist in Congress in American history! He has allied with the Democrats in caucuses for years, but only finally declared himself a Democrat when he announced his candidacy for President.
We have Lincoln Chafee, who is the son of a former Republican Senator, John Chafee, who was also a Richard Nixon cabinet member as Secretary of the Navy in the 1970s; succeeded his father in the Senate as a Republican; then became an Independent when he ran for Governor of Rhode Island; and only in 2013 switched his loyalties to the Democratic Party.
We have newly announced former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who switched from Republican to Democrat before running for the Senate in 2006, but was a Ronald Reagan cabinet member as Secretary of the Navy in the 1980s, just as John Chafee was more than a decade earlier.
And then we have Hillary Clinton, who as a high school student was a supporter of Republican Barry Goldwater for President in 1964, although she never registered as a Republican!
Only Martin O’Malley of Maryland and likely future candidate Joe Biden have an “unblemished” record as Democrats throughout their lives!
Rhode Island Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee is a former moderate Republican Senator, whose father, John Chafee, was Governor as a Republican from 1963-1969; Secretary of the Navy under President Richard Nixon from 1969-1972; and Senator from 1976 to 1999 when he passed away.
Both Chafees were mainstream Republicans, and the younger Chafee became an independent after losing his Senate seat in 2006.
Chafee is dismayed that even Northeastern and New England Republicans have moved to the right, and he mentions Mitt Romney, who has been trying to change his image from what it was before 2006; former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani; former New York Governor George Pataki; and even, outside the Atlantic coast, Senator John McCain of Arizona–all of whom he says have lost their principles due to ambitions and desires for higher office.
National ambitions have caused these men to become chameleons, who cannot be believed, as they change their beliefs and principles, and therefore are “completely different” from what they once were.
Realize how troubling this statement by Chafee is, that it indicates no one can trust that any politician believes what he advocates, if he can advance by compromising his principles and appealing to those who are really the enemies of everything he once believed in!
When, oh when, will we have candidates for public office and the Presidency who stick to their convictions, “come hell or high water”?
When will candidates stop appealing to the extremes and go toward where most voters are, in the center, as Lincoln Chafee has done, and should be commended for?