Lincoln Chafee says he now realizes that he should not have chosen an attempt to forcibly convert the American people to the metric system as one of the central planks of his disastrously failed, generally quixotic 2016 presidential campaign.
“I guess the big mistake — I went back and forth on including the metric system angle,” Chafee told Esquire magazine this week. “I was just crossing my fingers there would be some intellectual approach to the various proposals I put out in my announcement speech, which kind of covered the gamut, from ending capital punishment, to bringing Edward Snowden home.”
The former U.S. senator and governor from Rhode Island admitted that America’s response “just turned into more of a joke about metric, not ‘let’s look at the bigger picture.'”
Chafee observed that Canada has adopted the metric system. “It’s no big deal!” he exclaimed.
However, he said, his wife had been against making a big presidential to-do about forcing Americans to adopt a system of weights and measurements which they have adamantly rejected for decades.
“I was saying, should I put it in or not?” Chafee recalled. “My wife said, no, it will be misunderstood. And she was right.”
Chafee also blamed his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership for his campaign fiasco.
And he roundly condemned the journalism industry.
“I think, and it’s a trend, there’s just less of a Walter Cronkite — I call it — approach to the news. It’s entertainment. Donald Trump, early on, said: I’m just going to push every possible emotional button I can. I don’t care! And he crushed the nomination.”
Chafee announced his candidacy in June 2015 with a speech highlighting — among much else — his plan to force Americans to adopt the metric system.
“Today I am formally entering the race for the Democratic nomination for President,” Chafee explained in the speech in which officially launched his campaign.
“Our transportation network is deteriorating and becoming dangerous,” Chafee said. “A gnawing sense of hopelessness” obliges us to invest in education. “We now have prodigious repair work in the Middle East and North Africa.”
Chafee proclaimed that switching fully to the metric system is among the critical issues of our time in his campaign kickoff speech.
“Here’s a bold embrace of internationalism,” Chafee proposed. “Let’s join the rest of the world and go metric. I happened to live in Canada as they completed the process. Believe me it is easy. It doesn’t take long before 34 degrees is hot. Only Myanmar, Liberia and the United States aren’t metric — and it will help our economy!”
Chafee did not further elucidate the reasons why the United States must accept a system of measurements enthusiastically adopted and propounded by France in the bloody wake of the French Revolution.
Chafee, who had been a Republican before going independent and then becoming a Democrat, officially ended his presidential campaign in October 2015 — 10 days after the first Democratic candidate debate and a couple months before any primary or caucus votes were cast. (RELATED: Chafee: More Immigration Means More Democratic Votes)