Chafee Makes Odd Campaign Promise No One Else Has
Former RI governor says it'll be 'easy' to switch US over to the metric system
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2015 9:40 AM CDT
Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination during a speech at George Mason University in Arlington, Va., yesterday.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – There are three countries in the world—the US, Burma, and Liberia—that still aren't on the metric system, but if Lincoln Chafee is elected president, he'll make sure America gets with the program. During his announcement yesterday that he'll run as a Democratic candidate for president, Chafee made a speech reminiscent of when Neil tells Johnny in Dirty Dancing that he can dance the pachanga instead of the mambo: "Let's be bold … let's join the rest of the world and go metric," Chafee told the crowd gathered at George Mason University, reports CNN. He noted such a move would be a "symbolic integration" into the rest of the world's fold and that the "economic benefits that would come in would surpass those costs of putting up new signs and the like." Some aren't even sure his campaign is serious—"He's not done anything other than posture on some issues," an ex-aide tells the AP—but he seems dead serious about going the extra kilometer to join the International System of Units.

"I happened to live in Canada as they completed the process," he continued, per Mother Jones. "Believe me, it is easy. It doesn't take long before 34 degrees is hot." No one is more shocked than the VP of the US Metric Association, who told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that President Obama never came through on this issue the way the metric community had hoped. "Who? Oh, my gosh," Paul Trusten said when told of Chafee's master plan, adding he's unaware of any presidential candidate running on a "metricazation" platform. "Setting a standard of measurement should be a matter of national assent," he told the paper. "It's something that should be raised, not be made a matter of tyranny but as a matter of leadership." (A remote Arizona highway has signs that are in kilometers, much to the chagrin of local residents.)