The Passion of Establishment GOPers in Primaries
It’s been a tough year for conservatives in Washington.
The year started out January 1 with the Biden-McConnell tax increases and $332 billion stimulus bill. Then House Republicans met at Williamsburg and decided to suspend the debt ceiling and to fund Obamacare in the March CR – all for the promise of fighting Obamacare and a balanced budget during the next CR/debt ceiling. Now they are abrogating that promise.
Instead of the House jamming the Senate with good legislation, and Senate Republicans blocking bad legislation, we witnessed the opposite dynamic. Senate Republicans whipped up votes for Democrats to help pass an online sales tax, the unconstitutional Violence Against Women Act, a massive Farm/Food Stamp bill, amnesty/immigration deform, Filibuster deform, and to confirm every radical Obama nominee under the sun – from Tom Perez and Todd Jones (ATF Director) to Jack Lew, Chuck Hagel, and Samantha Power.
As we head into the most critical part of the 113th Congress, Republican leaders are working to block a fight on Obamacare to free up the schedule for amnesty instead of blocking amnesty to fight Obamacare. We who have fought for years to elect Republicans are left to wonder if there’s a dime’s worth of difference between these people. Why are our guys working to push Democrat priorities, especially while most of them are politically unpopular?
Yet, amazingly, they have the mendacity to accuse us of helping the Democrats in primaries when we take them to task for….helping the Democrats. Suddenly, they are possessed with a newfound passion and zeal against the Democrats. They are so concerned about Democrats winning the election that they launch scorched-earth campaigns against their primary opponents in a way they would never do against Democrats.
Obviously, their cathartic change during the primary season is not born out of a principled fear of Democrat policies. After all, these Republicans rubber stamp Democrat policies every day they are in office. It is born out of a fear of losing power.
But is it really conservatives who are losing all the Senate seats to the Democrats? Why won’t the Republicans at the NRSC look in the mirror and take the blame for Rick Berg, Denny Rehberg (who campaigned against conservatives), George Allen, Tommy Thompson, and Heather Wilson, all total duds.
We all understand that electoral politics is not easy. Conservative ideology is enduring and inviolable; human beings are fallible. It’s not easy to vouch for an individual. It is certainly vital that every potential candidate be assessed by their ability to organize and prosecute an effective campaign. However, by nominating someone who is not committed to fighting for Republican values, especially in red states, we lose the election to the Democrats on the day of the primary, irrespective of whether they win the general election. And as we’ve seen, they often lose the general election anyway.
Mitch McConnell’s supporters are already preparing to blame conservatives if he loses in the general election (assuming he wins the primary). Mike Huckabee said as much in an endorsement that was almost certainly written by the campaign. But this subterfuge is akin to blaming the 9/11 attacks on the 2003 Iraq invasion. McConnell has been vulnerable long before Bevin came around. When Obama, who is a drag on Democrats in Kentucky, was on the ballot in 2008, McConnell almost lost the seat. He just squeaked by in the end after spending over $20 million in scorched-earth attacks. Ultimately, he is not being targeted by Democrats because he is effective or because conservatives are helping; it is because he is vulnerable. He is vulnerable because, like all Karl Rove Republicans, he stands for nothing and appeals to nobody.
It’s heartening to see the political class Republicans show some concern for Democrat governance during the primaries. It would be great if they’d exhibit that same passion when actually serving in the offices they so dearly covet.