The past two days the staff at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) have pushed news articles meant to tear down Milton Wolf, a doctor from Kansas and a candidate in the GOP Senate primary. You may be asking yourself why an official GOP organization is doing this, but the reason is very simple. The quickest way to find yourself the target of the NRSC’s wrath is to usurp the establishment power structure by challenging a long term incumbent.
Like many conservatives, Milton Wolf is displeased with the life long creatures of D.C. who tag an (R) behind their name then vote in unprincipled manners. Wolf did something about his displeasure, he dared to challenge a 17 year incumbent and 46 year veteran of D.C. politics in a GOP primary.
Beginning early Sunday morning and continuing through last night, Brad Dayspring, who works at the NRSC as, I kid you not, a strategist, has mentioned Milton Wolf’s name in association with the two hit pieces written about him 32 times. In that same time period Dayspring, again this guy is a strategist, directly mentioned Democrat Senators by name 16 times. That’s 2-1 ratio of attacks on a Republican Senate candidate versus attacks on any Democrat Senator or Senate candidate up for election this cycle. When you add in all the tweets where Dayspring didn’t include Wolf’s name, the ratio is absolutely embarrassing coming from someone who works for the NRSC and is paid with donor money.
From my perspective, this behavior from someone who represents an official GOP organization is far more shocking and perverse than a Doctor engaging in gallows humor. Additionally, he is quite possibly setting the stage to make his job much more difficult the closer we get to November.
From Dayspring’s perspective, he is just doing his job. When our own Dan McLaughlin noted on twitter that Dayspring’s tweets removed any doubt about the NRSC taking sides in primaries, Dayspring succinctly replied, “We defend incumbent Republican Senators, it’s our job. There was never a question.”
Later, after many on twitter pressed him on the NRSC taking sides in primaries, Dayspring attempts to deflect by arguing that RedState advocates in the primaries and that it is hypocritical of RedState in general, and me in particular, to argue against the NRSC doing the same.
Of course, to anyone with even the smallest amount of knowledge, or even just the ability to comprehend the stark differences between the NRSC and RedState, this is an absolutely ridiculous argument to make. RedState exists to elect conservatives in primaries and support Republicans in general elections. The NRSC exists to help Republicans, regardless of their ideology, get elected to the Senate. Dayspring knows the comparison is ridiculous, but at this point he has an audience and can’t put the shovel down.
Instead of admitting the difference, and why his charge of hypocrisy holds no water, Dayspring instead engages in some quick political spin and declares that the NRSC is not a national committee.
According to the FEC fillings for the NRSC, they are a national committee for the Republican party. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court the NRSC stated it “is the principal national political party committee focused on electing Republican candidates to the United States Senate.” This is an indisputable fact. Well, unless you are Brad Dayspring.
In a post at Breitbart, Milton Wolf laid out his case against the Senior Senator from Kansas, Pat Roberts. In it Wolf says of Roberts, “He calls himself a conservative but has voted for tax hikes, earmark spending, debt ceiling increases—eleven times!—and even voted to put Kathleen Sebelius in charge of ObamaCare.”
All of this is true.
After years of work in D.C. that began in his early 30′s, Pat Roberts went back to D.C. in 1981 as a Congressman for Kansas. In 1996 he was elected to the Senate. Most recently Senator Roberts made news due to the fact that he doesn’t actually reside in Kansas. Roberts has also shown a pattern of voting conservatively when he nears his election cycle, but not so much in the out years.
If you look at the Heritage Action Scorecard for Roberts in the current Congress he has a 90%. Unfortunately, in the 112th Congress Roberts scored a dismal 65%. A 25% drop in conservative votes in the non-election years is a very disturbing trend among those who have been in D.C. as long as Roberts has.
Kansas is a red state. The partisan voting index for the four districts that make up Kansas are R+23, R+8, R+6, and R+14 respectively. With numbers like that we shouldn’t have to settle for someone who only votes conservative, and only comes to town, when he has an election to win.
Again, this is why Milton Wolf is running to replace Pat Roberts, who, at 77 years of age, has spent more than half his life in D.C. This is also why the staff at the NRSC gleefully began to push what clearly looks to be opposition research hits on Wolf.
While the headlines of these articles certainly follow the pattern of a good opposition research post, the facts, or lack thereof, in both show them to be desperate attempts to take down a conservative candidate. In lieu of facts are tenuous insinuations of criminality and an almost laughably naive shock that gallows humor exists in a profession that typically carries an emotional burden far beyond what the average person ever dares contemplate.
The NRSC has been an incumbent protection racket for a long time now. Dayspring is just the latest face. This is what conservatives, Heritage Action, Senate Conservatives Fund, Senators Cruz and Lee, RedState, and fresh challengers like Milton Wolf, are fighting against.
If the priority of the NRSC were truly a Republican majority in the Senate rather than to serve as a praetorian guard for entrenched incumbents, it would embrace the opportunity to replace a 77 year old incumbent whose voting record no longer reflects the partisan make up of the state.
Unfortunately the NRSC will continue its protection racket for incumbents, the status quo in the Senate will lead to further losses as more and more Republicans abandon the unfulfilling quest of a majority that lacks the principles to actually limit government.
Republican donors who give to the NRSC expecting them to use their resources attacking Democrats in order to assist Republicans should be permanently disabused of that expectation. The NRSC plays favorites in primaries, not just by propping up their chosen candidates and incumbent bosses, but by expending resources to help destroy any upstart conservative who may threaten to upend the power and influence they wield with unsuspecting donor dollars.
As long as the NRSC continues to engage in the primary process in destructive ways and ignore the expectations of the grassroots conservatives in states like Kansas, the divisions between the establishment and the Tea Party will increase and nothing will change for the GOP in the Senate.
But Brad Dayspring will still have a job protecting incumbents as a strategist until the last tired worn out incumbent creature of D.C. finally falls silent. Then, I assume he’ll change sides.