I wrote this last November, but in light of current events (see e.g. McCain v. Hayworth) I think it is worth posting again.
We hear this all time — conservatives in the GOP have to play nice with the moderates.
We never hear the other, that moderates should play nice with conservatives. Why is that? Consider the facts:
In Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, conservative Tim Walberg challenged the very liberal Joe Schwartz in the 2006 Republican Primary and won. Walberg went on to win the general election.
In 2008, Schwartz endorsed Democrat Mark Schauer and Shauer used that endorsement to squeak out a win in this +2 Republican District.
In Maryland 1, conservative physician and state senator Andy Harris ran in the Republican Primary against Wayne Gilchrist. Harris defeated Gilchrist only to see Gilchrist throw his support to Democrat Frank Kratovil, who won with 49.12% of the vote.
In Arizona 5, conservative David Schweikert won the Republican nomination, but then lost to liberal Democrat Harry Mitchell. Why? Schweikert’s primary opponent refused to help him and sat on his hands rather than help Schweikert pick up his opponent’s primary support.
In Alabama 2, Jay Love beat Harri Anne Smith in the Republican Primary and ran against Bobby Bright in an R +16 district. Smith endorsed the Democrat and Bright went on to win 50.23% of the vote.
In New York 23, the liberal Dede Scozzafava drops out and instead of supporting the guy the GOP crawls on bended knee to, she endorses the Democrat.
All the time we hear “conservatives can’t win the general” and “conservatives should play nice with moderates.” The record shows that the moderates cannot take losing and conservatives don’t win the general because the moderate GOP stabs them in the back.
If we are a team, it can’t just be the conservative players in trouble for not passing the ball.