And the Winner of the GOP Senate CaveDate is…
7 weeks and 1 day!
Congratulations to all conservatives (and liberals) who guessed 7 weeks and 1 day, an even 50 days, for how long Senate Republicans will last before they cave to Democrat demands. We arguably could have counted the cavedate as the day the Senate voted to maintain the filibuster, but this week presented the first real eyeball-to-eyeball challenge with competing proposals and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 54% blinked. He blinked and offered the Democrats a vote on their Homeland Security Bill with the commitment of Republican support. A sad day for conservatives and for the Republican party.
One side, however, told everybody that this situation and this outcome were inevitable. We had strong but unsuccessful challenges to the establishment in Mississippi, Kansas, and also notable ones in Texas and Kentucky. The conservative movement and tea party, however, were no match for challenging these long-time incumbents. Sometimes there were multiple challengers (like South Carolina and I’ll thrown in the three guys challenging Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) N/A%) which muddied the choice for the less active primary voter. When there was a single opponent like Matt Bevin or Chris McDaniel, we saw strong and sometimes unfair attacks. But despite these intra-party primary challenges, these GOP Senators won quite handily by November.
So what are we to do with the class of 2016? I’m thinking specifically of Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) 65%, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 34%, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) 15%, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) 51%. These candidates have in common:
- states won twice by Obama
- sitting Republican governors
- a Democrat colleague from their state
I can’t stand the thought of giving these guys a pass just to protect that seat. It was just announced, for instance, that Portman is being challenged from the left by former governor Ted Strickland. Strickland is certain to have a lot of national backing and will put up a good fight. There are no big-name Republicans who will challenge Portman, so what are Ohio conservatives to do? Put up a local tea party guy who might get 30-40%? Make their voices heard at Portman town halls objecting to the cowardice of the Senate only to hold their noses and vote for him anyway?
I don’t have an answer. All I know is that Senate Republicans are the lowest turd in the septic tank. They cannot act without Democrat Senate permission. They rely on House Republicans to pass bills that the Senate can pass. They fret over passing something that the president will just veto anyway. They are willing to pass something unconstitutional since the judicial branch should be able to catch things like that. How much power do these Great Lakes Republicans have compared to the Great Lakes Democrats? Finally, if you’re a voter who doesn’t follow ideology but looks at candidate strength, how can you convince them to vote Republican?