EDITOR OF REDSTATE
On the NRSC Memo: What About Florida and Texas. And Fiorina?
I don’t know a single Republican leaning blog that got tipped off about Senator John Cornyn’s memo to the Senate Republican Conference. Brian Walsh from the NRSC just emailed to let me know he had, in fact, emailed me earlier today with a copy of the email. For reasons unbeknownst to either of us, I got one responding to the Devore press release, but no others.
The Hill, CNN, and other media outlets were furnished sneak peaks of it.
Finally, CNN released the text. What is more interesting about the memo is what it does not say than what it does say. Let’s dive in.
First, there is no mention of Florida. Remember Florida and Charlie Crist? By the way, watch this.
In Florida, the NRSC first drew the ire of the conservative blogosphere by lining up behind the fundamentally flawed Florida Governor, Crist. Crist made headlines when Barack Obama referred to him as his favorite Republican after Crist engaged in some love banter over Obama’s stimulus and environmental policies. Crist, too, is a cap and trade fan.
There is no mention of that seat.
Now, some might say that this is a seat already held by the GOP, so why highlight it. Except, the memo does mention Kentucky and Missouri — both held by the GOP.
Is the failure to mention Florida a way of avoiding awkward questions about Crist’s appointing his errand boy to the Senate?
Cornyn, a Senator from Texas, also does not mention Texas. The NRSC has failed to rally around Michael Williams, despite repeatedly fluffing up the media talking points on diversity outreach initiatives in candidate recruiting.
Is the failure to mention Texas a hint that Kay Bailey Hutchison may not continue her gubernatorial run, choosing instead to stay in the Senate?
Then there are two things the memo does talk about that need to be examined even more closely.
First, Cornyn praises Pat Toomey. Remember though, the NRSC went out of its way to find someone to challenge Toomey and failed miserably. Only then did they get behind him.
Second, there is this:
Additionally, two strong female candidates – Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and Carly Fiorina in California – continue to seriously consider bids of their own, and both poll closely with their respective Democrat opponents without having formally entered their races.
Let’s focus on Fiorina.
I have been agnostic on the California race for some time and actually thought the NRSC was doing a good job recruiting Fiorina into the race. I remain unconvinced that Chuck Devore can win in the general election. I intend, however, to let Chuck make his case.
As recently as two weeks ago, I was telling friends that Fiorina was a good pick. I agreed with Senator Cornyn. Then, however, I started talking to actual Californians who are Republicans and friends of mine in Silicon Valley.
While I am not convinced that Devore can beat Barbara Boxer, I am increasingly convinced that Fiorina will be destroyed by Boxer and, more importantly, Fiorina cannot win the closed Republican primary.
This afternoon, Chuck Devore’s campaign released a scathing press release on Senator Cornyn endorsing Fiorina, a woman not even in the race. In the press release, Devore said:
I welcome Senator Cornyn’s endorsement of Carly Fiorina, my probable opponent for the Republican nomination to defeat Barbara Boxer in 2010. Under John Cornyn, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has racked up an impressive string of endorsements in support of non-conservative, unpopular, poorly vetted candidates across the nation. These candidacies have thus far gone on to flounder or implode.
To be fair, it was not an endorsement. Cornyn and the NRSC have always been very clear in how they endorse. This is not it. But, equally fair, we see where this is headed — an endorsement.
After being badgered by California friends, harassing California friends to get info, talking with friends in Silicon Valley, and doing my own digging, I have come to the conclusion that Carly Fiorina will be to the NRSC what Van Jones was to the White House — a vetting nightmare.
In 2009, Portfolio magazine named Fiorina one of the worst CEO’s of all time.
In a state where a majority of believe George W. Bush committed illegal wiretappings of U.S. civilians, the wiretapping investigation at Hewlett Packard will rise again.
And there’s much more.
But here’s the nutshell: While I’m not sold on Devore v. Boxer, I’m convinced the NRSC has decided to go with self-funding names like Fiorina. And while that has worked for the Democrats, it has generally been disastrous for the Republicans. Any student of political history can pull up many more self-funded Republicans from the graveyard for losers than Democrats.
More troubling, I’m troubled by reports from too many people to count that Rob Jesmer, the Executive Director of the NRSC, is aggressively pushing a new campaign theory — moderates will win and conservatives will lose. In fact, I’m told he has been rather blunt in a few small groups that the GOP needs to reject conservative candidates in favor of moderate candidates.
Because of the moderate Republican senators we currently have, the GOP is in a very precarious place. We do not need more of them and the NRSC equation is fundamentally flawed.
The NRSC saw Chuck Schumer find candidates to the left of the Democrats and the NRSC now thinks it should replicate that success by finding candidates to the left of the GOP. We are now being left with NRSC recruits to the left of the recruits Chuck Schumer got. And that is too far left.
I have not been willing to take the position that the NRSC should stay out of primaries totally. But I have arrived at that decision. The NRSC is actively trying to undermine the conservative Republican base with milquetoast establishment Republicans the nation rejected in 2006 and 2008. We must not let them win.
Oh, and like with Florida, Fiorina cannot beat Chuck Devore in a closed Republican Primary*. Therefore, the NRSC will try to deprive Devore of money just like Rubio, helping him go limping into a general election. In other words, the NRSC would rather lose a general election with a conservative than help a conservative mount a viable challenge.
*The CA-GOP Senate Primary is not closed yet, but there will be a vote in two weeks to do so. Both Carly Fiorina and Meg “I Love Van Jones” Whitman want it to remain open. That should tell you all you need to know about why you should be supporting people like Chuck Devore over Fiorina. Devore is one of us. Fiorina is not. And if Fiorina needs Democrats to get her through a GOP primary, where will her loyalties be?