Conservative Patrick Hughes lost to establishment moderate Mark Kirk in the primary for the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. Hughes is not running as a third-party candidate. Conservative Chuck Devore lost to moderate establishment candidate Carly Fiorina in the California GOP Primary for Barbara Boxer’s seat; he did not then seek out a spot on the Libertarian or Constitution Party tickets. When conservative Ovide Lamontagne lost a very close primary to establishment-favored Kelly Ayotte, he immediately and wholeheartedly endorsed Ayotte in a very classy concession speech. Same with Stutzman, and others; when conservatives lose a primary, they concede with class and endorse the moderate. Admittedly, some concessions are more enthusiastic and complete than others, but not a single conservative who lost a GOP primary this election season has run as a third-party candidate or Democrat.
On the other hand, when moderate/liberal Arlen Specter faced a primary challenge from conservative Pat Toomey that he was almost ceratin to lose, he promptly bolted the party and caucused with the Democrats. When it became clear that moderate Charlie Crist would lose to conservative Marco Rubio, he bolted the party and ran as an independent. When Bob Bennett was taken out by conservative Mike Lee, he openly waffled for a month on the possibility of running third-party, with the encouragement of Mitch McConnell. Most recently, moderate Lisa Murkowski was defeated in the GOP primary by upstart conservative Joe Miller. First, Murkowski shamelessly begged for the Libertarian Party to give her a spot on the ticket, although she is perhaps the least libertarian member of the entire caucus. Then, she vacillated for weeks as to whether she would run as a Democrat. Now, apparently, her decision has been made, as Lisa Murkowski becomes the latest in a long line of moderate establishment sore losers to buck the will of the voters and run on a non-GOP ticket. There is absolutely no way Murkowski can win without even being on the ballot in November, and Lisa Murkowski knows it. Make no mistake: this is a naked attempt to aid Democrat Scott McAdams in order to prevent Joe Miller from winning the election.
This should raze and salt the earth of whatever future political career Lisa Murkowski might have had. Republicans who don’t respect primaries don’t deserve to be appointed dogcatcher, much less earn the votes of Republican voters. And memo to Democrats who might otherwise think of taking her in after this election is over; if she bailed on us, she will do it to you. With this boneheaded and petty move, Lisa Murkowski has made it clear that she believes in nothing other than the fact that it’s very important for her to be in the Senate at all costs, and she will align herself with whoever is best suited to accomplishing that; loyalty and principles be damned.
Moderates are always asking the stupid question of what Conservative X will do to court moderate Republican supporters of Moderate X who just lost in the GOP primary. No one asked Carly Fiorina what her plan was to court Chuck Devore voters. No one asked Mark Kirk what his plan was to court Hughes voters. Kelly Ayotte isn’t being asked today dozens of questions about reaching out to Lamontagne supporters. That is because it is understood that conservatives are people of principles and loyalty, and who aren’t so petty as to actively help Democrats win just because hard feelings generated by aggressive politics. Yet almost immediately after Miller’s win over Murkowski, he was fielding question after question about how he was going to bring Murkowski supporters into the fold.
We have now seen, time after time, that moderate candidates are all too willing to act like spineless, faithless entitled wimps when elections don’t go their way. It’s time for moderate voters to man up and send a message that these tactics will not be tolerated; otherwise we can just accept the reality of a permanent Democrat supermajority in both houses of Congress and perennial Democrat occupation of the White House. If supporters of Lisa Murkowski, Charlie Crist, et al are comfortable with that result more than with the possibility that some conservatives will win primaries, they ought to have the common decency to abandon the term “moderate” for liberal, and the honesty to register as Democrats and vote in Democrat primaries.