You will be forgiven if you don't recognize the fat, hairy guy standing next to House Speaker John Boehner. That is former Ohio representative Steve LaTourette. He is important because he is a critical part of the attack on conservatives being carried out by the House leadership, including Speaker Boehner.
LaTourette was a close ally of Boehner in the House. Like so many of his ilk, he was willing to run for office in a high tide year, in this case 1994, but once in Congress he found having values required actual work and that was too tough for him so he decamped last year.
After Boehner’s bid for a grand bargain with President Obama collapsed in July 2011, LaTourette kept pushing – with Boehner’s blessing, but without much of his help. A year later, the frustration had become too much for the one-time country prosecutor. His own bid to build support for a bipartisan budget blueprint went down in flames, and he watched as Congress failed to complete legislation that had historically been routine, like a long-term highway bill. LaTourette found his path to a more powerful position on a pair of House committees blocked by other Republicans, although he has denied this is a reason for his departure, calling it a “red herring.”
LaTourette is known to loyally defend Boehner in private conference meetings. But he has publicly chafed at the influence that conservative freshmen have had on the leadership, and he has criticized leadership-backed legislation, most notably the GOP five-year highway bill that Boehner considered a top priority before it failed to get off the House floor.
In short, LaTourette left Congress embittered over having his political ambitions stymied by rascally conservatives who conspire to keep moderates down. Also note that the failure to pass the pork-laden highway bill is mentioned twice in the same story.
Where does the oleaginous Mr. LaTourette land? As the President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership. The Republican Main Street Partnership is all about selecting "moderate" Republicans to run against conservatives. Their goal is not increasing a GOP majority in Congress but rather burning down conservatives even if it results in a Democrat being elected. In this way, his group is remarkably similar to Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS.
If you want to know who is funding these moderate Republicans this year the answer is in. It is the Democrats.
The Republican Main Street Partnership has emerged as an outspoken, deep-pocketed player in pro-business GOP plans to beat back tea-party challengers next year. But the group's new super PAC has an unexpected source for its seed money: labor unions.
The super PAC, called Defending Main Street, has not yet submitted a major donor disclosure to the Federal Election Commission. But documents filed by other groups show that two labor organizations, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Laborers' International Union of North America, directed a combined $400,000 to the Republican group in September and October.
For those who don’t know it, the oddly named Republican Main Street Partnership is composed of Democrats who through dishonesty or lack of courage continue to call themselves Republican. Their stock in trade is cozying up to the moneyed interests for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks and denigrating anyone who fights for conservative principles, be they social or fiscal.
It is hardly a coincidence that LaTourette's other job is running the lobbying firm of McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies. Where his wife is vice president and Chris Barron, of GOProud -- another group interested in sandbagging conservatives-- is a consultant. This relationship was previously discussed on RedState:
Upon closer inspection, LaTourette’s effort is not really about bringing centrist ways to govern, but about setting up a sophisticated get rich scheme through multiple avenues. By using Main Street Advocacy to replace true limited-government congressmen with big-government members, he can help his lobbying clients profit from government growth.
Certainly, any member who got elected with LaTourette’s help would be in a position to grant a political favor to their benefactor. Big business, frustrated over Tea Party-backed efforts to cut spending, would be natural allies and clients for both of LaTourette’s organizations. As a big backer of infrastructure spending, LaTourette could also get support from the unions that previously donated to his reelection campaigns.
When taken in context of the Republican Study Committee firing their conservative executive director, Paul Teller, and Speaker Boehner attacking everyone who disagrees with Paul Ryan's ill-conceived budget compromise, it is obvious that the GOP has decided that conservatives, not the Democrats, are the real enemy. LaTourette's close relationship with Speaker Boehner is a damned good hint that his Democrat funded super-PAC is not a rogue operation.
This coming election cycle you will see crypto-Democrat and Democrat-funded groups like the Defending Main Street PAC collaborating with the likeminded Crossroads GPS, led by Karl Rove, and members of the #VichyCaucus to ride the hard work of conservatives to electoral success in November.
Given the way the GOP establishment abandoned Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia Governor’s race this is a fact that conservative candidates will have to take into consideration in 2014. They are not only running against the Democrats, they are also running against Democrat funded super-PACs who are pretending to be Republican and they are running against the GOP power structure that would rather enjoy their life-style of bilking the unwary than try to move this nation onto the right path.
Keep that in mind this election cycle, every time you see an Karl Rove or a Defending Main Street ad during a GOP primary you are seeing a group doing the work of the Democrats.