On a regular basis, we hear Republicans in DC pouting about the base. “Why are they so hard on us? Why don’t they trust us? Why are they so unreasonable?”
They don’t take into account the fact that the Republican Party betrayed many of its biggest supporters again and again during the Bush years. They don’t consider the fact that the “political geniuses” in DC made horrible political decision after horrible political decision and derided the people who were pointing that out as ignoramuses who didn’t understand politics.
Furthermore, they’re hoping that the base doesn’t notice that in some areas, they’re talking a much better game than they’re playing on conservative principles.
If you listen to the big muckety-mucks in the Republican Party, they’re talking non-stop about getting back to principles, they’re fighting hard against Obama’s socialist agenda, and they seem to be slowly, but steadily moving in the right direction. Those are all good things.
However, it’s hard to square that with the behavior of the NRSC and to a lesser extent, the RNC and NRCC. These organizations constantly beat the drum to get conservatives to contribute money. They send out numerous fundraising letters begging conservatives to give them the funds they need to win races. That’s fine. That’s part of politics. That being said, it’s hard not to notice that these same organizations seem to have no qualms about trying to bury conservative candidates.
At this point, everybody knows about the race in Florida between NRSC backed Arlen Specter clone, Charlie Crist, and one of the most promising young conservative leaders in the country, Marco Rubio. How in the world can the NRSC, in good conscience, talk about conservative principles, get most of their money from conservatives, and then try to undercut a viable conservative candidate in a Republican primary?
Honest question for anybody at the RNC, NRSC, and the NRCC: When was the last time you supported a conservative candidate over a moderate candidate in a competitive primary? I can’t name a single example. If anyone from the RNC, NRSC, or NRCC knows of an example (and don’t send me any joke races, like Pat Toomey vs. Peg Luksik), feel free to send it to me. I’ll add it to this post.
But, back to the matter at hand. In New York’s 23rd district, we have a liberal Republican, Dede Scozzafava vs. Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman vs. Democrat Bill Owens.
Surprisingly, the most liberal candidate in the race is not the Democrat; it’s the Republican, Dede Scozzafava. Now, you might be thinking: “Well gee, it’s New York, John. What do you expect?” However, the reality is that it’s a heavily Republican district and the Democrat probably won’t get much more than 35% of the vote. So, why do we have a liberal Republican who has more in common with Nancy Pelosi than Jim DeMint running in a “gimmie district” for the GOP? Ask the New York GOP. She didn’t win a primary — they chose her as a candidate. Then, you can ask the RNC and NRCC because they’re taking the money that conservatives gave them to try to put a liberal Republican in office over a conservative challenger.
Now, in all fairness, I can’t hammer the RNC and NRCC for this the same way I’ve attacked the NRSC for backing Crist. After all, this is not a Republican primary. The viable conservative candidate in this race is not a Republican.
That being said, we get back to the basic problem: How do you talk non-stop about conservative principles, rely on conservative money for almost all of your funding, and then sandbag conservative candidates?
“Oh, but John, what else could they have done?” They could have stayed out of the race. I hesitate to use the word “never,” but there is almost NEVER a good reason for the RNC, NRCC, or NRSC to get involved in situations like this. The exception might be in say, a David Duke/Ted Stevens situation, where someone who’s horribly embarrassing to the party is running and he needs to be forced out. Setting aside those limited cases, party interference almost inevitably creates a sh*tstorm, it undercuts conservative trust in the party, it rewards candidates who don’t deserve it, and as often as not, the party-backed candidate ends up losing the primary or the general any way.
Moreover, if let’s say Dede Scozzafava were to get into Congress and voted for things like Card Check, tax increases, and abortion, why would the Republican Party want people saying, “Gee, we could have had a conservative in office who would have opposed that, but the GOP wanted a pro-abortion, pro-tax increase, pro-card check liberal instead?”
How Beltway dumb does the RNC and NRCC have to be to set up a situation where everyone from the Weekly Standard to Michelle Malkin to Redstate are bombing not only Dede Scozzafava, but the RNC and NRCC?
Now, I’m not going to tell you not to give money to the RNC and NRCC the same way I have suggested that conservatives withhold contributions from the NRSC. In all good conscience, I can’t say that when both organizations are supporting a Republican candidate against someone from another party. But, I will say that this backlash was very predictable and both organizations should have known better than to jump into this race.
As for me, my order of preference in NY-23 is Hoffman, Owens, and Scozzafava. I put conservatism over party, which is why I want Hoffman. If that doesn’t work, I’d prefer the Democrat, not only because he’s probably to Scozzafava’s right, but because he would be a heck of a lot easier to knock off in 2010 than Scozzafava, who’ll certain be protected by many of the same foolish party insiders who are trying to get her into office in the first place.