Tag Archives: Club for Growth

Allow Me to Make A Pre-Emptive Strike

The talk of the nation yesterday was, of course, Arlen Specter’s switch from Republican to Democrat in the U.S. Senate, effectively delivering a filibuster-proof majority to the Demcorats upon the seating of Al Franken.  Specter’s move was precipitated by a poll showing Specter trailing Club for Feudalism Growth candidate Pat Toomey by over 20 points.  

Most of the commentary since has correctly focused since on the rightward shift of the Republican Party as a whole, and the regressive Neanderthal nature of its base, which drags the party backward and away from the mainstream even as the progressive base pulls the Democratic Party forward, mostly into positions supported by a majority of the electorate.

But there’s a danger in interpreting the Specter decision as simply a function of extremists vs. moderates, playing into a Broderite concern for a loss of “bipartisanship”.  Let us ignore for a moment the argument that “moderate” should be defined on a national rather than individual Party scale, as those supporting the majority of American opinion: national healthcare, an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq, etc.  That would be too easy.  

No, the problem is that I can already hear the mewling of Democratic consultants in California, tying any moves toward accountability by progressives, including but not limited to primaries against the likes of Jane Harman or Dianne Feinstein, to the shortsighted actions of Pat Toomey and his merry band of fools.

There’s a big difference–so, in the spirit of Jane Harman, allow me to make a pre-emptive strike in an effort to nip any such whining in the bud.  The difference isn’t whether to take action against squishes and “moderates” in one’s party, but where to do so.

The fact is that Pennsylvania’s Republicans are a bunch of morans.  There’s a simple decision function that decides whether to primary a so-called “moderate” within one’s own party.  It goes something like this:

If your “moderate” is in hostile territory, defend them.  If your “moderate” is in friendly territory, primary them and get a “purer” candidate.

That’s a pretty simple equation.  In Pennsylvania, where Democrats hold a voter registration edge of over 1 million votes and where Obama racked up a huge margin of victory, a Republican challenge to their own incumbent is political suicide.  Whether Specter had switched or fallen in the Primary is irrelevant: derailing him is the functional equivalent of handing the Senate seat over to the Democratic Party.  In fact, given Pat Toomey inevitable spanking at the polls in 2010, Specter’s switch is about as good an outcome as Republicans could possibly hope for.

On the other hand, had Arlen Specter been from, say, Oklahoma, it would be a very different picture.  In that case, the republican Party would be smart to punish Specter for his many betrayals of their fundamentalist “principles”.  Of course, the GOP’s problem is that they’ve pretty much already purged every moderate in solidly conservative districts–and many like Specter and Chafee in liberal areas.

Ultimately, what this shows is the disparity not only in moral clarity but more importantly in political acumen between the progressive and the conservative base:  the progressive base isn’t stupid enough to primary, say, Ben Nelson in Nebraska or Mary Landrieu in Louisiana.  We know that we’ll take what we can get there.

But there’s no reason we should have to put up with the shenanigans of Dianne Feinstein and Jane Harman here in deep blue California and Venice Beach.  No reason at all.

And any Broderite who even starts to equate moves in California (or elsewhere in blue areas across the nation) to hold our squishes accountable, to the efforts of the Club for Growth in Pennsylvania, will only display a profound lack of political acumen.  But then, that’s entirely expected.  Hence the pre-emptive strike.

Election Roundup 5/7/08

• CA-03: Bill Durston may be unopposed in the June 3 primary, but he’s running very hard and trying to pick up as many decline-to-state voters as possible.  He’s actually running a GOTV operation.  The gambit here is to prove to donors and the political establishment that CA-03 is competitive.  I also think it makes sense just as practice for the general and for name recognition.

• CA-04: The Club for Growth, whose record this year in primaries is actually a little mixed, has released an ad attacking Doug Ose in his race against Tom McClintock.  There’s plenty of outside money on both sides in this one.

• CA-42: Communications Workers of America, Southern California Council has endorsed Ron Shepston.  It’s somewhat notable considering that Ed Chau got the Cal Labor Fed endorsement.

Anything else you’re hearing, please put it in the comments.  This is an open-source elections thread.

Darrell Issa Hates 9/11 Heroes, Who Loves Darrell Issa’s Money?

Cross posted at DailyKos and OpenLeft

So as we’ve established by now, Darrell Issa thinks very little of 9/11 rescue workers and would prefer that the federal government not concern itself with their welfare.  Cause according to him, 9/11 is not and presumably was not a national issue.  We’ve also established that he has no qualms about throwing federal money around on local pork as long as it benefits him directly.  So the next logical question for me is “oh hey, are there any familiar names that don’t mind taking Darrell Issa’s money?”  As you may or may not know, Darrell Issa is filthy rich.  So he’s spread a lot of money around on Republicans and conservative causes.  So as it turns out, there are quite a lot of Republicans currently running around the Capitol funded in part by Darrell Issa (partial list):

Dean Andal (candidate, CA-11)

Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-06)

Rep. Brian Bilbray (CA-50)

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-09)

Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-07)

Sen. Richard Burr (North Carolina)

Rep. John Campbell (CA-48)

Rep. Shelley Moore Captio (WV-02)

Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-01)

Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) [head of NRCC]

Rep. Geoff Davis (KY-04)

Rep. John Doolitte (Retiring, CA-04)

Rep. Thelma Drake (VA-02)

Rep. Tom Feeney (FL-24)

Rep. Mike Ferguson (Retiring, NJ-07)

Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-04)

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)

Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-06)

Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA-11)

Rep. Robin Hayes (NC-08)

Rep. Ric Keller (FL-08)

Rep. Mark Kirk (IL-10)

Rep. John Kline (MN-02)

Rep. Joe Knollenberg (MI-09)

Rep. Randy Kuhl (NY-29)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05)

Rep. Tom Latham (IA-04)

Rep. Bob Latta (OH-05)

Fmr. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (What the hell? ha.)

Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10)

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04)

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)

Fmr. Rep. Anne Northup (Candidate, KY-03)

Rep. Steve Pearce (Retiring, NM-02; Candidate, NM-SEN)

Rep. Mike Pence (IN-06)

Rep. Ted Poe (TX-02)

Rep. Jon Porter (NV-03)

Rep. Deborah Pryce (Retiring, OH-15)

Rep. Dennis Rehberg (MT-AL)

Rep. Dave Reichert (WA-08)

Rep. Rick Renzi (Retiring [to prison?], AZ-01)

Rep. Mike D. Rogers (AL-03)

Rep. Mike J. Rogers (MI-08)

Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-06)

Fmr. Rep. Jim Ryun (Candidate, KS-02)

Rep. Jean Schmidt (OH-02)

Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (Candidate, TX-22)

Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32)

Rep. Chris Shays (CT-04)

Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19)

Fmr. Rep. Mike Sodrel (Candidate, IN-09)

Sen. John Sununu (New Hampshire)

Fmr. Rep. Pat Toomey (President, Club for Growth)

Rep. Jim Walsh (Retiring, NY-25)

Rep. Heather Wilson (Retiring, NM-01; Candidate, NM-SEN)

Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01)

More than 50, and there are a lot of familiar names in there. Swing districts, notorious wingnuts, Senators in tough races.  How many of those people agree with Darrell Issa that the welfare of the heroes of 9/11 are no business of the United States government?  How many of them really want to be forced to answer such questions?  Rep. Issa has, for a number of years, been a bit of a hero in GOP fundraising circles.  Do people really want to be associated with his money now? Presumably the answer is “yes” in private and “maybe” in public.  If it’s even slightly possible to isolate Issa and his money, in this of all election cycles when the NRCC is desperately poor, it’s worth the effort.  Isn’t it time we start finding out how these politicians feel about taking money from just a soulless jerk?