I've said for almost four years that the Republican Party is at a crossroads, mainly due to fiscal issues. It can follow the lead of the Republican Study Committee, Mike Pence, Jim DeMint, and Jeb Hensarling in its opposition to deficit spending, or it can follow the lead of Ted Stevens, George W Bush, and Charlie Crist in their support for big spending policies. The choice made here, will determine whether the GOP can take the house back in 2010, and the senate back in 2012 or 2014. It will also determine if Obama will be a one-termer. The bailout in 2008 turned the election from a close race to an ass kicking. The fiscal policies in 2006 caused an ass kicking. Democrat-lite policies from the GOP do not work. Why vote for democrat-lite when the real thing is always available.
While I understand that what works in one community does not always work in another, basic principles should always apply, and that they should be less government and more freedom.
Many in the GOP are starting to get that message again with Obama's radical leftism, Mike Pence having a more visible role, Ted Stevens being defeated, and George W Bush being gone. Starting being the operative word. There's still a lot of trust that needs to be earned, and nobody trusts the government right now. That's why we have the tea parties. That's why the calls are flooding the offices. That's why people are involved in politics who have not been involved.
Speaking of fiscal conservatism and tea parties, they aren't GOP. They are conservative. There's a difference, and people are getting right hooked by it. Florida Governor and senate candidate Charlie Crist is a big example. He was at the Mackinac Conference and probably wants to run for president someday. I was real tempted to get a big banner up there that said "Marco Rubio for Senate." Marco Rubio is Charlie Crist's opponent in the primary. Rubio has one of my favorite quotes. “If you are unhappy with the Republican establishment, then let’s get a new establishment.” Right now, we're in the process there in Washington. The DC insiders don't support Rubio, but that's changing. Rubio called out Crist and rightly so in the magazine Human Events.
The only enduring legacy of this stimulus will be the deficit it’s left us with,” Rubio said. “I don’t care how much money he raises — he will never convince Florida Republicans that the stimulus package and his embrace of it, and his campaigning in favor of it — hand in hand with the president — was a good thing for Florida, a good thing for their children, or a good thing for our country”
Rubio is frank in his assessment of why Crist went along with the stimulus at the time: Obama was popular.
“I think he supported the stimulus package because Barack Obama was popular at the time, and I think he supported it because he didn’t want to have a budget session in Tallahassee where he had to make difficult decisions — which, quite frankly, is reflective of everything that’s wrong in American politics today,” Rubio said. “We have too many people that just want to be popular.”
Right on the nose. That is also a big reason why I NEVER donate to the NRSC or NRCC. Those two groups pick and choose establishment candidates and fund them, even in primaries.
In 2005, the NRSC ran negative ads against Steve Laffey who ran against RINO Lincoln Chafee. Chafee got the establishment GOP support and won the primary. He still lost in the general in 2006. The NRSC spent money meant to support republicans, not fight them.
In 2009, the NRSC endorsed big spending Arlen Specter for re-election. Specter is now a democrat because the grassroots republicans had enough of him. Pat Toomey for senate. Toomey is an electable (won three times in a district that went for Gore and Kerry) conservative who can win a tough state like Pennsylvania.
Also this year, the NRSC said they would stay out of the Florida open primary, changed their mind, and supported Charlie Crist. My response? Rubio for senate.
The NRCC isn't much better. In Arizona, they flodded a district with money in an open primary for a candidate that lost. Wasted money.
Those are reasons why I don't give money to the establishment committees. If you plan on donating, the best way to go is to individual candidates, like Rubio, Toomey, Pence, DeMint, etc. Cut out the middleman.
That leads to the Politico article today which was very interesting. Tea partiers turn on GOP leadership. I wouldn't say, "turned" on GOP leadership. Most of the tea partiers I know and talked to never liked the GOP leadership anyway. This is grass roots. These aren't followers, but they chose their own paths. If you give them a big spending republican, they will get opposed just like an Obama democrat.
“It’s an outgrowth of the frustration people have had with the Republican Party,” said Andrew Moylan, director of governmental affairs for the National Taxpayers Union, another group that has played a large role in organizing the tea party movement. “I think a lot of people have been angry at Republicans for betraying our trust.”
“I think the GOP establishment has ignored their constituents and the feelings of their constituents for years,” added Meckler.
It’s an unusual predicament for the Republican Party, since the conservative-oriented issues that animate Tea Party activists once seemed destined to make the movement a valuable auxiliary to the Republican Party.
While there’s little evidence of tea party activist support for Democratic candidates, the specific notion of electing a GOP majority hasn’t ranked high on their agenda either.
Trust has to be re-earned. This was the major damage done to the GOP after Gingrich and Armey left, and after the arrival of President Bush.
One of those activists, Canyon Clowdus, an Army veteran who is taking on third term conservative Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), has blasted the incumbent for making “a horrible mistake” in voting for Troubled Asset Relief Program.
“He has put a financial burden on my four children that will amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars each,” Clowdus says of Conaway on his campaign website.
“I think it was a bad, bad political decision,” Armey said of the 34 Senate Republicans and 91 House Republicans who voted for the TARP bailout, “and if you talk to grassroots activists, it has become a political test for them.”
Moylan agreed that TARP is “really kind of the flash point that started all of this.”
The bailout, supported and OWNED by Obama, Bush, and McCain. The stimulus package. Cap and trade. One after another. ALL of it is bad. Pete Hoekstra has mostly a good record, but he voted for the bailout the second time it was in the house. I can't get past that, and it cost him a chance at my primary vote (I'm supporting Mike Cox) for governor. Hoekstra's a good guy, but on fiscal issues that are tough decisions, I now have big doubts about his ability to handle pressure.
For some, supporting insurgent campaigns or waging primary bids just isn’t a strong enough signal to send to a Republican Party that has abandoned core conservative policies.
Erick Erickson, founder and editor of the influential conservative blog RedState, has urged Tea Party activists to “put down the protest signs” and stage takeovers of local Republican parties.
“Grassroots activists need to start infiltrating the party,” said Erickson. “The only way to start getting [the establishment] back is to start pounding them with every fist we have.”
While I'm more judicious with the fists and pound them when I must, I don't believe in fighting blind. Know the rules of the game and use them to your advantage. I agree with the general premise, which goes to Rubio's comment about getting a new establishment.
In Michigan, our GOP committees are elected. It starts with precinct delegates. There are also usually more openings than spots filled for this position. That is an elected position in the August primary election. I've run for the position, and won every single time without even running a campaign. The primary job of the precinct delegates is to seat people at the state convention and elect people to the county executive committee. It's relatively easy, at least here, to seat people at state convention. I've been a state delegate every time I wanted to be. State delegates vote on district committee (where I currently serve), state committee, state chair/vice chairs, RNC committeeman, and candidates for some offices on the November ballot, including Attorney General, Supreme Court, and Secretary of State. It's a big deal. Those are the rules of the game, and also remember this. Washington establishment is the big problem. Many, many, mid and low level establishment figures in the GOP away from Washington are good friends of fiscal conservatism. Not everyone in the party is a RINO.
I don't know how it works in states besides Michigan, but if people really want to make a change on spending issues, it starts with getting involved long term. If you are a conservative and an old style 1994 Republican, get involved. It's your party as much as it is mine. Work hard, but most importantly, work smart. That's how to get a new establishment, and how to LAND a right hook against the Washington establishment instead of a swing and a miss.