Sunday, March 09, 2014

Corrupt Republican Establishment Crushing Their Tea Party Foes, Nationally And Locally


Authentic Miss McConnell

Tom Beaumont penned a widely distributed story for the A.P. today about the increasing challenges facing those who are trying to reform the Republican Party from within. "Four years after the tea party rocked the political world by ousting several prominent Republicans in Congress," he posits, "the ultra-conservative movement finds itself with slimmer prospects as it moves into the new election season." But what everybody's talking about is the Carl Hulse story in today's NY Times about how the GOP Establishment is moving to stamp out the teabaggers. Well, not really "everybody," but you know what I mean. "The escalating tension between party leaders and Tea Party-aligned activists in groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Madison Project and FreedomWorks arises from the activists’ view that some top elected Republicans are major obstacles to enacting conservative policies and need to be replaced." Former far right Kansas Congressman Jim Ryun, now the head of the noisy but ineffectual Madison Project, summed up the civil war wracking the GOP-- a civil war his side is losing-- by telling Hulse that "Mitch McConnell is, to me, the essence of the problem in D.C."

Both writers were keenly aware that in the Texas primaries last week, teabaggers had to settled "for having an impact on key races rather than actually winning them [and] that may become a pattern in other states as primaries continue into the fall… Only one Republican tea party candidate is seen as having a real shot at a GOP Senate nomination this year: Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who is challenging six-term Sen. Thad Cochran. No tea party challengers are expected to win in this year's House races." This is terrible news for Steve Israel, who has based his entire excuse for a strategy on pitting his own mediocre, "mystery meat" conservative candidates against neo-fascist teabaggers, who apparently won't be there playing the piñata role for him. Hulse:
As conservative activist groups stirred up trouble for establishment Republican Senate candidates in 2010 and 2012, party leaders in Washington first tried to ignore the insurgents, then tried to reason with them, and ultimately left it to primary voters to settle the matter.

But after several of those conservatives-- in Nevada, Colorado and Delaware in 2010 and in Indiana and Missouri in 2012-- managed to win their primaries but lose in the general election, party leaders felt stung by what they saw as avoidable defeats.

This election season, Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are taking a much harder line as they sense the majority within reach. Top congressional Republicans and their allies are challenging the advocacy groups head on in an aggressive effort to undermine their credibility. The goal is to deny them any Senate primary victories, cut into their fund-raising and diminish them as a future force in Republican politics.

“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” Mr. McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said in an interview, referring to the network of activist organizations working against him and two Republican incumbents in Kansas and Mississippi while engaging in a handful of other contests. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”

Elevating the nasty intramural brawl to a new level, Mr. McConnell on Friday began airing a radio ad in Kentucky that attacked both Matt Bevin, the businessman challenging him in the Republican primary, and the Senate Conservatives Fund, one of the groups trying to oust Mr. McConnell and a political action committee that has been a particular thorn in his side.

Mr. McConnell’s ad, his first singling out the Senate Conservatives Fund, raises a criticism that Speaker John A. Boehner and other Republicans have leveled at the activists-- that they are fund-raising and business enterprises more than political operations. The ad refers to unnamed news media reports that assert that the PAC “solicits money under the guise of advocating for conservative principles but then spends it on a $1.4 million luxury townhouse with a wine cellar and hot tub in Washington, D.C.”

…Even if they are shut out in attempts to oust incumbents, leaders of these organizations do not show signs of quitting. They say they are in the early stages of a long-term effort to build a movement, no matter what their scorecard looks like after the primaries and the general election. And they have not given up on this year yet.

“It is game on,” said Matt Kibbe, the head of FreedomWorks. “I think we are going to win one of these races.”

Meanwhile, the Des Moines Register was reporting a big setback for the teabaggers. The right-wing loon they had managed to elect Iowa Party chair, A.J. Spiker, has been forced out of his position by the Establishment forces. He's stepping down at the end of the month and a new state chair will be elected. Governor Branstad led the Establishment push to crush the tea party reformers. He won. The video below, shot a year ago, shows how the Libertarians and teabaggers were pushed out of power by the Establishment. There's something very Stalinist and very fascinating about it. Take a look.
The news comes on the same day that the influence on the Iowa GOP from the "liberty" faction, of which Spiker was a part, was significantly diminished as mainstream Republicans turned out in force to reclaim dominance.

The majority of GOP state convention delegates elected today are pro-Branstad Republicans, who showed up in large numbers to at-times tedious and lengthy county conventions typically frequented by only the most diehard activists.

…Spiker has faced criticism from fellow Republicans from various factions for several reasons, including lackluster fundraising, clashes with Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, a controversy over the state convention scheduling that some critics thought gave Democratic candidates an advantage, and other problems.Some worried that certain 2016 presidential candidates might not feel welcome in Iowa if the liberty Republicans continued to control party headquarters.

Another Iowa GOP state central committee member, David Chung, in September called for Spiker's resignation or removal because of "a general leadership style that is absolutely tone-deaf to any input from outside his inner circle."

Roll Call last summer named Iowa GOP one of "the seven most dysfunctional state parties."

Pro-Branstad forces at the county conventions today rejected liberty Republicans who sought to be elected to party roles, including Adil Khan, Matt DeVries and Joel Kurtinitis. Spiker didn't try to be elected today as a state delegate; he pulled his name off the Story County nominating committee's slate earlier this week, organizers said. Liberty Republicans didn't include Spiker on their slate or nominate him from the floor today.

The delegates who were elected today will be the big decision makers in the party on a number of fronts. At district conventions, each of the four districts will pick four GOP state central committee members. Those 16 people elect the next Iowa GOP chairman. Then at the state convention, they'll pick the lieutenant governor nominee (Branstad wants it to be Kim Reynolds again) and decide who the GOP nominee is for the U.S. Senate race if none of the six candidates wins outright on June 3.
The fear was that Spiker's faction would select an unelectable extremist as the party's Senate nominee-- perhaps even Spiker himself. The Establishment faction wants to nominate state Senator Joni Ernst, who's been endorsed by Mitt Romney, but her polling numbers have been lackluster, both for the primary and up against Democrat Bruce Braley, who trounces her in every single match-up by every single polling firm, including GOP firms.

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