Kentucky’s Lesson for Republicans

 

As I write this, the Democratic senatorial candidate running against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, Allison Lundergan Grimes, is running ads differentiating herself from Obama.

She is seen firing a gun, and declaring “I am not Barack Obama.” Democrats have not and will not attack her for this, as they assume it is largely an insincere electoral tactic to win an election in a conservative state, and that once ensconced in the Senate she will be a loyal Democratic vote on most issues.

Contrast this to the unreasonable conservative reaction to similar behavior by politicians like Chris Christie. Running for re-election in a very liberal state, he distances himself from the House Republican majority to establish his moderate bona fides, and all too many Republicans are ready to condemn him as a traitor. Democrats stick together, which helps them win, while Republicans are damned unless they are 100% pure in their behavior. Our obsession with purity tests is needlessly dividing our party.

I think our party could take a lesson from this.

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  1. hawk@haakondahl.com Member
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    First, if Christie’s big-governmentism were merely cosmetic, your point would be a good one.

    Second, no matter what other seats may change, the GOP desperately needs to LOSE McConnell and Boehner.  Their own big-governmentism and frankly misconduct marks them as fair game.

    Anybody who wishes to call me names for conspiring with democrats should apply that logic to the Lugar and Cochrane races among others.  The GOP makes war on conservatives while pandering to democrats.  If you start down that road, no exit point ever seems quite good enough.

    I support Grimes, no matter how bad she is.  A few democrats of no note wiping out a few notorious Republican kingmakers is like a vaccine — effective beyond its fighting weight, and for the same reason.

    I am not for “winning through losing” — I want to build or maintain a majority everywhere.  But that majority must be a useful one, and to that end, there are a few seats that we must lose.

    • #1
  2. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Can you outline the benefit to the country from a Grimes victory? Do you think that it would lead to electable conservatives being voted in elsewhere? Do you believe that it would lead to Republicans who are not Tea Party members becoming less hostile to campaigns like Bevin’s?

    Are you aware of the degree to which McConnell is pretty safe, but misguided attacks on him from conservatives have forced the party to spend resources getting there that would otherwise have gone to support races where conservatives are now struggling?

    When the various factions of the party work together, all factions see more of their candidates succeed. When they fight, preferring democrats to candidates outside their tribe, we all lose, as in Virginia, when Cuccinelli lost in part because although the national GOP supported him, his state establishment included many who argued that Tea Partiers weren’t the right kind of conservative, so it was better for them to lose. That decision made it much more unlikely that a candidate from their faction can succeed in the future.

    • #2
  3. user_44643 Member
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Democrats are liars.  Every one of them.

    *Hock…………spit*

    • #3
  4. hawk@haakondahl.com Member
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    James, the GOP has interposed itself between the massive Tea Party victory of 2010 and any meaningful change.  They have chosen to become the rightful target of our anger.  Stand aside or be run through.

    • #4
  5. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    You miss the point. She’s lying and her leftist base is in on the lie!

    As we learned from the Obamacare vote, the so-called conservative and moderate Democrats are a myth to be rolled out at campaign time. When push comes to shove, she will vote for Harry Reid for Majority Leader, will vote to confirm appointees who throw out the Constitution, and will vote for whatever other garbage Obama intends to use to ruin our country.

    The Christie analogy suffers many deficiencies.

    First, he is not lying about his leftist positions.

    Second, many RINO leftist positions are actually contrary to the desires of voters (e.g., open borders). As BDB alluded to, candidates should campaign against Boehner et al. on issues like open borders.

    Third, RINOs have a particular tendency to engage in ad hominem attacks on non-RINOs. This only serves as a get-out the vote effort for Dems. in other races.

    Fourth, the RINOs tend to not actively win elections because they rarely give people reasons to vote for them or against their opponents. Occasionally RINOs luck out and win when the Dems. run a particularly bad candidate who actively loses or where conservative voters project their views onto a moderate/RINO candidate. Consider Scott Brown’s win as involving both. Most “moderate” candidates are moderate not merely in political positions, but in tactics. That won’t work. A Republican candidate with moderate positions has to differentiate him/herself by attacking the Democrat immoderately.

    • #5
  6. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    “I’m not Barack Obama, but I’ll vote with him 99% of the time.”  Why doesn’t she post that?

    • #6
  7. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    A related issue is that the media has persuaded many people that if they have a slight disagreement with Republicans, they must vote Democrat (even where their disagreements with the Democrats are greater).

    You have to fight that mentality but you can’t fight it moderately and you can’t ignore it. You have to point out the extreme nature of the Democrats’ positions, often in an ad hominem way

    • #7
  8. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    TAmerica,

    If Alison disagrees with Barack Obama on guns, coal, and the EPA what possible chance do the people of Kentucky have of persuading Washington by electing her.  Anti-gun, anti-coal, and pro-sierra club EPA are the dogma of the democratic party’s religion.  She will be just one more democrat who makes a little noise then knuckles under to the leadership.

    If Alison really disagreed with Barack Obama on guns, coal, and the EPA, she’d change her registration tomorrow to Republican.  By now anything less is a joke.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
  9. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    James Of England:Can you outline the benefit to the country from a Grimes victory?

    She is way easier on the eyes than Mitch McConnell.

    • #9
  10. Carey J. Member
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Valiuth:

    James Of England:Can you outline the benefit to the country from a Grimes victory?

    She is way easier on the eyes than Mitch McConnell.

    That is, however, a very low standard.

    • #10
  11. Carey J. Member
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    No to Christie! Hell no to Christie!!!

    • #11
  12. Carey J. Member
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Ditching Mitch would be one of the best acts of political hygiene the GOP could experience. Mitch doesn’t want to be Majority Leader to cut government, he wants to be Majority leader to cut deals for himself and his cronies.

    And if we can’t get Mitch, at least let’s get Cockroach Cochran.

    • #12
  13. liberal jim Member
    liberal jim
    @liberaljim

    Grimes is in a close race in a state that Obama lost by 12 points and where his approval rating has been below 40%  for months.  This says more about McConnell’s unpopularity than anything else.   The establishment Republican message does not seem to be generating any excitement, but then again it hasn’t since Ike.  Roberts in Kansas seems to have all the conservatives flocking to him also.  Go GOP!!!

    • #13
  14. Byron Horatio Member
    Byron Horatio
    @ByronHoratio

    Not sure why whenever politician wants to showcase his 2nd Amendment bona fides, they put on an orange hat and go skeet shooting. As someone very into guns, I’ve only done that once many years ago. Of all thr friends I have who are gun enthusiasts, I don’t think I know anyone who goes skeet shooting.

    I’m waiting for the ad where the politician talks about tax policy as he polishes his pistol by the nighstand and talks about sleeping better at night after voting for him, before loading the gun and turning off the light.

    • #14
  15. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    @James of England and Mike LaRoche= Totally in agreement!

    @Ball Diamond Ball- “Second, no matter what other seats may change, the GOP desperately needs to LOSE McConnell and Boehner.  Their own big-governmentism and frankly misconduct marks them as fair game…I am not for “winning through losing”

    Are you serious? Do you really think that defeating McConnell who, AFAIK, gets a very high rating from the American Conservative Union, and giving Obama a compliant Senate run by Harry Reid, would be anything but a conservative defeat?

    • #15
  16. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    @James Gawron- re post #8- I agree with ctlaw’s point in the first line of the following paragraph. Dems know she is lying to people they regard as gullible rubes, and will largely vote as a loyal staunch Democrat if elected.

    @ctlaw- “You miss the point. She’s lying and her leftist base is in on the lie!

    As we learned from the Obamacare vote, the so-called conservative and moderate Democrats are a myth to be rolled out at campaign time. When push comes to shove, she will vote for Harry Reid for Majority Leader, will vote to confirm appointees who throw out the Constitution, and will vote for whatever other garbage Obama intends to use to ruin our country.”

    Agreed

    As for your other point I disagree:

    “The Christie analogy suffers many deficiencies.

    First, he is not lying about his leftist positions.”

    Christie was the first NJ governor to show up at a pro-life rally in the state capitol (in Jan 2011)  since 1970. (This he did in an overwhelmingly pro-choice state) He has also committed himself to cutting entitlements. He has curbed the growth in NJ’s very high property taxes. So calling him a RINO is a bit simplistic, IMO.

    That said, it is true that in his re-election campaign he ran a campaign based too much on personality, which was a mistake that gave him no mandate to use against a recalcitrant Democrat-dominated state legislature.

    • #16
  17. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    @Carey J.- “Hell no to Christie!!!…Ditching Mitch would be one of the best acts of political hygiene the GOP could experience.”

    Really? Giving Obama a Senate run by Harry Reid would be constructive in terms of achieving conservative goals? Better to elect the Christies and McConnells and to then follow Milton Friedman’s advice (I quote roughly)- Worry less about electing the most perfectly conservative people and focus more on creating a political environment where the ‘wrong’ people do the right thing because it is in their electoral interest to do so.

    • #17
  18. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Team America, you’re right, liberal Democrats are not bashing Grimes for her conservative positions because they understand she’s running in a conservative state.  I don’t think there are a lot of Republicans saying that Chris Christie is too progressive to be governor of New Jersey.  Most conservatives probably agree that Christie is about as conservative a governor as you can elect in New Jersey.

    Where they have as problem is when people suggest that Christie should be President.  Conservatives generally have a problem with that, just like liberals would have a problem if Alison Grimes were not running for the Senate from Kentucky, but were running for U.S. President.

    • #18
  19. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Ball Diamond Ball:James, the GOP has interposed itself between the massive Tea Party victory of 2010 and any meaningful change. They have chosen to become the rightful target of our anger. Stand aside or be run through.

    Just to get this straight, your view is that if McConnell loses, then there will be meaningful change in a conservative direction? Or you’re just angry and you want to watch the world burn?

    • #19
  20. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Byron Horatio:Not sure why whenever politician wants to showcase his 2nd Amendment bona fides, they put on an orange hat and go skeet shooting.As someone very into guns, I’ve only done that once many years ago. Of all thr friends I have who are gun enthusiasts, I don’t think I know anyone who goes skeet shooting.

    I’m waiting for the ad where the politician talks about tax policy as he polishes his pistol by the nighstand and talks about sleeping better at night after voting for him, before loading the gun and turning off the light.

    Gun nuts probably aren’t the target audience. Rather, the audience would be journalists and people who aren’t so into guns, but for whom gun use is a marker for conservatism and patriotism.

    • #20
  21. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Carey J.:Ditching Mitch would be one of the best acts of political hygiene the GOP could experience. Mitch doesn’t want to be Majority Leader to cut government, he wants to be Majority leader to cut deals for himself and his cronies.

    And if we can’t get Mitch, at least let’s get Cockroach Cochran.

    Neither Mitch nor Cochran looks like they’re in much danger. Efforts to get them merely force them to focus on their own races instead of supporting other candidates. If you like conservative politicians like Cotton, Walker, or Roberts, you should strongly oppose efforts to support the Democrats nationwide by supporting them in Kentucky and Mississippi.

    • #21
  22. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Randy Webster:“I’m not Barack Obama, but I’ll vote with him 99% of the time.” Why doesn’t she post that?

    No. The question is “Why does the RNC run parody ads featuring a montage of Democrats appearing in ads of this character and then putting that statement on the screen at the end with the tag “Be honest. A vote for X is a vote for Obama.”

    • #22
  23. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    @Hartmann von Aue– “Why does the RNC run parody ads featuring a montage of Democrats appearing in ads of this character and then putting that statement on the screen at the end with the tag “Be honest. A vote for X is a vote for Obama.”

    Didn’t you mean ‘Why ‘doesn’t’ the RNC…” etc?

    • #23
  24. Carey J. Member
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Byron Horatio:Not sure why whenever politician wants to showcase his 2nd Amendment bona fides, they put on an orange hat and go skeet shooting.As someone very into guns, I’ve only done that once many years ago. Of all thr friends I have who are gun enthusiasts, I don’t think I know anyone who goes skeet shooting.

    I’m waiting for the ad where the politician talks about tax policy as he polishes his pistol by the nighstand and talks about sleeping better at night after voting for him, before loading the gun and turning off the light.

    It’s because skeet shooters tend to be the least politically active of all gun owners. They figure they don’t have to worry because their doubles are at the very bottom of the gun grabbers’ list. They don’t care much about anyone’s guns except their own, and many of them are rich enough they figure they’ll buy enough influence to save their guns. They made up the core of the “old guard” of the NRA, the ones who got the vapors whenever anyone talked about using guns for self defense. For the most part, they’re pretty near zeros when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.

    • #24
  25. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    I was all for McConnell getting beat in the primary.  Now, not so much.

    • #25
  26. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Carey J.:

    Valiuth:

    James Of England:Can you outline the benefit to the country from a Grimes victory?

    She is way easier on the eyes than Mitch McConnell.

    That is, however, a very low standard.

    What can I say I like brunets.

    • #26
  27. Byron Horatio Member
    Byron Horatio
    @ByronHoratio

    Carey,

    That’s a good point. They are certainly the most vanilla “enthusiasts” out there. I’m not really into shotguns much. Just not my cup of tea.

    Contrast that shameless pandering with Glock, who does an excellent job of marketing pistols to young, single women in their videos.

    • #27
  28. hawk@haakondahl.com Member
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    Team America:

    “focus more on creating a political environment where the ‘wrong’ people do the right thing because it is in their electoral interest to do so.”

    Isn’t that what I said?  Right now it is in nobody’s interest to support conservatives.  We’re going to change that.  We’re going to make it interesting.

    • #28
  29. hawk@haakondahl.com Member
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    James:

    “Just to get this straight, your view is that if McConnell loses, then there will be meaningful change in a conservative direction? Or you’re just angry and you want to watch the world burn?”

    The world is already burning.  Look around you.  And yes, if McConnell loses *because the Tea Party gets him*, there will be change.  And if he stays, there will not.

    We do not have twenty years for an unbroken series of magical victories and majorities to implement a gradualist approach to counter the far-better-developed progressive machine that currently runs nearly everything.  The RINOs like saying they will do things gradually, have to win some more elections, have to have time to let things work, gotta have a glideslope, etc, but that’s just playing for time.  They hold us off while they cut deals to get the left’s agenda done, just perhaps more slowly.

    Even if we won that magical series of elections, the time simply isn’t there.  This country must fight for life or die.  Gradualism is a siren song for those who really don;t care, but want an excuse for not doing anything.  We are on the express to the grave, and things will not change in any meaningful way without great and wrenching change, and in the proper direction.

    IMHO, 2012 marked the end of opportunities to “bend the trajectory” of anything.  The ballistics don’t lie.  We’re doomed without serious, abrupt change.

    • #29
  30. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Ball Diamond Ball:Team America:

    “focus more on creating a political environment where the ‘wrong’ people do the right thing because it is in their electoral interest to do so.”

    Isn’t that what I said? Right now it is in nobody’s interest to support conservatives. We’re going to change that. We’re going to make it interesting.

    No. You said that we should target one of the more conservative politicians (McConnell), and you made it pretty clear that you couldn’t be bargained with. That means that it’s in no one’s interest to appeal to you. If you acted like the 2010 Tea Party, you could do more to get your candidates elected (as happened in 2010) and your policies supported.

    Probably the most significant damage that Mark Levin did to a Republican candidate was to Pat Roberts, the most conservative Senator up for re-election (equal to Ted Cruz according to Heritage Action) and the Democrats number one target. When politicians see that they could be literally the most conservative person on the scene and still not only not get support, but be actively and vitriolically opposed, that’s a pretty strong incentive for them to seek support from moderates and crossover Democratic votes.

    It’s a good idea to haggle when buying a car, but if you insist on getting it for free, you’re not going to end up with a car or the respect of the salesman.

    • #30

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