Observations on the 2010 Republican primaries
Some general thoughts and observations on the 2010 Republican primaries:
Conservative Republican primary voters are angry. OK, that’s obvious, but it’s who and what they’re angry at that is important. For now, they are angry at anyone who even looks like they’re part of the "establishment", the result being a long overdue house cleaning. For their part, most in the Republican establishment don’t seem to really have a gut level grasp of why. Conservatives are not just angry and looking to take it out on someone, they are upset with having the GOP run by people who patronize them and then set about undermining their goals, or at least fail to effectively advocate them.
“Establishment” candidates have gone down hard. The NRSC's endorsed candidates have now lost eight primaries to DeMint/Palin endorsed, Tea Party supported candidates. They caused the problem by picking candidates that didn't represent the views (or ardor) of Republican primary voters in those states. This is not a geographic phenomenon, it is national; as losers from coast to coast can attest. However, some have decided to forgo the Republican label and run as Independents in November, (such as Florida’s Charlie Crist and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski). This has only confirmed what many conservatives believed about them to begin with, that being that their primary concern was power itself, rather than conservative principles.
The establishment has only made things worse (for itself). By openly attacking candidates supported by the Tea Party movement they have enflamed the grassroots with new passion. Lesson: don't shoot at a hornet's nest with a garden hose.
We don't need the Senate. Not right now anyway. At least conservatives don’t. Of course, this doesn’t apply to the establishment types who are more concerned with becoming committee chairmen or having more staff jobs available for their friends. In terms of gaining ground for the conservative movement in the next two years, there's no appreciable difference between having 49 Republicans in the Senate or 51. So long as Obama is President and has veto power, a majority in the Senate doesn't really matter. What does matter is electing more real conservatives – and that begins with winning primaries.
On a purely political note, if the GOP takes the Senate (along with the House), it becomes easier for Obama to demonize Congress in his 2012 re-election bid. Better not to have complete control of Congress when he's running for re-election.
The primary results are due to votes cast by conservatives in those states. Of course this is an obvious point, but it sometimes seems lost on the talking heads in the media who act as if an alien race is going about invading various state primary races. These people are conservative, they live there, and they are rejecting a GOP establishment that has failed to effectively advocate conservative principles.
Turnout is high because conservatives are excited and feel empowered. Hanging a few RINO scalps on the wall only makes us more so. Look for a record shattering turnout in November.
Issues win campaigns. This is an old conservative rule of thumb when it comes to campaigns, but one that seems forgotten by party leaders. And when it comes to issues that animate voters, you can’t do better than those that are based on core values and principles – which are exactly what has animated the Tea Party movement.
These are people that are concerned about taxes, spending, government waste, small, constitutional government and defending their traditional values. And yes, social issues still move conservative voters, no matter how much the media would like to portray the Tea Party movement as a rejection of social conservatism. These voters largely represent a comprehensive conservative philosophy. Not a narrow one.
Voters in many states now have a real choice. For years voters have complained about the lack of real differences between the parties, (at least in how they perceive them or they are exhibited). That’s not going to be a problem this year.
The Republican Party is not imploding. It’s amazing how the date of the GOP’s impending political doom due to excessive conservative influence keeps moving farther into the future. The fact is that the largest Republican defeats have come after the party leadership has turned its back on conservative principles. Within the past year it was said that if the party didn’t put a lid on the Tea Party it would turn off voters prior to the mid-term elections, yet every respectable poll projects tremendous Republican gains this November. Now we’re told that doomsday will come in 2012 and impact our ability to defeat Obama. So when you hear this, consider the source.
Lead, follow or get out of the way. Conservatives are setting the course, and they’re moving on with or without the establishment. So here’s some advice: let’s focus on principles that Americans are yearning for and win the upcoming elections. Then we can see who needs a new winning strategy.