Although this quote comes from a guy at Public Policy Polling (PPP), an organization that ought to consider renaming itself Pretty Partisan Polling, it sadly describes sensible conservatism’s situation on the ground in all too many states:
One lesson that can be taken from the recent GOP successes in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia is that your party can be a complete mess and still win an election.
Hidebound country club go-along-get-along Republican Party establishments are indeed making a mess of things. In state after state, they are doing everything in their power to pretend that the tea party phenomenon, arguably the most important grassroots movement in decades, either doesn’t exist or must be stopped. They are also reflexively supporting problematic candidates whose most important features are their name recognition and the size of either their personal bank accounts or their campaign war chests. Substantive issue positions dealing with what the country must do to stop Barack Obama, his apparatchiks, and the Democrat-controlled Congress from bankrupting us and closing down what for now remains the land of opportunity are coming in a distant third.
In California, Carly Fiorina is the GOP establishment’s fave to go up against Barbara “Don’t Call Me Ma’am” Boxer. Her accomplishments as a businesswoman consist of decimating Lucent and nearly ruining HP while walking away with $42 million for her troubles. One thing Fiorina rarely troubled with is actually voting in elections. Her campaign tells us: “She voted in six of 14 elections in California since 2000. She lived in New Jersey for the previous 10 years but never voted.” In the Golden State governor’s race, they like squishy moderate and Mitt Romney pal Meg Whitman, who also “regularly skipped elections in California and several other states where she lived and worked.” Are they trying to lose on purpose out there?
In Illinois, the Republican Party apparatus is clearing the field in its U.S. Senate primary for Congressman Mark Kirk, who voted for the monstrosity of cap and trade, and whom Democrats will likely “expose as a liar and adulterer in the general election.” In Arizona, moderate John McCain has forced Sarah Palin into a lose-lose proposition: help me fend off a primary challenge from legit conservative J.D. Hayworth or be tagged an ingrate for the rest of your life if you refuse. In Florida, Charlie Crist and the GOP establishment seem to think that pulling off the nearly impossible — dragging down Florida’s economy following Jeb Bush’s amazing stewardship — qualifies him to be the Sunshine State’s next U.S. senator. Thankfully challenger Marco Rubio begs to disagree and GOP voters are coming around.
Clearly, RINO fever is bad all over. But nothing exemplifies what Zig Ziglar would call “stinking thinking” as much as the recent GOP establishment moves in Ohio.