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Back in March, Redstate’s Erick Erickson revealed that Republican Main Street Partnership — a PAC headed by liberal Republican Steve LaTourette – would be sponsoring an early April weekend retreat at Amelia Island in Florida. The retreat’s sole purpose was to discuss strategy for Republican incumbents facing primary challenges from conservative/tea party upstarts. (Shortly after receiving the exposure from Erickson, the listing from Main Street Partnership’s “Events” page disappeared.)

John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy were all slated to attend the retreat; Boehner dropped out at the last minute. But Cantor did attend, headlining the event. Main Street Partnership has done a bang-up job of keeping the event’s occurrences under wraps since then — little information and no recordings have leaked from the conference. However, Eric Cantor’s campaign stands as a useful guide to the goings-on back in April.

Cantor was the headliner, and his campaign took a definable tack following the event. Again and again, Cantor labeled Dave Brat a “liberal” — a “liberal college professor”; a guy serving on Tim Kaine’s economic board; etc. — and Cantor presented himself as an anti-amnesty champion. Essentially, Cantor’s game plan for the campaign was to consistently describe his challenge from the right as a challenge from the left. While his campaign carried out a number of dubious tactics at the grassroots level and at GOP district conventions for winning the support of politically active Seventh District Virginians, his plan for reaching the “low-information voter” was to reframe the contest.

That is, to fabricate the contest. Cantor did not make any attempt to convince voters that his “moderate” path was the best way forward for the district; he instead assumed a mantle of constitutional conservatism that bore no resemblance to his actual record or platform. And he absolutely refused to debate or to respond to Brat’s charges or platform in any manner.

And that was it. He lost terribly, for various reasons I’ve covered for months here, but he primarily lost because his ads and mailers didn’t fool a soul, revealed him to be a dishonest politician to anyone paying even a moment’s attention, and because he gave Brat a tremendous boost in name recognition among people who already knew Cantor had no business claiming to be a conservative warrior.

So: based on Cantor’s campaign, we have to assume Amelia Island’s “summary for policymakers” consisted of the following:

a) Label your opponent a “liberal.” The conservative base won’t turn out if the opponent is assumed to be, well, another version of you. And your likely underfunded opponent will not have the resources to combat the charge.

b) Tie your opponent to a well-known Democrat whom the district’s GOP voters universally despise.

c) Don’t debate.

I’m sure they prettied it up with pseudo-professional D.C. lingo to pass themselves as experts — “executables,” “achievables,” etc. — but the above three points must have been Amelia Island in a nutshell. And we have significantly more evidence of that based on the current campaign of Richard Hanna (R-NY), the Main Street Partnership member from New York’s 22nd facing a tough combatant Tuesday in stalwart conservative Claudia Tenney. Hanna also happens to be the second-biggest recipient of donations from Main Street Partnership for this election cycle.

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All Comments   (10)
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Cantor RINOism = FAIL

John McCain wrote the book on running against a conservative challenger. Just lie to the people of Arizonas faces about your policy positions, then back to RINOism after the election.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can just see the meeting with all the political operatives telling these guys, "This is how the Dems win their elections, so we should copy their playbooks. Just spend a bunch of money, and tell lies faster than the other guy can refute them. Just vilify them."

Well, that might work, if you have the MSM backing your play, and if you were courting the votes of the Low Info Voters... and if it weren't a REPUBLICAN primary, you idiots! Geez!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
These groups also lie about their candidate's support for amnesty. They run ads saying they support 'border security first' and 'fixing our broken immigration system'.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't have a big problem with Richard Hanna being a non-conservative Republican if trying to replace him with a more conservative candidate results in the Democrats winning NY-22 in the fall. Bad campaign tactics, but Hanna was an owner of a construction company with a successful life outside of politics. My problem is that the federal government is so big and powerful that a primary election in a Baja Ontario could have a significant impact on my life in North Texas.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amelia Island?

AMELIA’s Island?

That mythical place long sought but never found? That speck on the horizon, so small that every cloud, shadow and reflection on the shimmering ocean appears just as large, and deceives you a single degree off course with “hope” that you’ve at last spotted it, and leads you to a watery doom?

That ever tantalizing prize, to Circle the World, dependent on such an inhospitable anchor point? The whole of the mission dependent upon the nearly impossible? The absolute longest of odds, with nothing less than DEATH (of the Republic) the price of your almost certain failure?

Ahh, yes, but only if…
We could sound “nice” like the democrats.
We could “appease the media” with “me too” demonization of the Tea Party.
We could deflect “racism” with surrender to “amnesty”.
And gain “the youth” with forgiven student loans.
THEN we could “win over the moderates”…

Who would be “sophisticated” enough to know we’re only PRETENDING to be *gag/spit* “conservatives” because we “have to”, in order to Fool the Rubes they also despise…

And Amelia’s Island will lead us there.

It will work. It will HAVE to work.

And all we have to do is lie and deceive. To cheat and collude and defraud. To deny and surrender, to further Plunder The Republic to secure that Precious Foothold on Amelia’s Island…. That tiny strip of Political Quicksand that No Good Ship has ever landed, without either floundering or losing their Mortal Soul. The one governed since the dawn of time by the Darkest Rules of Ugly Nature, now ruled by a capricious Media/State Tide that conceals every reef, and conspires with Vicious Natives to destroy all who dare enter under the Wrong Flag.

But we can do it, THIS time….

We will trust the Media to fairly man the Lighthouses, for they arranged our bribe of the natives to burn torches for our approach….And we’ll agree to bring a cargo of trinkets for the Kings, Head-Hunters and Witch Doctors they lord over, praising “Big Chief State” for the rising sun and phasing moon, as he subjugates the natives who foolishly worship him like a God .…if we only kiss their token idols, and bow to their False God too, we can TRICK THEM ALL into safe passage for points beyond, and then….

Yes, it will work…it will HAVE to work

And we will then, AT LAST, complete our Circle Around the World.

So, with my deepest apologies to the brave and tenacious Lady Earhart/Putnam and Mr. Noonan for the poetic license I took with their memories and achievements, I say…

That RINOS have chosen the metaphorically perfect place, and name, for a perfect, fatal strategy….

Win or lose, God help us all
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Primary the bastards!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where are the snarky comments from the establishment faithful? I know you're out there. This is disappointing....
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Could this rightly be called "the LaTourette's Syndrome" of campaign strategies?
(spewing verbal filth and calling it the truth).

Plus, anything that involves Karl Rove can not be good for anything conservative. He is a snake in the grass in the classic sense of the phrase (hint: he ain't working for our side folks, Rove is one of the best weapons the Democrats have)!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
RINOs delenda est.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amelia Island -- who knew? Thank you Mr Steinberg.
Meanwhile Cantor and his creepy cohorts are in a deep hole and still digging...
Time to start taking names.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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