John Fund reports that two old Republican lions of the Senate are working to see that their own party fails to recapture the Senate in this year’s mid-terms.
The latest apostate is former senator John Warner of Virginia, who announced this week he is backing incumbent Democratic senator Mark Warner for reelection. He is thus giving the back of his hand to former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, a former George W. Bush adviser, who has a decent shot at winning and is no wild-eyed radical. Last year, Warner also endorsed the Georgia candidacy of Michelle Nunn, a Democrat, who is the daughter of former senator Sam Nunn, with whom Warner served in the Senate. He even attended a fundraiser on her behalf. Georgia Republicans who find themselves defending an open Senate seat in Georgia are furious since the Warner support allows Nunn to position herself as a bipartisan moderate.
Nor is Warner the only problem ex-senator the GOP has to contend with as it strives to assemble a team capable of winning a Senate majority. Former senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who lost his Senate GOP primary in 2012 to conservative Richard Mourdock and then declined to endorse him, has also endorsed Nunn and had his political PAC send her the maximum $5,000 contribution. Nunn praised Lugar for his “collaborative approach” and pledged to “follow this legacy in the U.S. Senate.”
Recapturing the Senate is the GOP’s priority mission this year. These two establishment, elite Republicans are doing what they can to keep the Senate under the Democrats’ control, leaving Harry Reid in charge. Keeping the Senate in Harry Reid’s hands ultimately ensures that Barack Obama can finish out his term unchallenged. A divided Congress cannot effectively check him. The divided Congress can’t even act in the VA scandal.
Warner and Lugar exhibit that tendency of the Republican establishment to go along with the Democrats, while lecturing Tea Partiers to be “team players” and just back the GOP incumbent/primary winner if they happen to be from the establishment. But when Lugar lost his seat to a Tea Party challenger, he stomped off and refused to be a team player.
It would do the RNC and the NRSC a world of good to come out hard against Warner’s and Lugar’s betrayal.