Republican primary pretenders: Caveat emptor
By Mark Alexander
Across our nation, there are a few hotly contested federal and state Republican primaries in which genuine conservative candidates are facing wealthy pretenders who are recasting themselves as "conservative." These imitators can fund unlimited advertising and social media buys for their makeovers.
Some "conservative" candidates are, at best, moderates.
A case study of how such pretenders operate is the primary campaign between those seeking to become Tennessee's 50th governor. One candidate, Randy Boyd, hails from a well-heeled family and is a likable candidate. He is a husband and father, and he has supported some initiatives that have helped his community of Knoxville, Tennessee.
But he is not a "conservative Republican," despite the facade that he and his handlers have erected for their campaign to defeat an unpretentious and unapologetic conservative, Rep. Diane Black.
Let me be clear: My objection is not that Boyd is a moderate. I am a pragmatist and sometimes a moderate is the best a primary has to offer. My objection is that he's a pretender who is endeavoring to dupe millions of conservative Tennessee voters into believing he's one of them. He self-identified as a "moderate" when he was exploring his candidacy, but he now insists he's a "lifelong conservative" and his brand is "Conservative for Governor." The political campaign deceptions he condones demonstrate a serious underlying character flaw.
This example of re-fabrication is being repeated in other Republican primaries across the nation. Perhaps this opinion/analysis of one such campaign will inspire the exposure of other pretenders.
Attempting to ride the wake of Donald Trump's presidential victory, Boyd, a quintessential "Never Trumper," claims, "I'm not a professional politician. I'm a businessman." He portrays himself as a "political outsider," but in fact he's the most insidious variety of political insiders — those who are not elected but use their wealth to buy into political circles and influence government policies.
In fact, Boyd has spent much of his career hobnobbing around with rich politicos like Tennessee's current governor, Bill Haslam — another establishment Republican. Boyd was appointed to a couple of administrative roles by Haslam, grooming his own run for governor. Like Haslam, he's a wealthy jet-setter who is disconnected from grassroots Americans, and he uses his affluence to live as if recreation were his occupation, spending extravagantly on himself and his family. Of his personal pursuits, he says, "I've been a little selfish in that I pick the things I'm most passionate about and go for those things." Like his estate in Argentina...
Boyd amassed most of his estimated $800 million fortune by marketing products made in China and other countries, while sheltering some of his wealth overseas. As for the jobs he claims to have created, many have not been in the U.S. and others have been outsourced to foreign producers.
In 2016, Boyd supported the establishment Republican presidential primary candidate, Jeb Bush, and refused to raise money for Trump after he won the primary. Bush has, in turn, endorsed Boyd.
He claims ubiquitously that "freedom should carry forward to social issues." (Like abortion and so-called "gay marriage," which is supported by Boyd's liberal church. His companies also support LGBT activist groups.) His campaign is supported by wealthy donors who also back Planned Parenthood.
He says he supports the Second Amendment and claims to be an avid hunter, and he recently purchased an NRA membership to support that pretense. In fact, he supports "animal rights" groups that oppose hunters, and Boyd has organizational ties to anti-2A leftist billionaires Michael Bloomberg and George Soros.
He supports "corporate welfare" and is a strong supporter of Obama's unratified Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is opposed by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton but would boost Boyd's net worth.
Boyd is a member of the Partnership for a New American Economy, backed by leftist Michael Bloomberg, which advocates for illegal immigrants. Boyd's group partnered with Welcoming America to support sanctuary cities. Welcoming America is backed by leftist George Soros, the godfather of the archenemies of Liberty.
Boyd supported and donated to the campaign of Knoxville's Democrat Mayor Madeline Rogero, who promotes open borders, opposes cooperation with immigration officials, and has turned Knoxville into a sanctuary city — the only one in Tennessee.
He supports free tax-funded tuition for illegal immigrants, and he remains on the board of Barack Obama's College Promise Campaign, a project of the leftist Civic Nation started by Obama activists. Among other things, CPC promises education for "undocumented students."
He donated $250,000 to La Raza affiliate Conexion Americas, a leftist Democrat Party front group that supports sanctuary cities and open borders and opposes President Trump's border security and immigration reform policies.
Are you beginning to see a pattern here?
All of this notwithstanding, Boyd is flooding the media markets with campaign ads insisting that he and Donald Trump are "a lot alike." But seasoned political observer Jackson Baker offered this assessment of the stark contrast between Boyd's campaign facade and reality:
Regarding the disconnect between the facade he has created — pretending to be a "principled conservative" — and his record, Boyd said, "If I'm running to be the Republican nominee in Tennessee, I want Republican voters to see that I'm one of them."
Or at least to think he's one of them...
Fact is, Boyd has been polling behind Tennessee's genuine conservative Republican candidate, Diane Black. Consequently, he and his campaign CEO, Chip Saltsman, a onetime RNC chair wannabe and Mike Huckabee campaign operative, have unleashed a torrent of fallacious negative ads against Black. (Saltsman's RNC bid failed after the press exposed his promotion of the song "Barack the Magic Negro.")
Saltsman has perfected the art of violating what Ronald Reagan's California Republican chairman labeled "The Eleventh Commandment" — that Republicans in primaries should not engage in fratricidal infighting. His modus operandi is to sandbag Republican primary candidates in the final weeks of campaigns, when there is no time to counter mendacious accusations. (No doubt that in response to this opinion/analysis, he will turn his guns on The Patriot Post.)
Boyd and Saltsman are now attempting to defeat Rep. Black with what can only be charitably described as abject lies, the most recent of these declaring that "DC Diane" (asserting that she's a career politician) was a "Never Trumper." They are using multimillion-dollar PACs to advance their racist and sexist deceits about Black's conservative legislative record. They shrewdly enlisted Saltsman's old boss, Mike Huckabee, to endorse Boyd, knowing that would then create a Sarah Huckabee Sanders gauntlet against President Trump endorsing Diane Black.
Why would Trump endorse Rep. Black? For the same reasons I endorse and support her candidacy. (In fact, attesting to their conservative pedigree, Diane's husband, a decorated USMC Vietnam veteran, was a Patriot Post supporter before she went to Congress.)
This authentic conservative, who should be Tennessee's first female governor, was swept into congressional office in the Republican Wave of 2010, and her gubernatorial candidacy has the endorsement of Tennessee's most conservative constituent groups.
Those of you who aren't steeped in Tennessee politics but follow national legislation and policy would know Black's name in connection with the House Budget Committee. She was the first woman to chair that powerful committee and last year she shepherded Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 through her committee and through Congress. That legislation has since unleashed incredible economic growth to Make America Great Again.
It was the fist time in almost a decade that the House and Senate passed a budget. As Donald Trump noted, "Diane Black, the highly respected House Budget Committee Chairwoman, did a GREAT job in passing [the] Budget, setting up big Tax Cuts."
In fact, Rep. Black was at Trump's side yesterday, leading the discussion on the next phase of Trump's economic plans.
Notably, one of Black's most recent legislative bills would make illegal entry into the U.S. a felony, in contrast to Boyd's advocacy for illegal immigration.
Bottom line: Conservatives across the country should take a close look at the background of those primary candidates marketing themselves as "conservatives," because the pretenders are propagating. Caveat emptor!
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.