The GOP: Locked, loaded & aiming for its own foot...again
By Frank Salvato
web posted September 20, 2010
"Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." – Ronald Reagan, The Eleventh Commandment of Republican Politics
And so it begins. The establishment Republican Party has loaded the gun and is now pointing the barrel directly at its own foot; a situation all too familiar for those of us who, in the past, have watched the Republican Party snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. How they are handling the Tea Party movement – or, rather, how they are trying to man-handle the Tea Party movement – is a perfect example. In the end, victory or defeat will hinge on whether or not the establishment GOP party leaders shake-off the stench of arrogance and elitism.
Violating President Ronald Reagan’s “11th Commandment of Republican Politics,” many establishment Republicans – political operatives in the Republican Party at the national and state leadership levels – reacted foolishly to the news that an inexperienced, Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell beat incumbent RINO US Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican Senatorial primary. And while it is true that there is legitimacy to their gripes about the increased workload created by O’Donnell’s win, it is also true that this is exactly the kind of fight that a political creature thrives on: a come from behind election campaign to win with an underdog candidate.
In the immediate aftermath of Ms. O’Donnell’s victory in Delaware, an unnamed aide for the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee said that the organization would not fund or support her campaign or candidacy. To his credit, RSCC chairman John Cornyn (R-TX), came out early the next morning and disavowed that statement, committing to support Ms. O’Donnell and her campaign, and pledging financial support in the maximum amount allowed.
And while Karl Rove may have been correct when he opined immediately after O’Donnell was projected to win the contest that, “This is about Mike Castle’s bad votes,” the usually quite astute Rove not only obliterated Reagan’s 11th Commandment (something he knew better than to do), he went to great lengths to alienate the most potent political movement in the country – the Tea Party movement, a move that does not facilitate a much needed symbiotic relationship between the Tea Party movement and the establishment GOP. To say that Rove’s actions were a rare political blunder is to be kind.
Instead of trying to smear and defund the now Republican Senatorial candidate from Delaware, Ms. O'Donnell, he should have immediately begun counselling the national and state level GOP hierarchy on how to win with an underdog candidate; an underdog candidate who is polling just 11 percentage point behind her Democrat opposition, quasi-Socialist Chris Coons, and who has an unstoppable political movement in her corner. Mr. Rove should have begun counselling the establishment GOP on how they should begin reaching out to the voters of Delaware with reasons why the Republican platform -- the original, limited government, limited taxation, strong defence, fiscally responsible, Constitution adhering original platform -- would serve them better than the Socialist agenda promoted by today’s Progressive dominated Democrat Party.
But, Karl Rove, someone I usually hold in high regard, continued his misguided attack on Ms. O’Donnell the day after the primary, even if a bit less enthusiastically:
“I’ve met her. I wasn’t frankly impressed by her abilities as a candidate...One thing that O’Donnell is now going to have to answer in the General Election that she didn't in the primary is her own checkered background.
“There were a lot of nutty things she has been saying that don't add up...Why did she mislead voters about her college education? How come it took nearly two decades to pay her college bills so she could get her college degree? How did she make a living?
“I’m for the Republican, but we were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate. We are now looking at seven to eight in my opinion...It does Conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for.
“I think she's right on the issues but I think the voters of Delaware are not going to want to know just if you're right on the issues but if you have the character and record and background that [shows] me that you're the right person for the job.”
Truthfully, if Ms. O’Donnell is right on the issues then she is right on the issues, period. That it took her an extended amount of time to pay-off her college loans is irrelevant; at least she had the integrity to pay her loans back, something that a great number of Americans can’t say for themselves. And as for how she makes a living? At least she isn’t a nine-year Congressman like Mike Castle who entered into political office with a modest portfolio only to emerge today as a millionaire eight times over. But I digress...
One can only believe that either Mr. Rove is intentionally antagonizing the Tea Party rank-and-file in an effort to supercharge their efforts; spurring them on to assure victory (I would like to believe this is the case), or he truly is married to the inside-the-beltway, elitist status quo machine. The latter would be stunning, given his ability to employ an extended vision on political matters.
In not embracing Ms. Donnell and the many other Tea Party-backed victors of this primary season, the establishment GOP is not only shirking its responsibility to do what a national political party is supposed to do – the hard work of knock on every door, calling every voter, engaging the electorate with facts and common sense, educating the media and, essentially, making the cases for their candidates and their platforms – but it appears, I fear, that they have embraced the same elitist, inside the beltway mentality that has led an overwhelming majority of Americans to turn against not only the Democrat Party but politicians as a whole. It seems they have forgotten what “grass roots” is all about; what the American political process was established to be...working from the bottom up and not the top down.
Common sense mandates that if the establishment GOP can’t craft and employ a convincing message that results in “a win” in a state with a more limited number of voters, it will be impossible for them to employ a winning message in cobalt blue states like California, Illinois and New York; states with larger numbers of votes in the Electoral College when considering the Presidential Election. It is for this reason that any and all animosity between the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party – on all levels; national, state and local – must be eliminated...yesterday.
The Republican Party must – must – rededicate itself to its founding principles: a dedication to constitutional principles, philosophies and limitations, a strong, prudent and principled national security, and a well-maintained infrastructure; interestingly, the very tenets of the Tea Party movement. It must also dedicate itself to a radical departure from its contemporary practice of being the mirror opposite of the Democrat Party. Being the mirror opposite of the party that has allowed Progressive-Leftists, Socialists and Marxists to ascend to leadership is to allow Progressive-Leftists, Socialists and Marxists to control the agenda. This is exactly how the radical Left has recalibrated the ideological and philosophical “center” of our society – the moral “center” of our nation – incremental to the Left for over a century now, beginning with the Wilson presidency.
Stoking animosity between the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party, creating a divide between these two like-minded groups, is the goal that the Progressive-Left desperately needs to achieve if they hope to not suffer unrecoverable defeat on November 2, 2010 and November 6, 2012. That the establishment GOP would fall for this manipulation, this tactic, would be a testimony not only to the unbridled ego of some whose extended tenure of influence should be legitimately questioned, but the stupidity that that egotism affords.
Truth be told, Delaware will be the early indicator on November 2, 2010. If, as the polls close and the results start to come in, we see that Christine O’Donnell wins, we can expect to see similar results across the country; results that will be recorded in the history books as more of an achievement of the American people – of our love of country and all it holds for us – than of a political party.
The revolution has begun and the establishment GOP had better get behind it. To do anything else is to flirt with relegating the Grand Old Party to third party status...and that, my friends, would be a very dark day for American politics indeed.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show, nationally syndicated by the Phoenix Broadcasting Network and on NetTalkWorld Global Talk Radio catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. Mr. Salvato is also heard weekly on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is a featured political writer for EducationNews.org and is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.