I preferred a world where conservative writers and talkers could make arguments and toss out theories, while the Republican Party was responsible for getting our candidates elected. Chatterers could take dazzlingly outre positions without ever having to deal with the muss and bother of facing the voters. Our job was to change public opinion; Politicians’ job was to reflect it.
It’s easy to act on pure principle if you don’t have to win elections. Look at Barry Goldwater. He decided he had to be consistent, because if there’s one thing people vote on, it’s absolute consistency! In pursuit of purist libertarianism, Goldwater voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act because of its restrictions on private businesses. He then went on to lose in a 44-state landslide. (The above remark about voters demanding consistency was ironic.)
Republicans woke up, got their act together, and won five of the next six presidential elections.
Recently, however, some of us noticed that national Republican committees have turned themselves into a Get-Rich-Quick scheme for political consultants. Instead of winning elections, a lot of consultants were more interested in lining their own bank accounts. Consequently, instead of making carefree arguments about privatizing lighthouses, the conservative chattering class had to add “electing Republicans” to their resumes because the party organizations had stopped doing that and somebody had to.
So far, the results have been catastrophic.
Polemicists are terrific at changing public discourse. They’re great at introducing new ideas into the intellectual bloodstream. They’re very, very bad at winning elections.
The only group worse at winning elections is the entire Republican consultant class, i.e., the people whose job it is to win elections. While the consultants are running campaigns like a three-card monte game, the conservative base has a tendency to give us Goldwater-style defeats in pursuit of ideological purity.
For reasons of purity, we dumped an unbeatable Republican candidate and ran a conservative activist with no electoral victories to her in name for the U.S Senate from Delaware – a state that hasn’t voted for a Republican president in nearly two decades. For no good reason, we threw out another sure-winner incumbent Republican senator from Indiana. Driven by a “Privatize the Lighthouses” purity, we ended up with a narcissistic loon running for the U.S. Senate from Missouri.
If you lose, you’ve accomplished nothing.
On one hand, until every official Republican election committee gives us the names of the money-grubbing consultants who made money by losing elections for the GOP, there’s no point in contributing to them. But, on the other hand, if conservative chatterers are going to keep assuming the duty of electing Republicans, they need to switch their focus from purity to victory.
If Republicans hadn’t lost at least nine easy senate elections through unforced errors in the last few election cycles, Obamacare would not be happening right now.
Unfortunately, Republican campaign consultants don’t care if they win or lose — and the Tea Party wants to lose in order to prove they were principled. As described in my new book, Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially a Republican, if those are the only two forces working to elect Republicans, the country is screwed.
Exclusive Excerpt From: Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially A Republican
On GOP Consultants
Let’s consider just one example of how Republicans lose winnable elections. In four separate Senate races, Republicans were screwed by campaign consultants fleecing deep-pocketed candidates rather than doing the hard work of electing Republicans. I salute anyone who runs for office as a Republican, but Linda McMahon in Connecticut and John Raese in West Virginia were lied to by campaign consultants who told them they had a shot.
Raese has lost four statewide elections in conservative West Virginia, including the 2010 and 2012 U.S. Senate elections. Republican wiz-kid consultants couldn’t learn after the first two? It’s great that they can afford Jaguars now, but because of their greed Republicans gave up two Senate seats from a state so conservative that even Democrats have to pretend to love guns and oppose Obamacare. (Let me introduce you to Senator Joe Manchin.)
In a textbook case of Republican malfeasance, Raese was mortally wounded by the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s “hickey” campaign commercial. The fact that everyone reading this does not instantly know what I’m talking about proves that Republicans do not punish the people who hurt them.
In 2010, the NRSC hired a Philadelphia ad agency to produce a TV ad for Raese. Knowing nothing about West Virginia, the Philadelphia firm ended up using actors who were something out of The Sopranos. Then it leaked that the Republicans’ ad agency had requested “hickey” actors for the West Virginia ad. Raese’s lead evaporated overnight. Why don’t we know the names of the moron Republicans who blew West Virginia? Who told Raese he could win? What genius at the NRSC came up with the idea to go to aPhiladelphia advertising agency for a West Virginia political campaign? (And is his brother-in-law still working there?)
I promise you, the Obama campaign organization in West Virginia was not being run out of Philadelphia. Republicans should refuse to give money to the Party until we have the names of these people and a blood oath that they will never be hired again. Instead, Raese and McMahon’s consultants will be probably wrecking the campaigns of five new Republican candidates in 2014.
No one gets rich by sabotaging the Democratic Party. But a lot of people get rich off losing races for the Republican Party.
Those races alone amount to at least three and maybe four more Senate seats Republicans should have picked up but lost for no good reason. (In West Virginia, Republicans could easily have won twice; in Connecticut at least once.)
Add those three seats the Republicans who had a sudden compulsion to talk about rape during their campaigns (Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Sharon Angle) and a Kamikaze candidate in Delaware (Christine O’Donnell), and Republicans would have a fifty-three-seat majority in the U.S. Senate.
We need to adopt the Democrats’ merciless enforcement techniques without the nutty ideology. Is that so hard? Instead, we keep getting all the passion with none of the discipline.
Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially a Republican is available at Amazon. Also check out: KMBZ Speakers Series with Ann Coulter at Union Station with Barber Financial Group and Rainy Day Books.