You’ve all heard people say it and you might believe it yourself. “I like Clint Didier, but I have to vote for Dino Rossi, because he is the only one who can beat Patty Murray.” Really?
With stubborn wrongheadedness, mainstream Republicans cling steadfastly to the belief that only the moderate, not really conservative candidate can win, even though it has proven to be a faulty strategy. The same thing, after all, was said about McCain. On blog after blog, on the radio and on Facebook they keep insisting that Rossi is the only one who can win, as if by chanting it in recitation together their cosmic mantra will somehow make it so.
Rossi made the list of Crew’s Crooked Candidates. Granted, this site is run by admitted progressives, but they do list the reasons for his inclusion and they are troubling. Guilt by association with criminals might not be sufficient to convict him in a court of law, but perceptions by voters DO influence elections. If you look at the left’s websites, they have plenty of dirt ready to sling at Rossi. Wouldn’t it be great to have a candidate who is not so tainted?
Rossi’s appearing at a sales event promoting making money off of foreclosures after declaring his candidacy might not be illegal, but it was certainly tasteless given the suffering of so many in this economic downturn. It plays seamlessly into the “sleazy real estate dealings” accusation.
Jumping in at the last minute and not running a real campaign or engaging the other candidates might be perceived as a clever political strategy. In fact I have seen his hiding out referred to as “expert political gamesmanship” and “he only loses if he engages the other candidates in the primary, so why should he do that?”
Only thing is, ducking and hiding might be praised by politicos but it is not well perceived in the general public, who are certainly more than a little tired of politicking over principles and fluff over substance. In fact it has angered a number of hardcore conservatives to the point where they have said the death knell words, “If Rossi wins the primary I will not vote for him at all. I will write in a candidate or I will leave my vote blank.” It wouldn’t take a lot of them to ensure a Rossi loss.
With a growing number of Republicans feeling burned by the Party attitude of “we’ll just ignore our base because we can count on them anyway,” a portion of that base could well just decide to send the Republican Party leadership a message. “Ignore us at your peril and we will punish you. Even if it means sending a Democrat back to Congress, because you have not been listening.”
Then there is the real threat of the Tea Party, which has polled better than Republicans when pitted against them as a potential political party. It is whispered about at Republican meetings and it is the elephant in the room of the Elephant Party. It is openly spoken about at Patriot gatherings and blogged about frequently. If the Republican Party does not give the Patriots real Constitutionalist/Liberty-oriented conservative candidates and show their support for them, in the next election cycle they just might break free and the Grand Old Party would become the irrelevant third party. Something like the Rossi debacle could be the catalyst for a scenario like this.
Washington’s top two primary system adds ease to this switch as candidates, with the flick of a pen, can merely decide to write “Tea Party” as their party rather than “Republican”. A wholesale party defection becomes as simple as a number of disgusted and disgruntled candidates deciding to do just that.
As the Party scrambles to attempt to co-opt and absorb the Tea Party, arrogantly certain that they can control the “rebels” and keep them in the fold, I think they misjudge the depth of the anger of conservative voters. Obama Democrats campaign as Socialists and deliver a Socialist agenda. But moderate/mainstream Republicans campaign as smaller government Constitutional Conservatives and then vote just like the Democrats, ignoring the Party Platform that is desired by their base. In other words, they lie to get in office. This lying is what has created the anger that could force the split.
While this split might not be the “best” political strategy, as it could divide the conservatives, the GOP might go down so fast that the Tea Party (in an ironic twist) could be the ones co-opting the Republicans as conservatives realize that they have no alternative but to vote “Tea Party”. Or the division could cause a split which might ensure that the Socialists finish what they have started and the Republic, as once we knew it, dies forever. Such are the stakes.
Grassroots Patriots working within the Republican Party to stop corruption and get the Party back on track with its constituency have been repeatedly ridiculed and demonized as “extremists” and “whack jobs” even though, in actuality, they are the only ones with a coherent strategy for keeping the conservatives together in one party, working to fix the problems from within, rather than allowing what could be a disastrous split.
In the battle to keep our Constitutional Republic alive, this is the high drama, the defining point, the real crux of the issue, all going on under the media’s radar. While the Republic rests on thin ice, the decisions of relatively small groups of people will actually control the outcome of whether America as envisioned by the Founders survives, or whether it becomes a footnote in history.