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Conservatives &Virginia politics Richard Falknor on 01 May 2009 11:19 am

Haunted by Specter — and Hopeful for Tea Party “Coups”

Maryland and Virginia have two state-wide Republican political gatherings this month:  Maryland’s starting today, and Virginia’s at the end of the month

Below are two of today’s perspectives — those of Kimberley Strassel and Erick Erickson — which may be of real help to Maryland and Virginia conservatives right now, as they chart their course.

But first, let us take a look at still another GOP Beltway misstep —

The GOP Establishment — “The Right-Wing Party of Big Government”?

And if there were any doubt that conservatives need to act quickly to put the national GOP establishment right, yesterday’s Politico article here “NRSC abandoning Toomey?” should dispel any hesitation:

 “The National Republican Senatorial Committee is recruiting Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) to run for the Senate because it views Pat Toomey as unelectable against Sen. Arlen Specter, according to Gerlach’s lead consultant.

According to Gerlach consultant Mark Campbell, Cornyn reached out to Gerlach this morning, and the two are expected to chat about the Senate race this afternoon.

‘They are interested in Jim running for the United States Senate,’ said Campbell. ‘The senatorial committee has told me that Toomey is unelectable in a general election.’

But National Review On Line’s (NRO) Jim Geraghty gives us his deja vu perspective here

“All of This Has Happened Before . . .

Look, there’s a lot of evidence that Pat Toomey is way too conservative for the seat he’s running for, and just doesn’t have a chance to win.

Stuart Rothenberg writes, “Republicans should be concerned about Toomey’s ability to hold together the GOP coalition, as well as whether he can appeal to blue-collar voters.”

The Wall Street Journal followed him on the campaign trail and noticed the lack of response, writing, “A few people accept his brochure at the door; at other homes, there’s no response at all.”

Of all the top campaign watchers — Roll Call, Campaigns and Elections — nobody favors him to win.

The Boston Globe called him “an Allentown restaurateur whom the pros don’t take seriously.” The New York Times notes that the opposition has galvanized “more than 40,000 telephone calls through paid and volunteer efforts.”

Oh, wait, all of those quotes are about his 1998 race for the open House seat in Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district, which he won, 55 percent to 45 percent. (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Not surprisingly, Mr. Gerlach gets a 41 per cent rating (C-) from the National Taxpayers Union for 2008  here.

NRO’s David Freddoso notes yesterday that —

Gerlach tells CQ that he is not closing the door on running against former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) for the Senate nomination. Gerlach (lifetime ACU rating: 60) has narrowly held onto his suburban Philadelphia Congressional District since he first won it in 2002.

Yesterday Mr. Gerlach voted for so-called hate-crimes-prevention legislation.

Faithful readers will recall  only around two weeks ago, we noted the Hill’s report here that “NRSC formally backs Specter in 2010.” 

Spectral Evidence

The insightful Kimberley Strassel in her “The GOP After Specter — The party needs a healthy debate, but not because he’s left” in today’s Wall Street Journal here explains:

“With a popular president now branding the GOP as the ‘party of no,’ there will be a strong Republican temptation to cut deals on health-care or energy, hoping to get credit for bipartisanship, or for making policies less bad. But the GOP will never win running as a less enthusiastic version of big-government Democrats. Washington votes are the only way for congressional Republicans to actually demonstrate a philosophy to voters, and it is here the party must reclaim its mantle of the party of limited government and entrepreneurship.

This is different from a message of outreach, which the party also desperately needs, but is accomplished primarily in the field. It involves members explaining to younger constituents why old-fashioned principles of choice and freedom still work for modern problems like health care. It means transmitting a welcome to those attracted to even one part of the conservative philosophy — free markets, strong national security, social values — even if not all.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Strassel also warns – –

Trying to mold this thinking around Arlen Specter will only prove an exercise in confusion. It already is.

Tea Parties and Coups

To make the most of today’s situation, conservatives should act decisively, as Red State’s Erick Erickson declares here in his “At play in the field of tea parties — Put down the tea bags and launch a coup.” – –

No, I’m not advocating a coup against the country. I’m advocating a coup against the Republican Party. And not so much an overthrowal as an infiltration and reform.”
. . . . .
“But the tea parties are never going to be treated seriously long term unless the energy is harnessed toward the accumulation of power. The best way to do that is to infiltrate the GOP and start cleaning it up.”
. . . . .
The key point here is that everyone should put down the tea bags and show up at their next local GOP meeting and start freaking out the establishment by taking it over.”
(Underscoring Forum’s.)

The enthusiastic response of mainstream Americans to the recent tea parties suggests that there may be real political changes afoot. GOP  grass-roots from the Old Line State and the Old Dominion must plan their next state-wide moves with care at this critical time – – to ensure that their voice becomes the voice of the Republican party.


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