The NRSC Gets A Rude Awakening At Redstate

by John Hawkins | June 1, 2009 10:32 am

Robert Stacy McCain[1], Melissa Clouthier[2], Erick Erickson[3] and I have been complaining about the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s decision to endorse Charlie Crist in the Florida Republican Primary despite the fact that there was already an outstanding, viable, conservative candidate, Marco Rubio[4], in the primary.

The NRSC is supposed to represent all Republicans, so why do they want to slap conservatives in the face by endorsing Charlie Crist, a Republican who strongly supported Obama’s stimulus and just raised taxes? Nobody has said, “You should support Rubio over Crist, since he’s the conservative.” Nobody has said, “The NRSC shouldn’t ever support moderate candidates, even in liberal states.” To the contrary, the NRSC has simply been asked to remain neutral in the race. If they’re going to ask ALL Republicans to give them money, doesn’t it make sense that they’re going to actually represent all Republicans instead of actively working to undermine conservative Republicans?

You would think so.

…..But John Cornyn, who was last seen picking a fight with Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich[5] for being too tough on Sonia Sotomayor, disagreed and generously, Erick Ericksen gave him an opportunity to respond over at Redstate.

Here’s part of Cornyn’s reasoning[6] (such as it is) for torpedoing a young, charismatic, viable Hispanic conservative to try to help a candidate who’s so, let’s just say “open minded,” that the Club for Growth has publicly requested that he promise not to switch parties if elected,

There is no doubt both of these candidates have a bright future in the Republican Party. But with his record of leadership and astronomical approval ratings, including strong numbers among Republicans, Democrats and Independents, Charlie Crist represents the best chance for Republicans to hold this seat in Florida. That is why I endorsed Governor Crist for the U.S. Senate. That is also why Governor Crist was endorsed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, outgoing Florida U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, U.S. Senator John McCain, and other leaders within the Republican Party.

The NRSC’s endorsement is not a reflection on Marco Rubio; it is a realistic assessment of both the 2010 Florida Senate race and the national map. With the Democrats standing on the precipice of a filibuster-proof majority, we cannot afford to lose this seat in 2010. Endorsing Charlie Crist will save the NRSC precious resources that can be used to fight in other states. It will also ensure that the strongest Republican candidate maintains control of this seat, and build our numbers with the resulting opportunity to shape policy.

While Rubio is certainly an up-and-comer in Florida, a recent Mason Dixon poll showed that he only has a 44 percent name ID among Republicans, which will ultimately force him to spend a lot more money introducing himself to Floridians. Governor Crist, in contrast, has a 100 percent name ID among Republicans, according to the same poll. In a general election match-up with Democrat Congressman Kendrick Meek, Charlie Crist wins handily 55 percent to 24 percent.

I didn’t post Cornyn’s facile and arrogant blog missive to tear it apart. I put it up so that I could post the comments from Redstate. You see, Redstate, like Right Wing News, has an audience largely made up of active, conservative readers. On RWN, more than 90% of my readers vote and 60% of them went to tea parties. My guess is the numbers are similar over at Redstate — and although we’re just two blogs, our readers are very representative of the sort of people who make up the backbone of the Republican Party.

So, with that in mind, I was very interested to see the reaction in the comments section at Redstate to Cornyn’s post. Would they agree? Would they disagree? Would it be split? Answer: About 98% of the comments were negative and it’s worth reposting some of them to let the people at the NRSC know what the rest of us think about the disgraceful way they’ve behaved in this Florida primary,

Mike gamecock DeVine: It is truly sad to see how poor your NRSC collective judgment has fallen and how scared you all are of Obama and how little confidence you have in your conservative principles to carry us back to the majority.

We lost the majority due to people like Crist. That you don’t see that is quite sad.

Kitty Friday: It was the Dem establishment that said that Hillary was inevitable. They gave Obama zero chance.

Is it so hard for you to understand that Republicans may want a Republican to represent them. I have a feeling that Crist would run better as a Democrat than a Republican.

Give the voters a choice – they may just choose the Republican

Wubbies World: Dear Senator Cornyn…Thank you for posting here. It speaks well of your character and of of your intentions to come here and explain your position.

I understand the argument about trying to obtain the best candidate to win to regain the majority. However, I would like to counter that if that logic was used with Ronald Reagan he would have never been president.

May I ask how you have obtained the ability to know the political landscape in 2010? May I ask why you are unwilling to allow the Florida primary to play out on an even playing field?

Have you gotten tired of “Republicans” who are more “Democrat Lite” than they are Republicans? We have and that is why we are angry with your interference in this primary and other primaries.

Will we have a monolithic Republican party without moderates? No we will not have that and we don’t want that! However, when you have a Republican who is more Democrat than Republican on all the major issues (Arlen Specter) that is a bit much.

When given a choice between Democrat and Democrat Lite, the electorate has shown it will stick with the real thing instead of the “posers”.

How about if we run a primary on an even playing field and let the electorate decide, instead of a political party machine that has shown it is only good for losing the last two election cycles.

jeffreywturner: If we were talking about a state like Connecticut or Illinois, I could accept the argument that we should take whatever Republican we can get, because we are lucky just to be competative there. However, Florida is not like that. Republicans do just fine there and there is no reason we should have to accept a pro-porkulus candidate from that state. Does anyone really think that Kendrick Meek would defeat Rubio in a general election there

Lords86: With due respect, Senator….You’re argument defeats itself.

You cite the 2006 elections as a significant point in losing certain constituencies – independents, Hispanics and young voters.

Then, you cite the 2008 elections as further confirmation of those lost constituencies, “leaving Republicans in Washington with very little power to fight against wasteful spending. . .”

So, what does the NRSC do? Does it endorse the young, vibrant, conservative Hispanic, who has vociferously railed against government excesses of this Administration?

No, Senator Cornyn, under your leadership, the NRSC elects to support an older, establishment white male, who not only doesn’t argue against Obama’s liberal spending, but has publicly rallied around it.

And, your logic is that he’s electable – ok, great, so we elect an older, white male Republican who will vote for Obama’s stimulus plan, not against it. That’s real value added, Senator!

If you don’t ultimately see the fallacy in your position, Senator, then there is no hope for NRSC.

Save yourself $.44 – don’t bother to solicit me

mbecker908: However, I will note that while there may be 145 comments at this point, nary a single defense has come forth from Senator Cornyn. I personally find it tiresome that the so-called leaders of the Party come trouncing in here, throw up a weak defense of a decision or policy and then depart, never bothering to deal with any of the points raised by commenters. I frankly didn’t put much effort into my comment because there’s simply no point to it. There is no hint that they pay the slightest attention to well thought out and well presented comments, this stuff is nothing more than something they can point to and say they are “communicating”.

I’ll give the Bush White House credit for one thing during the run up to the Immigration Reform vote. They sent someone in here to post a diary and then they actually engaged in commentary with RS posters. That sort of behavior is apparently below Congresscritters and frankly I find it offensive. Franz can get away with blanket statements because he’s just that much smarter and that much better than the rest of the world. John Cornyn and the rest of the pathetic group know to us as the Republican Congressional Leadership aren’t anywhere near that good.

Scott Mustian: Senator Cornyn,

I appreciate your willingness to reach out to the concerns to Red State readers. While I still disagree with your position, you are at least not ignoring the objections.

I still believe beltway insiders are missing the big picture within not only the party but the electorate in general. You are playing the safe “politics as usual” with this senate seat further reinforcing the distress many conservatives feel with the Republican party. Most of us still felt like John McCain became the nominee without the support of actual Republicans and especially conservatives..

You have missed a golden opportunity to have the Republican party choose its candidate. Had you allowed Governor Crist to pursue the seat in a neutral environment and he won, you would have had the enthusiastic support of conservatives in the general election. Instead a Crist victory will further remind the conservative base that the party is not listening.

Furthermore imagine the message for 2012 if Rubio is victorious for the seat in 2010 … as a fellow conservative I have to believe you really want to see real conservatives triumph.

There is hunger for honest politicians running on principles and not conventional politics. I live in Kentucky and it has been distressing watching the machinations regarding Senator Bunning. I feel like we are being moved to another insider career politician who will speak one way and legislate another … time will tell how this plays out but I hope the NRSC will at least stay out of this race if Senator Bunning does retire.

Hey, NRSC, “communication” isn’t just “you talk, we obey your commands.” It goes both ways. So, maybe the staffers who wrote that post for John Cornyn can collect these comments and send them over to him so he can get a real picture of what people outside of DC think about the issue.

  1. Robert Stacy McCain:
  2. Melissa Clouthier:
  3. Erick Erickson:
  4. Marco Rubio:
  5. Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich:
  6. Cornyn’s reasoning:

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