03.10.2014 0

Are Senate Republican failures the Tea Party’s fault?

NRSCBy Don Todd

It is an article of faith in Washington among the ruling class that were it not for those unreasonable conservatives like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee that Republicans would control the Senate.  Those are the types, so the mantra goes, who win primaries and then lose elections that could otherwise be won.  Were it not for them, Republicans would control both Houses of Congress rather than just one.  They invariably point to Richard Murdock of Indiana and Todd Akin of Missouri.

Granted they lost, but what about the anointed “reasonable” Republicans?  How have they done in recent elections?  To keep things simple let’s just look at the 2012 Senate elections.

Scott Brown the incumbent Senator from Massachusetts who was elected by promising to be unreasonable about Obamacare came to Washington and joined the smart set.  With all the advantages of incumbency he managed to get 46 percent of the vote against the fake Native American Elizabeth Warren.  He now is threatening to screw things up for the GOP in New Hampshire.

In Florida, Connie Mack IV son of the former reasonable Republican Senator Connie Mack III managed to round up 42 percent of the vote against Senator Bill Nelson who has a hard time stringing three words together.

Former reasonable Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra of Michigan got 38 percent against Debbie Stabenow whose approval rating has never been much over 40 percent.

Former ultra-reasonable Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson got 45 percent for an open Senate seat in New Mexico.

Tommy Thompson, the former Governor of Wisconsin who also occupied a chair in the Bush Cabinet collected 46 percent of the vote to lose to Tammy Baldwin by 5.5 percent in an open seat race.  Ms. Baldwin’s main claim to fame is that she is a self-proclaimed lesbian making her another first in the Senate.

Denny Rehberg even managed to lose in a state that Romney carried by nearly fourteen points.  Rehberg lost by a reasonable 4 points.

Romney received 58.3 percent of the vote in North Dakota.  In an open seat race North Dakota’s only Congressman Rick Berg lost to Heidi Heitkamp who ran on the issues of putting politics aside and being North Dakota nice.  It is unclear what issues Berg ran on.

The business as usual crowd is perfectly personified by the aforementioned Tommy Thompson.  He was Secretary of Health and Human Services for four years.  That put him in charge of one of the largest budget in the world.  Can anyone name one thing he did during his tenure?  I cheated and looked it up.  He stockpiled small pox vaccine. (PolitiFact, 7/30/12)

I could go on but the point is made.  Had these reasonable Republicans won these eminently winnable races Republicans would now control the Senate.  So how does it become the common wisdom that Tea Party unreasonable candidates are the cause of GOP minority status in the Senate?  Why are Murdock and Akin maligned and demonized while Brown, Mack, Hoekstra, Wilson, Thompson, Rehberg and Berg are held harmless?

Washington is a company town that is increasingly isolated from the rest of the country.  Brown, Mack, Hoekstra, Wilson, Thompson, Rehberg and Berg are part of the club that keeps it that way.  Murdock and Akin are not.  They would have and did rock the boat.

Consequently their words are taken out of context and they are hammered endlessly by Democratic operatives claiming to be journalists.  Meanwhile Vice President gaffe machine Joe Biden prattles on without notice while his President visits the 57 States.

As I look at the Republican establishment I am reminded of the words of Oliver Cromwell spoken on April 20, 1653, “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately… Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

The author is director of research at Americans for Limited Government

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