Ronald Reagan is often quoted as saying that someone who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is an ally, not an enemy. Which is fine as far as it goes. But what about Republicans who regularly violate the GOP platform and fall well below the 80 percent threshold?
Meanwhile, the late, great conservative William F. Buckley is often quoted as saying conservatives should support the most conservative candidate who can win; meaning in Democrat-leaning districts, a moderate Republican would be preferable to a liberal Democrat.
But what if the moderate Republican is running in a Republican-leaning district? In that case, according to a new project recently launched by the conservative Club for Growth, all bets are off.
In announcing its newest micro-site, the Club says the purpose of PrimaryMyCongressman.com is “to raise awareness of Republicans in Name Only (RINOs) who are currently serving in safe Republican seats.”
Noting that “big government liberals” are “far too common within the Republican Party,” the new website highlights members of Congress whose lifetime rating from the Club is less than 70 percent but who represent districts which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won by over 60 percent.
So we’re talking about Republicans who don’t meet Reagan’s 80 percent threshold and who clearly do not have to vote like a Democrat to get elected in their districts. In other words, prime primary bait.
For example, the Club points to Rep. Mike Simpson, Idaho Republican, whose Lifetime Club for Growth Rating is a paltry 58 percent. Yet Mitt Romney carried Simpson’s district with 64 percent of the vote. Without doubt, a more conservative candidate could win and hold this seat. Let the primary begin!
A very similar situation exists here in Nevada, where far too many moderate Republicans currently represent Republican-majority districts.
For example, Assemblyman Lynn “The Bug Man” Stewart represents District 22 in Clark County, which has over 2,000 more Republican voters than Democrats. Yet Stewart’s 2011 conservative rating from my organization, Citizen Outreach, was a sickening 30 percent. Prime primary bait.
Or worse, Assemblyman Tom Grady represents District 38 in rural Nevada. He enjoys an overwhelming GOP registration advantage of well over 8,000 voters. Yet he only chalked up a 43 percent conservative score in 2011. Prime primary bait.
Then there’s State Sen. Joe “The Nanny” Hardy of District 12 in Clark County; the worst-voting liberal Republican you’ll find in the upper house. He enjoys a very comfortable 5,000+ voter registration advantage, but is a nanny-stater who rarely met a tax he didn’t hike.
Indeed, Hardy is the last remaining Republican legislator who voted for the Mother of All Tax Hikes in 2003. If he’s not prime primary bait for 2014, I don’t know who is.
Hmmm. I wonder what I should do with this website PrimaryMyLegislator.com which I acquired this week?
* * * * *
It’s Time for Republicans to Stop “Compromising”
Here’s why Republicans in Carson City absolutely, positively shouldn’t “compromise” with Democrats this legislative session; at least not as they have in the past…
“By definition, compromise is a settlement of differences with mutual concessions being made by both parties,” writes former California Republican State Sen. Bill Richardson in his book titled Confrontational Politics. “This is how the dictionary defines the word. Both sides give up something.
“But this is not how the leftists compromise. They will ask for 100 percent then give in a little on their outlandish demands when opposition becomes formidable. They may call it compromise, but what are they giving up? Absolutely nothing!”
Richardson continues: “Are they relinquishing control or perhaps abandoning some other established bureaucracy in order to negotiate in good faith? Never. They relinquish nothing while insisting we compromise away a piece of our freedom.
“When we object, they have the unmitigated gall to say we’re not reasonable. When we strenuously resist, they call us names – extreme, right-wing, ultra-conservative and worse. Unfortunately, we react angrily, instead of calmly insisting they put something of equal or greater value on the table.
“We must stop using the term ‘compromise’ when confronting the left,” Richardson concludes. “It should not be part of our vocabulary when dealing with the left unless we ask the question, ‘What are you putting on the table in exchange?’ The time has come for us to start asking for the abolition of certain government agencies. Then, if we must, we can ‘compromise’ and see only half of them disappear – this year.”
This pattern of something-for-nothing capitulation is painfully true about Republicans everywhere, but especially in Carson City.
Indeed, Gov. Brian Sandoval famously betrayed his promise to voters not to extend the “temporary” tax hikes in 2011 and got table scraps back in return. Worse, he did it again a year ago, announcing his intent to extend the tax hikes again this year… and got absolutely nothing in return. Unconditional surrender.
For breaking his word and selling out on the tax hike issue, did Nevadans get real reform to government employee health and retirement benefits? No. Construction defect reform? No. Collective bargaining reform? No. Prevailing wage reform? No. School vouchers? No.
Nothing. Nada. Bupkis.
No wonder the left loves “compromise” so much!
As governor of California, Ronald Reagan once said, “If I can get seventy percent of what I want from a legislature controlled by the opposition, I’ll take my chances on getting the other thirty when they see how well it works.”
Republicans in Carson City rarely even get 7 percent, let alone 70! They don’t get half a loaf; they get bread crumbs and gruel.
“Please sir, I want some more.” Will 2013 be different?
Don’t bet on it.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at email@example.com.