Not One Penny More
If there is one thing conservatives have in common with the lefty nutroots who frequent Daily Kos and similar sites it is that we’ve grown accustomed to being pandered to, hit up for contributions, and then deserted.
As with the Democrats, the default position within the heirarchy of the Republican party is one of supporting incumbents regardless of how useless they may be. This strategy got us Linc Chafee and Arlen Specter and it is being played out again to ensure that Wayne Gilchrest is re-elected despite his record clearly indicating that he’d be much more at home in the Democrat party.
That the National Republican Congressional Committee is supporting him is no huge surprise. That they would stick their noses into a primary is just bad form. That the chairman, Representative Tom Cole, would find the necessity of supporting Mr. Gilchrest so important that he’d sacrifice his integrity to do so is simply inexplicable.
There is more to this sad story below the fold.
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This first came to my attention via Monoblogue who posts an email from the Gilchrest campaign touting his endoresement by the NRCC and Representative Tom Cole. From Monoblogue:
National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Congressman Tom Cole endorsed the re-election bid of U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest today, and urged Marylanders to return Gilchrest to Congress in the 2008 election.
“Wayne Gilchrest is an important part of our Congress and our Party, and I am pleased to offer my strong support for his re-election,” said Cole.
“While we may not agree on every issue, the strength of our Party lies in our diversity of opinions, and in the end, Wayne offers an honest and thoughtful perspective in the House.”
The NRCC is the Congressional arm of the Republican National Committee. U.S. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma is the elected national Chairman.
Only on May 10, Representative Cole wrote this at Redstate where I am an editor:
While we work to rebuild our Republican majority in the House, the NRCC’s business is beating Democrats. As a general rule, as long as I am Chairman, the NRCC won’t pick winners and losers in Republican primaries. I’ve always believed that local leaders, activists (like you), and ultimately, the voters make the best decisions about who would make the best candidates and ultimately, Members of Congress. As Roll Call recently reported:
“Cole also said that he will refrain from doling out personal endorsements and campaign contributions in primaries while he is chairman. Cole’s decision partly is due to the wishes of House Republicans, who in a recent closed-door meeting were fairly unified — and vocal — in their desire that the NRCC avoid playing kingmaker in contested primaries. But Cole also attributed his policy to a belief that candidates who navigate a primary without help or anointing from Washington, D.C., insiders emerge battle-tested for the general election and in a better position to secure the support of grass-roots Republicans.” (Roll Call, 2/5/07)
Always a skeptic of the self-puffery candidates send out and wishing to reconcile the seeming inconsistency between an endorsement in the primary and a promise not to endorse candidates during the primary I contacted an acquaintance on the NRCC. Is this true I asked. Yes, I was told. You realize this will make a lot of your small donors a lot less than happy, I asked. He replied (reprinted here with his consent):
It is Cole’s job as NRCC Chairman to give this committee and our members the best opportunity to win back the majority. Part of that responsibility is protecting incumbents, the other part is reclaiming territory we lost in 2006 — all to develop the roadmap to 218. Without a Republican majority, as Cole previously stated on RedState, the conservative agenda can not and will not move forward. We see the disastrous consequences of liberal leadership in the House: the Democrats have raised taxes, bent over backwards to reward the trail lawyers and Big Labor, and are spending with reckless abandon. The NRCC is first and foremost an incumbent retention committee. Cole is doing everything he can do hold seats as well as expand our numbers to get to 218 so that the conservative agenda can move forward.
Wayne Gilchrest is a terrible choice for MD-1 which could elect a mainstream conservative in Andy Harris.
I, like Monoblogue, have given my last penny to political groups. From this point forward I will give only to candidates.