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GOP leadership prefers Democrat to upstart Republican

Posted by Richard on March 12, 2014

Pat Caddell, for one, has been arguing for some time (most recently at CPAC) that the GOP leadership is part of the beltway ruling class and would rather see an establishment Democrat elected than a Tea Party upstart who threatens the current culture of cronyism and corruption. Rick Manning cites a Georgia congressional race that proves the point.

In Georgia’s 12th Congressional District, John Stone faced only a single primary opponent (assuring no debilitating runoff) and seemed poised to take the seat from Democratic incumbent John Barrow. Stone recently pledged to support changing the House GOP leadership, and a subsequent poll showed him leading Barrow by 74% to 15%. The GOP establishment’s reaction:

Suddenly, alternative candidate recruitment by the NRCC in this otherwise extremely winnable district became a priority.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that state Representative Delvis Dutton’s entrance into the race was orchestrated by NRCC operatives who have gone so far as to set up his consulting team and even managed his campaign announcement.   In addition, a fourth candidate, Eugene Yu, has left behind his longshot bid to become a United States Senator from Georgia to jump into the race at the last minute.

The impact is simple.

Democrat Congressman John Barrow is licking his chops expecting that he will, due to NRCC meddling, be facing a general election opponent who won’t even be chosen until a July 21st run-off election.  In Georgia if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in a primary, the top two candidates face off, delaying the selection of a nominee for two additional months.  That opponent is likely to have a depleted campaign treasury, and will have endured two more months of rigorous negative intra-party campaigning.  Meanwhile Barrow will be sitting on a $2 million bankroll ready to unleash a torrent of attack ads against the defenseless Republican who emerges from the nomination process.

There are only two possible conclusions that can be drawn by the NRCC’s blundering into the 12th Congressional District of Georgia race at the last minute and doing grievous harm to their nominee.  Either they are incompetent boobs who have made it exponentially harder for a Republican to win in this Republican district by accident, or they would rather have Democrat John Barrow in the seat than a reformer who understands how politics is played in D.C. like John Stone.

Although I generally subscribe to Hanlon’s razor, I’m pretty certain that this is not just incompetence. The Boehners and McConnells of the GOP, along with their staffs, consultants, and favored lobbyists, have only one goal: to maintain a grip on the levers of power. They’d rather share that power with the Democrats than risk having it reduced or taken away by a bunch of Tea Party troublemakers who actually take the party’s limited-government rhetoric seriously.

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