After the amazing Ted Cruz triumph over Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, a couple political Twitterati including Rick Wilson and David Weigel mused that success has 1000 fathers . The implication, of course, that everyone wants to share in the success and no one wants to admit they were part of a losing effort.
That’s true, of course. As I tweeted: Winning > Losing. And it’s fun to be on the winning side.
In thinking about Ted Cruz’ win, though, his success really did have a thousand fathers. More, actually.
I could probably list 100 people, easily, who put it on the line, and early, for Ted Cruz. I’ll admit I came on board after Jim DeMint because of my love for both Michael Williams and Ted Cruz. Both are great conservatives. It was a matter of who could win. It didn’t take long for Ted to demonstrate that he was the guy.
Jim DeMint lead the way. Mike Lee pushed everyone far and wide for Ted. But that really wasn’t the beginning.
Ted Cruz spoke at Texas Americans for Prosperity events and was introduced to grassroots there. After that, Ted did the hard work of attending CPACs, multiple Tea Parties, and all sorts of conservative gatherings.
Every Texas Tea Party leader and many tea partiers themselves knew Ted personally. He and his campaign manager John Drogin gutted it up day in and day out doing the hard politicking that it takes to win when you don’t have millions to burn.
Club for Growth, Freedom Works, and Sarah Palin [her analysis here], to name a few, came in and fortified and energized Cruz supporters, pushing Cruz enough to rob Dewhurst of the primary victory and forcing a run-off.
And here is why Citizen United is so very, very important: Without SuperPACs, incumbents are nearly untouchable.
How many important donors could give to these PACs and not risk the wrath of the very powerful powers-that-be? Many. Otherwise, they’d have to curry favor with someone like the Lt. Governor or sit on the sidelines for fear of losing and being punished for disloyalty.
PACS give donors both big and small the ability to fight for politicians who represent them without fear of reprisal should their fight be lost.
So, Ted Cruz success had thousands of fathers, but mostly Ted Cruz succeeded because he is a great candidate, the right man for the time, and worked his tail off doing the old fashioned work of politics — earning one vote at at time.
Ted’s victory speech here.
Ted Cruz looks good going into the run-off election with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to be the Republican nominee for the United States Senate. How did this happen?
Well, Ted is a great candidate first of all: smart, principled, and hard working. He has been working the grassroots circuit for years. I first met Ted maybe three or four years ago when he was speaking at an Americans for Prosperity event in Austin. Since then, he’s faithfully attended Teaparty after Teaparty event. Ted knows every significant grassroots activist in Texas personally.
Ted’s hard work gave him name recognition among the around 30% of the most faithful, devoted conservative leaning political faithful in Texas. They came through and voted for him in the primary but Dewhurst still beat him with his higher name recognition and money, but I knew pretty assuredly that if Ted got into the run-off, Team Dewhurst was in big trouble.
Why? A couple reasons:
1. Most Republican voters have already voted and won’t come back out to vote.
2. The most dedicated will vote.
3. In a head-to-head, Cruz’s name recognition will increase.
The Dewhurst camp made a bad decision when they went so negative on Ted Cruz: The criticism was so outrageously over-the-top that people were forced to go look up the truth. When they went to investigate, many liked what they saw. I’m not sure if the negative ads didn’t help Ted Cruz.
Thursday night of last week, FreePAC, Freedom Works political action committee taught a stadium full of people how to get out the vote. [My interview with Matt Kibbe here.]
After that, there were rousing speeches from all sorts of Cruz supporters. Following the speechifying, Senators Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, Republican usurper Richard Mourdock of Indiana (who beat incumbent Senator Lugar), and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe gave a press conference. There were a couple reporters there and then about 20 bloggers.
[Aside: Journalists ask stupid questions. I got to roll my eyes in front of them instead of online. Example: “Do Republicans want to win the Presidency more or the Congress more?”]
The FreePAC event lasted late and so early Friday, I drove back to The Woodlands, Texas and then went to the TeaParty event where many state TeaParty leaders showed up and endorsed Ted Cruz. Also there: Senator Jim DeMint and former Alaska Governor Ted Cruz.
Combined, these events and others like them around the state have the troops riled for a big turnout tomorrow. The energy certainly seems in Ted Cruz’ favor.
Last night, conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham made news for telling Sarah Palin, “To fish or cut bait.” A friend on Twitter said,”If Sarah Palin has lost Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter….” To which, I responded that Sarah Palin never had Coulter or Ingraham. Ann has been jonesin’ for Chris Christie–whom I would bet she doesn’t believe it’s too late for him to enter the race. Laura is predisposed to Romney.
What struck me about the talk about Sarah Palin, though, was that it really wasn’t about Sarah Palin at all. The Ann-Laura analysis was only about Sarah Palin to the extent that Ann and Laura believe Sarah Palin, or conservatives like her, are unelectable.
Many, if not most DC conservative pundits believe that only a moderate, middle-of-the-road guy can win the election.
I disagree. In fact, I think a center-right moderate is very nearly a sure loser in the 2012 election. Specifically, I think Mitt Romney is a troubled candidate. Here’s why:
Social conservatives don’t trust Romney.
Think that’s no biggie? Social conservatives voted against John McCain in the Republican primary. They thought he was weak candidate. They found him untrustworthy. Sound familiar? Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on the abortion issue depending on what’s politically convenient. A great way to suppress turnout among social conservatives, again, is to have a weak candidate, again.
Small government types (aka Tea Party) don’t trust Romney.
They see Romneycare and flee for the hills. It’s not that they mind Massachusetts residents binding themselves with their own velvet handcuffs, it’s that they don’t like the big government impulse Mitt Romney has that would see the government as a better solution than the private sector. Over and over, the government has shown itself to be unwise stewards and yet Mitt Romney trusted the government to control a big portion of each citizen’s life. Romneycare is a failure.
Evangelicals don’t trust Romney.
I live in Texas. Don’t shoot the messenger. Many religious conservatives see the Church of Latter Day Saints as a cult. My choice after Fred Thompson in 2008 was Mitt Romney. Evangelicals? Well, they loved Mike Huckabee–who I viewed as a charlatan. No matter. People worry about a conservative winning the north. Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about Romney winning the south?
Romney as milquetoast.
John McCain refused to go negative on Barack Obama. Afraid of being cast as racist? Probably. Still hoping for fawning press? Definitely. I see the same streak of public weakness in the face of what’s going to be a brass-knuckled campaign from Romney. Now, the Romney campaign is dirty. No fear there. It’s the perception that I’m talking about. Passive aggressive, below-the-belt punching by proxies will be de riguer with a Romney campaign. Fine. That’s politics, too. This year, though, the GOP candidate needs to be willing to scrap openly with Obama. This is, of course, why people like Ann Coulter yearn for a Chris Christie candidacy. They know that the populace wants to see some fight. They want a happy warrior. Mitt Romney seems like a bland banana in contrast to a rather boring Obama.
A word about, strategy and messaging. In 2008, one of the arguments against Sarah Palin as Vice President, and the only one I saw as even mildly valid, was that Sarah Palin’s short term as Governor would undermine the experience argument with Barack Obama. No, it was not fair, because she’d been in public service for years, because she was the Vice Presidential nominee and he was the presidential nominee, etc. Still, the people who blew up that argument (namely Dems and the DC GOP Smartypants Set) are the same ones saying Mitt Romney is an awesome candidate.
Well, a Romney candidacy effectively neutralizes the single most hated legislation ever passed in the history of America. From a strategic perspective, having Romney as the nominee is just stupid. The left can say, accurately, that Obamacare was built off the Romneycare template and Romney loves (and still defends) Romneycare.
A conservative candidate, in contrast, will be able to show the differences both rhetorically and in action. Rick Perry is ideally suited to do this. Conservative policies have created a haven in Texas. The contrast to liberal policies nationwide, and in Massachusetts, is easily defined and patently obvious.
It’s conventional wisdom that a Romney campaign is a shoe-in to win in the general election. The conventional wisdom is, as it was with McCain, wrong. Mitt Romney has a deeply flawed campaign–one that counts on an awful Barack Obama, rather than a great conservative message. Again, this is reminiscent of the McCain candidacy. The “I-hate-Bush, too” wink-wink straddle wrapped in mild words for opponents and harsh words for allies does not win elections. The candidate this year will need the base to be fired up.
The base won’t be fired up with a Romney campaign. They’ll be angry at more of the same. They view the problem to be not just Democrat policies but the Republican acquiescence when faced with these policies.
A Mitt Romney candidacy would dishearten and fracture the Republican base.
Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about that?
This CNN poll came out with great fanfare because it put Huckabee ahead of Romney and Palin. But when all three of these folks are put up against President Obama, this is the result:
What about the hypothetical general election matchup in 2012 against President Obama?
The poll shows Obama topping Romney 53 percent to 45 percent, beating Huckabee 54 percent to 45 percent, defeating Gingrich 55 percent to 43 percent and topping Palin 55 percent to 42.
“It is important to remember that at this stage of the game, candidate matchups are largely driven by name recognition, and at least a quarter of all Americans are unfamiliar with Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich. As a result, Obama has an 8- to-12-point edge over each of them in hypothetical matchups,” adds Holland. “But in a previous CNN poll, Obama managed no better than a tie against an unnamed Republican.”
But there is something more than name recognition at work in Obama’s big lead over Palin.
“Palin is almost as well known as Obama, but the general public appears to have some doubts about what they have seen of her so far,” says Holland.
Hmmm…. Well, for being so unqualified, she’s almost neck in neck with Huckabee and Romney and that’s very interesting.
She has a couple years to demonstrate her qualifications. And if things get bad enough, her optimistic attitude might well be enough.
Hotair has more.
Robert Stacy McCain at the American Spectator (doing great work, by the way, subscribe to their magazine) writes about the Senate primary race in Arizona. A couple money quotes:
“Obviously, the gulf between my opponent’s rhetoric and the reality is so great it exceeds the geographic dimensions of our own Grand Canyon,” Hayworth says. “It’s more than a credibility gap, it’s a credibility canyon.… If he was really concerned about [the influence of political contributions], he certainly seems to have gotten over it very quickly.”
Whether McCain’s big money will be enough to secure his re-election, it undoubtedly gives him advantages against Hayworth, whose low-budget campaign doesn’t expect to match the incumbent dollar-for-dollar in the five months between now and the August 24 primary.
“We know we’re not going to out-raise him,” Hayworth says. “We’re not going to out-spend him.”
No way! John McCain is using big money to win an election? I thought he wanted money out of campaigns?
And then there is the recent hard tack to the right. It seems John McCain suddenly finds the border issue an important law enforcement issue:
But 2010 is not 2004, and in the intervening years, McCain led a legislative push to grant amnesty to illegal aliens — a very unpopular stance in Arizona, especially with Republican and conservative-leaning independents. (Arizona election law allows registered independents to vote in either party primary.) A Rasmussen poll last year found that Arizona voters considered immigration a more important issue than health-care reform and 65 percent said “enforcing the borders is more important than legalizing the status of those already living here.”
The immigration issue has “gotten bigger” in Arizona recently, Hayworth says, after a Cochise County rancher was found shot dead Saturday near the Mexican border, a crime that law-enforcement officials suggest was committed by illegal aliens or smugglers who have made the border an increasingly dangerous place.
“Border security is national security and it is time that we enforce the law,” Hayworth said in a press release reacting to the killing of 58-year-old Rob Krentz, whose family has owned a cattle ranch near the border for more than a century. “For thousands of Arizonans, border security is also quite literally a matter of personal security.”
I came thisclose to headlining the post “comedy gold.” What miracles hath this Hayworth primary challenge wrought!
From the man who once famously groused about conservatives’ desire to build a “goddamned fence” and then denied voting for it when pressed by Univision during the campaign, I give you John McCain — border warrior:
This is why primaries are so important. I’m guessing the reason that John McCain is finding his conservative soul is because his internal polling looks terrible.
So many of these politicians have sat in Washington, ignored American sentiment, and ignored their own constituents. There are many races where I feel less than enthusiastic about the primary challenger, but the incumbent has such a long history of betraying fiscal conservatism and self-aggrandizement, that I want them to go.
Politics should not be a lifetime sport with lush retirement package. But that’s how it goes now, in DC. Politicians get into office, get bought off by big interests, and then stay in office with the money received from those big interests. John McCain’s McCain-Feingold act made the problem even worse–but it turned out better for John McCain. The law protected incumbents.
Well, there should be no protection for incumbents. They should have to defend their positions, defend their votes and be at least marginally responsive to their constituents. I mean, at least pretend you give a damn what your voters think. Man.
Since I’m such a Debbie Downer, I thought I’d pass along Sarah Palin’s perspective:
Though they’d like us to forget, we will remember the corrupt deals, the corrupt process, the lack of transparency, the deceptive gimmicks to game the CBO score, and the utter disregard for the will of the American people. Elections have consequences, and we won’t forget those who promised to hold firm against government funding of abortion, but caved at the last minute in exchange for a non-binding executive order promised by the most pro-abortion president to ever occupy the White House.
All along we’ve said that we want real health care reform, but this isn’t it. We mustn’t be discouraged now. We must look to November when our goal will be to rebuke big government’s power grab, reject this unwanted “transformation” of America, and repeal dangerous portions of Obamacare that will bury us under more Big Government control.
This is just the beginning of our efforts to take back our country. Consider yesterday’s vote a clarion call and a spur to action. We will not let America sink into further debt without a fight. We will not abandon the American dream to government dependency, fewer freedoms and less opportunity. Change is made at the ballot box. If we work together, we can renew our optimistic pioneering spirit, revive our economy, and restore constitutional limits.
Stand tall, America. November is coming!
Frank Rich Did It First, But More Would Follow: Trying To Destroy Sarah Palin And The Tea Party MovementMonday, January 18th, 2010
Here is one Mainstream Media Narrative: Tea Partiers (Baggers) are racist, mobs, hate-filled, unruly, people.
Here is another Mainstream Media Narrative: Sarah Palin is a stupid hick, a gender traitor, and a quitter.
And the Mainstream Media Narrative that underlies all narratives: Anyone who believes something other than the liberal agenda is selfish, mean, and evil. So, there goes the majority of the country too stupid to see greatness when it’s right in front of their eyes. /sarcasm
Now, the Judson Phillips’ Tea Party Nation, Inc. gathering at Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee [background here] had the potential to fulfill every single one of those narratives and give the MSM a story that wrapped everything up in a bow. In fact, the MSM was hoping to undermine the Tea Party movement, discredit Sarah Palin and vilify “rich” conservatives all in one fell swoop–hopefully the day of the convention.
Unfortunately for the MSM and fortunately for those who are concerned about the country, the shady actions of a few were exposed so as to not tarnish the vast majority of good people in the Tea Party movement. Some changes could be made to correct errors by the Tea Party Nation, Inc. founder. Sarah Palin could make a decision with all the facts and not be blind-sided.
Still, guys like Frank Rich tried to jump from this one bad actor and tarnish the whole movement. His piece was utterly predictable. He tried to say that Sarah Palin was attempting to hijack the Tea Party movement. Erick Erickson writes of Rich’s leaps in logic:
As for Palin? Rich is trying to build up activists to tear down Palin, but in fact Palin and the activists are one together. Sarah Palin is the epitome of the tea party activist — a mom who got involved in politics because the political establishment in Wasilla, Alaska was misspending sales tax revenue. Just as wasteful spending in Wasilla got her involved in politics, the federal waste and spending is getting lots of moms, dads, and kids involved in politics today.
The Left hates Sarah Palin with a vehemence that is impossible to quantify. They loathe the Tea Party folks because it is everything they’re not–true grassroots, not astroturf; common citizens coming together (not paid stooges); and people who are united by a desire to take power away from D.C. and give it to the American people.
So, if Frank Rich and others like him can tie the actions of one man to the average Tea Party person concerned for his country, he’ll do it. If Frank Rich can portray Sarah Palin as a hypocritical pol, he can defeat the most effective voice in opposition to Barack Obama and the left in general.
The Tea Party groups around the country are doing much good. They will be an effective foundation for bringing accountability to both parties.
Witness what is happening in Massachusetts. Even in a liberal state given to supporting Democrats almost exclusively, the people are rising up to send a message to elitists in Washington.
This is terrifying for the liberals. They’d like to knock down any symbols that will threaten their power.
So, the people do well to police their own. The Left accuses the Right side because they’re the Soros-funded, ACORN-defiled and SEIU astroturf kings. They are utterly corrupt and they want to dishearten Americans by painting the opposition with their own cynical brush.
The best defense against scurrilous attack by people intent on destruction is the truth. Keeping our own side clean deprives the Left of ammunition.
Meanwhile, it’s too late. The Left is losing. And they know it. That’s why they’re desperate.
Melissa talks about CPAC and Sarah Palin’s choices with Dan Riehl of riehlworldview.com and Erick Erickson of redstate.com
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I got lost in the vortex of Bloggingheads hell and ended up listening to Michelle Goldberg and Ann Althouse yelling at each other. Michelle threatens to bail on the call when Ann pins her down on her inarticulate defense of Barack Obama’s memoir Dreams Of My Fathers. Michelle can’t defend analogizing Obama to Tolstoy and threatens to bail. She smoothed her hair and soldiered on.
The whole conversation was quite illustrative of liberal thought. Or rather, liberal emotionalism. There wasn’t much thought to be had, although Michelle knows her way around 25 cent words. I found myself rolling my eyes. A lot.
So, according to Michelle Goldberg, the Obama-voting Ann Althouse is a conservative. And according to Ann, she’s miffed that Bloggingheads couldn’t find one conservative to defend Palin. That is a valid criticism. Really, Bloggingheads, is there no one who can defend Sarah Palin or is it that you just don’t like conservatives who might defend Sarah Palin?
For what it’s worth, Ms. Goldberg, Ann is a social liberal and libertarian who supported the war effort after 9/11. How, in anyone’s world, does that qualify as a conservative? Mind you, I’m glad to have Ann Althouse’s voice and like her and respect her views. Still, she voted for Barack Obama which to me was a vote for a man weak on foreign policy, indecisive even, and an economy-killing statist. She was not alone in her vote and those from the middle who swung to favor Barack Obama did not win me to the cause of moderation. That vote simply struck me as naive. Still does.
So, whatever, I was watching Bloggingheads and so clicked on Michelle and Ann to see what they talked about. Topic: Sarah Palin. Ann thought Sarah was dumb (I had read her review and thought it harsh). Since Ann finished the book, her review was more charitable. Michelle Goldberg’s feelings of hatred have abated somewhat but she still vehemently dislikes Sarah Palin. She trots out the old trope, “But she’s really good for the Democrat party.”
Between Ann and Michelle, they decide (Ann with a self-aware sparkle in her eye, Michelle utterly beyond self parody) that Sarah Palin is stupid as are those who support her. But don’t say anything about the elites being obnoxious. That characterization is so undeserved. They are people like you and me; they’re just better people.
“She has a reputation for mendacity,” says Michelle Goldberg of Sarah Palin.
“Reality has a liberal bias,” says Michelle regarding why the AP has 11 fact checkers on Sarah Palin’s book, but none of Barack Oama.
“She is a screen onto which conservatives project hopes, just as Barack Obama is a screen onto which liberals project hopes,” says Ann Althouse
“I don’t want to be saved. I want a President to take care of things….preserve us,” says Ann Althouse.
Michelle responds,”And that’s what we’ve got” [in Barack Obama].
You need to watch this interchange if only to get a better understanding of why Barack Obama will always be popular with a certain segment of the population. His actions don’t matter. If he never acts, that’s a bonus because it demonstrates his urbane thoughtfulness. His inaction is a sign of his intelligence. Dithering is nuance because people who take direct action, by definition, act without thinking. Can you see how a liberal would think that Barack Obama is fabulous? One of his greatest weaknesses, the weakness that could land America in the worst position and is doing just that, is actually a strength.
In short, Barack Obama can do no wrong because he is doing nothing.
Identity politics grate on most conservatives, or they did until Sarah Palin came along. Most conservatives who loved Sarah Palin, didn’t love her because she was the best looking woman on TV–forget in politics. Most conservatives loved her conservative ideals and her connection to average Americans.
And her ideals, connection, and her beauty, provoked rage on the left. Still does. And so, they attacked her and her family. Nothing was out of bounds. Major news organizations were reduced to screaming like gossip rags. It was disgusting.
It was sexist. It was classist. It was everything the Democrats and leftists claim to be against.
And so, conservatives started fighting back. Every perceived slight, injustice, denigration, and revealing act of hate was highlighted and pushed into the liberal left’s face. It was galling to see feminist women defend the treatment Sarah Palin received. It was embarrassing, as a woman, that this sort of thing still flew–that women would be reduced to their own worst caricature: catty, vicious, and petty toward other women.
Liberals now wonder why conservatives jump to play the sexism card. Are they kidding? After decades of excoriating men for their piggish ways, after whole reeducation programs at work about what is, and what is not, “appropriate” behavior, these clucking, self-righteous people wonder why their own, politically correct rules are being turned on them now?
And yet, they seem incapable of seeing how Sarah Palin has been savaged in the media. There is a concerted lack of empathy and certainly no such thing as fairness.
The liberals have done more to push back the treatment of women than any conservative man. The cliché is that conservative men are backward, sexist cretins, just one step beyond knuckle-dragging missing links while liberals are enlightened, open, tolerant, loving righteous people. So when liberals engage in rank sexism and then defend the obnoxious behavior, it sets things back for all people trying to be judged for the content of their character.
Liberal men and women have been the sexist police for years. They are the knitting circle ladies waiting for an infraction and smacking the hairy knuckles hard for failing to obey the p.c. rules. But when push comes to shove, they’ll use any method, including demeaning and sexist methods, to achieve their political ends.
Conservatives won’t stop calling liberals on their sexist ways. Why should they? Political correctness is used as a cudgel against conservatives. Every conservative is one “macaca” or Strom Thurmond praising speech away from being banished for life while liberals can spew any vile word and not only be not vilified, but praised for their actions–as long as it’s a conservative who’s on the receiving end of the hate.
Identity politics have a pernicious effect on an achievement culture. People are elevated based on color or ovaries or culture or whatever the p.c. police believe lacks. So more qualified people are looked over in favor of superficial characteristics. This is the world the left has wrought.
Their pique at perceiving Sarah Palin as just such a candidate is really too much. They created identity politics. Now, they can live with the rules they created.