Democrats circle the wagons, Republicans circle the firing squad
Ace describes this as sort of true (quote from Daily Caller)
“Bobby Jindal and his political team totally blew it,” harrumphed one advisor for Ken Cuccinelli the morning after a closer-than-expected loss.
Cuccinelli, who narrowly lost last night’s gubernatorial election to Terry McAuliffe, was badly outspent in the days and weeks leading up to the election. The New York Times‘ Jonathan Martin described Cuccinelli’s plight as having been “close to abandoned at the end.” He was. As Politico’s James Hohmann reported, ”The Republican National Committee spent about $3 million on Virginia this year, compared to $9 million in the 2009.” And as the Roanoke Times noted, in 2009, the Chamber of Commerce spent $973,000 on Bob McDonnell, but “[t]his year, the chamber gave Cuccinelli nothing.”
But it was the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) and chairman Bobby Jindal who drew the most ire from a Cuccinelli advisor I spoke to on Wednesday morning — this, despite the fact that the RGA spent millions on the race.
The gripe against the RGA is that it spent money on ads itself, rather than giving the money to the Cuccinelli campaign directly, as the Democratic Governors Association did for McAuliffe, who used the money to hammer a war on women strategy.
These are details, details, details.
The bigger issue with Republicans is that it’s a one-way loyalty. When an establishment candidate wins a primary, Tea Party and others are expected to fall in line. And that did in fact happen with the Romney presidential campaign.
But it doesn’t work the other way around. When an establishment/incumbent Republican loses a primary, there is no rallying around the insurgent nominee with any enthusiasm.
That’s not the way it works for Democrats. First, there are few if any insurgents in the Democratic Party. Once in a while you’ll get a true progressive, but those are dwindling. There is a greater homogeneity of thought in the Democratic Party.
And when you do get a whack job like Alan Grayson, Democrats circle the wagons instead of creating a circular firing squad as Republicans do.
Closeness of VA-GOV means GOP recriminations will be about how an electable candidate lost a winnable race.
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) November 6, 2013
Update: Jonah Goldberg, And Now, The Airing of Grievances (h/t Hot Air):
In the recent government shutdown fight I found myself in polite (on my part at least!) disagreement with the elements of the right inclined to denounce the “Republican establishment.” No need to rehash all that again. But, I will say that in the wake of the Cuccinelli defeat, I think the critics of the establishment have the better side of the argument.
If the folks running the party want the tea partiers to support their preferred candidates — when they’re the nominee, at least — it should work the other way around as well. It now appears that Cuccinelli, a flawed candidate running against an even more flawed human being, could have pulled this thing out if he’d had more help at the end….
For all the talk about how the base needs to cooperate with the establishment more, it’s worth remembering that the base almost always does its part on Election Day. Its the establishment that is less reliable in returning the favor.
Maggie Gallagher, The Betrayal of Ken Cuccinelli:
The Republicans, starting with Bill Bolling, who undercut Cuccinelli as unelectable have egg all over their faces.
This was a winnable election. How did we give this away to Terry McAuliffe? Some serious soul-searching should be taking place among the anti-tea-party faction.
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Bingo! Republicans are their own worst enemy and we all lose in the process.
Agendas prevail over common sense and then you get what you get…
Meanwhile, Hillary cackles.
The circular firing squad has to go, no doubt about it. I think Cuccinelli should not have bypassed the primary process, however. It is quite likely Bolling would have won a primary in VA which was why Cuccinelli chose to bypass that process. EW Jackson was trounced which should not have happened if he were a candidate chosen by primary voters throughout the state. Moreover, Republicans in Virginia will pay the price for bypassing primaries because they forgo the opportunity to make additional contacts with primary voters so they may be turned out in the general.
That said, there is blame to go around for a loss in Virginia for sure. There is no excuse for leaving a wounded Cuccinelli on the battlefield when it is clear he could have been saved. The failure to pounce on the Obamacare issue is unforgivable. The GOP needs to start getting these things right if they have any hope of being viable in 2016.
There is a way to fix that, it will be a bit painful but probably not that bad all considered. When the establishment GOP comes around demanding unity from the conservative grass roots to support the latest and greatest milquetoast northeastern establishment pick tell them to take that idea down the hall to someone who cares.
They stopped sending me surveys.
Too many vulgarities and insults, perhaps.
“the latest and greatest milquetoast northeastern establishment prick”
Bill, it’s not “one way loyalty” for the RGA to look at a race where their guys is 15 points down (as Cuccinelli was this summer) and decide not to throw good money after bad. Political action committees make those sorts of assessments all the time; they have to since funds aren’t unlimited.
It’s reasonable to put big dollars into a campaign that’s some behind if you think the candidate can pull it out. But consider Cuccinelli’s mis-steps:
1 — alienated part of his party
2 — had a boat anchor of an incumbent governor
3 — had a disorganized campaign (fired his manager, remember?)
4 — ran as something he wasn’t
5 — refused to defend the things that helped define him in the past
I don’t live in Virginia any more (used to). Had I been there yesterday I would have voted for Cuccinelli.
But don’t blame a political action committee for deciding that a race is well and truly lost and thus refuse to invest in it. It’s the job of the RGA to pick and support winners.
A correction: I went back and looked at polls over the summer, and Cuccinelli was usually 9 to 13 points down, not 15 as I said above.
Still looked like a dead-bang loser in August.
Ace o Spades points out this morning, correctly, that Cuccinelli closed the race because of ObamaCare. That’s not something anyone would have predicted in June or August when the political action committees were handing out money. As Ace says, we all figured OCare would implode, just not on day one.
It makes the Shutdown look even more stupid on our part now — if OCare had had front and center stage the entire month of October perhaps Cuccinelli could have been dragged over the finish line. But few people predicted that OCare was going to be such the flaming sack of sh!t that it’s turned out to be this quickly.
Why doesn’t the GOP or their candidates have their fingers on the pulse of the electorate? McAuliffe did extensive polling starting in January which supposedly showed this a tight 2-4 race all along. Why doesn’t anyone in the GOP know this? Why do they rely on flawed public polling that doesn’t seem to get the VA electorate? There is no excuse for this stuff.
Good question. McAuliffe also seems to have polled on what issues would move the needle his direction in the polls. Media sponsored polls don’t do that but it can be key in figuring our where to place ad buys and how to pitch the ads. The was on women nonsense often works simply because Democrats are more likely to advertise where their reaches women who don’t follow politics closely.
Mary Sue and NC, most candidates, particularly state-wide candidates, do that sort of polling. Mac did and I’m comfortably certain Cuccinelli did as well. The candidate-commissioned polls are (I’m told) pretty fine-grained and detailed since (after all) the candidate has to know the mood of the electorate.
I don’t know that Mac’s polls told him to go after Cuccinelli using the ‘war on women’ schtick; I think that’s something the Dems do because they’re Dems, after all. But I’d really like to know what Cuccinelli’s pollsters told him and how it made him orient his campaign the way he did.
How many gubernatorial races were there across the country?
I want everyone to repeat something over and over again, Jindal is not a conservative. I live in Louisiana and feel that Jindal is totally worthless. You have to go back to his roots, he obtained fame by giving us the crap Medicare program that is bankrupting the system. If Jindal had anything to do with this, he would have gone with the RINO’s.
Neither is Christie. He has already come out in favor of the establishment’s Lindsey Graham.
As a Jersey resident I didn’t vote for Christie, nor did my wife, in an attempt to keep his numbers down. As a matter of fact, we refused to vote for any of the republican RINO’s and so didn’t vote for any candidates, only props.
Time to bite the bullet: Vote for Republicans to reclaim the Senate, sit on hands to re-elect the Republican House.
Just switch houses.
There’s a word for a party with support like yours: it is “losers.” And, you will NEVER get your way on ANY topic, because you haven’t done your part as a citizen to get your way.
I’ve been an avid Republican supporter till now. Now, no longer. Your way will continue to produce an even longer string of Republican losers, or worse, a Republican moderate wing of the Democrat party.
Your plan is a sure-fire way to lose both houses.
I meant to say Chambers.
The header for this post said all that needed to be said.
Hysterical. In a post about the devastating effects of circular firing squads, it didn’t take long for the knives to come out. Jindal isn’t a REAL conservative. Christie’s a RINO. Cuccinelli is weak. Hope you all enjoy losing, because you’ll be doing a whole lot of it until you achieve some solidarity.
You’re all waiting for Sam Adams to run again.
Ok, so a flawed candidate that was down by 15 points and starved for funds, but supported by the TEA Parties, still came within a gnat’s eyelash of winning.
This tells me to play to the end, and have a little faith.
This may be simplistic, but…
the people with the funds need to pay more attention to PRINCIPLES, and less to POLLING.
Polls CAN be ONE indicator of a political map, but they cannot replace principle, and sometimes, as here, polling numbers will change in ways that cannot be projected into the future.
ObamaDoggle would have won this race if the vote were taken next week.
Cuccinelli was right on the issues.
Valerie, that’s certainly true for the candidate. You keep plugging all the way, always with a smile and a wave, because you just never know what’s going to happen in the last week — or day.
But as H. L. Mencken once said, “the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong — but that’s how you bet.”
If you’re the chair of the RNC and you see your candidate in a big race down by 10 with a month to go, you don’t send any cash that way.
I get that the RNC was reluctant to send Cuccinelli money when he was failing in the various polls (someone here made the point of the public polls not being completely reliable and that’s true; I’d want to see the candidate’s internal polls). I get that certain big-money donors wrote him off early. That’s what happens, unfortunately.
I appreciate that Cuccinelli kept at it, and he came within 2 percentage points of pulling it out. There’s a lesson there, but part of the lesson has to be, get a better candidate at the start, and run a better campaign from day one, and don’t alienate a big chunk of your own party.
[…] we must live in reality, not in hypothetical alternatives, and this is also true of Ken Cuccinelli’s heartbreaking loss in Virginia. Everybody who knows Cuccinelli swears by the guy — a brilliant policy-minded conservative […]
The payback to campaign donors is now measured in billions, instead of millions, thanks to the Obama/Chicago machine. Over the Obama Reign, the enrichment of unions, friends and “family” is so vast, it will be difficult to overcome.
A billionaire Democrat Obama donor essentially funded the fake libertarian, which may well have made the difference in this election.
On the other hand, big Christie has his bromance with Obama to get his billions for Big Sandy, and he refused to campaign for Cuccinelli, and essentially denounces the tea party. Even if his stapled stomach gets him down to a svelte 300 pounds, I’ll vote third party against him. (but I’m in IL, so my presidential vote is only ever symbolic, while illegals essentially get their own district)
I’d sure like to see a real CEO like Romney get a chance to turn this federal leviathan around, but health care and stock markets will probably both have to crash before voters think maybe we should elect someone proven to be honest AND capable (instead of neither). Till then we have mobster rule, and the constitution and middle class are trampled.
(I’m thinking of Obama’s pal Ayers, in that pic of him proudly trampling our flag, as standing for the current terrorist left)
Hit the nail on the head. The establishmen Rs are in a proverbial snit against the TP folks, as a result they’ll do everything possible to not support them. This is called eating your own. they need to understand they are in a war. The establishment Rs are doing their dangest to lose it.
The prefer losing to Democrats to winning with TEA Party candidates.
All good points.
However, let me try to talk some off the ledge:
-Christie was going to win in a landslide, and did.
-Cuccinelli was going to lose, and did
-GOP would never support a candidate that had tea party support, and didn’t.
So, I don’t know if folks are shocked by the reality of the political world we find ourselves in, or just ticked off they are forced to confront it.
All of that.
I’d add a caution to the establishment Pubs who are trashing the TP right now: that “respect” thing goes both ways. If you want TP folks to vote for an establishment Pub in the general election, you’d better be four-square behind the TP Pub in a general election.
Tea Party: lose the establishment and you won’t win a general election. See Cuccinelli.
Establishment: lose the Tea Party and you won’t win a general election. See Romney.
Be aware, a big Obama bundler fianced the Libertarian candidate to split the opposition and ,of course, the Republican Party abandoned a Tea party friendly candidate.
Excellent observation. Does this imply that the GOP cannot be rehabilitated?
Democrats pose a high risk. Republicans pose a moderate risk. Either way, there is an elevated risk with the two dominant parties.
I’d be more inclined to think the GOP poses a greater danger to the tea party movement than the Democrats.
But, that’s a discussion for another thread–one I hope Professor Jacobson posts in due time.
To add to that, remember that back in 2010, we honestly did not know that the Ruling Class GOP disdained us. Our stance was “ok, we gave you the house, now show us you will fight for us.” It took several years to get to the realization that the GOP hates conservatism.
I think what sealed this realization was Cruz and Lee’s bravery in pushing the de-funding fight.
This is our first election since that time–its been what? one month?
So, now we know. We are smart, we are motivated, we are mad as hell, we love our country and our freedom and we fight like rabid dogs. It will take us a couple of months to figure out how to take over the Republican party, but we can do it.
What we are going to see however is FUD–Fear Uncertainty and Doubt being sown by both the Marxist’s in Washington and the corrupt Rhino’s in DC. They are trying to demoralize us and beat us.
So, we don’t back down, we get in there face, punch back twice as hard and when they are down we put our boots on their neck and stomp em. That goes for Rove, McConnell, McCain, and any other piss-ant dough-boy who gets in our way.
Time to kick some ass.
The object of my attention is not the Tea Party or any other particular group. The risk is posed to the American way of life as it is defined in The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution, which are themselves inspired by Judeo-Christian religion. Succinctly contained within the statement: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The risk is posed by a progressive morality, which is simply an assembly of whatever whims a person may conceive from time to time, from generation to generation.
We all remember how Lisa Murkowski, the establishment candidate in the 2010 primary, accepted her defeat to Joe Miller with dignity and supported him in the general election.
Today’s establishment forces are almost Neo-Whig in attitude. They are overly concerned with their image with fellow members of the credentialed elite and completely obsesses with the insider’s process oriented game. They really believe that behind closed door compromises will solve the public debt problem they are unwilling to openly debate as being too divisive. The Whigs felt the same way about slavery. It didn’t work out well for the Whigs. largely because one element of their great Compromise of 1850, The Fugitive Slave Act, really stuck in voters’ craws.
One last note:
The democrats put forth an unabashed communist and a corrupt DNC bagman as candidates. They both won.
I’ve always said, liberals/marxists/progressives/communists/liberals always fail.
Partly because they always overreach. Party because idealism and reality never intersect.
Read through some of the comments here:
WOW!!! Where the heck did all the Obama supporters run and hide at? I scrolled down through about 1000 of the comments here and only saw like two Obama supporters comments and they both sounded like they were actually just trolling. Usually the headline could say “Obama spits in babies face” and there will still be 5000 comments supporting Obama and bashing Republicans/TeaBaggers.
Sean Davis, quoted above, speaks the truth. Colorado has 2 Democrat US Senators and a Democrat Governor because the Colorado Republican Party deliberately lost to avoid winning with Conservative/TEA Party nominees who had won fair and square.
The Republican Party [over the objections of the party rank and file] ran Peter Coors in 2004, the scion of the beer family that is so hated by the Democrats here in Colorado that ALL of them come out to vote against him on principle. The Republican Party’s public attacks and insults to the conservatives in Colorado were legendary, and would take more space than we have here just to explain how the Republican governor Bill Owens blindsided them during a “Unity Rally”.
They had to tampered with the vote at the state convention to get Coors on the primary ballot. Coors physically did not have the delegates present to get on the primary ballot. For some reason, they could not count the Senate ballots at the convention for over 8 hours and after the convention has recessed for the night. Normal ballot counting at a state convention takes <30 minutes. Been there, done that. Miraculously, somehow Coors got enough votes to get on the primary ballot.
Once Coors was on the primary ballot, the state party supported him [against party rules] over Dan Schaeffer [his first Senate run]. Coors' only issue, literally, was lowering the drinking age to 18, and he got arrested for DUI during the campaign. But he was one of the connected people, so he got the nomination.
Davis was absolutely right about Ken Buck's 2010 campaign. Ken is TEA Party, and won the nomination overwhelmingly. And the Party refused to help fund his campaign like they do every other candidate, and badmouthed him at every opportunity.
Dan Maes was our candidate for Governor in 2010. Yes, TEA Party. Won the Republican nomination fair and square. Granting that it involved a major screw up by the front-runner, Scott McInnis, but Dan won both the state convention and the primary. The Republican Party had Tom Tancredo [longtime Republican state senator] switch parties to Constitution Party, and in return for Republican funding, the Constitution Party made him their governor candidate. That split the conservative/Republican vote enough to elect a Democrat as the governor. The day after the election, Tancredo became a Republican again and is now the pre-selected Republican Party favorite candidate for governor.
Since the Republican Party gave McDowell in VA $9 million last cycle and they only gave Cuccinelli $3 million this cycle; they were playing the same games in Virginia as they were in Colorado. They wanted him to lose.
They have no problem losing to Democrats, because the Institutional Republicans are merely the Democrats’ second string team in the bipartisan Governing Party.
“One-way loyalty” works both ways!
What right do people who have “cut off” or never given any money to the RNC and RGA for some perceived offense in the past have to tell them how to spend their money?
Sure, Steele dumped $9 million of RNC money into Virginia last time, trying to take credit for a win when McDonnell was never ahead less than double digits. It was a waste then, and Steele got the boot for ill-considered spending (not just in VA).
The RNC and DNC both gave the candidates about $2 million directly this year. Cuccinelli was outraised 2-1 and Democratic PACs spent many times what GOP groups did.
The reason more Republicans didn’t give and more groups didn’t come in is that Cooch was behind solidly the whole campaign by close to 10 points. It looked like a waste.
Of course, he might have won except for the shutdown. That sucked all the coverage for three weeks at the end of the campaign. Why aren’t you all complaining about Ted Cruz’ grandstanding?
“The gripe against the RGA is that it spent money on ads itself, rather than giving the money to the Cuccinelli campaign directly, as the Democratic Governors Association did for McAuliffe.
It’s all about the Benjamins.
One of the most corrupt aspects of modern day campaigns is that the media “consultants” who place ads generally get commissions, which per this article would probably have been in the 10-15% range.
Factor that into Estragon’s posting above mine and you’ll have a better window into what likely happened.
Given the reality that the Republican establishment is anti Tea Party, I think that its time for a full scale revolt against the establishment. The establishment RINOs are corporatists, not conservatives. Either defeat them or start a third party.