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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Tea Party on RiNO Safari in Kentucky

Mitch McConnell
It's 2014, an election year, which means it's time for a good ol' fashioned RiNO hunt. For those unfamiliar with the acronym, RiNO stands for "Republican in Name Only" and is meant to indicate a GOP sell-out to moderation or even liberalism -- but in reality, it's come to mean a heretic in the cult of Tea Party purity. Democrats, liberals, and various and sundry other commies, behold of the wonder of the RiNO safari and rejoice.

CNN: A conservative group is launching a new campaign which calls on "the GOP leadership in both the House and the Senate to step aside."

ForAmerica told CNN that it's putting six figures behind its "Dump the Leadership" campaign between now and November's leadership elections.

The group says that its digital ads will target House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, as well as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip John Cornyn, and the group adds that the first paid spots are now up online.
ForAmerica has been put together by ultra-conservative one man noise machine Brent Bozell. Brent is... Well, Brent's an interesting character -- if by "interesting" you mean an unrelenting, fiery ball of seething hatred, ridiculous lies, and perpetual victimhood. Also interesting (in the more traditional sense) is Bozell's reason for this RiNO hunt.


"Time and again, year after year, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate has come to grassroots conservatives, and Tea Party supporters pleading for our money, our volunteers, our time, our energy and our votes," Bozell told CNN. "In return they have repeatedly promised not just to stop the liberal assault on our freedoms and our national treasury, but to advance our conservative agenda. It's been years. There is not a single conservative accomplishment this so-called 'leadership' can point to."

There's a reason for that failure to advance the agenda -- conservative leadership spends way too much time listening to extremists like Brent Bozell. The government shutdown, the debt limit fiasco; these aren't exactly the children of Republican moderates. The Tea Party's demand for everything they want, right now, with no compromise whatsoever is a lousy strategy to get anything done. Replacing the leadership with Tea Party purists is not going to fix the problem Bozell thinks he sees.

In fact, the effort itself can only hurt Bozell's cause, as reality demonstrates.

Talking Points Memo: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is tied with his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, at 42 percent each in a new poll by conservative-leaning firm Rasmussen Reports.

Six percent preferred neither of them, and 10 percent were undecided, according to the survey, which was released Monday.

Rasmussen's polls came under fire during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles for regularly overstating the standing of Republican candidates.
Rasmussen's poll shows the person Bozell and ForAmerica would prefer -- Matt Bevin -- actually doing better against Grimes in the general. But the most recent polling shows that Bevin has no hope at all of winning the Republican primary in Kentucky. Barring some earthshattering scandal or the incumbent's untimely demise, Mitch McConnell will win the primary and advance to the general. The man has a better than 20-point lead.

Which means that Brent Bozell and company are going to throw money at a candidate who's almost certainly going to lose the GOP primary, dirtying and roughing up the Republican who's just as certain to win. Mitch McConnell will not come out of this smelling like a rose, to say the least, and the man who's already the least popular senator in the US goes into a race even less popular than before. And that's a race where poll averages show him slightly behind. SPOILER ALERT: that's not going to help Republicans keep that seat.

After the race is over, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will probably be sending Brent Bozell a box of chocolates and a thank you card.

And while McConnell's case is an extreme example, it's still an important one. Other targeted Republicans probably won't be taken down so easily and ForAmerica's money will, for the most part, be wasted. But in a year where the GOP has hopes of retaking the Senate, throwing a seat away like this could spell disaster. And the fact that it's the Senate Minority Leader himself would only be a PR coup for Dems.

It also shows just how counterproductive conservative extremist tantrums and RiNO hunts can be. No wonder GOP leadership are going to war with the Tea Party. The 'baggers are true believers -- and true believers would rather destroy the party than allow it to be run by anyone other than purists.


[photo by Gage Skidmore]

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