The R.I.N.O. and the President

In case you missed it, something very interesting in the politics happened last month. President Bush and his firm enemy George Soros joined together on an important issue, along with Alan Dershowitz, Ron Carey, Richard Ben-Veniste, and Planned Parenthood. And they succeeded in accomplishing their goal.

"I am SOOO pissed off at Bush right now"... was the IM that I received from a fellow College Republican, regarding this matter. I had previously sent him a link to this column by conservative columnist Bob Novak. As you can see there, President Bush teamed up with the Left to support the re-nomination of Sen. Arlen Specter, against conservative challenger Pat Toomey. This has been a pattern of behavior for this White House; they did the same type of thing in the 2002 primary elections... Don Feder was right in saying that, "If Ronald Reagan sought a GOP nomination today, the White House would endorse his opponent."

The Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans also did something in this race that is very unfortunate. They sent out a letter to the CR chapters in their state, urging them to back Arlen Specter in the primary, saying that, while they agree with Toomey on the issues, a Specter victory was essential for the good of the party, and was important for President Bush's chances of winning their state.

Here in Illinois, the statewide College Republican federation has a rule in its Constitution that prohibits it from making any primary endorsements. Apparently, the Pennsylvania CRs also have such a rule, but their Constitution does allow them to endorse a primary candidate once the Republican State Committee has done so, which they anticipated that it would do. This letter, however, was not an official endorsement by their organization of Specter, but rather, a statement from its officers.

That letter goes even farther than just advising the College Republicans in PA to back Arlen Specter. In the letter, the CR officers provide answers to questions that they had been frequently asked. Here are a couple of those answers:

3. Does Pat Toomey have a legitimate shot at winning the Primary?
Based on our conversations with the Republican establishment, probably not. Also, please read this article from PoliticsPA.

4. What should I tell “Students for Toomey” if they want to attend one of our meetings to recruit?
We strongly advise you to politely inform them that your chapter is backing Arlen Specter and you have no interest in working with Pat Toomey. We need to support the President and our State Committee 100 percent. Aiding “Students for Toomey” is the same as directly working against the President’s orders.

Via the Cybercast News Service article about this matter, I found this entry at the site of the Collegiate Network, which correctly points out that "...It is really sad to see these promising conservative students completely sacrifice their ideology for the good of the party."

I am greatly involved in the College Republicans chapter at my university, and I think many of our members would be quite offended if our statewide CR organization were to send out a letter such as this. Here in Illinois, the College Republicans organizations at each school often have a "Students for..." and a "Students for..." groups within their club. Once the primary is over, and the candidate has been nominated, is the time when everyone bands together to support a single candidate. That is the way that it is supposed to be.

In addition to this, there are some other flaws in the statements of the PA College Republicans, as expressed in that letter. They write that "...Based on our conversations with the Republican establishment,..." Toomey probably does not have a chance of winning the nomination. But prior to the election (this was some time after that letter was written), many of those across the country were watching that Senate primary race, and it was recognized that Toomey did in fact, have a legitimate shot at defeating Specter... He ended up coming very close. So that prediction made by the "Republican establishment," and expressed by the College Republicans officers, ended up not being true. Also, the claim that having Toomey, rather than Specter, on the November ballot would hurt Bush chances in Pennsylvania may also not be true.

Now, the R.I.N.O. Specter is the Republican nominee for [re-election to the] U.S. Sentate in Pennsylvania. I was thinking about who his Democratic opponent was; I don't know anything about him, but I just went to his campaign website though, and it seems that Mr. Joe Hoeffel is quite liberal. One thing I was thinking is that the Democrats could increase their chances of winning the U.S. Senate seat by nominating a pro-life candidate against the pro-choice Specter. In Pennsylvania, many of the people are economically populist, while more conservative on social issues. One of the prominent leaders in that state was the late Governor Bob Casey, a popular Democrat who was very strongly pro-life. (He was considering challenging President Clinton for re-nomination in the 1996 presidential elections, but health problems prevented him from doing so... He passed away a few years later.) His son, Pennsylvania Auditor General Bob Casey, Jr., ran for Governor in the 2002 elections, but badly lost the Democratic primary. Like his father, Mr. Casey, Jr. is strongly pro-life, and perhaps he could have done well against Specter; however, I just saw that he is running for State Treasurer this year.

When Pennsylvania's other U.S. Senator, Rick Santorum (a real Republican, unlike Specter) was running for re-election in 2000, his Democratic opponent was pro-life. Senator Santorum, who is also strongly pro-life, won re-election by a 7-percentage-point margin; his opponent had major funding problems, which contributed to his defeat. However, if the Democrats were to again nominate a pro-life candidate for U.S. Senate this time, he could do better, since Specter is very much not pro-life... In fact, Planned Parenthood has claimed credit for his recent victory against Toomey in the GOP primary. But as soon as I go to the campaign site of Specter's opponent, I see the top item:
Watch our New Flash Ad to See Why Arlen Specter is a Threat to Roe v. Wade

Wow - A Planned Parenthood-backed candidate a threat to Roe v. Wade? I haven't viewed that Flash Ad, but perhaps they are referring to how Specter would be the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee if he wins re-election.

I haven't looked up any information about U.S. Rep. Joe Hoeffel, Specter's Democratic opponent, but the Democrats are really missing a key opportunity to win a U.S. Senate seat here. In the elections of 1990, when then-Governor Bob Casey ran for re-election, the Republicans nominated a pro-choice candidate to run against him. Casey nonetheless won - and with a record-setting 68% of the vote. By nominating a pro-life candidate in this year's Senate race, the Dems could have capitalized on the dissatisfaction with Specter by social conservatives, and could have gotten some crossover votes.

There is, in fact, a strong conservative and pro-life candidate running against Arlen Specter for U.S. Senate in November - He is Jim Clymer, the National Chairman of the Constitution Party. In the November 1994 elections, Clymer ran as a conservative, third-party candidate for Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, on a ticket with gubernatorial candidate Peg Luksik. Many people were surprised when the Luksik/Clymer ticket received over 460,000 votes (about 12.8%) against the Democratic candidate, then-Lt. Governor Mark Singel, and Republican candidate Tom Ridge, the latter of whom ended up winning the race, with about 45% of the vote. It is possible that many of those who backed Toomey could end up voting for Jim Clymer... but even if Clymer does not end up getting a high percentage of votes, he could garner enough to make the difference, if the election is close. This is often what ends up happening when the GOP Establishment chooses to nominate moderates and liberals for the general election - alternate conservative or libertarian candidates end up garnering enough votes in the general election to swing the plurality to the Democratic side. The conservative base of the Republican Party either stays home on Election Day, or votes for an independent or third-party candidate, or sometimes even votes for the Democrat in protest. This has happened in many cases throughout our country, and it could happen in Pennsylvania this year as well, which could have distasterous consequences for our Party.

It is like with many things... We reap what we sow.

Posted by Aakash at May 30, 2004 1:20 PM | TrackBack (1)