The attacks have begun. The Republican establishment in the U.S.A. has now actually started the shooting war in the 2014 primary elections they have been threatening against conservative candidates for Congress.
“Hopefully we’ll go into eight to 10 races and beat the snot out of them,” said former Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio. His new political group, Defending Main Street, plans to raise $8 million to defeat tea-party candidates and elect moderate Republicans instead. “We’re going to be very aggressive and we’re going to get in their faces.” LaTourette was a close ally of moderate Republican Speaker John Boehner in the U.S. House.
On December 19, 2013, the Weekly Standard launched a smear – what used to be called a “lie” in the quaint old days – against Virginia State Senator Dick Black. The smear was promoted by The Drudge Report linking to the story. Drudge refused to take down the smear after many protests. It is not a story about news, but the kind of opposition research spread by election campaigns going negative.
The story consisted of posting a campaign ad by a Democrat opponent in 2011, under an extremely inflammatory headline. Dick Black won that campaign in 2011 with 57% of the vote. The story – and the headline – suggests that Dick Black would be unelectable in 2014 if nominated for U.S. Congress. Yet the Democrat Shawn Mitchell who ran the TV ad in 2011 lost with only 42.8% of the vote.
What’s the occasion? On December 17, 2013, seventeen-term moderate Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf announced he will not seek re-election on November 4, 2014. So Virginia’s Tenth Congressional District in Northern Virginia will now be an open battle in 2014.
Former JAG attorney Col. Dick Black – a skilled campaigner who moves quickly – announced an exploratory committee. Then Delegate Bob Marshall dropped out of consideration and endorsed Black. Although Black’s political career was very active long before the tea party, he might be counted tea party consistent.
That same Tuesday when Wolf announced, an important website Virginia Virtucon posted a poll with a long list of potential candidates. Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock and Senator Dick Black have been trading first and second place. The site is followed by very politically involved Virginia activists. So it suddenly looked like conservative Dick Black could shape up into a leading contender.
The smear accuses Col. Dick Black of supporting husbands raping their wives, that Black opposed laws against spousal rape. So we have Bill Kristol’s magazine spreading the liberal “war on women” scam. This is not the first time the Weekly Standard has taken point for inaccurate hatchet jobs on conservative candidates.
However, incredibly, Dick Black actually voted for the bill in question, H.B. 488. On February 7, 2002, then Delegate Black pointed out problems with the bill – but voted for it after those problems were fixed.
Furthermore, Senator Black is the only member of the General Assembly who actually prosecuted a case of spousal rape – successfully—as a former JAG officer in the military. The Judge Advocate General attorney prosecuted many men guilty of domestic violence in general.
In the 2002 floor speech replayed in the Democrat campaign ad, it is unmistakably clear that Dick Black was pointing out that the law was unworkable as drafted. Black obviously was not arguing for spousal rape or the legal opportunity for it. It is crystal clear that Black was identifying – as a former prosecutor – how the law would have problems in the courtroom from a prosecutor’s perspective. It was rewritten and polished. Black then voted for it, all within days.
Some campaign experts like Rick Shaftan consider the “10th C.D.” a safe Republican seat heading in to a 2014 Republican tidal wave, despite narrowly voting for Mitt Romney in 2012 and voting for Barack Obama in 2008. So any Republican will probably win Frank Wolf’s U.S. House seat if nominated, assuming a competent campaign.
Oddly, the Republican establishment keeps coming up with the completely “new” idea of smearing conservatives. Year after year, they keep announcing that “this time” the GOP needs to do a better job “vetting” candidates. Yet the establishment has always attacked conservative candidates, pointing out weaknesses real or imagined. What GOP insiders want to do “this time” – as a “new” idea – is the same thing they do every election cycle.
Karl Rove’s “Conservative Victory Project” was created to “start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections.” Conservative icon Brent Bozell responded by sending an email to Karl Rove’s donors warning that they wasted their money: “Now, in an attempt to explain the astonishingly low return on the hundreds of millions of dollars investment in Crossroads, Karl Rove and others are attempting to blame conservatives and the tea party.” And: “Meanwhile, more moderate candidates like Tommy Thompson, Heather Wilson, Rick Berg, and Denny Rehberg went down to defeat despite significant support from Crossroads.”
Establishment Republicans not only vote for bigger government, more spending, higher deficits, and ever-expanding regulation. They also openly express their contempt for conservatives. Insiders have always attacked the tea party.
Ironically, retiring Congressman Frank Wolf is a fiscal moderate weak on the budget and government spending. Heritage Action ranks Wolf at 46%. Americans for Prosperity rates the Congressman at 56% (lifetime 66%). The National Taxpayer’s Union rates Wolf with a “C” or a score of 64%—227th out of 435 for fiscal discipline. The consistently soft-on-RINO’s American Conservative Union ranks Wolf at 79.62%.
Yet Wolf is supported by most tea party members in Northern Virginia. The Northern Virginia Tea Party, of which this author is a member, actually split in 2010 over the desire of some leaders to attack Frank Wolf. The rank and file of the tea party overwhelmingly demanded support for Wolf’s re-election despite his deficiencies on budget issues.
So how does a moderate Republican enjoy the enthusiastic support of the tea party? Well, Frank Wolf doesn’t go around attacking conservatives the way Karl Rove, Steve LaTourette and others do. Wolf reaches out to and shows up at tea party meetings whenever possible. Wolf makes all factions of the GOP genuinely feel that he wants to work with all of them. So, perfect or not, Wolf is warmly accepted.
The truth is that the grassroots just isn’t listening to anything the insiders have to say. In every election campaign where we are now told that candidates were not “vetted” fully. But the establishment was already attacking those conservative candidates months ahead.
Republican primary voters simply didn’t care what the insiders have to say. It is false that primary voters didn’t know about conservative candidates’ pros and cons. The voters were simply not interested in the establishment’s arguments and reasoning. In fact, the more the insiders attack the conservative, the more the grassroots rushes to elect the conservative. In 2010 in Delaware, for example, the more Karl Rove insisted that the grassroots must not vote for Christine O’Donnell, the more enthusiastically they lined up to poke a thumb in Karl Rove’s eye.
Jonathon Moseley is a Virginia business and criminal defense attorney. Moseley is also a co-host with the ?Conservative Commandos? radio show, and an active member of the Northern Virginia Tea Party. He studied Physics at Hampshire College, Finance at the University of Florida and law at George Mason University in Virginia. Moseley promoted Reagan?s policies at High Frontier and the Center for Peace in Freedom. He worked at the U.S. Department of Education, including at the Center for Choice in Education.
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