For some reason, people come up to me and start asking my opinion on politics. I’m not sure if I’ve just got one of those “I like politics” faces or not, but it’s kind of unsettling.
For a moment. And then I remember – oh, yeah! I LOVE talking politics. Today’s piece of opinion comes to you courtesy of the question, “So what can conservatives do to capitalize on their ideology and do some real damage in the next election?”
Well, I’ll tell you.
1. First – we must separate party and ideology. While I am a registered Republican, I am a Republican because of the principles the party supposedly stands for. However, if the party nominates people that do not match these principles, I will not vote for them. I will not support them. Neither will millions of other conservatives. A party with a shifting ideology is not a political movement – it’s an opportunistic mess and an electoral defeat waiting to happen.
Or, to put it another way: no more John McCains. No more Bob Doles. No more George W. Bushes. We want conservative candidates, and we’re sick of “taking another hit for the team”. If the team isn’t going to play by our rules (and by “our”, I mean “the voters who have the power to hire and fire politicians at our whim”), then we’re not going to play.
And yes – that means replacing Michael Steele as GOP head. I supported Steele early on, but his actions since he ascended have been migraine-inducing. We can do better.
2. The obvious next step is to target weak Democrats for election losses – with strong, conservative Republicans. Offering a middle ground guy will only ensure that the Democrat continues to stay in office and that the voters are offered a choice between varying degrees of liberalism. The Senate seats I’m looking at belong to Roland Burris (IL – Crook), Ted Kaufman (DE – Biden’s Former Seat), Blanche Lincoln (AR), Michael Bennet (CO), Chris Dodd (CT – Crook), Daniel Inouye (HI – Crook), Arlen Specter (PA – GOP Traitor), and Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid (NV – Crook).
3. The not-so-obvious next step is to do the same thing to weak, liberal Republicans. Giving voters a choice in primaries between weak Republicans and strong conservatives may show a rift in the party, but who cares? This isn’t about party, and the voters in November aren’t electing candidates in a primary election. Which ones? Well… Those seats belong to David Vitter (LA – Prostitution Scandal), Jim Bunning (KY – Big Mouth), George LeMieux (FL – PLEASE support Marc Rubio over Charlie Crist), and George Voinovich (OH). I’ll throw in Joseph Cao (LA) in the House, with his support for PelosiCare.
4. OK – here’s where things get ugly… These are all pretty obvious things for the GOP to do in terms of dumping money into these races to try to get back some measure of balance in the Senate. So now, we turn to the House, where things are a lot more widespread and a lot more up in the air. Right now, with no real strategy, the GOP (I think) has the ability to pick up between 10 and 15 seats – and lose between 2 and 5 (a net gain of 5-13 seats). In this past weekend’s health boondoggle vote, even 5 would’ve been the difference between passage and failure. 5-13 seats isn’t bad. It’s not great, tho, and it won’t bring about the strong, conservative change we need in DC. So herein is my idea.
Go after the Blue Dogs.
The so-called Blue Dog Democrats, on one hand, seem have been minimal allies on issues like health care and abortion, mostly because they’re afraid to lose their seats in their red districts – but we must remember that they are NOT conservatives. Even the most moderate of them is, frankly, a moderate, and no better than a John McCain, and I think conservatives can agree that the last thing we need in Washington DC is more John McCains.
But they are not our allies.
Right now, the 52 Blues can be told by Nanny Pelosi that they need x number of votes, and that the most at-risk of them can go ahead and pretend to be conservative so that they can get re-elected. They play their political game and conservatism takes another hit thanks to people who pretend to be on our side, but who aren’t really.
Let’s play a little pretend game here… Let’s pretend we went after, say 20 of those seats. Conservatives pour millions of dollars into some of those districts… and we win half. All of the sudden, our 5-13 seat predicted gains in 2010 just turned into a 15-23 gain. It’s not a takeover, but it certainly makes life harder on Nanny Pelosi and the radical left. It also makes like harder on the remaining Blue Dogs who suddenly have to make a decision to either turn left or turn right, or be faced with even steeper losses in 2012.
So… who do we go after? Well, I’ve got a few people on my list… make your own list in the comments:
1. Heath Shuler (NC-11). He’s the Blue Dog Whip that slid into office on the heals of the ethically-challenged Charles Taylor. He was re-elected by a pretty wide margin in 2008, but that doesn’t mean he’s safe. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a good, solid conservative candidate in the North Carolina Mountains, say from the Asheville area.
2. Mike McIntyre (NC-7). Another NC Congresscritter in a solid conservative district that includes much of the Southeast section of the state. Why, if only there were a giant colelction of conservative, pro-military folks in southeastern North Carolina that could fill this role! Say, in a Fort. Someone we could Bragg about.
3. Charlie Melancon (LA-3). He’s had to play conservative to get noticed in his district. Whoever the Dems run, go to the right.
4. Earl Pomeroy (ND). He’s got attachments to the bank failures and the bad economy. He’s ripe for the picking.
5. Stephanie Sandlin (SD). She’s one of the more liberal members of the Blue Dogs, and has attached herself uncomfortably close to Barack Obama. As a bonus, she’s been IDed as a potential Presidential candidate in the future, and an election defeat would help defuse that potential problem later on.
6. Sanford Bishop (GA-2). He’s got an ethics cloud from steering federal dollars towards a youth program his daughter and son-in-law were attached to.
7. Jason Altmire (PA-4). He’s got an oddball voting record that apparently includes getting permission from the local bishop of his church on his votes.
8. Melissa Bean (IL-8). How she got on the Blue Dogs is a mystery. She’s as moderate as Lenin, and her close ties to ideas like CAFTA make her vulnerable.
9. John Murtha (PA-Idiot). He’s not a Blue Dog, but he’s an ethics-challenged idjut who needs to be challenged by a good, solid conservative candidate in a non-Obama year… like 2010.
There’s my 9. Who are yours?
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