A deceptive practice?

To be a well-informed voter, sometimes you need context. Take this example I received from Bill Murphy of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which was plugging a website called electionharmony.com on Valentine’s Day.

The targeted six.

If you go to that URL, you’re redirected here, which is the NRSC’s blog.

All this is well and good, but I wanted more. So I wrote back and asked Murphy about context: did have have the data for all 100 Senators, for my thought was that – just based on the sheer number of near-unanimous votes the Senate takes – a lot of Republicans would fall into the 75% to 85% range themselves. Murphy’s pithy reply: “We’re running against the Democrats below. Our priority is to highlight their voting record to their constituents and defeat them in November.”

Okay, I get it. But you probably picked a bad week to do this after a number of Republican senators sold out and voted to pass a “clean” debt ceiling bill (a.k.a. blank check) without extracting any concessions whatsoever from the Democrats. It was even more gutless for some Republican senators to vote for cloture only to turn around and vote against the final bill when they knew the Democrats would have the votes to pass it. Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn were two of those who, as far as I’m concerned, voted with Obama 100% of the time last week and I find that unacceptable.

Here’s my problem with this approach. Sure, it would be nice to pick up the six seats in the Senate, maintain control of the House, and give Barack Obama a completely Republican Congress to deal with come next year. But will they have the cajones to keep him in check when he uses his pen and his phone to rewrite laws without their consent, as he has done time and time again with Obamacare?

The NRSC supports Republicans in the Senate and tries to find candidates to defeat Democrats. But there are degrees to being Republican. I understand that winning a Senate seat in Maine or Oregon may take a somewhat different candidate than one who can prevail in Texas or South Carolina, but they should all adhere to at least some conservative principles and must have the intestinal fortitude to stand up against overreach of the executive branch, up to and including impeachment. (Yes, I said the i-word.) So what if it’s the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency and so what if we would have to survive Joe Biden. (Delaware can get a President before it gets a national park, since they are shut out of both at the moment.) We didn’t elect an emperor.

Yet the NRSC will likely try to protect its incumbents, regardless of their merits. Listen, I’m a registered Republican, but sometimes my party gets it wrong. A hokey URL and noting some Democrats vote with their president over 90 percent of the time is one thing, but we also need to present a principled conservative alternative along with a plan to keep the executive branch in check. I haven’t seen that come across my e-mail box yet.

Bongino gets key endorsement

She may not have the cache she did as little as six weeks ago, but getting an endorsement from Sarah Palin doesn’t hurt with a certain subgroup of voters. Dan Bongino made news today by being the latest candidate anointed by the “mama grizzly.” In a statement actually dated tomorrow, the Bongino campaign relates this Palin statement:

Though political pundits often dismiss conservative candidates running in deep blue states, I don’t believe in ignoring good candidates simply because they’re fighting uphill battles against the odds. In fact, I find such candidates incredibly brave and especially worthy of encouragement. In many cases, they are often the most articulate and courageous new conservative voices out there.

In 2012, we must cede no ground in our effort to win back control of the Senate and secure the House. We must fight every race to make sure we equip our next President with a wise Congress ready to work for all Americans.  We also owe it to voters in every state – even the deep blue ones – to support good candidates for office so that they have a genuine choice in November. That is why I’m honored to announce my support for Dan Bongino in his Senate race in the “deep blue state” of Maryland.

Dan is not a politician, but he has spent his career protecting them. He is a decorated United States Secret Service agent who served under three Presidents. Dan has seen what politicians have done to our country, and he’s decided, “If I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem.” He based his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Maryland on a strong commonsense conservative platform, won his primary, and is now fighting an uphill battle against a 45-year career politician who in fact inherited his first political office from his uncle at the tender age of 23 way back in 1967 and has been in elected office ever since.

This is more than just a race of Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. It’s about taking our country back from the career politicians in both parties who have spent us into debt, nearly taxed us to death, enriched themselves, rewarded their cronies at our expense, and have no vision to help the private sector create the jobs we need to get this economy moving again. They are the reason why Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low. In supporting Dan Bongino, we are offering Maryland voters a clear choice either to continue with the failed policies and crony capitalism of the permanent political class, or to shake things up with Dan Bongino and cast a vote that helps put our country back on the path to prosperity.

It’s not completely out of the blue that Palin would endorse Dan – after all, she mentioned him by name at a Ted Cruz rally in Texas last month.

But the connection comes from another direction as well. Marylanders may recall that back in 2010 Palin made a surprising call in the Republican primary for governor, endorsing upstart Brian Murphy over the establishment choice of retread Bob Ehrlich. And while he’s stayed in the background for the most part, Murphy has served as the Chair for Dan Bongino’s campaign.

Obviously there will be those who fret that a Palin endorsement will be the kiss of death for Bongino and they’ll cite as evidence that, even with Palin’s backing, Murphy received just 25% of the GOP primary vote in 2010. But I would argue that without the Palin endorsement Murphy would have picked up no more than 10 percent of the vote because no one had really heard of him and the Maryland GOP certainly wasn’t giving him the time of day.

Furthermore I would venture to say that, in order to have any chance of success, Bongino needs to nationalize his campaign. It pains me to say this, but the Maryland GOP is lightyears away from having the resources to assist in any significant manner on a statewide campaign; meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee will likely write off Maryland, believing the conventional wisdom that the state is a foregone conclusion for Ben Cardin. (Well, they may jump on the bandwagon late in the game if Bongino appears poised for victory, so they can take the credit.)

By securing the Pain endorsement, Bongino reinforces his standing by being placed with other conservatives she has backed over the last two years; her most recent success being the aforementioned Ted Cruz. Now that the slings and arrows of being second banana on the national GOP ticket have been shifted to Paul Ryan, Palin can become a little bit like yesterday’s news – losing the constant scrutiny but retaining the passionate backers who can help an upstart campaign, even if it’s in another state. Remember, no one expected Ted Cruz to win in Texas against a sitting lieutenant governor who had the backing of much of the state’s establishment, either.

Besides, if a Republican is going to stop backing Dan Bongino because he received the endorsement of the conservative darling Sarah Palin, he or she wasn’t much of a Republican to begin with. May your chains placed by “our friend” Ben Cardin and Barack Obama rest lightly.

I don’t know if this was the “something very exciting” that Bill Harris mentioned at the Wicomico GOP headquarters opening, but it is pretty big stuff. Congratulations to Dan for getting the nod.

Update 7:30 p.m. Monday: Bongino also received Senator Jim DeMint’s endorsement.

Zero for 2012

Even though there were a few naysayers who thought Barack Obama “would rather be a really good one-term President than a mediocre two-term President,” we’ll get to see his re-election bid before our very eyes.

In an e-mail to supporters (and detractors such as me) he noted:

Today, we are filing papers to launch our 2012 campaign.

We’re doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you — with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build.

So even though I’m focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today.

We’ve always known that lasting change wouldn’t come quickly or easily. It never does. But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we’ve made — and make more — we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest.


In the coming days, supporters like you will begin forging a new organization that we’ll build together in cities and towns across the country. And I’ll need you to help shape our plan as we create a campaign that’s farther reaching, more focused, and more innovative than anything we’ve built before.

We’ll start by doing something unprecedented: coordinating millions of one-on-one conversations between supporters across every single state, reconnecting old friends, inspiring new ones to join the cause, and readying ourselves for next year’s fight.

This will be my final campaign, at least as a candidate. But the cause of making a lasting difference for our families, our communities, and our country has never been about one person. And it will succeed only if we work together.

Do you see the push to repeal the 22nd amendment beginning in 2013 or 2014 if he’s re-elected? Last campaign my ass – he’s essentially been non-stop campaigning since about 2007. We’re not seeing a lot of governing here.

In their writeup of the story, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post makes the following statement:

The formation of a reelection committee will allow Obama to begin collecting cash for what is expected to be the most expensive campaign in political history. Obama raised $750 million in 2008 and is widely expected to meet or exceed that total in 2012.

Already Obama campaign manager Jim Messina has been touring the country to meet with major donors; he has asked 400 major donors to each collect $350,000 in 2011, a target that, if met, would mean that Obama would end the year with $140 million raised — before a single vote was cast in the race for Republican presidential nomination.

Obama can talk all he wants about creating an “innovative” campaign or “reconnecting old friends,” but Cillizza’s remark is the real story here – it’s all about the Benjamins. Remember, Obama decided not to accept public financing (and its arbitrary spending limits) last time around. That meant he could swamp a woefully underfunded John McCain, even without the free campaign advertising provided by a fawning press.

Heck, we already have the first Obama campaign commercial:

Oh wait, that commerical came from the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Still, it’s a lot more truthful than the bilge that Obama For Against America will be putting out. All he’ll do is blame Bush, Republicans in the House, and racist Americans (not necessarily in that order) for creating the problems he’s had to deal with. There will also be those spots where he finds shiny, happy Americans only too willing to depend on government largesse for their prosperity.

All I know is that this upcoming campaign will likely be the most negative in American history, simply because any attempt to point out President Obama’s sorry record on the economy, foreign affairs, or response to crisis will be considered an attack by the fawning media – which will also be declaring open season on the GOP nominee, whoever he or she is. So it will be negative, and I guess I’m starting the ball rolling already with nineteen months to election day.