The Republican elite are skilled at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Their arrogance in dealing with social conservatives, libertarians and the Tea Party underscores the continued rejection of the “big tent philosophy” they allegedly promote. If you don’t adopt D.C.’s version of big-government conservatism and war-machine foreign policy, you can expect open opposition.
The worst perpetrator of this jihad on unconventional Republicans is Karl Rove (and his minions at the Crossroads committee).
And now, Rove and the rest of the D.C. consultants controlling the GOP are going to lose their best chance to win the U.S. Senate majority in a decade. How? Well, it starts with Alaska, where the GOP’s misguided Puritanism has created astounding resentment.
In Alaska, the GOP elite are concerned with two things: helping the companies that they run to get federal contracts and keeping control of a Tammany Hall-type patronage system in state jobs.
On top of that, the consultants in D.C. smack their chops at a race in Alaska because their favorite campaign tactic – saturating the market with TV ads – costs chump change in Alaska compared to many other media markets.
But this thinking has inspired a series of stiff-armed moves that have laid waste to the Alaskan GOP. Six years ago, for example, Mark Begich – a generally unaccomplished unknown – was able to snatch the U.S. Senate seat away from long-term Republican Ted Stevens.
This election cycle, Begich is vulnerable… but the GOP elite would rather play blood sports to stop Tea Party leader Joe Miller than simply beat Begich.
In the end, either Joe Miller will win or Alaska will re-elect Begich.
A Vicious GOP Backstabbing
How can I be so sure?
I’ve watched Alaskan politics closely since I agreed to speak at their Lincoln Day Dinners in Juneau and Fairbanks over a decade ago. And to understand why either Miller or Begich will win, you need to know what happened in 2010, in Miller’s last race, as it left a residual distaste for Republican elite tactics.
You see, Miller is typical of the candidates whom D.C. consultants dislike: He’s too smart, too pro-life, too anti-government and too anti-establishment. He’s also a decorated war veteran and a former Judge who cut his political teeth challenging the Alaskan GOP establishment owned by the Murkowski family. Alaska’s senior Senator, for example, is Lisa Murkowski, whom Miller challenged – and beat – in the 2010 Republican primary.
When Murkowski lost the GOP primary, the D.C. establishment circled the wagons, helping Murkowski run an independent race as a write-in. The Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, didn’t remove her from leadership even when she decided to launch her bid against the legitimate Republican nominee.
Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) manipulated the very grassroots, fresh-faced Miller campaign and used his name to raise money… then subsequently spent the money helping Murkowski win her race.
Time to Widen the Circle
But the plan has backfired this election cycle. Emotions run deep because of the viciousness of the Murkowski campaign against Miller. And this time, he’s the only GOP candidate who can win the general election. Polling shows that if anyone else wins the primary, scores of general election voters (in the double-digit percentages) intend to write in Miller as a protest against the aggressive backstabbing in 2010.
Miller’s opponent in the primary is a Karl Rove favorite, Dan Sullivan… a Bush administration appointee and member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum’s “World Agenda Council.” Sullivan is committed to aggressive War Party policies in Syria and elsewhere. Yet Miller, a veteran tank commander who has seen bloody conflict, is much more wary of American intervention abroad.
Frankly, Miller cares more about America than he does the Republican Party, and many of his supporters are encouraging him to just skip the GOP primary and run an unconventional campaign as an independent. Even if he went this route, it would still be disastrous for the GOP’s hopes of recapturing the U.S. Senate.
With recent polling showing Miller’s candidacy beginning to surge in a matchup against Begich, the GOP’s best hope for picking up the seat is to embrace Miller as the Party nominee. The question is, will the Republican elite do their best to snatch defeat from victory again, or will they lengthen the tent cords enough to stand with a true conservative from Alaska?
Your eyes on the Hill,