I don’t understand the national Republicans. You see, a conservative won the Arizona GOP primary (Broken link, active September 13, 2006) for an open US House seat yesterday. You would think that would be cause for rejoicing (it is for me). But here is the sentence in the news story which caught my eye:
“Former state lawmaker Randy Graf won the GOP primary for an open U.S. House seat despite lobbying from the National Republican Congressional Committee against his candidacy. … Party officials had expressed concerns Graf may be too conservative to win the seat in November.”
This is what burns me up about the national GOP. They did the same thing to us two years ago. Colorado’s longtime senator, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Republican (but not a conservative) was retiring, which led to a GOP primary for the open Senate seat. Our former House Congressman, Bob Schaffer (R), early bid for the seat, supported by our Republican governor.
Suffice it to say that Bob Schaffer is beloved in Colorado among grassroots GOP. He is like Ronald Reagan, only more deeply principled, more deeply Christian, and more deeply pro-family. He was a staunch supporter and defender of homeschooling. In a word, conservative. He was the best congressman we have ever had represent our district, and a rising star in the national GOP. He ran unopposed by Democrats in his last election here, because he was so popular as to be unbeatable.
But he did not run again after three terms because in his very first campaign, he was a supporter of term limits, and promised to limit himself to three terms. The president himself asked Bob to reconsider and break his promise (as nearly every other term limit devotee did), but his response was, “How can I face my son again if I break my promise?” Can you see why this man was beloved in his district?
So our Bob Schaffer was going up against the Democrat for the open Senate seat, whom he surely would have trounced soundly (he is an inspired debater, and deeply knows his subject, which is any question of government policy and action), when Pete Coors, of Coors beer, decided to throw his hat in the ring and run for the Senate for the GOP. “Hey, I’m a millionaire, I have bought everything else my heart desires, I think I’ll buy a Senate seat next!”
This is where things got ugly. The governor and the National GOP all of the sudden pulled their support from Schaffer and threw it behind Coors. (Did I mention that Schaffer served for years in the state Congress in Denver before ever going to Washington? He was longtime faithful GOP.) Coors had never even served one day in public office, and had never even campaigned for county dogcatcher. But because he was a millionaire, who could finance his own campaign, and a RINO instead of a real conservative, the GOP left Schaffer out to dry, backed Coors all the way, and as a result, Coloradoans now have Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat, representing us in Congress, and the Senate has one more Democrat yes- man doing the bidding of Ted Kennedy et al.
The argument our governor gave at the time for ditching Schaffer, was that he was too conservative to win in a state- wide election. What a ridiculous notion, and why is the GOP, of all things, infected with it? Using that logic, Ronald Reagan had no chance at all of winning the presidency, yet he did so, two times, the second by a landslide, and passed conservative policies with a Democrat- controlled Congress.
Two years later, we see the GOP being its own worst enemy again by using money it could have spent against Democrats to defeat GOP conservatives in primaries. This is precisely why I stopped givng to the GOP after the 2004 election. Sorry for sounding disgruntled, and sorry for the long post.