At times I feel like channeling Edward R. Murrow. There aren’t too many people who still remember viewing and hearing him. I’m one of those.
Murrow had a news program, See it Now, on CBS in the 1950s. Mom and Dad didn’t have a television on The Farm at that time. Instead, we’d drive over to Grandma’s place and watch TV there. Dad liked to watch Murrow and Dragnet. Mom liked listening to Murrow on the radio but she was never a TV fan. She’d rather read.
Imagine…instead of hearing Murrow say, “This is London,” as he would report during World War II, imagine him saying, “This is…,” and then pick a US location. Somewhere in Texas, Missouri, anywhere except Washington. In our version of history, image reporting as it was during WW II. Think of the parallels. Britain is now the United States. In the imagined parallel, Washington must be Berlin. With that world in mind, we have two items in the news today; news from the front.
Conservatives forces are making gains on the continent…er, in Washington. Reports from the field have conservatives strengthening their positions as they advance on establishment positions. After a successful counter-attack led by Senator Ted Cruz, we have this news release.
By TIMOTHY P. CARNEY | JANUARY 14, 2014 AT 6:30 PM
Cold cash, together with control of institutions, is what makes the Establishment the Establishment. But in the current Republican civil war, the insurgents have secured their own money pipelines, and they control their own institutions – which means the GOP leadership and its allies in the business lobby have a hard fight in front of them.
The firing and hiring of conservative staffer Paul Teller makes it clear that the anti-establishment has built its own establishment.
Teller was a House staffer for more than a decade, and was longtime executive director of the conservative Republican Study Committee. The RSC always exerted a rightward pull on party leadership, but it is nonetheless a subsidiary of the party.
After the 2012 election, the Republican Establishment captured the RSC, in effect, by getting Congressman Steve Scalise elected chairman. Scalise is a conservative, but he is also a close ally of the party leadership – much more so than his predecessors Jim Jordan and Tom Price. Scalise immediately swept out most of the RSC staff.
Last month, Teller was accused of working with outside groups such as Heritage Action to whip RSC members – and Scalise showed Teller the door.
In the old days, this might have been a disaster for Teller. He had lost his job and landed on the wrong side of the party leadership. Anyone who picked up Teller would be spitting in the eye of the Establishment. But this week, Sen. Ted Cruz announced he had hired Teller as deputy chief of staff.
The Establishment no longer has the power it once had to demand obedience.
How did the party leadership maintain such power in the past? Basically with money. Party leaders had a near monopoly on access to money, both in terms of raising funds for candidates and landing jobs for individuals.
Floor leaders and committee chairmen have always been the GOP’s main contact point with corporations’ political action committees and lobbyists. If a member stays on the good side of party leaders, the leaders make a phone call to a lobbyist who throws the member a fundraiser.
Similarly, if a staffer always played nice with the Establishment, that brought with it job security: Even if your boss retired, you could land on your feet, as the leadership would recommend you for a job in another office, or K Street would hire you.
You can see how this would make dissenting staffers and members watch their words and actions. Sure, members were allowed to vote against the leadership – as long as the leadership didn’t need your vote. But at the end of the day, you had to play ball, otherwise you got no money for re-election, and no jobs for you or your staff.
But Teller landed on his feet — and today any conservative staffer disposed to fight the party leadership can hold out the same hope. The GOP Establishment has lost its monopoly, and the insurgents now have many bases of power – and thus many sources of money.
Conservative activist groups have always existed inside the GOP, but because they couldn’t raise and distribute large amounts of money, they functioned mostly through moral suasion – which means they were largely powerless. Eventually, these Beltway conservative groups grew dependent on the GOP, and instead of holding the party accountable, they often ended up being the establishment’s liaison to the conservative base.
Today’s conservative groups are fully armed, though. Thanks to advances in Internet fundraising and changes in campaign finance laws, the Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks, and the Club for Growth can raise and spend enough money to compete in GOP primaries with the Chamber of Commerce and lobbying firms.
Beyond these new pipelines of campaign cash, the insurgents now control institutions – institutions they created, and ones they took over. Jim DeMint, who founded the Senate Conservatives Fund in 2008, left Congress in 2013 to head the Heritage Foundation.
Heritage used to be a faithful ally of the GOP – at least when it counted most. Under DeMint, Heritage is a scourge of the GOP leadership and an enforcer of a hard limited-government line.
And the Senate offices of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul are three insurgent beachheads on Capitol Hill. Being a senator doesn’t merely give one a vote — it gives these men the budget to staff a congressional office. As they gain seniority, the Tea Partiers will get control over budgets for committee staffs.
When a member’s re-election, or a staffer’s ability to pay the mortgage, doesn’t depend on the Establishment’s favor, the Establishment may need to find a new way to gain conservatives’ loyalty.
Another news report from the Front exposes an attempt by enemy agents to infiltrate conservative support organizations. The target of these infiltrators was to misdirect funds and reinforcements from conservatives. The infiltrators, funded and organized by liberal operatives, were exposed as reported below.
Erick Erickson (Diary) |
Steve LaTourette, a former congressman and friend of John Boehner, runs the “Republican Main Street Partnership”. Note the word “Republican.”
As the left-wing Talking Points Memo reported a month ago, LaTourette and his Main Street Partnership have created an affiliated SuperPAC called “Defending Main Street PAC.” Along with the Chamber of Commerce and Republican Leaders, the Main Street Partnership wants to take out troublesome conservatives.
Defending Main Street PAC plans to raise $8 million in this election cycle; by contrast the Senate Conservatives Fund handled $12 million in 2012 and expects to raise even more this time around.
Note, first, that LaTourette spoke with a left-wing site to reveal his plans. Note second that Defending Main Street PAC has had to release its year end campaign finance numbers.
According to its fundraising report, Defending Main Street PAC received its money from a Democrat donor, a group of unions, and an Indian tribe.
- Bonderman, David gave $30000.00 – the Los Angeles Times referred to him as “David Bonderman, a significant contributor to Democrats, “
- Laborers’ Political League Education Fund gave $100000.00
- The Chickasaw Nation gave $50000.00
- International Union of Operating Engineers [EPEC] gave $250000.00
- Laborers’ International Union Of North America (LIUNA) PAC gave $150000.00
- MEBA PAF gave $15000.00 (Marine Engineers Beneficial Association)
- Working for Working Americans-Federal gave $250000.00 (Building Trades / carpenters PAC)
In other words, the “Republican” Main Street Partnership’s affiliated PAC intends to use George Soros connections and Democrat back groups’ money to defeat conservatives.
More troubling, the Republican Main Street Partnership has a lot of ties to Republican leaders. Again, folks, it is us versus them. You pick.
It is no longer sufficient nor wise to assume anyone claiming to be republican is working for our benefit and is a conservative. All too many ‘Pubs, elected using the Tea Part and other grassroot organizations, have turned out to be turn-coats. Instead of listening to and following the demands of their constituents, those who elected them, these turn-coats parrot the establishment line. In many cases, the turn-coats talk and agree with their constituents at home, while voting, in lock-step, with the establishment in Washington.
It is worse. The local party officials quake in fear of these turn-coats. They point to their massive campaign funds, funds gathered with the help of those local dupes, and declare the turn-coats are unbeatable. That may be true, if the local and state party organizations don’t disavow and work to present primary opponents to remove these traitors in our ranks.
Failure of the county and state parties will likely result in a repeat of 2012 in 2014 and 2016. The conservatives, feeling unrepresented and seeing no real difference between the two national parties, stay home. The dems retain the Senate, and may take back the House. It will be Pelosi back as Speaker and a repeat of 2008 through 2010.
Will it take a repeat of of 2012 to make the ‘Pubs listen? Or, in disgust, will conservatives leave the party forever, creating a new party that speaks for them. Only the republican officials can say.
It’s 1856, ‘Pubbies. Think on that.