Republican Establishment Trys To Devour Its Own

Well, the higher-ups in the Republican Party are doing some soul-searching and trying to figure out why they lost the presidential election and lost seats in the Senate, even as they expanded retained their House majority. According to Scott Rasmussen, the GOP Establishment has figured out what the problem is—it’s their own voters.

“A primary problem” is the term that’s used, and it’s way the corporate Republican backers euphemistically describe their disdain for the grass-roots people who do their volunteer work and actually vote for their candidates.

I’m going to assume that the men and women who bankroll the GOP know considerably more about business than I do, but I have to wonder—in how many other enterprises do they declare that the customers who are interested in their product are the problem?

The Republican Establishment gets its own candidates nominated, then blames grass-roots conservatives when they lose.

The corporate backers of the GOP don’t like it when primary voters choose candidates who are interested in defending innocent life or cutting back spending, to the point of being willing to confront conventional Washington thinking on its constant increase in the debt limit. Such a view is “extreme.” The corporate backers would prefer candidates who cozied up to Wall Street and left issues like the right to life and the nature of marriage alone.

To each their own—but to argue, as the Republican corporate hacks do, that grass-roots populist candidates in the GOP are the reason for the party’s defeat is to throw water in the face of reality. Last I checked, it wasn’t Rick Santorum who dismissed 47 percent of the electorate as being out of reach. That was done by the anointed “electable” candidate of the GOP Establishment.

In fact, we’ve had two straight races where the party Establishment has gotten what it’s wanted during the presidential primary process—a good, moderate ‘electable’ candidate. And then when the electable candidates doesn’t get elected, the reason is given is that it’s really the fault of primary voters who wanted someone else to begin with. Huh?

The regular readers here at Catholic Vote that have put up with my assorted ramblings over the last several months know that I part ways with the conservative movement on a number of high-profile issues. What I do have in common with grass-roots conservatives is a belief that the GOP party higher-ups are out of touch with reality on government spending and they are too quick to scapegoat faith-based voters for their losses.

While I’m not a “pure” conservative, I think the country would be better off if the GOP nominated more people like new Texas senator Ted Cruz, who outlined a much more attractive vision in a recent speech at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Cruz is one who the GOP Establishment would not consider “electable”, although he just managed to…well, get elected.

In the aftermath of the 2004 presidential election, the Democrats were going through their own version of soul-searching. The conventional wisdom told them they had to get more “electable” candidates and not go further to the left. Their primary voters responded by dishing out an extra dose of extreme liberalism and nominating Barack Obama when the safe choice would have been Hillary Clinton in 2008. They got what they wanted. But the same game can be played on the other side.

Unless you think the country is irrevocably liberal—and I don’t think that’s the case any more than the thought it was irrevocably conservative eight years ago—then there’s no reason for the grass-roots voters in the GOP to ignore primary candidates they actually like, and get talked into others the vague grounds of “electability.” If pro-life conservatives are going to get blamed when their party loses anyway, shouldn’t they at least be able to go down with a candidate they like, as opposed to one they merely tolerate?

Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of



  • Richard Chonak

    Dan, are you remembering 2008 correctly? Obama ran to the “right” of Hillary Clinton, opposing single-payer health insurance and presenting himself as The Great Bridge Builder.

  • abadilla

    “The corporate backers of the GOP don’t like it when primary voters choose candidates who are interested in defending innocent life or cutting back spending, to the point of being willing to confront conventional Washington thinking on its constant increase in the debt limit. Such a view is “extreme.”
    I think this is true, but I don’t believe Romney was totally off the mark in what he said about 47% of the nation, and the election proved it. Here we had a President with 23 million people out of work, 48 million people on food stamps, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, a disaster of a foreign policy, Solyndra, the president siding with abortionists and gay marriage, attacking all religions but especially our Catholic Church with the HH Mandate, and now trying to end the right to own guns, the State Department fighting Arizona and looking the other way around as illegal people crossed the border and yet Obama got elected? Really, can we all blame Romney for this one?

  • William M

    So why did so many Catholics vote for the guy that imposes abortion funding upon Catholic institutions?… Low information voters.

    • abadilla

      Because they are as “Catholic” as I’m a Buddhist!

  • Chris R

    The “primary problem” did seemingly lead Romney to take an unwise, forceful, hard-hearted stand on immigration which may have cost him the election. I think he handled the marriage protection issue very well. I think he did a so-so, but not great, job on the life issue. To risk understatement, I’d also say it would be unwise for the GOP to ignore or abandon the life and marriage issues.

    • Philip D.

      I voted against Romney specifically because we was against marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans. 70% of Americans 18 and under will vote the same way as they overwhelmingly support equal marriage rights for their gay people. These are the people that turn 18 everyday and become new voters.

      Go ahead and stick your head in the sand. Continue to rally against freedom and equality. You’ll just insure a few more decades of democratic victories.

      • Chris R

        All people are equal in dignity. The reason society and government sanction marriage between a man and woman is to support a healthy union for raising the next generation of kids. As an analogy, blind people are equal in dignity to people with 20/20 vision, however government should not mandate that blind people be able to get drivers licenses.

        Here’s some more info from Bishop Paprocki:

        • Philip D.

          All people aren’t equal when some of them are being banned from the rights and benefits that others enjoy. That’s just stupid.

          • Mark Hartman

            Philip, so-called “gay marriage” is the concept that ignores basic reality, because it flies in the face of the natural order and one of the basic purposes of marriage, which is procreation. With heterosexual couples, the inability to procreate is the exception rather than the rule; with homosexual couples, procreation is simply not possible. (In both cases, I exclude outside extraordinary assistance.) Because of this, so-called “gay marriage” does not come under the heading of “equal rights,” but of SPECIAL rights, and is demonstrably dangerous to real marriage.

        • abadilla

          Philip could care less about Bishop Paprocki, Cardinal George, Bishop Tobin, or for that matter the entire Catholic episcopate and the Pope. They have nothing to tell him. He knows they are all wrong and he is right, period.

      • Grisha357

        Phillip ~ The sad thing is that Romney really doesn’t care about gay marriage one way or the other. He decided at the outset to go along with whatever the extreme social conservatives in the party wanted in order to get elected and pursue the agenda of the plutocrat wing of the party. Too bad.. he sold out his beliefs to win an election … and then didn’t. A lesson to us all – Pax tecum, Greg Smith

  • Mike Donohue

    The GOP did not expand its majority in the House. The Republicans lost eight seats.

    • Philip D.

      Mike, this is CatholicVote, where truth and facts are entirely optional. That’s the only way you can come to the conclusion that Mitt Romney wasn’t far right enough after all.

      • Mark Hartman

        Actually, Philip, it’s CatholicVote, where intolerant, hateful and anti-Catholic people such as yourself are tolerated by the management, and where the truth is the important thing over opinion. It’s really too bad that you seem to be incapable of recognizing it.

  • Dandee

    Until the establishment realizes the conservative wing isn’t going to play along with Washington as usual, the republicans will continue to lose. Dumping Boehner and McConnell would have been a good start.

    • Grisha357

      I think it would have been a good start to a one party (the Democrats) political system in America.

      • Philip D.

        It’s not the democrats responsibility to fix the problems that the republicans created for themselves.

        • Grisha357

          I agree. At the same time, a one party system would be bad for the country. Even if that one party is m one.

    • Philip D.

      Agreed. Boehner seems intent on making sure that Republicans lose control of the house in 2016. Of course, readers of this site will be surprised and shell shocked when that happens because they actually believe this insanity.



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