It used to be you could argue politics with a buddy and still remain friends, but you couldn’t similarly fight with a family member and stay on good terms for long.
I say “used to be” because in today’s super-heated partisan political environment, any mention of the topic of politics can breakdown a relationship whether it’s based on a blood, professional or personal foundation. I don’t communicate nearly as much with my Democrat friends as I used to – and I assume the hard feelings are mostly on their end. It goes without saying that many left-of-center folks buy into the “He’s (Trump) destroying democracy” complaints… whatever that means. Unfortunately, my support for Trump’s MAGA agenda has proven a deal-breaker for many a longtime liberal acquaintance.
There’s a different kind of “family” squabble taking place in the Republican Party these days with prominent members of the GOP senate caucus displaying decidedly divergent views on the party’s prospects for success in November’s elections. Much was said and written about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s less than ringing endorsement of party candidates a couple weeks back. When the Kentuckian mentioned that “candidate quality” has a lot to do with their chances of winning at the voting booth, conservatives jumped on the 80-year-old for his intentionally tepid enthusiasm, and deservedly so.
Florida senator Rick Scott, who chairs the senate GOP’s campaign arm (National Republican Senatorial Committee), took quite the opposite approach to the party’s slate of candidates recently and exuded optimism that Republican competitors would do well if only provided the resources to compete with their always well-funded (by wealthy leftists) Democrat adversaries.
One gets the impression that there’re no warm feelings lost between Scott and McConnell, but will top Republicans in the senate at least remain cordial on the topic of the 2022 election? Burgess Everett reported at Politico last week:
“Mitch McConnell is among the myriad Republicans questioning the Senate GOP’s quality of candidates in the midterms. Rick Scott wants everyone to stop doubting his recruits.
“’Sen. McConnell and I clearly have a strategic disagreement here … We have great candidates,’ the National Republican Senatorial Committee chair said in an interview [last week]. ‘He wants to do the same thing I want to do: I want to get a majority. And I think it’s important that we’re all cheerleaders for our candidates.’ ...
“From objecting to the 2020 election results, releasing his own plan for a GOP majority, taking a hands-off approach to Republican primaries and spending more than $40 million early in the midterm cycle, Scott is cutting his own path in a way that’s created more tension than usual among GOP leaders. At the same time, it will probably all be forgotten if McConnell, who declined to comment, is once again majority leader in the next Congress. And Scott will earn some of the credit if his party pulls it out.”
Yes to the latter part; no to the former. Should Republicans gain a seat in November, they will hold a 51-49 senate majority in the next Congress. Kamala Harris won’t be breaking nearly as many legislative and nomination deadlocks and current Majority Leader “Chucky” Schumer will return to his former status as lead griper and accuser of Mitch McConnell and all Republicans of being democracy denying obstructionists.
Sure, Rick Scott will be given some cursory credit by the ruling elites, probably a few eye winks and a slap or two on the back for the hard work he did to shepherd his GOP group of hopefuls. But will McConnell forget (and forgive?) the Floridian’s role in making Mitch’s job more difficult by essentially telling him – in not so many words – that he needed to grow a spine and get busy helping the party win?
Here's thinking no way.
As Tucker Carlson observed on his nightly program a couple weeks ago, McConnell doesn’t seem to care about winning a senate majority half as much as he does about maintaining his position as Republican caucus leader. It’s a lot more trouble – and political responsibility – to lead the party in power and set the rules. The senate leader determines the agenda and what gets moved forward and what gets tucked into a closet somewhere and never sees the light of day.
If Mitch McConnell changes hats starting next January, Republican voters will expect him to actually get dirty in furtherance of the party platform, which basically means the longtime establishmentarian will need to defy the GOP’s chamber of commerce big business donors and do something about the issues that grassroots conservatives care about, like squelching illegal immigration.
Donald Trump caused a “disturbance in the force” in 2016 when he made immigration a centerpiece of his drive to Make America Great Again. Trump further assaulted the stodgy old Bush blue blood Republicans, which set the new party standard bearer on bad terms with the “old goat” (Trump’s term) from the beginning. McConnell is only four years older than Trump but it might as well be twenty or thirty for the wide disparity in the two men’s energy and willingness to jump into the mosh pit with Democrats.
Rick Scott, on the other hand, seems closer to the newer breed of Republican leader, one who’s not nearly as concerned about offending someone in a focus group and actually appears to believe in something. Scott introduced his 11-point plan earlier this year – appropriately titled “Rescue America” – and has spoken out ever since about the need for conservatives and Republicans to specify, in detail, what they’d do if voters trust them with a majority.
Anyone remember the “Contract with America” from 1994? Not a hard concept.
Everett’s article dredged up one other contentious issue – the fact that Scott’s NRSC didn’t have the resources to get involved with primaries, therefore permitting the individual states’ voters to choose their own candidates – and that’s not something McConnell and the establishment looks kindly upon. After all, voters in Pennsylvania selected Trump-endorsed TV doctor Mehmet Oz; Georgians opted for Trump-backed former NFL star Herschel Walker and Arizona conservatives ignored the establishment entirely in voting for young Blake Masters (senate) and no-holds-barred flamethrower Kari Lake for governor, among others.
None of these folks would occupy a poster for stereotypical establishment Republican. In fact, if these stalwart conservatives win their races in November, they can be counted on to go to Washington or to their state capitals and add fuel to the bonfire of the GOP’s unwelcome tradition of being capitulators, cooperators, bag men and sellouts.
I wrote last week that Republicans would do themselves a huge favor by taking former president Trump’s advice to dump Mitch McConnell right now. Other respectable conservatives, such as The American Spectator’s David Catron, believe the focus on McConnell is misguided and true believers would be better off turning away from Mitch and concentrating all their energy on the real enemy – the Democrats.
Rick Scott seems to be part of first way of thinking. In recent interviews, Scott has been careful not to outwardly jab at McConnell, instead imploring conservatives to simply open their wallets and give all Republican candidates the kind of financial backing that will carry them to victory.
From Everett’s piece, Scott explained, “If you trash talk our candidates … you hurt our chances of winning, and you hurt our candidates’ ability to raise money. I know they’re good candidates, because I’ve been talking to them and they’re working their butts off.”
From what I’ve observed, this is the truth. The DC establishment has initiated its predictable “Republicans are gonna lose big this year because their candidates are terrible and, of course, they are connected to Donald Trump” line of argument intended to depress conservative turnout and make voting for or contributing to Republicans sound fruitless and a waste of time. We hear it every two or four years on the local, state and federal levels.
Last year, here in Virginia, the chattering class suggested outsider Glenn Youngkin couldn’t dream of knocking off former Democrat governor (and Clinton buddy) Terry McAuliffe because, to them, the Old Dominion had become a solid blue state and there was no looking back. Virginia voters didn’t agree, apparently, as we not only elected Youngkin for the governor’s mansion but also brought along unapologetic black conservative Winsome Sears as Lieutenant Governor and newcomer Jason Miyares as Attorney General. And they’re all doing a tremendous job!
These Virginians are more than new friends, they’re additions to the Republican family. And that’s the way conservatives must view the various senate candidates this year. Who wouldn’t root for Georgia’s Herschel Walker, a man who is proud of the fact he’s not a politician? Walker wants to represent the people, not take power for his own sake.
Or how about Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz? The TV personality has said some wishy-washy things in the past, but there’s no doubt in any conservative’s mind that he’d be superior to the heinous Democrat John Fetterman, who is going around touting socialism and promising to push the Green New Deal after abolishing the filibuster if he gets to the senate.
“Candidate quality” isn’t the issue here, it’s a choice between an America that we recognize and one that will be completely taken over by the “progressives” and socialists of today’s radical Democrat party. Rick Scott is out raising money for Republicans this year and here’s hoping he succeeds in his mission to bring new blood to Washington.
It’s one family political argument worth risking, isn’t it?
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