Some actions you just know will make waves before you execute them… but you do them anyway.
Such was the case when former President Donald Trump (or more accurately, his staff and lawyers) recently instructed the Republican Party to cease using his name and likeness as a fundraising enticement without his permission. It’s a pretty standard policy for all famous people, understanding full well that there are many, many opportunistic wannabe entities out there who believe they can draw in the dough on the cheap by appearing to align themselves with a big name.
It isn’t just politics either. In my memory, I can still hear legendary LA Dodgers voice Vin Scully reading a disclaimer before each game (paraphrase), “Any commercial use or distribution of this broadcast or images without the express written consent of the LA Dodgers is prohibited.” In my youthful ignorance, I wondered, who would try such a thing anyway?
Needless to say, the world of politics isn’t so virtuous. And apparently, Trump has already tired of the GOP establishment dissing him in one breath and then touting him in the next, seemingly only when checks are on the line. It’s a simple thing, really. Trump’s basically telling them to ask him first before they assume authorization. Saying please might help -- and will certainly aid your cause if you want to send out a mailer or run a commercial with the New Yorker’s smiling mug on it.
Then there’s Trump launching his own PAC to raise money for the candidates and causes that he personally believes in. Some claim Trump’s move could endanger the GOP’s official PACs. Say it isn’t so! Oh, the horrors! David M. Drucker reported at The Washington Examiner:
“Former President Donald Trump is raiding Republican coffers with calls for GOP donors to direct all contributions to his new political group, threatening to leave key party committees financially strapped heading into the 2022 midterm elections.
“Trump issued a statement Monday declaring ‘no more money for RINOs,’ the abbreviation for ‘Republicans in Name Only,’ and urged that all donations for Republican candidates be funneled through his political action committee: Save America. Particularly if heeded by the millions of grassroots donors the 45th president attracted to the GOP, the party’s House and Senate campaign arms could run short of crucial resources in their bid to recapture Congress from the Democrats.
“’Everything we did the last four years was Trump, Trump, Trump,’ said a Republican strategist and veteran operative of the party’s campaign committees. ‘If that’s taken away from us, it has the potential to be devastating.’”
I’m not sure “devastating” is the proper term for it, but “eye-opening” might be. As a conservative, you can’t help but chuckle at the consternation of the party blue bloods. For years, they’ve used conservative politicians and causes for the perpetuation of their version of swamp politics. How many times and how many hundreds of millions of dollars have conservatives’ contributions gone towards primary campaigns of so-called “moderates” who not only didn’t believe in the same things as the people writing the checks, they’d end up thumbing their noses at the GOP effort to pass a traditional American agenda and government spending reform?
The instances are too numerous to count, but it’s highly unlikely that conservatives were wild about new federal entitlements like Medicare Part D or stupid partnerships with liberals like the ridiculous “No Child Left Behind” Act championed by George W. Bush and the awful Sen. Teddy Kennedy in the 43rd president’s first term. Yet the congressional campaign arms always distribute money to the big spenders and values-trouncing losers at the same rate as the “good” ones.
Frankly, the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) and NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee) don’t have very good records of selecting winners, period. But their interference in primary races -- and utter refusal to back good conservative candidates who prevailed at the primary level -- has been infuriating.
Need names? How about Judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election in 2017? Or Richard Mourdock in Indiana in 2012? How about Todd Akin in his Missouri Senate race versus the heinous liberal old crow Claire McCaskill, also in 2012? And Christine O’Donnell in Delaware in 2010? Or Sen. Lisa Murkowski losing her primary race to Joe Miller but then prevailing in a write-in vote in the general election?
Were all of them great candidates? Perhaps not. But what they all shared in common was grassroots support and a winnable race against a pretty unattractive Democrat opponent. They all lost because the DC GOP establishment wouldn’t reinforce their general election efforts with financial and logistical support, fearing some sort of backlash for the party if non-conformists actually joined the other elected officials and spoke out about accountability and size of government and stuff.
Conservative leaders call this type of candidate “boat rockers.” Think Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. Jim Jordan merits the title on the House side along with Matt Gaetz and Louie Gohmert, among others. Governors? Ron DeSantis and Kristi Noem. Not Nikki Haley!
Trump appears to have had enough of the lecturing and pontificating about “losing the majority” and other inanity stemming from the NRCC and NRSC. What’s he telling them? Keep your noses out of the primaries, or I’ll be funding the good, MAGA- championing conservatives. Good for him!
Besides, by going up against the Republican committees, Trump isn’t sending a message that he demands 100 percent conformity with everything he believes in, but he is shouting from the rooftops that he won’t tolerate stupid grandstanding that only selfishly draws adoring media coverage to individual pols, but doesn’t do the greater GOP causes any good.
Impeachment was a perfect example. While 90 percent of Republican senators voted (at the behest of Sen. Rand Paul) to say the whole second trial was unconstitutional, still there were two more turncoats at the conclusion who agreed to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection (Senators Bill Cassidy and Richard Burr).
Then, afterwards, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did some showboating of his own by explaining his “no” vote was nothing more than a legal action. McConnell said Trump was morally responsible for what happened on January 6 and should be held accountable. The Kentuckian might as well have just joined Mitt Romney and the other RINOs on the kick-Trump-when-he’s-down range.
What this all boils down to is control and power. The Washington consultant class fears they’ll become less and less relevant and influential if Trump and his people are the ones choosing the candidates. Who will need to hire a K Street firm if it’s more worthwhile to pitch your viability and devotion to the MAGA agenda to Trump himself?
Would you rather have your money going towards the reelection efforts of Liz Cheney and Lisa Murkowski, or some principled outsider who’s not beholden to the DC ruling class? Is anyone truly that bothered that the campaign committees must fend for themselves until it comes time to dole out dough in the general election?
“No more money for RINOs” sounds awful good to me.