Primaries are often treated with disdain by those who work or otherwise keep up with politics. Just about every election season we are given a glimpse into the thought processes and defenses of incumbency and the screams for term limits. With some saying “primary everyone” and others saying “don’t endanger the majority with reckless candidates” it has become a major point of division in the party.
If you believe what many in the party leadership say, the tea party/grassroots portion of the Republican party is continually and consistently pushing ridiculously under-qualified and reckless candidates into primaries against solid conservative republicans; blindly supporting anyone that gives a good speech simply because these good and noble men who currently hold the office dared defy them in 6% of their voting record (incidentally while rescuing us from political obscurity).
To be fair, there are some in the grassroots that take the approach of “anyone but so-n-so” even when it would clearly not be in our best interests to nominate the guy that announces awful policy prescriptions at every stop just because he says “liberty” a lot.
However, some primary races this year have been good examples of why they are a good thing. Always in theory, and often in practice.
I don’t believe term limits for legislators makes sense, but I do believe they should live under the constant fear of being fired. I think it’s a good idea to remind these guys from time to time that they need to perform to keep their position.
Let’s get the first objection out of the way. “Performance” in this context is subjective. One conservative’s Reagan may be another’s Carter. We all have various lines we don’t want crossed. We all have some issues we are pragmatic about and others we consider non-negotiable. So certainly the “job performance” is going to be subject to the voter’s personal view of the situation and it will be up to the candidate or incumbent to make their case. It’s rare that I find disagreement on this point, even among the staunchest supporters of our current incumbent class. Brad Dayspring of the NRSC has said as much as have many others.
But invariably, there are two additional points that are brought up that are, in a word, baloney.
Ben Howe is a Contributing Editor at RedState.com and the Founder and Creative Director of Mister Smith Media, a production company focusing on public policy issues and current events. He is also the director and executive producer of the film, BANKRUPT: How Cronyism & Corruption Brought Down Detroit.
Follow him on twitter @BenHowe.