Matt Towery
Could there be a group that looks more insular, elitist and out of touch than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? One strategist for the chamber says they want "no more fools" nominated for office by the Republicans. By "fools" he meant Tea Party candidates and their ilk, and the chamber is readying to spend $50 million to defeat them in 2014.

This, from an organization that has launched a thousand sinking ships. Recall that this is the same crowd that helped Mitt Romney and John McCain win GOP nominations for president. (They also supported Fred Thompson, who turned out to have the energy of a tortoise.) And the strategist who is credited with this new U.S. Chamber strategy is famous for running Bob Dole's presidential effort in 1996. Now, that was a real winner.)

What these inside-the-Beltway retread political strategists continue to miss is that Mitt Romney's loss to Barack Obama was due in part to a decision by millions of conservative voters to stay home on Election Day 2012. They felt no compelling reason to fight hard for Romney, who seemed good and decent, but lacked fire and had no real connection with most Americans.

Make no mistake: It's not the worst gig in the world to try to nominate sane GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate in states where Republicans are either trying to hold seats or they have a real shot at unseating incumbent Democrats. But the chamber's goals seem at odds with the "average" voter, without whose allegiance few Republicans will win next year. This chamber perspective is both elitist and divisive. And it's likely to backfire.

Consider the U.S. Senate race in Georgia. Incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss is retiring. One might presume that any Republican who manages to win the GOP nomination in this Red State will automatically cruise to victory against the Democrat.

It's just not the case. Republican incumbents aren't polling so great in Georgia. And while Democrats remain at a disadvantage, partly because of President Obama's high disapproval rate in the state, they will still pose a credible threat with Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, as their Senate nominee. And they will enjoy a "ticket effect" with the combination of Nunn and gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter -- who is Jimmy Carter's grandson.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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