When asked to name Republican disappointments in the United States Senate, conservatives don’t struggle naming names. Turncoats like former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who helped Democrats crucify Justice Kavanaugh. The late John McCain who helped save Obamacare. No conservative would forget the most famous modern-day RINO of all – Mitt “Pierre Delecto” Romney.
That’s just a partial list to be sure, but it’s a reminder as we watch blue state governors continue with capricious and destructive coronoavirus lock downs and major Democrat-led cities erupt in anarchy. As we continue to uncover the scandal of Barack Obama and his minions’ abuse, misuse and weaponization of government institutions to destroy private citizens and political opponents. There are still Republicans whose chief concern is protecting themselves from outsiders they feel don’t belong in their Republican clubhouse.
As we close in on November’s general election we know three things to be true. First, the presidential race is going to be a dogfight. Second, taking back the House will be even tougher for Republicans. Third, and perhaps most importantly is the Republican controlled Senate cannot – under any circumstances – be lost or compromised. Should the election go south for Republicans, the Senate must remain the nation’s firewall from socialism.
Which means it’s no time for a return to what I call “cologne and cufflink” Republican candidates and campaigns. These are the brass buttons on blue blazer, private club membership, stuffed shirts personified in the movie Caddyshack by Ted Knight as Judge Smails. People who believe a pedigree, a bank account, and diplomas from esteemed academic institutions are more important than principles, sincerity, conviction, and work ethic. It’s been a toxin in the GOP for a long time and Donald Trump went a long way in busting it up.
In the state of Kansas, Senator Pat Roberts is vacating the seat he’s held since 1997. Roberts has been a reliably loyal and mostly conservative voice for Kansas over nearly a quarter of a century. Naturally, an open seat like this will draw a host of Republican primary challengers. But in a crowded field of Republicans, well-funded establishment candidates often slip through the cracks and wind up betraying voters who thought they were voting for a real conservative.
That’s assuming a moderate Republican can even win an election this fall. In a dogfight of voter passions, picking a vanilla establishment candidate may even cost otherwise safe seats and perhaps control of the Senate altogether.
Remember “Joe the Plumber” from the McCain/Palin campaign of 2008? He became the face of working class America after confronting Barak Obama on the campaign trail over his tax plan. True conservatives got more excited about Joe’s candid talk than they ever did about McCain – and for good reason.
Even as Joe became an active participant in the McCain campaign, he would later confess he was furious at what he felt was a betrayal of conservative values when McCain voted to support the $700 billion dollar bank bail out. Joe could never support Obama, but supporting McCain wasn’t easy for him after that.
Kansas has its own “Joe the Plummer” running for Senate in the Republican primary named Bob Hamilton. A self-made businessman and father of twelve who’s come under withering attack from Kansas’ version of John McCain, a Republican congressman named Roger Marshall.
Marshall has been running some disgusting ads claiming Hamilton voted for Hillary Clinton and invests time or interest in LGBT issues. The absurd claims of the pro-life Catholic betraying his core values and support for President Trump come from the lowest form of misleading campaigning.
Marshall’s attacks cite the social media activity of a marketing director of Hamilton’s company. They’re not even Hamilton’s own words or activities. In fact, Hamilton sold his company years ago, well before the social media and LGBT issues transpired.
More troubling, Congressman Roger Marshall is the kind of Republican conservatives can’t trust. Recently, he signed off on a letter to President Trump demanding more foreign laborers be allowed to enter the country in the midst of a massive unemployment emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
That kind of behavior is of the Chamber of Commerce establishment wing of the Republican Party. Would it surprise you to learn Marshall backed John Kasich for President in 2016? Worst of all, friends of mine in Kansas tell me Congressman Marshall just doesn’t think a plumber belongs in the rarified air of the United States Senate.
It all sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it? Judgmental, elitist, establishment Republicans fighting dirty and telling outright lies to keep someone out of a club they believe they control. Unfortunately some of the GOP old guard still haven’t learned their lesson.
Republicans have to be willing to support those who aren’t afraid to go it alone and fight for the country over the party. That’s where the enthusiasm is. Don’t clog up Washington with more elitist bilge from party insiders.
It’s time to hire more plumbers for the job.