One of the interesting ironies of 2013 election is that for awhile, ardent conservatives of the Tea Party kind have been saying that the reason GOP has been on a losing streak in statewide elections is that the candidates have been not conservative enough.
Chip Tarbutton, on the Roanoke Tea Party’s website, echoed this very notion last week. He didn’t call them RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) but rather Etch-A-Sketch Republicans “who will say the right things while getting the nomination and then immediately start moving to the middle in the general election.”
(FYI comments are closed on that post — and ALL OTHERS — on the Tea Party website. So much for their tolerance of other views).
Anyway, the putative cure for that in 2012 was a GOP nominating convention, rather than a primary. The TPers worked diligently behind the scenes to wrest control of the party machinery then sprang the convention on the establishment Republicans and basically froze them out.
Except that now we know that backfired badly. Those miffed establishment Republicans responded with WAY less money for the Cuccinelli-Jackson ticket than they normally would have put up in a statewide GOP campaign. Jackson got slaughtered and Cuccinelli lost to Gov.-Elect Terry McAuliffe, the most underwhelming Democratic gubernatorial candidate in years.
Now here’s a delicious nugget from today’s paper, in a story by my colleague Michael Sluss titled: Virginia’s GOP leaders urge unity:
Some party leaders and operatives are actively working to recruit and build support for candidates who can draw support from both wings of the party and from independent voters. But some, including Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, question whether the party can broaden its appeal if it continues to nominate candidates in conventions controlled by conservative activists.
The party already has decided to hold a June 7 convention in Roanoke to nominate a challenger to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, who is up for re-election next year.
You heard that right. The Virginia Republican Party is poised to AGAIN nominate another far-right candidate against an incumbent Democratic senator who’s already far more popular than McAuliffe ever was.
Meanwhile, some in the GOP are already talking about running E.W. Jackson again.
As Sluss’s story points out, “Republicans have lost three of the last four elections for governor and the last three U.S. Senate races, and have failed to carry Virginia in the last two presidential elections.”
What’s that term for doing something over and over again, and expecting (but not getting) a different result?