GOP Establishment Sees Rise Of Conservative Movement As Problem In Virginia

I’m amazed, after the election, at how many old school pundits, party hacks and veteran Republicans have reached for the dagger and attempted to thrust it directly in to the back of conservatism. The handwringing fired up immediately after the election and continues to increase. The establishment still believes conservatism is at fault for their losses and efforts are under-way to block the conservative agenda from stopping moderate Republicans.

One of the common misconceptions is that “tea party candidates” damage the GOP’s shot at winning elections. Hacks will point at Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, Todd Akin and others as examples. But in doing so they openly ignore losses of candidates such as Mitt Romney and Scott Brown, both liberal north east Republicans. Can any one honestly argue that John McCain and/or Mitt Romney might have won if they had been just a tad more to the left?

I have serious issues with those in our movement, especially those who consider themselves tea partiers, who cave in to the false media narrative that tea partiers put up fatally flawed candidates. Our candidates are only flawed because the media makes that determination and we fall in line with it. All the while ignoring the fact that liberal Republicans have suffered similar losses, if not worse, in recent elections.

But I digress… and more on that in a later post.

Virginia. A rising rock star tea party/Conservative candidate is about to take Virginia by storm. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli now has the nomination for GOP candidate for Governor pretty much locked up and he’s heavily favored to be the next Governor of Virginia. This doesn’t sit well with the establishment Republicans in Virginia and we’re beginning to see some blows thrown in an effort to mark turf before this thing gets underway.

In this case, John Boehner’s second in command, Eric Cantor, is caught up in a fight with Cuccinelli. You see, Cantor endorsed and embraced the more moderate candidate in the primary, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. Last week Bolling dropped out of the race, citing an extraordinary uphill battle against Cuccinelli’s well oiled organization at the Virginia convention, which is where part of  the nomination process occurs.

Eric Cantor isn’t thrilled with this rise of tea party style activism in Virginia and he’s trying to circle the wagons across the state. Cuccinelli is no soft candidate, though, and isn’t going to stand for it. Get a load of this.

Virginia Attorney General and presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli sent a curt note this week to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) regarding how the party should nominate candidates — an issue that has become a stand-in for the broader fight in the state between establishment and conservative Republicans.

In a three-sentence message obtained by POLITICO, Cuccinelli, a tea party-backed crusader, said he has “never supported any effort to eliminate primaries as a method of nomination” before throwing a brushback at Cantor, a Richmond establishment powerhouse: “In the future, should you have any concerns, I would appreciate a call.”

Advisers to both Cuccinelli and Cantor were tight-lipped about what prompted the terse missive, but sources familiar with the situation say the House’s second-in-command has been open about concerns that the Virginia GOP’s 2013 standard bearer favors permanently doing away with primaries in favor of conventions. Cuccinelli will be officially nominated at a convention next year. His supporters on the state GOP’s central committee engineered a switch from the planned primary.

Cuccinelli’s message, sent Monday, was delivered days after Republican Lt. Gov Bill Bolling withdrew from the gubernatorial contest, citing his disadvantage in a convention setting that typically favors conservatives. Cantor, who shares many of the same Richmond-area financial and political backers as Bolling, endorsed the lieutenant governor’s abortive gubernatorial bid in June.

Conservative know big money party backers do better in an “election” style primary. More money helps those organizing party loyalists across the state vs working with dedicated individuals at conventions. Take Mitt Romney vs Newt Gingrich in Florida, for example, vs the Mitt Romney vs Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary. In a smaller battlefield where money is less relevant, conservative organize and win. In bigger battlefields where money becomes more relevant, big money moderates do better.

Not that Cantor is a moderate, but he’s definitely now throwing his lot in with Boehner’s broken promises and betrayals of conservatism. Cantor is also embracing more moderate, party loyalist in Virginia elections and it’s becoming obvious Cantor is now more about party and future elections than he is about principle.

Which makes what is happening in Virginia quite the spectacle for us political nerds!