To say the Republican presidential primary has become interesting would be an understatement. With three different winners so far, everyone is asking why the GOP base cannot unite behind a leader.
Well here’s a big question: Would you believe that both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 primary? And after they became disenfranchised by the GOP for moving too far left, they decided to do the only logical thing and become Democrats?
And does it blow your mind that besides voting for the Big O, they took out their frustrations over a too-liberal GOP by financially supporting the most far-left Democrat in Congress?
Seem far-fetched? Well, it is and it isn’t.
No, of course Romney and Gingrich didn’t switch parties, vote for Obama, or support liberal Democrats. If either had, it would be lunacy for any element of the Republican Party to endorse them.
To many in the GOP, Obama is the devil incarnate who must be defeated at all costs. So running someone against Obama who had previously supported him would be a recipe for disaster.
Look at Jon Huntsman. Many Republicans refused to trust him after he served as President Obama’s ambassador to China, and his candidacy tanked.
Enter the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
Seven candidates are vying to take on vulnerable incumbent Bob Casey. The election is in April, but it’s Jan. 28 that may well determine the nominee. That’s when the Republican State Committee convenes to decide whom it will endorse, if anyone.
Incomprehensibly, but not surprisingly, certain factions within the GOP leadership are pushing to endorse millionaire Steve Welch, a candidate who:
- Became a Democrat because the GOP wasn’t conservative enough
- Financially supported (former) Congressman Joe Sestak, one of the most liberal members of Congress
- Voted for Barack Obama in 2008
For those who may think this is also a fairy tale to illustrate a point, think again.
Steve Welch voted for Obama and supported Sestak (who later ran against now-U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey). So why on earth would the state committee want to endorse him, and in doing so become the laughingstock of the nation?
This is just another example of brain-dead GOP leadership choosing laziness over hard work. Since Welch could self-fund, GOP leaders wouldn’t have to engage in fundraising activities (aka doing their job) nearly as much for other plebian candidates, no matter how much more qualified they may be.
Many party faithful want to believe that the state committee sees a Welch endorsement for what it would be: a political and public relations disaster, one that would seriously erode what credibility Pennsylvania’s Republican Party has left.
Such an endorsement would also cement the growing perception, not incorrect, that the only thing of importance to the GOP hierarchy in choosing a candidate is the size of his wallet. Qualifications? A lot of money — period. Republican values? Irrelevant.
Given his recent support of Democrats, would Steve Welch make a good Republican senator? Tough to tell, but Pennsylvania’s Republicans should make that determination, not party leaders in a smoke-filled backroom who only see dollar signs from a candidate.
Republicans deserve straight answers from Steve. Did he vote for Obama to spite his “true” party, did he truly support him, or did he do it to stop “Hillarycare,” as was reported? We don’t know.
With those questions unanswered, and character and judgment issues swirling around Welch, an endorsement would only serve to muddy the waters and foster intense anger among Republicans.
Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater girl, supporting Barry in his presidential election. It took years for her to evolve into the more liberal Hillary that we know today. So perhaps most disconcerting is the speed in which Welch evolved with his party loyalties, and then back again.
If one was disgruntled with the Republicans not being conservative enough, fine. That explains the Independent Party.
But if one is seeking more conservative values, where is the wisdom in switching to a party that for years has unabashedly moved further to the left?
Regarding Obama and Sestak, give them credit: Both were crystal clear about their positions. Nationalized healthcare? Absolutely. Redistribution of wealth through higher taxes? Yep. More government spending, as a paternalistic government knows best? Without question.
So for someone to abandon the Republicans to join the Democrats, and march behind people such as Obama and Sestak, may well be an indication as to that person’s true leanings. All the more reason for such a candidate to be vetted by all Republicans, not just a state committee.
Given this situation, it absolutely boggles the mind that Republican Gov. Tom Corbett would not only get involved in a primary, but choose to endorse someone with Welch’s background, as he did last week.
For the good of its party, state committee should do the right thing this weekend by voting for an open primary. If it chooses to self-destruct by endorsing Steve Welch, that laughing you’ll hear will be Bob Casey as he wraps up another six-year term 10 months before the election.
An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Friendly Fire Zone.
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