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Jerry Shenk


GOP Doesn't Dominate Conservative Politics

by Jerry Shenk
 

Establishment Republicans know that I'm a reliable conservative, but a lousy party guy.

Where we live, most local offices are held by Republicans. If conservative — any — voters here wish to influence who will hold the local government offices which most immediately affect them, it's a logical decision to register Republican to vote in primary elections. There's no way to control — or know -- how voters will cast general election ballots for statewide or national offices.

That logic helps to explain a common national media misconception about conservatives and Republican party politics.

National Review's Kevin Williamson wrote: "What a great many self-proclaimed political sophisticates do not get is that politics on the Right is not dominated by the Republican party; it is dominated by the never-ending contest between a Republican party that wants to make the conservative movement its instrument and a conservative movement that wants to make the GOP its instrument."…

"We have a … raucous and rivalrous gang of independent groups, precisely because GOP leaders cannot exercise the sort of control over their coalition that Democrats do over theirs. Left-leaning PACs and independent group(s) …supplement…the Democrats' machine; right-leaning groups are an alternative to the Republicans' machine."

"People who don't understand that the name "Karl Rove" gets hissed every bit intensely as the name "Barack Obama" simply do not understand what is happening on the Right."

That misconception explains the consternation of left-leaning national media over how US Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative Republican reviled by the "moderate" GOP congressional establishment, raised more than $60 million in days after announcing his presidential campaign. Bloomberg's Mark Halperin reported: "There are no known cases in which an operation backing a White House hopeful has collected this much money in less than a week."

Cruz's fundraising may be an outlier or, more likely, an omen. Here's why:
Fiscal conservatives disapprove of Republican spending habits, too. House and Senate Republicans have passed a bicameral budget resolution that, theoretically, grows spending more slowly than the economy but which contains gimmicks. For example, without explanation, it eliminates some Obamacare spending but assumes Obamacare-levels of revenue. And, by continuing to spend vast sums for "Overseas Contingency Operations," extra-budgetary items which aren't counted against budget caps, spending would blow by caps.

Their budget resolution "balances" within ten years — but, very probably, only on paper.

In fact, despite record US Treasury tax receipts, American budget deficits will be greater this year with Republicans holding majorities in both houses of Congress than they were last year when Republicans controlled only one.

Among other considerations, congressional fiscal irresponsibility encourages conservatives to favor presidential candidates from among Republican governors with demonstrable conservative track records. Presently, as many as seven current or former GOP governors, some of whom will prove unacceptable to conservatives, may run.

Ultimately, the Republican nominee may not be Ted Cruz, but media and the GOP establishment should view Cruz's record haul as more than sixty million clues that conservatives won't allow party operatives to force-feed them a 2016 presidential nominee.


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