Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Club for Growth Defeated In RI

Lincoln Chafee is the kind of Republican that used to be common in this country. He's a social moderate, reflecting the views of his left-leaning state as best he can, and a fiscal conservative in the traditional, Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller sense.

Of course, this wasn't good enough for the Club for Growth. They spent a significant sum of money in support of Mayor Steve Laffey, a far-right conservative in the mold of Tim Walberg, in his bid to defeat Chafee for the Republican nomination.

Happily, there's still a place for moderates in the GOP... but only in Rhode Island.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans may not like moderate Sen. Lincoln Chafee, an Iraq-war opponent and frequent foe of the Bush administration, but they love what he could do for them in November's battle to control Congress.

Chafee's win over a conservative challenger in Rhode Island's Republican primary on Tuesday kept alive the party's hopes of retaining his crucial Senate seat, one of six seats Democrats must pick up in November to regain a majority in the chamber.

The White House and national Republicans held their noses and poured money and political workers into Rhode Island to defend Chafee, believing his moderate views gave them their only shot at keeping the seat in the heavily Democratic state.

Chafee, who did not even vote for President George W. Bush in 2004, writing in Bush's father instead, still faces a tough November campaign against Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. But polls had showed Chafee's conservative Republican primary opponent Stephen Laffey would lose badly to Whitehouse in November.

Yes, Lincoln Chafee succeeded, defeating Steve Laffey by a significant margin. But who are the big losers?
Club For Growth: The Club made no secret that defeating Chafee was its No. 1 priority this cycle. And despite funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Laffey's campaign and spending similar amounts on advertising to knock off the incumbent, its efforts came up short. Laffey's defeat keeps the Club from claiming the prize it wants most -- defeating a sitting senator who fails to hew to its free-market agenda. That said, the Club has had an extremely successful run so far this cycle -- playing a major role in the loss of moderate Rep. Joe Schwarz (R) in Michigan and winning a number of contested Republican primaries in other states. Still, the group's inability to beat Chafee takes some of the shine off '06 cycle for the Club.
In the coming days, I hope to offer a detailed look at the Club for Growth and what they really stand for. But as good news as it is for Senator Chafee, it's not over by any means. The Club for Growth will still support Tim Walberg between now and November, and will presumably be taking an active role in Michigan. A quick look at their website will show who one of their other endorsed candidates is: Michael Bouchard, Republican nominee for US Senate.

As always, support Sharon Renier in the 7th District (contribute; volunteer), and support Senator Debbie Stabenow against Club for Growth candidate Michael Bouchard (contribute; volunteer).

In other, unrelated news, a major victory for tolerance and progress: the first Muslim member of Congress may soon be headed to Washington. Regardless of political leanings, State Rep. Keith Ellison's victory represents the best of America. After September 11, Muslims have been subject to harsh and terrible discrimination. One day after the five year anniversary, Minnesota primary voters chose him as their next representative. Racism has no place in America, and Ellison's victory is a step forward for our country.

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CFG's defeat of Joe Schwarz was for all intent and purpose...a fluke.

A dismally low voter turnout got Walberg elected, it was not about ideology but pure numbers. Speaking of numbers with less than 18 percent of the voters going to the polls, less than 9 percent actually voted for Walberg.

I hope every other CFG candidate goes down in flames. Schwarz only lost because of voter apathy, he is far more mainstream and qualified than Walberg who borders on facist. If anything, Walberg won the primary because the GOP (and the media) was asleep at the switch.

Unfortunately, Michigan was a wake-up call for complacent voters. We all have lost big-time in this election, but hopefully the rest of the nation can learn from it and with Chaffee's win, I think they got the message about CFG.
Schwarz wrote in the Washington Post this weekend. Very interesting read, very important to anyone in the 7th who thinks of themselves as a moderate.
Bouchard is also endorsed by Club for Growth.
"Bouchard is also endorsed by Club for Growth."

I saw that and he lost my vote and many of my friends. I had hopes he would have some integrity and not sell out to those cretins, but apparently he didn't learn anything from Schwarz's campaign.
Why would Bouchard align himself with that organization? I thought he was much smarter than that. I believe the Rev. Butler would have had the integrity to take a pass on that organization's support.
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