The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spent more than $1.2 million defending Lincoln Chafee against the Club for Growth’s candidate Steve Laffey in the Republican Primary. Chafee ended up winning last night with 54% of the vote.
This is nothing new of course, in 2004 Pat Toomey attempted to oust Arlen Spectre as the Republican nominee, once again the NRSC along with President Bush interfered with that primary races as well.
However, this war is not one-sided – earlier this summer Tim Walberg defeated Joe Schwarz in Michigan; and last night Randy Graf defeated Steve Huffman in Arizona, despite the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) sticking it’s nose into internal party business.
But these four key races tell us something very important. Conservatives are at war with incumbents in the Republican Party. The question must be asked “to what end are incumbent’s ganging up on individual Republican challengers?”
The answer to me is very clear, incumbents are afraid the the membership of their own party is getting to powerful. They have watched the Democrats kick Joe Lieberman out and they are scared they are next.
The purpose of these National Republican Committees is supposed to be to help defeat Democrats, but instead they have been turned into tools of the establishment. What is very telling about their tactics is that incumbents are willing to spend millions to ensure the continuation of their kind – the will of the Republican membership be damned.
It cannot be more clear – the party in power is afraid of the party itself. What is unclear is what it means for the party.
If this continues, sooner rather than later a new party will form out of the supporters of The Club for Growth and similar organizations. The new party, whether it uses the name or not, will essentially be The Conservative Party of America.
If Establishment Republicans continue to dedicate resources to defeating conservatives rather than liberals, it is just a matter of time before the party fractures.