Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Out of the frying pan?

I'm still puzzled by the thinking of well-intentioned conservatives regarding incumbents.
They are, justifiably, angered about Republicans who are not very conservative.
So, they vote to oust incumbents in the primary and replace them with more conservative people.
In some case, that works out. Cliff Stearns got dumped after 20 plus years in the House even though he had a pretty conservative record. Ted Yoho, arguably more conservative, replaced him and kept the seat in the Republican Party.
But in a number of other cases it has resulted in a Democrat winning the general election and claiming a seat formerly held by a Republican.
That makes no sense. Especially if the net result is to return a liberal majority in the House with Nancy Pelosi as speaker.
The first thing conservatives should do is make a good case against an incumbent. In some cases that is pretty easy. But some resort to "throw out everybody and start over."
Again, that makes no sense.
Ander Crenshaw has represented the congressional district I live in for 14 years.  He gets token opposition every year but this year there appears to be a more determined effort to unseat him.
Crenshaw is a former president of the Florida Senate and, as far as I can tell, as conservative as anyone needs to be.
He has a lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union of 86.75 percent.
Detractors cite lower ratings from groups such as the Club for Growth.
This is a good organization, but they look at a specific set of fiscal policy votes.
Crenshaw's lifetime rating with Club for Growth is 66 percent. That is one percent higher than the legendary conservative congressman C.W. "Bill" Young.
It also places Crenshaw in the top 40 percent of Congress, well above many other Republicans.
More importantly, it only rates him on certain fiscal policy issues. What about the many other issues, such as health care, immigration, and defense?
Does anyone think a Democrat who replaced him would vote with conservatives on those issues?
No Democrat can defeat Crenshaw. Anyone who votes against him in the GOP primary should follow the Buckley rule.
William F. Buckley said conservatives should vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.
Rush Limbaugh would modify that rule and he's right to the extent that if you have a Republican who is acting like a Democrat he should be replaced.
But be sure.
Voting on emotion is a liberal thing. Conservatives should get the facts and weigh the alternatives before voting.

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