Much has been made about the recent surge of grassroots activism. Tea Parties, organizations such as the American Liberty Alliance, Rebuild The Party, and others, and online activist websites such as RedState.com, The Minority Report, and The Peoples Press Collective have either come into existence or had a significant increase in membership and participation. Ordinary people are taking time out from work and family to speak their minds concerning the growing trend towards government control of more and more areas of their lives.
This grassroots activism has come under attack from several different groups, including the current White House Administration, Congress, Union organizations and others, but no more so by an organization that should be on their side. I refer, of course, to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Having not learned their lesson in previous years by supporting incumbent Primary candidates (e.g. Specter, Chaffee), they moved into a completely new realm of arrogance by endorsing Charlie Crist in Florida in an open Primary in Florida.
The backlash they received from that action made them a little more cautious in New Hampshire, but it’s still clear they are backing former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte in their open Primary. The arrogance of the NRSC is surpassed only by their hypocrisy. In their response to calls for the Massachusetts Legislature to once again changing the law regarding the replacement of a U.S. Senator, they have this to say,
The NRSC believes this should ultimately be up to the people of Massachusetts to decide,…
The fact that they do not even recognize this hypocrisy shows how out-of-touch they really are with the average conservative voter. This brings us to a situation brewing in Colorado. There are three candidates currently running in the Republican open Primary: Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, and Colorado businessman Cleve Tidwell. There were rumors that former U.S. Congressman Bob Beauprez would also be running for this seat, but he recently announced he would not be running. We now find out that this is due to the fact that the NRSC is planning to announce its endorsement for former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton.
Ben Degrow at Mount Virtus, and Michael Sandoval (a.k.a. El Presidente) at the Peoples Press Collective first broke the story about the possibility of Norton running with the NRSC’s backing. The Complete Colorado finds out that the NRSC has in fact registered internet domains for Jane Norton’s Senate run. Whether an outright endorsement of Norton such as they did for Crist in Florida, or covert backing such as Ayotte in New Hampshire, the NRSC is involving themselves where they don’t belong and aren’t wanted.
If there’s anything that the current group of grassroots activists are opposed to, it’s unwanted involvement in their lives from Washington. Make no mistake, the NRSC is all about consolidating power in Washington. This is the same group of leaders that overspent between 2000 and 2006, turning the GOP into a four-letter word in not only liberal, but many conservative circles. These same people now want to tell us who should represent us in Colorado: a former Lieutenant Governor who supported the largest tax increase in our State’s history. Fortunately, our Colorado GOP Party Leadership gets it. Scott Starin, Chairman Boulder County Republicans had this to say,
I had a long conversation with Chairman Wadhams today and he assured me that he conveyed our sentiment to the NRSC to stay out of the process until after the primary. Chairman Wadhams stated that there is a backlash arising and the NRSC is doing more harm than good for former Lt. Governor Norton.
Ultimately, the NRSC’s endorsement of a Primary candidate will likely discourage and alienate a significant portion of the grassroots opposition to government intrusion. Ben Degrow says it best,
Republicans in Colorado — including ones like myself, both sensible and principled — generally are tired of the candidate coronation process that has triggered a string of high-profile electoral defeats. Think Pete Coors 2004 and Bob Beauprez 2006, both fine men but both badly squandered chances. In each case the process that led to their selection generated a great deal of ill will that many of us are still working to overcome. [bolding mine]
The time for the NRSC to become involved in this race is after Colorado has selected its primary candidate, not before. If they do get involved, which it now seems highly likely they will, the NRSC should prepare themselves for another 6 years of minority and insignificance, because Michael Bennet will likely be re-elected.
For Colorado activists that would like to get involved, you’ll find a Facebook group and online petition available at this blog at the Peoples Press Collective.