Political Animal


February 27, 2013 3:17 PM “Interfering” With Primaries

By Ed Kilgore

Even before the howls of rage have subsided in the wake of Karl Rove’s expressed intention to intervene in Republican Senate primaries to keep stone losers from gaining nominations, one of the chief howlers, the Club for Growth, has announced its own “purge” initiative aimed at House GOP “moderates.” For starters, they’ve identified nine House incumbents at a new website called PrimaryMyCongressman.com who need to be taken out:

“Big government liberals inhabit the Democratic Party, but they are far too common within the Republican Party as well,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in a statement announcing the site. “The Republicans helped pass billions of dollars in tax increases and they have repeatedly voted against efforts by fiscal conservatives to limit government. PrimaryMyCongressman.com will serve as a tool to hold opponents of economic freedom and limited government accountable for their actions.”

This is the same Chris Chocola who earlier this month attacked Rove for his arrogant national interference with the sovereign discretion of primary voters:

“It’s those pesky voters,” Mr. Chocola said in an interview. “They get to decide who the nominee is.”

So why is it an outrage for Rove’s Texas gazillionaires to meddle with Republican primaries but AOK for the Club’s (or the Koch Brothers’) plutocrats to do exactly the same thing? Well, because the latter are “true conservatives,” while the former are trimmers and hedgers, if not actual RINOs. It’s part and parcel of the belief, which I noted a couple of weeks ago in discussing the implications of the “Buckley Rule,” that there’s really no such thing as being “too conservative” unless it means losing a general election, while any even vague step towards moderation in inherently immoral and must be justified by unimpeachable evidence that’s it is necessary. So Rove and company are “interfering” with local voters, while Chocola and company are vindicating their obvious interests.

Now it’s also entirely possible that Rove and Chocola are thick as thieves and are simply staging a phony fight to help each other raise money. But anyway you slice it, the Club’s hypocrisy is pretty amazing.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • boatboy_srq on February 27, 2013 3:44 PM:

    the belief... that there’s really no such thing as being “too conservative” unless it means losing a general election

    For anyone who still wonders, this is why the VRA remains so important. The GOTea is bound and determined to "arrange" voting so that the Teahad extends the Southern Strategy to disenfranchise all and sundry who won't vote GOTea, all the while holding up the legitimate voter as the One True Measure of all things political. General elections are looking like increasingly risky things for them, so the best way to move the conversation Reichward is to eliminate "voter fraud" (by which they mean disallowing anyone brown, female and/or queer the opportunity to vote, while still defending the right to the same) which will ensure that the general election remains at least somewhat competitive for them.

    I, too, still wonder whether this isn't Rove's attempt at 11-dimensional chess, where the Teahad is galvanized by the suggestion that they are somehow "fringe," and Rove gets to spend a little donor money ginning up resistance to the ideas he's currently spouting. Then again we've seen Turdblossom's genius at work recently, and the results are underwhelming at best.

    The only thing I can see as a plus in the Reichwing's war on the common weal is that sooner or later their candidates will be too stupid or unlearned to convince a worthwhile segment of the electorate to back them.

  • Peter C on February 27, 2013 3:57 PM:

    Please proceed, Mr. Chocola.

  • c u n d gulag on February 27, 2013 4:29 PM:

    GOP POV:

    'Hypocrisy in the defense of extremism, is no vice!'

  • Domage on February 27, 2013 4:46 PM:

    First off, understand that hypocrisy is considered a virtue by conservatives. So Club for Growth whining about interference in primaries while interfering in primaries is a feature, not a bug.

    Second, this is just the next logical step along the way for conservatism. The Tea Party and groups like Club for Growth now have firm control over the primaries. This ensures that only candidates who hew ever more rightward will get to run in the general elections.

    The end result is inevitable: As only the most ultra-extreme rightwing candidates make it through the primary process, the GOP will be reduced to getting 27% of the vote. By 2020, when the next census (and round of redistricting) happens, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate will simply gerrymander the GOP out of existence at the national level.

  • Rick Geissal on February 27, 2013 6:56 PM:

    Seeing the name, "Club for Growth" always causes me to laugh - it sounds so much like a bunch of early adolescent boys ... sitting in a circle, wishing for growth.

  • jkl; on February 27, 2013 8:52 PM:

    it's like the severe conservatives hold up the scalps of lesser conservatives like some kind of right wing touchdown

  • RaflW on February 27, 2013 11:04 PM:

    Any time conservatives and Republican operatives can spend oodles of money attacking each other and damage the goods for the general election, I say "have at it!"

    Popcorn futures should be on the upswing, also, too.