GOP vs. GOP: The fight for the soul of the Republican Party


WASHINGTON, April 9, 2014 — Most rank and file GOP voters are not aware that a full bore internal battle is underway within the Republican party. Some, including long time conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie, describe it as a Civil War.

“This is part of a literally 102-year-old civil war that’s been going on in the Republican Party since 1912, when Teddy Roosevelt leaves the Republican Party, splits the party, starts the Bull Moose Party, which leads directly to Woodrow Wilson’s election with less than 42 percent of the vote.”

The national leadership of the Republican party is so intent upon raising enough funds to, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), puts it, “crush” the Tea Party, they are casting their nets in waters previously outside of the ordinary fishing territories for the GOP.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are on slate to speak at the Main Street Partnership PAC’s April 11-13th retreat at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla.  The PAC, run by former Ohio GOP Congressman Steve LaTourette, targets Tea Party challengers to Republican incumbents in primaries. Main Street’s plan to spend $8 million in 2014 primary races is “a baby step that we’re beginning with to try to level the playing field,” LaTourette told the Washington Post last July.

Here’s the interesting part: LaTourette is collecting money from national labor unions. “LaTourette is probably the best friend of organized labor than any other Republican in a long time,” Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, told recently.

Recently a Chicago labor union group LaTourette is involved with, funded pro-union candidates in GOP primaries, to the tune of $1 million dollars.  Here are some revealing names from the donor list released as required by federal law:

  • Bonderman, David gave $30000.00 – the Los Angeles Times referred to him as “David Bonderman, a significant contributor to Democrats, “
  • Laborers’ Political League Education Fund gave $100,000.00
  • International Union of Operating Engineers [EPEC] gave $250,000.00
  • Laborers’ International Union Of North America (LIUNA) PAC gave $150,000.00
  • MEBA PAF gave $15,000.00 (Marine Engineers Beneficial Association)
  • Working for Working Americans-Federal gave $250,000.00 (Building Trades / carpenters PAC)

Michelle Malkin points out:

Main Street Partnership’s chief operating and financial officer is Sarah Chamberlain Resnick. She also serves on the partnership’s board of directors and previously served as an officer of the soft-money-raising Main Street Individual Fund. The MSIF is yet another spinoff group that received $50,000 from progressive billionaire George Soros in 2002 soon after it was created.

The PAC used to have the word ‘Republican’ in it, but that was thought to be too non-inclusive.   In a guest editorial in the Washington Post of September of last year, LaTourette compared Tea Party Republican members of Congress to monkeys:

Thirty to 40 other members of the House, however, believe their only responsibility as a member of Congress is to show up and vote “no.” Frankly, they take such a dim view of their job that a trained monkey could do what they do. And, sadly, the situation is becoming one in which the monkeys are running the zoo.

He also lashed out at Tea Party organizations like FreedomWorks.  “These members are cheered on by interest groups such as the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, organizations that have made a lucrative business out of Washington’s dysfunction.”

FreedomWorks’ Senior Fellow Tom Borelli, commented that, “We’re the leading Tea Party organization that is challenging both political parties. We’re a threat to the big government establishment and that’s why he’s targeting us. This is a necessary battle in the process of retaking the Republican Party.”

Presidential historian Craig Shirley, explains the GOP fight in these terms:

“The Establishment insiders always hurl invectives and personal insults at those they consider outsiders in order to retain power,” he continued. “I think they still believe in Karl Rove’s statement that conservatives have no choice. But they always have a choice. Ronald Reagan stressed freedom for the individual. When George W. Bush was elected, he introduced the concept of security. But freedom and security are, most of the time, in conflict with each other. The more big government, aggressive courts and large police state presence you have, the less freedom you have.

“If Republicans run an insider candidate like John McCain or Mitt Romney in 2016, they will not win. They need to pick an anti-establishment candidate like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Mike Pence who understand the argument. The irony is that in order for establishment Republicans to retain their power, they need to lose” their party’s civil war.”

Mr. Viguerie sums up the controversy in noting that he’s not surprised at the GOP establishment attempting to snuff out the real conservative insurgency:

“That’s who they are. They’re big government Republicans. They’re not misled, they’re not being deceived. They’re very comfortable being part of the ruling class, the big government wing of the Republican Party. There’s not that much difference ideologically between them and big government Democrats. And they’re just panicked that limited government, constitutional conservatives are going to govern America.”

Liberty minded, small government conservatives are not likely to be able to match the enormous sums to be spent against Tea Party GOP candidates by the likes of the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street Partnership. They will have to put in the old fashioned, roll up the sleeves hard work of assisting these campaigns at the district level.  But there are solid alternatives for crowdsourcing funds for conservatives in the fiercely contested Senate races such as the Senate Conservatives Fund.  No matter how you get involved – get involved.


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