Rough night for the Tea Parties
Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, one of my closest friends in Congress, won a huge victory tonight in the Michigan primary for US Senator to take on Democrat incumbent Debbie Stabenow. The Democrats are favored, partly on the strength of President Obama in a Presidential election year certain to draw what voters are left in Detroit (where turnout is lower in off-years, resulting in the GOP sweeping Michigan in 2010).
For some reason, the Indiana Tea Party people went up to Michigan to help organize against Hoekstra. Their candidate withdrew from active campaigning and endorsing the closest candidate to Hoekstra. The Tea Party candidate finished fourth of four, with 5%. Hoekstra is a strong conservative endorsed by Rick Santorum, Pat Toomey, Paul Ryan, Herman Cain and national right to life. Why the Tea Party Express, Indiana Tea Party groups, and Rand Paul endorsed Durant, an older more establishment conservative who has run for various offices for over 20 years and had the moderates support, is completely baffling. When they attack clear conservatives as RINOs they dilute the power of their message. Furthermore, though far more complicated because of some inside the GOP warfare from the DeVos family, when the economic conservatives dominate & follow Paul and economic groups splitting with the social conservatives, they lose. Even in Michigan.
In spite of telling the media that the race was closing, and potentially close, Hoekstra won by 20% and well over 100,000 votes.
In Missouri, as if the Tea Party had not learned its lesson in Michigan where it was embarrassed, Congressman Todd Akin is a friend of mine, and he is about as conservative a guy as they come. But apparently not enough for some. John Brunner became the economic conservatives choice, a wealthy businessman backed by FreedomWorks, the US Chamber and a number of deficit hawk Senators. He is in a battle for 2nd or 3rd place with Sarah Steelman. Akin has been declared the winner with around 36% to 30% each for the others (a little over 80% counted when I write this).
Sarah Palin was hoping to repeat her last minute "Mama Grizzly" blitz for Steelman, as she did in the close Nebraska primary. Steelman, like the Nebraska winner Deb Fischer, was a state legislator as well as Steelman was State Treasurer. Nebraska, like Missouri, had two males tussling for the lead. But the Palin strategy fell short in Missouri.
That is partly because how anyone could challenge Akin from the right is beyond me. People are throwing RINO (Republican In Name Only) around at everyone right now and it has lost meaning. The Tea Party in Indiana used Lugar's votes on issues to get up to about 1/3, and Lugar had only one opponent, but the keys that put Mourdock over the top were Lugar's age, the residency question, and the fact that Mourdock was known to Republican primary voters as responsible having won two statewide races. So when Senator Lugar ill advisedly went out of character and smeared Mourdock personally, he collapsed. But even Lugar - compared to the Maine Senators, Scott Brown and others - is conservative and Brown, Collins and Snowe are Republicans not liberal Democrats. Still, in Indiana Mourdock versus Lugar was a clear difference.
The Tea Party has repeatedly failed when they just yell RINO at someone who people know to be conservative. And like Sen. Rand Paul and FreedomWorks, when they understand that social conservatives win elections and primaries whereas economic conservatives minus social conservatives do not. Cruz in Tecas, for example, is a pastor's son who had the early backing of Dr. James Dobson.
If you need any more convincing, a constitutional amendment called the "Right to Pray" was mocked by all media, even Fox News was biased against it in the report I read, but it passed 82% to 14%. Yes, it had a good name hard to vote against but that is true of every amendment, most of which do not pass and seldom does anything pass 82-14.
Now it is on to Wisconsin next Tuesday where the Republicans are having another 3-way brawl for Senate among Thompson, Hovde and Neumann. As always, this site and WOWO will always keep you posted on the conservative efforts to retake America for the people.