Posted on | August 18, 2010 | 22 Comments
It shouldn’t be necessary to say this in a crucial mid-term election year, but I have been troubled to find that it’s difficult to get conservatives to concentrate on supporting individual candidates in actual elections.
When I spent three weeks covering Tim Burns in the PA-12 special election, traffic to the blog actually went down. That was discouraging.
Everybody’s always saying we need more reporting by bloggers and yet, when I actually go out on the road to do reporting, it produces less traffic than when I’m just sitting here in my basement snarking about headlines.
Part of the problem, I think, is that conservatives don’t really like politics. The grubby business of electing politicians and enacting legislation strikes many conservatives as something uncouth and menial. And there is a notable tendency among conservative bloggers to limit themselves to three basic categories of topics:
- Liberals are evil.
- The media is biased.
- Whatever is on the Drudge Report.
Some people would rather speculate about the 2012 GOP presidential field — Sarah? Mitt? Newt? — than to expend the effort to research congressional races. Why? Because it’s much easier to do.
Everybody has an opinion about Sarah Palin. She’s a celebrity, and the latest gossip about her gets more readers than actual news about an obscure candidate that nobody’s ever heard of.
The problem, however, is that slinging snark about celebrities or media bias isn’t going to change anything in Washington. I might as well be blogging about Alyssa Milano or Justin Bieber, if all I’m going to do is pontificate about Barack Obama or Sarah Palin (who is never going to re-Tweet me, either).
This aroused my curiosity: Who is Ron McNeil and what election did he lose? So I clicked the link and saw this news story:
PANAMA CITY — A Congressional candidate told local high school and middle school students Tuesday that Islam’s plan is to destroy the American way of life.
“I’m totally against it. If I had my way, it would pretty much be over my dead body,” said Ron McNeil, a candidate for the U.S. House District 2 seat, who was referring to a controversial plan to build an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. “That religion is against everything America stands for. If we have to let them build it, make them build it nine stories underground, so we can walk above it as citizens and Christians.”
OK, if you talk to Pamela Geller, I think she’d argue that McNeil’s statements are quite literally true: Islam is “against everything America stands for.” And for all we know, a majority of FL-2 residents share that sentiment, so that McNeil’s comments might actually win him more votes.
A bit of research, however, discloses that Ron McNeil is a marginal candidate in a crowded Republican primary, whose fundraising has been effectively zero. The Florida primary is next Tuesday, and it is extremely unlikely that McNeil will win the GOP nomination.
Frankly, I was shocked to learn that this district in the Florida panhandle has been held by Democrat Rep. Allen Boyd since 1997. FL-2 is a very winnable district for Republicans; it was carried by Bush in 2004, and John McCain got 54% of the vote there in 2008.
Based on minimal information about the GOP candidates in FL-2, I’ll say we need to get behind Steve Southerland. He has the support of Eric Cantor, as well as the House Conservatives Fund, and that’s good enough for me.
Everybody got all excited by the news that Republicans are leading on the “generic ballot” poll, but taking back Congress means winning a majority of House elections — 218+ seats in districts all across the country, including FL-2. We’ve got to focus on these key races. Generic ballot polls don’t win elections, candidates do.
Only 76 days left until Nov. 2, people: Start paying attention!