Posted on | September 15, 2010 | 77 Comments
Karl Rove’s recent rant on Christine O’Donnell’s Senatorial primary win proves the Old Guard of the GOP needs to wake up.
Voters in 2010 are not being swayed by the anointment of the Good Ol’ Boys in the GOP’s picks to run for office. They are rejecting the career politicians and the system; the O’Donnell win is representative of this. And, while I do not agree with many of O’Donnell’s social issues or statements, her win is indicative of the rejection of politics as usual in the GOP.
No doubt this win scared the establishment to its core.
Rove’s rants prove that he fails to understand that ultimately the voters give credibility to a candidate, not the party. Candidates come from many different backgrounds and life experiences. We have seen a surge in those seeking office from outside the recruiting pool of the GOP.
This is a positive movement for the party, not a negative.
Who is Rove to say what is baggage and what isn’t? Here is a man who kept a “list” of Republicans who towed the line and who didn’t. Perhaps he needs to look at his own baggage before deciding the viability of others. Wasn’t Rove supposed to be the architect of the “20 year Republican majority?” How has that worked out?
Rove undoubtedly would have a field day deconstructing my candidacy, personal life, or viability. A note to Rove on my candidacy: Bring it on.
As a woman in the GOP for years in a career of communications and policy, I know first hand the rejection of “unconventional” women candidates by the Republican Party Old Guard. I was discouraged by them to run for office.
When interviewed by the NRCC and Kevin McCarthy about the Young Guns program, which I now peg the “Shooting Blanks” program (and yes this is a double entendre and the pun is absolutely intended) my marriages and status as a single mother were a focal point.
Fair questions, but I doubt that prospective married male candidates seeking office aren’t dissuaded by such things when running for office. Especially considering how many of them have such skeletons in their closet. Perhaps I should be grateful that I avoided what I experienced in the early days in Washington as a twenty-something where a slap on the derriere and the comment “go home and be a housewife” was standard operating procedure.
I won a challenged primary in a field of two other candidates. I am the Republican candidate. One would naturally think that my campaign would receive some support from the RNC, the GOP, or the NRCC.
Au contraire. Let me count just a few ways I have experienced rebuffs and undermining:
- Crickets: My race has been a bouillabaisse of RNC State leaders not returning my calls or assisting in endorsements. I have never heard from Kevin McCarthy or the NRCC since that initial meeting. My requests for past research in their libraries (which I know exists and costs them nothing) have gone unanswered. I know for a fact that other congressional candidates near my district have received the same snub.
- Poaching: Old Guard RNC Committeeman for California, Shawn Steel, has brought other congressional candidates to my district to help fundraise with nary a nod to our campaign.
- Twisting: I requested guidance from Shawn Steel on how to deal with press stories linking Senate Candidate Carly Fiorina to Jane Harman (my Democrat opponent), after The Daily Beast story by Tim Shorrock. Two other reporters in the national media have been hounding me on this. No response.
- Back-Dealing: When I met with Bob Livingston (former Congressman from Louisiana) to request assistance on my campaign, he was more concerned about the loybbying clients Jane Harman referred to him. And, I suppose, cocktail parties with the Harman’s at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC.
- Massaging: During a fundraising call I made to a wealthy big-wig with the RJC, who is close to the Fiorina campaign, he had this to say: “I was stunned when I met you..you’re absolutely gorgeous. You should be on Fox”. He asked me to send him information on donating and hasn’t lifted a finger. My comment to him today: “Put up, or shut up.”
- Fifth-Column money: Former Congressman Steve Kuykendall (R) has refused to endorse me, because Harman’s mouthpiece strategist Harvey Englander (who by the way used to represent Republicans) has passed business his way.
- Rumors: Old-Guard GOP is concerned that my campaign’s viral video focusing on Jane Harman’s “business with Iran problem” is highlighting an issue that is sensitive to the Fiorina camp. This issue raised its ugly head again after Fiorina came back from Israel, when Boxer and the Democrats for Israel made public statements against HP’s doing business with Iran. As a result, the rumor is that my campaign is to be the sacrificial lamb and philosophy, ideology, and principles be damned.
With friends like that in the GOP, I need no other enemies. As I recently commented on Pajamas Media TV with Stephen Kruiser, the Old Guard may be an albatross as we get into the general election, but the last thing I expected was to have the GOP throw my campaign for the sake of multi-millionaire Democrat Jane Harman. Call me naïve, but I thought the GOP was interested in gaining the House in 2010 with as many seats as possible.
Is that what you want, GOP? Then embrace “unconventional” candidates with a little bit more than slapping their picture up on the GOP website. Provide mentoring, guidance, assistance, information, and data. The GOP isn’t necessarily obligated to financially assist all candidates, but they do have a duty not to work against their own.
While I am pleased the NRSC finally came forth to assist O’Donnell, their initial rebuff the night before was typical and disgusting.
Women represent over half of the electorate. We have much more to offer the party than bringing self-funded millions of dollars or attain attention due to marriages to high-level Republican men.
Our campaign will not be deterred by the snakes in the grass within the party. Or those like Rove that pontificate on what he believes the voters want. We continue to forge ahead.
And a final note to Kevin McCarthy: A majority is one woman with chutzpah.
– Mattie Fein, Republican candidate for U.S. Congress