Republican Primaries Suppress Creationists

In the New Yorker, not known as a bastion of conservatism, we read Why Karl Rove Is Smiling Today. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Karl Rove, fresh from outraging Democrats with his remarks about Hillary Clinton’s health, was on Fox News last night, and, once again, he was looking pretty happy with himself. As it became clear that establishment Republicans — i.e., those supported by Rove and his big Super PAC — had bested their Tea Party-affiliated rivals in a number of key G.O.P. primaries, Rove flashed his gnashers and told Megyn Kelly: “The reason Republican candidates are winning is because they are uniting the party.”

They’re talking about Rove’s effort to deploy the Buckley rule — William Buckley always said he was in favor of the most conservative candidate who is electable. As those who follow American politics are aware, several extreme “social conservatives” have been nominated by their local Republican party organizations in recent years, with generally disastrous results when they faced a Democrat candidate in the general election.

We’ve written about this a few times before. Everyone remembers the catastrophic campaign of Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell. There was also Sharron Angle in 2010 — see United States Senate election in Nevada, 2010. And then there was Todd Akin, a 2012 Senate candidate in Missouri who won the primary with wildly conservative support but lost the general election after his comments on abortion and rape became known. The madness continued in 2014, as the Republicans lost a few Senate races they could have won, if they hadn’t run candidates who were obviously insane.

The problem (for the GOP) is that although no poll shows that creationism is increasing among Americans, creationists seem to be concentrated more and more in the Republican party. We think it’s because: (1) creationists are staying in the Republican party; and (2) Republicans who aren’t creationists are abandoning the party and becoming independents. That can account for poll findings that show an increasing percentage of Republicans who are creationists.

We explained our thinking (which is similar to Rove’s) in Open Letter to the Republican Party, #3, where we advocated keeping creationism and other extreme issues out of campaigns, and concluded:

[O]ur strategy doesn’t require a candidate to abandon the GOP’s social principles, but he does have to strongly reassure the voters that he won’t make those principles compulsory. If we can convince the undecideds that a Republican victory doesn’t mean that the government will be run by a pack of wild-eyed theocrats, then we have a shot at winning. Otherwise, we’re history, and deservedly so.

Let’s get back to the New Yorker. They say:

In Georgia, there was was another victory for the G.O.P. fixers, who are understandably keen to avoid a repeat of the Todd Akin debacle, in 2012, in which a candidate with extreme views cost the party a winnable Senate seat. In a closely watched, bitterly fought race for the Republican Senate seat that Saxby Chambliss is vacating, seven candidates were looking to gain enough votes to contest a runoff on July 22nd. The ultra conservatives in the race included two more congressmen, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, the latter of whom has described evolution and the Big Bang theory as “lies straight from the pit of hell.” But neither Gingrey nor Broun got enough votes to make it into a runoff. The two who did are both establishment types: David Perdue, the former C.E.O. of Dollar General, and Jack Kingston, a veteran U.S. congressman who has represented the state’s first district since 1993.

That’s the race we wrote about yesterday — see Paul “Pit of Hell” Broun — Primary Election Today. Skipping a bit about primary elections we weren’t following, we’re told:

Rove and his fellow Republican leaders had a good night. And, by extension, Harry Reid and the Democrats had a disappointing night. “The Democrats wanted to get a break in Kentucky; they wanted to get a break in Georgia,” Larry Sabato, the political analyst from the University of Virginia said. “They didn’t get a break in either.”

Your Curmudgeon is pleased. And so is the ghost of William Buckley. Let’s read on:

The returns from Georgia and Kentucky confirmed a trend that has been evident in other key states, such as Alaska, Arkansas, and North Carolina. The G.O.P., while it has hardly reconverted to Eisenhower Republicanism, has declined to help the Democrats keep control of the Senate by nominating unelectable candidates — the sort of folks who get enthusiastically endorsed by Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Instead, it is putting forward stalwart but calculating conservatives who can be relied on to keep the pressure on their Democratic opponents.

Exactly! That’s the way we like it. The article closes, as a liberal publication would be expected to do, with this:

Given the fractured, fractious, and intolerant nature of today’s G.O.P., that’s about the best that Rove and his cohorts can hope for. With five and a half months left until the November election, there’s still a lot that could go wrong for the Republicans in their quest to embarrass President Obama and take control of the Senate.

So there you are. The worst of the crazed creationists won’t be running in November. Whether one is a Democrat or Republican, that’s good news for the country. But we suspect that the New Yorker would have preferred that Rove’s strategy had failed.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “Republican Primaries Suppress Creationists

  1. Garnetstar

    I’m a Democrat, but I say, thank goodness. Bring on the Buckley-and-Eisenhower Republicans *now*, please. I recall that Buckley did the party the great good of ridding them of the John Birchers, perhaps Rove et. al. can follow that example.

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    Garnetstar says:

    “Buckley did the [Republican] party the great good of ridding them of the John Birchers, perhaps Rove et. al. can follow that example.”

    Sorry. The Birchers never really disappeared. Their conspiracy mongering mantra that Communists were lurking in every corner of government just morphed into demands to impeach Bill Clinton for being a horn-dog creep, and still persisting claims that Obama is an Islamic non-US citizen.

    The difference between then and now is that the Republican party back then allowed intellectuals such as Buckley to be heard, even if Buckley’s program found its air space on PBS.

    Carl Rove is no Buckley. Recall that it was Buckley himself who called out the misuse by those in his own party who willfully persist in using term “Democrat Party” into their speech, rather than its actual name of Democratic Party .

    “It has the effect of injecting politics into language, and that should be avoided” Buckley wrote. And where does Carl Rove stand on the subject of confusing rational debate with irrational emotional appeal to his base?

    And don’t forget that it was Eisenhower and his Republicans who pushed this country toward theocracy we now face when they added the words “under God” to the pledge of allegiance, and “In God We Trust” to the paper currency.

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    arrgh – SC, I missed closing the blockquote – please fix if possible. Or just ban me from future comments forever.

    [‘VOICE FROM ABOVE*] Blockquote fixed! Not a ban-able offense.

  4. What happened to that guy, Steve Daines? Running for Senate if I recall.

  5. Driving home from work I listen to (Discoveroid) Michael Medved, who is, like Buckley, pragmatic, but also addicted to pseudoscience (as Buckley was, at least in a famous 90s TV “debate”). On the drive in I catch the last few minutes of Steve Deace, the kind of radical idealistic social “conservative” that Medved wishes would shut up. I’ll bet $ to donuts that Deace is a fan of WorldNetDaily, which Medved despises, despite their common paranoid anti-science agenda. And yet I even agree with Deace on some issues. But that’s what makes it interesting. As does the fact that the extreme right has taken over from the extreme left in voting for what “feels good” instead of making the hard choices.

  6. anevilmeme

    I never understood why anyone, establishment republican or democrat would fear the tea party. They always struck my as cartoon characters, parodies of citizens trying to find their mutual voice.

  7. If Daines won his primary, then the title of this post, “Republican primaries suppress creationists”, is falsified.

  8. The Republicans want to win this year but they can’t without some of those TP votes in key states. They’ve decided to ally themselves with every religious nut in the country and now they are stuck with them. As a former Republican, every time I hear some wing nut “want my country back” I think I want my party back. I can’t vote Republican while they are a bunch of theocrats. I live in Illinois and I desperately want to change things here. Mark Kirk is a moderate Republican who I would love to support but if it means that doing so might put those idiots in full control of congress, I can’t.

    More important than any issue is who will nominate the next supreme court justice. Do we get another Scalia? That’s why I just can’t stomach them getting in again.