Cornyn: We’re being realists

posted at 10:55 am on May 29, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Red State offered Senator John Cornyn, chair of the NRSC, an opportunity to explain why he decided to endorse Governor Charlie Crist in a Republican primary against Marco Rubio for the open Senate seat in Florida.  The decision has met with widespread criticism in the blogosphere, including here, especially for a party that professes a desire to return to the federalist philosophy of the wisdom of decentralized government.  Cornyn explains that the underlying data left the NRSC no choice:

The NRSC’s endorsement is not a reflection on Marco Rubio; it is a realistic assessment of both the 2010 Florida Senate race and the national map. With the Democrats standing on the precipice of a filibuster-proof majority, we cannot afford to lose this seat in 2010. Endorsing Charlie Crist will save the NRSC precious resources that can be used to fight in other states. It will also ensure that the strongest Republican candidate maintains control of this seat, and build our numbers with the resulting opportunity to shape policy.

While Rubio is certainly an up-and-comer in Florida, a recent Mason Dixon poll showed that he only has a 44 percent name ID among Republicans, which will ultimately force him to spend a lot more money introducing himself to Floridians. Govenor Crist, in contrast, has a 100 percent name ID among Republicans, according to the same poll. In a general election match-up with Democrat Congressman Kendrick Meek, Charlie Crist wins handily 55 percent to 24 percent.

We have a chance to field competitive candidates in Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, California, Arkansas, and Colorado in 2010. But in order to succeed, we need candidates who fit their states. Winning back the majority requires not only that we hold the Democrats accountable, but also that we embrace the vast number of issues upon which Republicans agree. Failing to do so will hand the Democrats yet another victory in 2010, and deny the American people a check on Democrat-controlled government.

But who’s the most qualified to select the candidates who “fit their states”?  Would we get a better fit for the state by having a committee inside the Beltway picking the candidates, or the people of the states themselves?  It seems to me that the former would tend to produce candidates who fit the Beltway establishment, rather than the actual will of the voters in the states.  Frankly, we already have enough Republicans in love with the Beltway; we don’t need another.

Last night, I co-moderated a debate for the Minnesota GOP, hosted by SD-45 Republicans, with the candidates for state party chair and deputy chair taking questions originating from Republicans across the state. (Photo below, and I’m not going to wear a tie again for a month, at least.)  One point the candidates for both positions made repeatedly was that the role of the party leadership at the state level was not to pick the candidates for the districts.  Their job was to support the grassroots and the local organizations in searching for the best candidates and helping to get them elected.  To a person, they rejected the top-down selection process as dispiriting to the grassroots and local orgs, and also counterproductive to getting candidates who truly represent the districts.

This is a lesson that the NRSC should have learned a long time ago.  If Crist has such soaring support, then he doesn’t need the NRSC to throw around its weight in the primary on his behalf.  Why not let Florida decide who should represent them in the general election, and have the NRSC do its job at that point?

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In Cornyn’s defense on other things, he was on the Pat Grey show this morning and it sounded like he was going to at least ask some tough questions to Sotomayer.
We will see if he backs it up.

Corsair on May 29, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Cornyn: We’re being realists

You’re being real pussies without any useful purpose. You’re redundant and unnecessary. Go away, Whig!

FloatingRock on May 29, 2009 at 2:15 PM

I don’t know what it’s going to take for Republicans to get the message. They continue to act like, and support, RINOs in order to appeal to Hispanics. Meanwhile, with 70% of the population white, they never miss an opportunity to alienate the Conservative base. If they think that Hispanics will replace conservatives as the core of the party, they’re dumber than I could have ever imagined. My guess is that they would attack more Hispanics acting more like conservatives than Democrats.

Stupid is as stupid does.

orlandocajun on May 29, 2009 at 2:20 PM

It always come down to money. Give to Marco Rubio and Sarah Palin and deny the RINOs, NRSC, and the RNC donations as long they do not shape up.

technopeasant on May 29, 2009 at 2:22 PM

It always come down to money. Give to Marco Rubio and Sarah Palin and deny the RINOs, NRSC, and the RNC donations as long they do not shape up.

technopeasant on May 29, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Absolutely the right response!!!

I do, however, send each of the numerous RNC (Rino Nominating Committee) solicitations back with a note explaining why they are not going to get any more money from me until they change their ways.

Conservative candidates I support in other states used to be puzzled by my out-of-state, not-a-lobbyist contributions. But more recently, they are treating this as routine: apparently lots of other Conservative individuals are doing the same thing.

landlines on May 29, 2009 at 2:34 PM

We have a chance to field competitive candidates in Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, California, Arkansas, and Colorado in 2010.


tommylotto on May 29, 2009 at 2:39 PM

A bit off topic, but hey, Ed, you look dashing in a suit and tie! :)

KendraWilder on May 29, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Rae on May 29, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Great link that the Cornyn’s et al never read and don’t believe.

patrick neid on May 29, 2009 at 3:39 PM


You say who is a better fit and wonder if the beltway people are better at making the choice…well are bloggers better at making the choice? I think the people of Florida will make that choice and if they want Rubio, they can vote for him, they can support him. Democrats won control of the Congress with the help of the Blue Dogs. They ran people who could win in their respective states, Republicans need to do the same sort of thing. For instance, in PA, Republicans made it plain that they do not want Specter…but it might be that Crist is exactly what the majority of Republicans want in Florida.

Let them decide.

Terrye on May 29, 2009 at 4:24 PM

In other words, if we want your opinion we will give it to you! We GOP and RNC insiders will decide who runs for office! You rubes out there in America have zero say in the matter so sit down and shut up!

sabbott on May 29, 2009 at 4:26 PM


No, not really. Crist has a 70% approval rating among Republicans in Florida. They already voted for the man and made him Governor. It just might be that the people of that state would rather have him as a Senator than they would Rubio, right now. After all, it is up to them to do the voting.

Terrye on May 29, 2009 at 4:28 PM

I’m in Florida and I will vote for Mr. Rubio in the primary.

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2009 at 4:44 PM

I don´t particularly like Crist and I´m much more impressed with Rubio (although those who see in him the perfect conservative candidate are due to be disappointed).

Having said that, Rubio is little known inside Florida
and still very young. With Rubio, the NRSC will have to raise and spend millions in order to be competitive. That money will not be available in other tight races.

Whereas Crist has been elected to statewide office before. He is a freaking former governor.

That is what Cornyn means by being realistic and I can understand him. Since when is wishful thinking conservative?

Rubio´s time will come. Right now, what counts is getting Republicans in the House and Senate. Every Republican is better than every Democrat. And I do not know that Crist is a second Specter or Chafee.

el gordo on May 29, 2009 at 5:28 PM

By 2006, it had become increasingly obvious that the GOP in DC wasn’t listening to and did not respect the people who put them in office.
Two election losses later, that still hasn’t changed and I see no reason to support the RNC, NRSC, or the NRCC financially. My money will be better spent supporting candidates that are fiscal hawks, free-market hawks, and national security hawks. Democrat-lite is not going to cut it for me.
Do the DC elitists think they know best what is good for us voters, so we should just shut up and take our medicine?
The meddlesome NRSC is endorsing tax-and-spend Son-of-Specter instead of a dynamic, fiscally conservative young man who will bring votes from across the political spectrum in Florida. Oh, and did I mention this dynamic young man is Hispanic? Senator Cornyn, do you think the “big tent” is just not big enough for Marco Rubio? Only old white guys need apply?
Apparently, the GOP is content to hang the Democrat albatross around our necks for the foreseeable future.

sandspur on May 29, 2009 at 5:38 PM

John Cornyn and the NRSC can be “realists” without my vote.

They’ve lost me. I’ll support third party in the future – or write-ins. In Cornyn’s case – I’ll donate to any MoveOn type org that targets him for a takedown.

I won’t support a Republican Party that ex-communicates it’s own base.

I won’t support a Republican Party that picks and chooses who can run in elections the way the mullah’s do in Iran. AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE NRSC IS DOING IN FLORIDA. It’s anti-democratic. They need to get their big fat rears out of that and let the people decide.

John Cornyn is a TRAITOR. A man who’s totally in it for himself.

I’ve been a Republican since 1993 – but no more – I’ve had it with these fools. I will donate to Sarah Palin’s Pac – and pray she leaves the party to and makes a run on a third party ticket. Then we’ll see just how well the RINO GOP does.

Thanks for nothing John Cornyn – you anti-democratic fool. Nice trick there you learned from the Iranians.

Keep it real.

HondaV65 on May 29, 2009 at 8:23 PM

Oh … and one more thing.

Cornyn is A LIAR when he says he’s being a “realist” in endorsing Charlie Crist.

He’s endorsing Crist because Crist is a member of the “good ole boy” club of Republicans.

Pure and Simple.


HondaV65 on May 29, 2009 at 8:27 PM

The bottom line is that the Republican Party is all out of standards, principles and values that it will seek to uphold no matter what. It is a “done and done” party, and needs to just shut up and go away.

Then, the rest of us can pick up the pieces and fix it.

The dim-wits who want nothing more than to be loved by the left need to be fought and defeated. Who gives a rat’s a** about “winning” (something these putzes aren’t going to do no matter how hard they pretend to be the Dims) if winning means becomming the sludge on the left.

seanrobins on May 29, 2009 at 8:28 PM

Endorsing Charlie Crist will save the NRSC precious resources that can be used to fight in other states.

And just why are the resources so friggin’ scarce Cornyn?

Saltysam on May 29, 2009 at 9:15 PM

My only argument with him: they have been doing a lousy job picking candidates and forcing them down the throats of conservatives

The last election was a joke, so I guess they might as well keep up the winning formula

entagor on May 29, 2009 at 9:51 PM

Mark Rubio isnt their pick, becuase he doesnt pander to Latino voters at the expense of white people.

paulsur on May 29, 2009 at 10:07 PM

If a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged then what is Marco Rubio who was mugged by the NESC?

I don’t think the word “pissed” begins to express how he must feel.


herself on May 30, 2009 at 2:10 AM

But Crist is an Obama-huggin’, deficit-lovin’, MM climate-change-believin’, RINO!!!!

Dandapani on May 30, 2009 at 1:58 PM