GOP rallying to Toomey?

posted at 2:15 pm on June 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

When Pat Toomey first announced his intention to challenge Arlen Specter in the 2010 Republican primary in Pennsylvania, the national GOP acted as though he had passed gas in church.  Sotto voce, they tried to push the notion that Toomey was too conservative to win in Pennsylvania, and even after Specter flipped to the Democrats, Republicans tried getting moderates like Tom Ridge to challenge Toomey.  Now, however, Politico reports that the national party has decided that Toomey’s brand of fiscal conservatism might be just what they  need:

There was a time earlier this year when Republican Pat Toomey was the skunk at the Republican establishment party, a conservative gadfly whose prospective primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter seemed to jeopardize GOP control of the seat.

Even after Specter switched to the Democratic Party in April, party leaders continued to dismiss Toomey’s chances and looked elsewhere for a 2010 nominee.

Today, however, the party is gradually falling in line behind his bid, setting aside reservations about his electability and getting accustomed to the idea of the former Club for Growth president as the GOP Senate nominee.

It’s something of a shotgun marriage, but it’s an idea that the party is growing increasingly comfortable with.

“I haven’t heard that anybody else is running,” said Bob Asher, the influential Pennsylvania Republican National Committeeman who chaired John McCain’s presidential campaign in the state. “I fully expect to support the endorsed Republican candidate, and I fully expect that to be former Congressman Pat Toomey.”

To paraphrase Major Garrett, what took them so long?  Toomey didn’t just come out of nowhere.  He won an election to Congress in a district best described as moderate, replacing a retiring Democratic incumbent and beating another popular Democrat by ten points.  He won re-election twice afterwards, until he kept his promise to limit himself to three terms in the House.  The notion that Toomey would only appeal to the Republican base has no evidence, other than the fears among Specter apologists.

And am I the only one who thinks that a “shotgun marriage” between the GOP and the Club for Growth says more about the national Republican Party than it does about Toomey?  I think Politico’s Alex Isenstadt hits the nail on the head, after watching the gyrations in the national GOP after Toomey’s bid attracted wide support and forced Specter to switch parties for his political survival.  Instead of embracing free-market conservatism and one of its most articulate defenders, Republicans panicked and tried the kind of politicians that spent like drunken sailors to oppose Toomey and doom his Senate bid.

Now that the Obama administration and the Democrats have embarked on what can only be called Extreme Government Spending, the GOP has belatedly awakened to its best opportunity: to find reliable, trustworthy fiscal conservatives to rebuild its credibility and provide a brake to massive irresponsibility on Capitol Hill.  Instead of fearing Toomey, the party should have embraced him from the beginning — and sought out more like him.  Let’s hope they’ve begun to get the message that 2010 will be about the economy, the deficit, and insane levels of spending.


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ra ra

ZzZzzzz

VibrioCocci on June 30, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Are they sure it isn’t possible to coax Specter back into the fold?

After all, this should be part of the “big tent” strategy.

Specter represents the morally and intellectually bankrupt, hopelessly out of touch, “what’s in it for me?” community.

NoDonkey on June 30, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Looks like Franken is going to be certified. It can only go up from here?

msmveritas on June 30, 2009 at 2:22 PM

It’s about freakin’ time….

I would begin giving money again to the party if they would start backing more conservative folks

cmsinaz on June 30, 2009 at 2:22 PM

I like to think that perhaps sending the GOP back their “surevey/request for funds” filled out in it’s entirety, sans check, with a hand written explanation as to WHY they’re not getting any money from me in the forseeable future had something, at least in some small way, to do with this.

NOT. ONE. PENNY.

Not until small government, fiscal conservatives are endorsed over Democrat-lite style RINOs.

SuperCool on June 30, 2009 at 2:22 PM

zzzzzzzzzz…

moonbatkiller on June 30, 2009 at 2:24 PM

it would be nice to have a real conservative instead of that ratazz spincter,i don’t know who’s a bigger embarrasment to pa, murtha or specter?????

SHARPTOOTH on June 30, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Looks like Franken is going to be certified.

Certified lunatic or sex offender?

My bets on both.

Lunatic sex offender Al Franken. Congratulations Al, you earned it.

NoDonkey on June 30, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Hopefully this is a sign that the powers that be in the party have finally realised that the base isn’t happy with their performance and if they don’t start listening their going to find their campaign donations starting to dwindle as the base takes their support elsewhere.

Dreadnought223 on June 30, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Too late.

Absolute Power
is here.

newton on June 30, 2009 at 2:25 PM

NoDonkey on June 30, 2009 at 2:24 PM

We know he is both a lunatic and a sex offender but as newton’s link shows he is also going to be a senator. MM has info and declares “Showtime.”

msmveritas on June 30, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Better late than never. Now someone get the message to Colin Powell.

Doughboy on June 30, 2009 at 2:30 PM

The RNC is gonna hold their nose and back Toomey. Given how you idiots rammed McCain down our throats, how’s it feel?

Iblis on June 30, 2009 at 2:31 PM

We can only hope that Specter demoralizes enough Dems and enough Republicans stay loyal to the Party instead of the person.

Speedwagon82 on June 30, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Let’s hope they’ve begun to get the message that 2010 will be about the economy, the deficit, and insane levels of spending.

They have not gotten the message. When Cornyn is dethroned, and Jim DeMint is leading the Senate Republicans boldly on an agenda that is free of political influence I will think they have gotten the message. This seems like a calculated move to keep the current partymen in the leadership. They have proven time and again they are not leaders just politicians in GOP clothing.

Theworldisnotenough on June 30, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Too bad that the Republicans can’t clean house in the party to get the base back in the fold……not the rinos they keep sending forth.

grapeknutz on June 30, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Wife and I were fortunate to spend some time with Toomey on the National Review cruise. Totally principled, smart and one of nature’s true gentlemen. Lovely family, too.

If he can’t beat Specter, then we know Pennsylvania is lost for good and all. Might as well turn Independence Hall into the Obammy Presidential Library.

guntotinglibertarian on June 30, 2009 at 2:35 PM

The GOP litmus test should be fiscal, not social.

Looks like Franken is going to be certified.

The angry clown will fit right in with the rest of the Clowns in the 111th Clown Car.

Rae on June 30, 2009 at 2:36 PM

Well I don’t think it is that strange. Gingrich is not exactly unknown in national politics and he is a fiscal conservative.

And I think fiscal conservatives will do well in the near future.

Terrye on June 30, 2009 at 2:37 PM

Iblis:

Nobody rammed McCain down your throat. People just could not stop the infighting and the back stabbing and the promising to take their football and go home long enough to back anyone else with any fervor. Don’t blame the RNC for all that.

Terrye on June 30, 2009 at 2:39 PM

The GOP rallying behind Toomey is like your third option for a date to the prom (I’ll explain later about dating AP), they wanted the tried and true even if he was a pain (Spector) because they believe he could be easily elected, and then they liked Ridge because he was a known quantity even if not their first choice, lastly was Toomey. Not well known and not “One of the boys”. They did what any one would, rather than stay home they took their third choice.

LincolntheHun on June 30, 2009 at 2:41 PM

We know he is both a lunatic and a sex offender but as newton’s link shows he is also going to be a senator.

Isn’t that redundant?

NoDonkey on June 30, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Toomey will have to bone up on the RINO handbook if he’s ever going get the full support of the Senate GOP. There will be a written test.

Toomey can use my handy crib sheet:

Government expansion: Good
Illegal immigration: Good
Uhbama SCOTUS nominations: Approve
Restrictions on political speech: Aye
Porkfest spending bills disguised as “stimulus”: Aye
Tax increases on the rich: Aye

Cicero43 on June 30, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Here in Indiana back in 2006 the blue dog Ellsworth beat John Hostettler a real conservative. And I mean Hostettler was slaughtered. He was honest and true to his conservative principles and he still got beat. And this district is not a liberal district. My county went over 75% Republican in the last two elections.

So it is not just about being a real conservative, you have to the people out there to work for you and vote for you and give you support where and when you need it.

I hope Toomey gets that. Specter deserves to be beat.

Terrye on June 30, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Cicero:

I don’t know, I would say the GOPs in the Senate are looking more likely to kill the cap and trade bill than the House. I hope.

Terrye on June 30, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Nobody rammed McCain down your throat.

Terrye on June 30, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Sure they did, they are called South Carolinians and Floridians. They had an assist from the MSM.

Theworldisnotenough on June 30, 2009 at 2:55 PM

They have not gotten the message. When Cornyn is dethroned, and Jim DeMint is leading the Senate Republicans boldly on an agenda that is free of political influence I will think they have gotten the message. This seems like a calculated move to keep the current partymen in the leadership. They have proven time and again they are not leaders just politicians in GOP clothing.

Theworldisnotenough on June 30, 2009 at 2:35 PM

From your keyboard to God’s eyes.

alliebobbitt on June 30, 2009 at 2:55 PM

Ed Morrissey: Sotto voce, they tried to push the notion that Toomey was too conservative to win in Pennsylvania, and even after Specter flipped to the Democrats…

Fortissimo: Pat Toomey for Senate!

Loxodonta on June 30, 2009 at 2:55 PM

The Republican leadership are a bunch of fools. Fiscal conservatism, properly articulated, will beat nutjob liberalism in all but the most bizarre situations and districts and wishy-washy Democrat lite will always lose to anyone.

Sign of the Dollar on June 30, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Once the Democrats get trough with Toomey, Pennsylvanians will believe he is to the right of Pinochet. I don’t think he has the cojones to withstand the assault that is coming.

rockmom on June 30, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Well if Rick Santorum is really unavailable, then Toomey.

KW64 on June 30, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Well if Rick Santorum is really unavailable, then Toomey.

KW64 on June 30, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Santorum lost his last race by 20 points to a man who could not think his way out of a paper bag. Of course, Toomey will lose to Specter by even more.

rockmom on June 30, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Nobody rammed McCain down your throat.

Terrye on June 30, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Open primaries…to which the stupid GOP “leadership” acquiesced…rammed that vain, stupid tool down our throats.

guntotinglibertarian on June 30, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Once the Democrats get trough with Toomey, Pennsylvanians will believe he is to the right of Pinochet. I don’t think he has the cojones to withstand the assault that is coming.

rockmom on June 30, 2009 at 2:56 PM

If the Republicans aren’t in a position to win elections like this one, soon, then they’re not in a position to achieve much of anything, and will have to depend on the Democrats being too incompetent and cowardly to enact their own agenda, while waiting for the real sh!t to hit the real fan (you ain’t seen nuthin yet).

Simple as that.

Instead of finding reasons to be pessimistic about Toomey and his manhood, maybe you should be thinking of ways to help.

CK MacLeod on June 30, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Well if Rick Santorum is really unavailable, then Toomey.

KW64 on June 30, 2009 at 2:59 PM
Santorum lost his last race by 20 points to a man who could not think his way out of a paper bag. Of course, Toomey will lose to Specter by even more>

rockmom on June 30, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Actually, that was my point Rockmom.

KW64 on June 30, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Instead of finding reasons to be pessimistic about Toomey and his manhood, maybe you should be thinking of ways to help.

CK MacLeod on June 30, 2009 at 3:04 PM

I can’t help the fact that for the last 4 years Toomey has been in New York running the Club For Growth instead of, you know, actually being in Pennsylvania doing something for the state and its voters to make us believe he deserves to be our Senator. Democrats are going to beat him senseless with it.

I refuse to support this guy just because he ran a good primary race against Arlen Specter in 2004 and lost. I detest Specter and won’t vote for him, but in my opinion Toomey is a poor, poor choice to oppose him.

rockmom on June 30, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Don’t send any money to the national Republican groups until they stop supporting Charlie “Tuna” Crist in Florida when they could have a two-fer in Marco Rubio. Conservative Latino candidate for Senate. Send it directly to the candidates that you support and cut out the middle man who doesn’t want to do what you want them to do.

TruthToBeTold on June 30, 2009 at 3:15 PM

This may not be good news. National level RNC people have no idea how to handle the base.

SouthernGent on June 30, 2009 at 3:15 PM

…at the Republican establishment party

Therein lies a majority of our problems. We let the Establishment choose our major candidates. Thus we get useless old twits like Dole and McCoot ‘who’s turn it is’ to be our candidates. Toss these rascals out along with RINO’s and traitors like the 8 Reps who voted for cap-n’-trade. If we can’t win, we can at least honestly stand for something!

GeneSmith on June 30, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Better late than never. Now someone get the message to Colin Powell.

Right. Good luck with that.

whitetop on June 30, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Michael Steele…. still asleep at the wheel…..

ultracon on June 30, 2009 at 3:23 PM

rockmom on June 30, 2009 at 3:14 PM

If President Kool & The Gang nationalize the election with their hijinks, then it will matter less whether or not Toomey can be branded a carpetbagger or poor constituency server or whatever else makes you feel free to offer characterizations of his cojones. Maybe Pennsylvanians are obscenely parochial and will reject a prodigal son in favor of a thing like Specter, or maybe not. What good does it do you or us to continually emphasize the odds against Toomey, and plan out the future as though it’s eternally 2006? Like I said, if it’s always 2006 forever and ever, then the Republican Party is over anyway.

CK MacLeod on June 30, 2009 at 3:24 PM

GOP rallying to Toomey?

Final-effing-ly.

Looks like Franken is going to be certified. It can only go up from here?

msmveritas on June 30, 2009 at 2:22 PM

It could always be worse.

Chaz706 on June 30, 2009 at 3:26 PM

the article and ensuing comments are the very reason I donate to SarahPAC and NOT the RNC.

Onager on June 30, 2009 at 3:37 PM

the article and ensuing comments are the very reason I donate to SarahPAC and NOT the RNC.

Onager on June 30, 2009 at 3:37 PM

amen

Jeff from WI on June 30, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Michael Steele…. still asleep at the wheel…..

ultracon on June 30, 2009 at 3:23 PM

driving Miss Daisy

Jeff from WI on June 30, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Let’s hope they’ve begun to get the message that 2010 will be about the economy, the deficit, and insane levels of spending.about stopping the socialist powergrab of our executive offices, our industry, our banks, our homes, our 401K’s, our freedoms!

While I don’t disagree with the original, think this is even more pressing! Get to a tea party on July 4!

Christian Conservative on June 30, 2009 at 3:54 PM

eading the Senate Republicans boldly on an agenda that is free of political influence
Theworldisnotenough on June 30, 2009 at 2:35 PM

.
So you are saying that the Republican (political) Party should be above umm…politics?

ronsfi on June 30, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Well, after months of hearing over and over how Toomey is too polarizing and just not electable…riiiiiight.

ddrintn on June 30, 2009 at 5:18 PM

And am I the only one who thinks that a “shotgun marriage” between the GOP and the Club for Growth says more about the national Republican Party than it does about Toomey?

You are not alone. CFG FTW.

daryl_herbert on June 30, 2009 at 5:46 PM

GeneSmith on June 30, 2009 at 3:18 PM
Toss these rascals out along with RINO’s and traitors like the 8 Reps who voted for cap-n’-trade. If we can’t win, we can at least honestly stand for something!
.
.
Well, if we can’t stand for something …. then we can’t win!!

Ghostbuster on June 30, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Now that the Obama administration and the Democrats have embarked on what can only be called Extreme Government Spending, the GOP has belatedly awakened to its best opportunity: to find reliable, trustworthy fiscal conservatives to rebuild its credibility and provide a brake to massive irresponsibility on Capitol Hill.

Sadly, I suspect the GOP only considers this a politically expedient tactic rather than a principle worth adhering to on its own merit. Should they return to power, the GOP would return to the spending habits which lost them Congress in the first place.

Socratease on June 30, 2009 at 7:18 PM

I like to think that perhaps sending the GOP back their “surevey/request for funds” filled out in it’s entirety, sans check, with a hand written explanation as to WHY they’re not getting any money from me in the forseeable future had something, at least in some small way, to do with this.

NOT. ONE. PENNY.

SuperCool on June 30, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Too late. Mine’s already in the trash. I’ll donate directly to the (conservative) candidates.

davidk on June 30, 2009 at 7:31 PM

I agree with TruthToBeTold, now that they are on board for Toomey, how about supporting Rubio (or at least staying out of it until a candidate is chosen)? This guy should be the face of the GOP. Fresh, young, bright and well spoken.

painfulTruthDisciple on June 30, 2009 at 7:44 PM

Don’t worry. The PLUTOCRATS in the REPUKE party in collaboration with DUMMOCRATS will destroy Toomey somehow. This is the number one reason why I refuse to hold my nose and vote for Republican candidates who aren’t TRUE CONSERVATIVES. It’s time to litter the ocean floor with all the cargo ships bringing in garbage from China. We do have a submarine fleet and I can’t think of a better use for it than defending the USA by sending those ships to Davy Jones locker with MK 48 torpedoes.

hamradio on June 30, 2009 at 8:05 PM

So you are saying that the Republican (political) Party should be above umm…politics?

ronsfi on June 30, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Not above politics, but commited to principles. The current crop of Republican leadership is nakedly commited to holding office, not conservative principles, those are secondary to winning elections.

I could have been more clear, that for the critique.

Theworldisnotenough on June 30, 2009 at 8:48 PM

I will restate what I’ve said here dozens of times, Toomey will have my contributions and time and vote. Pennsylvania will finally have a conservative voice.

Zorro on June 30, 2009 at 10:36 PM

Terrye:

Here in Indiana back in 2006 the blue dog Ellsworth beat John Hostettler a real conservative. And I mean Hostettler was slaughtered. He was honest and true to his conservative principles and he still got beat. And this district is not a liberal district. My county went over 75% Republican in the last two elections.

Yup, that was my district in Indiana, too. The “run a ‘real conservative’ and everybody will vote for him” line is every bit as simple-minded as “build it and they will come.” Note that Murtha is still in Congress, and nobody is a principled, honorable, conservative if Bill Russell isn’t.

If Toomey can brand himself as a fiscal conservative and keep the media from branding him a social conservative, he has a chance. If he gets branded as another “Help! Fag marriage!” candidate, he’s going down like Hostettler did.

rightwingprof on July 1, 2009 at 2:19 PM