Newest GOP primary target: Mike Lee?

posted at 11:21 am on October 23, 2013 by Allahpundit

The establishment strikes back. Well, the Utah establishment anyway.

One word, my friends: RINOlution.

As a result, Lee’s approval ratings in Utah have cratered, and prominent Republicans and local business executives are openly discussing the possibility of mounting a primary challenge against him. Top Republicans are also maneuvering to redesign the party’s nomination system in a way that would likely make it more difficult for Lee to win reelection in 2016…

Spencer Zwick, a Utah native and national finance chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, was more direct, calling Lee a “show horse” who “just wants to be a spectacle.”

“Business leaders that I talk to, many of whom supported him, would never support his reelection and in fact will work against him, myself included,” Zwick said…

“You don’t have ideological wack-jobs,” [former Utah Gov. Jon] Huntsman said. “For all of its labeling as a red state, underneath it all Utah is a pretty pragmatic Western state, a just-get-it-done ethos.”

There’s a lot going on here. One: Whatever you think of Lee’s “defund” strategy, he’s not just a “show horse.” Last month he introduced a credible tax reform plan to help the middle class that was widely well received by conservative wonks. One of the misfortunes of “defund” is that it sucked away some deserved attention Lee might have gotten for that proposal. Two: Not all of this is local Utah politics. As Erika noted the other day, business interests nationally are quietly organizing to target populist Republicans who were willing to risk an economic hit from a shutdown in the name of waging a broader ideological battle. John McCain, in fact, admitted that it was business groups that have been urging him to run again in 2016, knowing that he’ll be a bulwark against the populists in the Senate. Utah is one front in a wider war. Three: Some of this is local Utah politics. It was Bob Bennett, remember, who was ousted in the first big grassroots tea-party coup against longtime GOP incumbents in 2010. Mike Lee is the guy who replaced him. Establishment figures in Utah, whether out of disdain for Lee’s style, friendship with Bennett, or pique at having lost their pipeline to influence in Congress might be looking for revenge. Knocking off the man who knocked off Bennett and replacing him with someone more centrist would be a huge symbolic victory for the establishment both in Utah and nationally.

But how will they do it? Aha:

Even before the shutdown brought Mr. Lee to national prominence, some Utah party and business leaders had begun a $1 million petition drive to overturn the state’s caucus system that brought him to power. That system, which gives grass roots delegates a large say in picking party nominees, toppled incumbent GOP Sen. Robert Bennett —a more conventional conservative—in 2010 amid a wave of anger over passage of the health-care law. Mr. Lee went on to win the seat that November…

Republican circles are now rife with talk of who might challenge Mr. Lee in 2016. So far, no one is firmly raising a hand. But the Count My Vote initiative to do away with the state’s caucus system, backed by many of the state’s largest GOP donors and business names, represents perhaps the best-organized effort in the country to counteract the tea-party wave in the 2010 elections.

Mr. Lee could face a tougher route to re-election in 2016 if GOP caucuses are replaced with a direct primary. That would allow a more centrist candidate to make an appeal to all Republican voters, not just the activists who dominate caucuses, political observers say.

It’s hard to beat a tea partier at a GOP caucus/convention. Passionate grassroots righties will turn out in force while squishy centrists won’t and there’s little that money can do to change that. Replace the convention with a statewide primary, though, and then you can carpet-bomb Lee, who’s not a prolific fundraiser, with ads. His support has taken a hit with voters there: A BYU poll conducted during the shutdown put his favorable rating at just 40 percent, which doesn’t tell you much about where it’ll be come 2016 but feels weak enough to have several potential big-name challengers buzzing. One, per WaPo, is the former chair of the state GOP, who admits openly that he’s considering running because he’s “exasperated” with Lee; another is Dan Liljenquist, who tried to unseat Orrin Hatch last year in the primary and who published an op-ed two weeks ago criticizing Lee for having damaged his effectiveness in the Senate. Huntsman would be another obvious possibility, although grassroots conservatives’ contempt for him as a supreme “No Labels” RINO might galvanize more tea-party support for Lee than a lower-profile challenger would. Per the Journal, some people are even batting around the idea of backing one of Mitt Romney’s sons to unseat Lee. Dave Weigel notes that Romney ran far better in 2012 in Utah than Lee did in the big Republican year of 2010, so the Romney brand is a real asset.

Key question: Will national establishment Republican groups get involved or will a primary against one of the heroes of “defund” be too hot for them to risk in 2016? They’ll be sorely tempted to jump in — not because they have any special animosity for Lee, who’s way more low-key in his criticisms of them than a loud-and-proud flamboyant populist like Ted Cruz is, but because at a minimum they might be able to suck tea-party money into Utah to protect that seat and away from primary challenges to GOP incumbents in other states. If they can force TPers to fight there, they’ll take that — putting the grassroots on the defensive means they’re less of a threat to go on offense elsewhere. If they can’t force TPers to fight there, they’ll take that too — that’ll leave Lee in real jeopardy of being primaried, which, like I said above, would be a big symbolic victory for RINOs everywhere. Then again, at the rate we’re going, the GOP and the tea party will be two fully separate entities by 2016, so maybe this is all academic.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Bmore

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 1:52 PM

No thread to post this, except for the Tea Party bashing, but I thought you might want to see this:

Westboro Cult Leader Praises Obama – Bashes Tea Party

INC on October 23, 2013 at 1:48 PM

What else would you expect from a friend, fundraiser and delegate of Al Gore?

Pics: Al Gore & His Friend, Fred ‘God Hates F@gs’ Phelps

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 1:53 PM

No thread to post this, except for the Tea Party bashing, but I thought you might want to see this:

Westboro Cult Leader Praises Obama – Bashes Tea Party

INC on October 23, 2013 at 1:48 PM

What else would you expect from a friend, fundraiser and delegate of Al Gore?

Pics: Al Gore & His Friend, Fred ‘God Hates F@gs’ Phelps

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Remember when RINO meant guys like Mike Bloomberg?
Now it’s anyone who doesn’t get a Palin endorsement.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 1:41 PM


RINO still means this.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Kristamatic on October 23, 2013 at 11:52 AM

A lot of Texas is the same way. Lubbock doesn’t have a tea party. There’s no need.

annoyinglittletwerp on October 23, 2013 at 1:56 PM

petunia on October 23, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Kiss my Irish azz in Macy’s window on Thanksgiving morning.

katy the mean old lady on October 23, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 1:51 PM

No. I’m just amused when any sort of parallel is suggested.
One is a grass roots movement, and one is not.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Silly.
Do you also have the shot of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Sadam?

INC thought we ‘might wanna see’ what Westboro has to say…about anything.
How ’bout we don’t?
I’m just thinking there’s enough stuff to argue about.
Let’s agree on the easy sh*t.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

No. I’m just amused when any sort of parallel is suggested.
One is a grass roots movement, and one is not.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 1:56 PM

You’re right.

The 99%: Official list of Occupy Wall Street’s supporters, sponsors and sympathizers:

Communist Party USA

Sources: Communist Party USA, OWS speech, The Daily Caller

American Nazi Party

Sources: Media Matters, American Nazi Party, White Honor, Sunshine State News

Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran

Sources: The Guardian, Tehran Times, CBS News

Barack Obama

Sources: ABC News, CBS News, ForexTV, NBC New York

kingsjester on October 23, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Has this site become the conservative bashing site?

Amjean on October 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

No. I’m just amused when any sort of parallel is suggested.
One is a grass roots movement, and one is not.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 1:56 PM

We know that OWS isn’t a grassroots movement. The people behind it were backed by Soros & Friends. Soros even supported the anti-semitic Kalle Lasn and his group, AdBusters.

And, yes, OWS is not a player of any kind although the White House, Nancy Pelosi, and the DNC sure hoped it would be…as I document here:

They Pretend They’re “Sane And Rational.” We Pretend They’re Relevant.


You Say You Want A Revolution. Well, We’d All Like It If You Tried Evolution … To Big Boy Pants Instead.

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 2:03 PM

We must not forget this is war-a war that will determine the fate of America.The establishment GOP is an ally of the Progressive/Socialists,or at least a neutral party which stands in the way of our efforts to save this country.They know their power and influence is threatened and are going to strike back.We must be ready to go for the jugular and destroy every establishment republican by staying home on Election Day or by only going to the polls to vote for revolutionary conservative stalwarts.

redware on October 23, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Has this site become the conservative bashing site?

Amjean on October 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

No –
just documenting their self bashing.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Unlike Rumsfeld shaking hands once with Saddam, Gore was friends with Phelps for many, many, many years.

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Thanks for the photos. I’d not seen those before.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

I posted it as more verification that the Westboro cult is on the Left side of politics.

INC on October 23, 2013 at 2:07 PM

“You don’t have ideological wack-jobs,” [former Utah Gov. Jon] Huntsman said.

Like an Atheist saying they don’t have a religion…..while they embrace THEIR religion of Atheism.

Brilliant Hunty Hunt Huntsman.

PappyD61 on October 23, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Has this site become the conservative bashing site?

Amjean on October 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

You must be kidding. There is not one C editor, nor a L/l one. Look around.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Has this site become the conservative bashing site?

Amjean on October 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Also, it’s funny how you consider the truth against the RINOs “bashing” but their thuggish impertinence “just talking”.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Bingo! And high time it is!!!

I typed often that obama/Holder are impertinent thugs of the highest order, worse than any Mafia gang.

I also typed that they can NEVER be beaten with silky gloves. See Romney.

Thank you for noticing and now fight, fight, fight…because the enemies know NO limits. Decency and respect are dead in America. obama killed them off.

Fight, or be under their rule, forever.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 1:25 PM

I do hear you… and I do completely understand this line of thinking (and that it is currently animating the passions of right-leaning populists).

My question though… if, in order to win, we must also lose our own decency and sense of respect, what exactly are we winning?

I truly believe I have the exact same goals and desired eventual outcomes in mind as the most radicalized right-leaning populists around.

I just think contributing to polarization (leading, likely inexorably to balkanization here in the US) is not the best way to get there.

Populism usually only succeeds when it utilizes a strong Us vs Them approach. Sometimes the Them are actualy villains, but more often then not, the Them end of being bogeymen.

Populism is also prone to demagoguery. Granted, to paraphrase a famous cliche… one man’s demagogue is another man’s True Conservative… but, populism, by it’s very nature doesn’t leave room for enough “depassioned” (sic) reflection.

It may well be possible that Prudence (#4 on Dr. Kirk’s seminal list of 10 Conservative Principles )is no longer possible in the Age of Obama.

But (and it may be fair to call me naive) I’m not quite ready to abandon it.

At the end of the day, I think the most important question is if Burkean (or Kirkian or Traditional, whichever label is most apt) Conservatives like myself and Conservative Populists like you can set aside our tactical differences and work towards actually defeating Liberalism (instead of each other).

I believe we can. (Though, charges of naivety may also be appropriate here).

RightWay79 on October 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

One is a grass roots movement, and one is not.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Correct. Tea Party is and OWS isn’t. The Tea Party arose spontaneously from the grassroots almost overnight like nothing in American history. It was launched in American middle class living rooms and mostly by women. OWS was formed as a radical protest concept by Canadian mogul Kalle Lasn of Adbusters and steered by professional militant activists and organizers.

rrpjr on October 23, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Has this site become the conservative bashing site?

Amjean on October 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Then again, if you meant “bashing the conservatives”, I misread you entirely, for which I would be sincerely sorry.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Has this site become the conservative bashing site?

Amjean on October 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

It’s not a conservative site. It’s mostly an agitation site. That’s the formula.

rrpjr on October 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM

You have to wonder if the RINO part of the GOP has grown accustomed to being in the minority – if they prefer to whine from the sidelines rather than risk being in charge and accountable.

IMO if the GOP insiders use the big money donors to try and purge all the TP members they many end up with well financed candidates who no one cares about. They’ll have money to buy ads but that won’t bring the base back. Regardless of how may times the RINOs try and scare the conservatives with dire tales they’re becoming just another stripe of Dem.

katiejane on October 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM

I posted it as more verification that the Westboro cult is on the Left side of politics.

INC on October 23, 2013 at 2:07 PM

They’re on the idiotic side of idiots.
Phelps called Obama the Antichrist. Said the same about Bush. And I think Mickey Mouse. And Baseball.
I’ll leave you and RWM to try and spin yarn from a turd like Westboro.
How desperate can you be?

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM

I’m not desperate at all. I simply wanted to post a fact.

INC on October 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Sure, RWM – why Al Gore and Fred Phelps as essentially the same person.
/sarc

I like Al Gore less than you do…but you’re peddling rank b.s. silliness.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

you’re peddling rank b.s. silliness.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I hope you have a vision plan that covers that beam in your eye.

Christien on October 23, 2013 at 2:20 PM

“verbsoutofbalance” is a “reservation” want to be democrat, all that is needed are some old dirty goverment issue blankets, some out of date goverment cheese and some debtit cards for cheap whiskey at the govement beer store and old verbs out of balance would be as happy as a stink bug on horse manure.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 23, 2013 at 2:21 PM

I simply wanted to post a fact.

INC on October 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Ha. Not even passing as clever.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:23 PM

yo, verbs gone wild,

When the debt is $20 trillion and the unfunded ponzie ss and medicare etal are $100 Trillion, what size web site will it take and how long will it take to set it up by commie democrats as dumb as Obama, mr do things from behind…?

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 23, 2013 at 2:23 PM

My question though… if, in order to win, we must also lose our own decency and sense of respect, what exactly are we winning?

I know what we’re losing, the land and the children’s future. We can say perhaps that Mitt lost “with decency”, something McCain didn’t. See also their behavior after…McCain and his dogs nipping at SP (It is known that I’m not in her after-the-election club…because she left it too). The ones who brung her bashed her.
So, decency and respect be darned, if we don’t win, the others are in charge, and we’re scroomed from both sides, we really are.

I truly believe I have the exact same goals and desired eventual outcomes in mind as the most radicalized right-leaning populists around.

YOU do, but the RINOs don’t. The slowdown has exposed them all, here too.

Populism usually only succeeds when it utilizes a strong Us vs Them approach. Sometimes the Them are actualy villains, but more often then not, the Them end of being bogeymen.

Used to be…why the founders knew better than to make the land a democracy. They knew hos foolish the mob is and can be.

However, obama killed all that. The land is now run by impertinent corrupt thugs. Schweizer just documented the fact that the land is the most corrupt, from obama/Ds/Rs, of all the Western lands.

Conservatives like myself and Conservative Populists like you

Nah, I’m not a TEA partier, nor a R. I left the party before it became popular to do so. I figured them out long before they were exposed. I’m a small “l” libertarian. I just love to fight for what the TEA party stands for, because NO one else believes in anything hardly any more in the land, except “me, me, me” and looting/mooching, from both sides. The cow is dead and the moochers don’t know it and the looters fool the moochers.

can set aside our tactical differences and work towards actually defeating Liberalism (instead of each other).

Not you, but those who enrage the TEA party and others further, will have it coming in 2014/16. I firmly believe that the last fooling took place in 2012. It was incredible what all the C/l/Ls were called and how they were expected to just pull the lever for Mitt. Many did, many didn’t.

The impertinence must stop because we get plenty of it from obama…worse than any Mafia gang.

I believe we can. (Though, charges of naivety may also be appropriate here).

RightWay79 on October 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Yes, we can, but will we? It’s not a matter of goals. It’s a matter of tactics.

Enraging your (no your your, in general) allies is not the way.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 2:24 PM

yo, verbs,, without meaning,,

You answer to that is?

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM

“verbsoutofbalance” is a “reservation” want to be democrat, all that is needed are some old dirty goverment issue blankets, some out of date goverment cheese and some debtit cards for cheap whiskey at the govement beer store and old verbs out of balance would be as happy as a stink bug on horse manure.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 23, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Do you speak as well as write like that?
‘happy as a stink bug on horse manure’...now don’t y’all sound gen-u-een and folksy-like.
Ha.
Seriously, are you some Floridian trying to pose?

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM

tick tock goes the answer clock

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM

treat me as not smart, treat me as a clown,

any way you want it

Just anwser the questions.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 23, 2013 at 2:27 PM

tick, tock,,

If your a true blue commie liberal your answer should be

print, print, money,,,

Tax tax Tax

blame others when it still does not work

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

treat me as not smart, treat me as a clown,

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 23, 2013 at 2:27 PM

A sensitive clown.
What question did you want me to answer…your what seemed to be a rhetorical one about ‘big’ websites?

Ok, an answer…um…
a really big website?

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:33 PM

It is hard enough to knock off incumbents. It will be near impossible to knock of an incumbent who has the backing of the grass roots types that turn out for primaries.

eski502 on October 23, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Yeah right. Huntsman is going to defeat the TEA party./

He should get his girls to do another song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h94iTnGQ0oI

I’m not worried. Huntsman is low rent.

BoxHead1 on October 23, 2013 at 2:38 PM

The GOPe does not want to win another national election do they. They are willing to split the party in order to keep their graft going. I guess they’ll just kiss dem azz because it makes no difference to them and their business cronies where they get their money and power.

I for one am ready to leave the party. Let it all burn.

Vince on October 23, 2013 at 11:38 AM

I agree, let it burn. But we need to think about how destroying the party at the national level will affect an Article V challenge to propose meaningful Constitutional Amendments by the states. It’s the long view, maybe it’s the quixotic view, but without that party structure at the state level, what chance do we have to ever rollback Big Moocher?

Western_Civ on October 23, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Gimme some links. I see nothing similar in the Tea Party and OWS. However, I don’t know everything and I have been wrong a couple of tmes. Show me the errors of my ways.

Vince on October 23, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Here’s a few:

http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/133482568.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-reyeschow/tea-party-occupy-movement_b_1062824.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/occupy-wall-street-tea-party-common-left-mass-movements-article-1.977949

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2011/10/19/occupy-wall-street-tea-party-born-bank-bailouts/

And here’s an infographic from Ricochet about how they are similar and yet very different:

http://cdn1.ricochet.com/var/ezwebin_site/storage/images/media/images/313349_2223103292158_1084996370_31985051_1952660002_n/1247061-1-eng-US/313349_2223103292158_1084996370_31985051_1952660002_n_lightbox.jpg

I am much quicker to defend the TP against attacks than I would against OWS (in fact, attack away, I’ll never defend them) but I find the populism in both rather discouraging (especially on the right where it just shouldn’t appear). Class warfare is a losing battle because we pit ourselves against each other: 99% and 1% or Makers and Takers. OWS was kidding themselves if they thought that their only enemies are in the 1% they loved all the 99%. Same with Makers and Takers: who is to say who is a Maker and who is a Taker and who to say that our only allies are in the former group?

I wish I had time to respond if you write back but I need to go to work and the thread will be mostly dead by the time I get back. I hope you get what Im saying because Im tired of the fighting each other. I want to fight Dems.

thebrokenrattle on October 23, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Answers from liberals on real problems are rare and ever so collectable for junk mail use.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 23, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Sophie, for you.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 2:43 PM

My, my, my! All the bold talk of “primarying RINOs” turns to outrage when the prospect of retaliation is raised?

Remember how Lee got the nomination in the first place. Bennett’s supporters were not prepared to contest the convention because they knew he would win the primary easily, but so many Tea Party activists packed it that Bennett didn’t make the ballot.

If you think Lee would have beaten Bennett head to head in a GOP primary in Utah, you’re just delusional. So the “establishment” in Utah feels the seat was won by subterfuge. Now, if Lee is doing such a great job, he shouldn’t be afraid of a primary, should he?

In the meantime, for all the loud cries of “primary! primary!” for years now, Lindsey Graham has $7 million in the bank for next year, challenger Nancy Mace has $17,000, the other two haven’t raised enough to require a report yet. So it seems most of the loud talk was just “hot air,” eh?

Adjoran on October 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Sure, RWM – why Al Gore and Fred Phelps as essentially the same person.
/sarc

I like Al Gore less than you do…but you’re peddling rank b.s. silliness.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

It’s the truth. Phelps was a widely-respected civil rights lawyer at one time.

You really should learn more about a subject before you start accusing others of peddling BS.

And, no, you do not dislike Goreacle more than I. Such would be an impossibility.

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

can set aside our tactical differences and work towards actually defeating Liberalism (instead of each other).

RightWay79 on October 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

This is really a pet peeve of mine.

They are never liberal, truly, nor progressive. They just stole the terms.

We are the true liberals.

They are the leftists.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Sure, RWM – why Al Gore and Fred Phelps as essentially the same person.
/sarc

I like Al Gore less than you do…but you’re peddling rank b.s. silliness.

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Quintessential strawman. Could be used in the text books.

besser tot als rot on October 23, 2013 at 2:50 PM

And, no, you do not dislike Goreacle more than I. Such would be an impossibility.

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

From deep in the well – Gore was the meanest son of a biatch to ever inhabit the congress, period.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 2:51 PM

From that right-wing rag, Mother Jones:

He launched Westboro in 1955 after he and Margie moved to Topeka; in 1962, he earned a law degree from nearby Washburn University. That’s when this icon of religious intolerance became a civil rights attorney. “I systematically brought down the Jim Crow laws of this town,” he says. While this is clearly an overstatement, local officials confirm that he approached this earlier cause with customary zeal.

His career as a lawyer ended in 1979, when Phelps was disbarred by the state of Kansas for allegedly being too abusive to witnesses. Phelps seems to have compensated for being forced to leave the law by grooming his children to take up the profession: Eleven of his children now have law degrees.

Phelps remained prominent in state and local politics, working for years as a major organizer for the state’s Democratic Party. (He still calls himself a Democrat, refusing to change just because his party has.) In 1988, Phelps housed campaign workers for Al Gore’s first presidential run; in 1989, his eldest son, Fred Jr., hosted a fundraiser for Gore’s Senate campaign at his home.

Phelps has frequently run for public office — for governor in 1990, ’94, and ’98, for the Senate in ’92 — always losing the primaries by a landslide. Because of their years as loyal Democrats, the Phelpses have even been invited to — and attended — both of Clinton’s inaugurations. They protested at the second one.

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 2:24 PM

I had an (overly)long and thoughtful response… and then my browser refreshed and I lost it.

Ah well.

Shorter me:
I hear ya.

RightWay79 on October 23, 2013 at 2:59 PM

This is really a pet peeve of mine.

They are never liberal, truly, nor progressive. They just stole the terms.

We are the true liberals.

They are the leftists.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Inelegant phrasing is something I despise too.
My apologies.

Attacking “Liberals” is just a holdover from my Talk Radio Enthusiast days.

Leftist is a much, much, much more appropriate label for what I was meaning.

RightWay79 on October 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

My, my, my! All the bold talk of “primarying RINOs” turns to outrage when the prospect of retaliation is raised?

Adjoran on October 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Umm … I’m not seeing any outrage. Let them bring it. My only fear is that the RINOs are so limp that it will give the Tparty candidates a false sense of security going into the general election. Tossing the RINO around like a rag doll is not good preparation for fighting a dem enemy who has a pair.

BoxHead1 on October 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

And, for the record, I never said that Fred Phelps and Al Gore were the same person.

If anyone that doesn’t agree with the Left has been touched by any person or group that the Left has marked for condemnation, however in-tangentially, the former is automatically accused of being in simpatico with them.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Has this site become the conservative bashing site?

Amjean on October 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

When was it not?

Nutstuyu on October 23, 2013 at 3:09 PM

My, my, my! All the bold talk of “primarying RINOs” turns to outrage when the prospect of retaliation is raised?

Adjoran on October 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Because it’s not retaliation when it’s the empire, it’s just more abuse and contempt. The RINO empire doesn’t deserve a claim of grievance. They need to sit still and take their beating. Take it and like it. And they’re going to.

rrpjr on October 23, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Shorter me:
I hear ya.

RightWay79 on October 23, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Me too :)

Use Firefox…if you hit back-page your comment is still there :)

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 3:17 PM

RightWay79 on October 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Nothing to apologize for. My comment was meant to be general, not directed at you.

It took me a while to get the naming sorted out. I had help from others here. I knew that they are not “liberal and progressive” but didn’t quite know exactly what to call them. Since, I have forgotten who gets the credit for “leftists”, but the commenter was absolutely right.

Nice dialoguing with you.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM

And, for the record, I never said that Fred Phelps and Al Gore were the same person.

Resist We Much on October 23, 2013 at 3:05 PM

I understand that.
My beef is the silly guilt-by-association-by-time-machine ‘evidence’.
Let’s Alex Jones pluck those chickens.
All the who was at what fundraiser with someone who was one or who later blah blah.
(I blame INC for starting the nonsense. And you know it is.)

verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Use Firefox…if you hit back-page your comment is still there :)

Also, if you submit too quickly, back-page, comment is still there, without having to retype it.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Gore should esplode from his own hot air. I don’t care when it started.

Schadenfreude on October 23, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Spencer Zwick, a Utah native and national finance chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, was more direct, calling Lee a “show horse” who “just wants to be a spectacle.”

“Business leaders that I talk to, many of whom supported him, would never support his reelection and in fact will work against him, myself included,” Zwick said…

A Romney guy isn’t too fond of a politician standing on principles? Strange times man.

JR on October 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

This is the establishment’s way of striking back at Cruz without striking back at Cruz. Utah may be one of the most conservative states in the union, but it is also a huge establishment stronghold, and they’re going to try and flex their muscle there instead of Texas, where they’ll be promptly chased off by the grassroots.

mintycrys on October 23, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Mitch McConnell — the #1 corrupt bast*rd in washington?

http://www.conservativehq.com/node/15207?

rrpjr on October 23, 2013 at 4:18 PM

If Liljenquist ran against Lee I would fully support Liljenquist. I don’t have any problem with Lee policy wise. I disagree on tactics, but that could be forgiven. I simply think Liljenquist would be a better legislator and statesman.

But if you really do want to replace Lee, gutting the caucus system is the last thing you want. Lee has a huge fundraising advantage, and Utah loves its incumbents more than anyone. Lee would be difficult to defeat in a primary. If you want to replace him you’ve got to fight it out at convention. The caucus system does not favor the tea party by default. It favors those that are involved. There’s a lot of people mad at Lee, and it could get worse depending on how he acts in the spring when congress battles again. I would not count out the possibility of a major push to oust Lee in convention. It’s unlikely, but I think you have a better shot there than in a primary.

But the main point I want to get across here is that we shouldn’t conflate this insidious effort to gut the caucus system with the effort to oust Lee. Count My Vote is really about the state legislature. The rules would make it very difficult for regular people to run for the state legislature. Rich insiders would be unbeatable. Leavitt is trying to use the current dislike for Lee to push a change that wouldn’t remove Lee from office. Make no mistake, it’s Utah’s conservative legislature that really bothers Leavitt and his allies. That’s the real driver for Leavitt and company.

SethEllis on October 23, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Awesome. This will allow him to run as an Independent. Again, this is a war the establishment can’t win. They don’t seem to realize that, if they don’t play fair, losing the seat to a Democrat or a third party candidate will be the end result.

AmeriCuda on October 23, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Do you also have the shot of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Sadam? verbaluce on October 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Rumsfeld was doing his job with a nation we were hoping could check Iran.

Gore was friendly with a heretical clown for money.

Akzed on October 23, 2013 at 4:38 PM

The establishment can run anyone they choose, I have no problem with that. My beef is when they try to change the law so that the odds are stacked in their favor. The Tea Party worked within the system and won, now we have establishment types plotting nationally. In Ohio the Republican party is trying to change the law so that third party candidates are only allowed to be write ins.

OliverB on October 23, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Two: Not all of this is local Utah politics. As Erika noted the other day, business interests nationally are quietly organizing to target populist Republicans who were willing to risk an economic hit from a shutdown in the name of waging a broader ideological battle.

A PARTIAL shutdown. 28% of federal workers were furloughed.

slickwillie2001 on October 23, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Slickwillie is correct. The shutdown is a red herring used by local and national business interests to try and finally de fang the tea party which is standing between them, and Amnesty, the number one local and national business interest

The US Chamber of Commerce and comrades have begun their version of Hitler’s march on Poland and intend to crush the Resistance. This activity is not a sudden decision but a long term plan which is supposed to culminate this month:

Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a group that has advocated for changes in immigration law to help legal and undocumented immigrants for three decades, said the broad collection coming to Washington represents “the conservative base of the Republican Party.”

Who are allies in the battle:

The National Immigration Forum (NIF), the force behind the so-called “Evangelical Immigration Table” (EIT), is actually a front group for players on the institutional left including billionaire George Soros and the Ford Foundation, according to reporting by Breitbart News and other outlets.

This crowd is going to fight, but they want the tea party to stop fighting. If they can revise the method of nominating candidates, they can return the power of nomination to the power brokers.

An open primary is one solution. DEMS will crossover and help keep out tea party

This cross party coalition intends shut down dissent. If they get Amnesty, both parties assume they will be able to ignore the Constitutionalists. They can buy themselves some Senators, and split the melon

entagor on October 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM

So, McConnell didn’t know it was in the bill before he voted on it?

blink on October 23, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Doubt it. We know they don’t read those things.

DFCtomm on October 23, 2013 at 5:03 PM

It will not be long and the idiots in the GOP will be endorsing John Traitor McCain for president again. Just cannot get enough of these RINOs. Hillary wants the White House and these clowns will help her get it, under the false pretense that the liberals will love them in the morning.

savage24 on October 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM

I’m not crazy about Lee, or any of the other “you’re for Obamacare if you oppose my tactics” jack*sses.

But I would walk over hot coals to vote for Lee if Huntsman was the opponent.

BuzzCrutcher on October 23, 2013 at 5:40 PM

If these AZZHOLES keep this up they are going to lose their AZZ in the next election. What they are doing is pure bull$h!t. I guess it’s time Boehner to lose his speakership after all it was the Tea Party Republicans who handed it back to him. He and McConnell are nothing but two TURDS in a punchbowl

hamradio on October 24, 2013 at 12:16 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3