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Whither the GOP kingmakers?

A few months into primary season, the roster of 2012 Republican presidential wannabes has a decidedly mixed record in the endorsement game.

With a few states' primaries already concluded, endorsements from potential 2012 presidential candidates and party bigwigs don't seem to be doing much for candidates.

In fact, about the only major GOP figure who has yet to back a loser is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has backed winners in a pair of key governor's contests and is hoping to continue that streak with an appearance with gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Nikki Haley (R) in South Carolina today.

Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) lost his party's nomination on Saturday despite the backing of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who actually introduced him at the state convention, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

And, in Indiana, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman (R) lost his U.S. Senate primary last week even though he had the endorsements of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.).

Cheney also endorsed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) before her loss to Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and is backing Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in what is looking more and more like a losing GOP Senate primary against ophthalmologist Rand Paul on Tuesday.

A Paul victory next week would also come at the expense of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose endorsements are played up in a recent campaign ad. (Check out Amy Gardner's story for more on how McConnell's endorsement is playing in the Bluegrass State.)

Palin, though, seems to know how to pick them -- at least, for now. She endorsed Perry in his primary and joined Gingrich in backing Minnesota state Rep. Tom Emmer on the eve of his big win at the state's GOP convention two weeks ago. She also got behind Paul early in his race.

Palin is on slightly shakier ground with Haley who is currently embroiled in a four-way primary fight and former HP executive Carly Fiorina who continues to trail former Rep. Tom Campbell (R) in advance of their June 8 primary. (Fiorina did, however, just put another $1 million of her own money into the race today.)

It's an unusual endorsing season for the GOP, with lots of competitive primaries, an anti-establishment environment and plenty of 2012 GOP hopefuls trying to assert their political capital.

The situation in the New York special election in November has raised the stakes in other establishment-versus-conservative primaries. In that race, Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, while Gingrich backed centrist Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava and Romney and Huckabee stayed neutral.

Many party leaders continue to back the establishment favorites like Fiorina and Grayson in key races, but some, like DeMint and Huckabee, have navigated more conservative paths.

The GOP is in the unusual position of lacking a clear top surrogate who can turn a race with his or her support. It has no current president, popular former president, popular former vice president or clear 2012 frontrunner with a national following.

Democrats, meanwhile, have plenty of big names, and President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton have all been on the campaign trail early in the 2010 cycle. Of course, Obama's endorsement didn't sway voters in gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia in 2009 or in Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) special election victory in January.

Endorsements are always something to be wary of reading too much into as voters tend not to transfer support for one politician to another simply because someone tells them to. (Need to navigate the world of endorsements? Check out our Fix endorsement hierarchy.)

That sentiment is especially true in an election like this one where voters distrust their politicians and have adopted a "throw the bums out" mentality.

-- Aaron Blake

By The Fix  |  May 14, 2010; 1:26 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2012  
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Comments

GJonahJameson advised:

"Just look at Ron Paul's supporters in 2008. How many of them swore endlessly after Paul lost the Republican nomination that they would never, ever, ever, in a million years, vote for John McCain? And how many of them still ended up voting for McCain, because "better him than Obama?" I can't provide concrete numbers on Paul supporters who switched to McCain for the general, of course, but I can tell you that Chuck Baldwin, whom Paul endorsed, got like five votes."
--------

I voted for Ron Paul in the primary, but since Paul was no longer inthe running, I voted for Obama in the general election. There is little real policy difference between McCain and Obama, but a vote for McCain would have been read (or twisted) by many as vindication of the Bush government. Better to elect a reasonably centrist Democrat (as Obama is, despite the heated rhetoric from the idiot fringe) than a Senator who had supported virtually the entire Bush-Cheney agenda.

I know other Paul supporters who simply didn't vote for any presidential candidate at all, or who wrote in Paul in November.

The GOP takes its libertarian wing for granted at its own peril.

Posted by: Observer44 | May 17, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Snow White vs The Seven Dwarfs

The GOP will soon be known as Snow White vs The Seven Dwarfs with Sarah "Snow White" Palin leading such GOP Dwarfs as Huckabee, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Thune, DeMint, Romney and Ron Paul. When Snow White leads, The Seven Dwarfs follow.

Posted by: ymchoo | May 15, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Hi all,

Out for happy hour tonight (Dogfish rocks!) and then poker night at a friend's. I'm not too bother about taking heat from either side of the Fixistas. I based my analysis of the piece on the first three paragraphs.

Paragraph numero uno: "A few months into primary season, the roster of 2012 Republican presidential wannabes has a decidedly mixed record in the endorsement game."

That one was specific to 2012 potential candidates and to "primary season"

Paragraph numero dos: "With a few states' primaries already concluded, endorsements from potential 2012 presidential candidates and party bigwigs don't seem to be doing much for candidates."

Once again, a mention of primaries and 2012 candidates.

Paragraph numero tres: "In fact, about the only major GOP figure who has yet to back a loser is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has backed winners in a pair of key governor's contests and is hoping to continue that streak with an appearance with gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Nikki Haley (R) in South Carolina today."

Up comes the Palinator. There's no mention of the 2009 special election. For that matter, Palin backed a BIG loser in 2008. The latter portion of the piece does begin discussing the 2009 race (the 11th paragraph).

Now, the talk of kingmakers and endorsements is a bit silly in and of itself.

Well, off to bed. Got to sleep off that 60 minute IPA. [Just kidding--I drank responsibly.]

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 15, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

BobSanderson,
"The risks we take in deep water drilling are not providing our country with either more oil or cheaper prices. These risks are potentially destroying our environment and many livelihoods in the gulf."

If you think Obama or anyone else is going to stop drilling or refuse to allow new drilling, I'm afraid you're in for a big disappointment. What happened in the gulf was a tragedy and needs to be investigated. We need to be more careful. But we are dependent on oil and we will continue to drill. The tankers that bring us oil from the Middle East are not immune from accident or even sabotage.

Posted by: Brigade | May 14, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

@GJJ: we would get along. "Henceforth" is a word I use every day, antiquated or not.

I used that quote because it's the only use of "thence" I can think of. The departure of the White Ship is sadder than people who've only seen the movies realize, a century after that the Elves would be nothing more than legend, another one and they would be forgotten.

Brigade, you've shown that you are capable of more than snark, while most conservative posters here have shown they aren't. It's especially disappointing to those of us who would like some actual debate here to see you electively reduce yourself to zouk's level. I really wish you'd quit it.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 14, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"Another fellow who wants to travel by bicycle and jinrikisha. Perhaps already does." Brigade

That is such a cute statement and you are so proud of it...but it is nonsense and a false choice only an extremist would love.

The US holds less than 2% of the world oil reserves so is not a real player even in our own supply. The oil that is drilled here has no effect on prices here or supply here - rather it goes to the highest bidder and is beholden to supply and demand in international markets.

The risks we take in deep water drilling are not providing our country with either more oil or cheaper prices. These risks are potentially destroying our environment and many livelihoods in the gulf.

What will make our country safer is a major effort to consume less oil and to price it to encourage less consumption. Alternative energy development is both smart and very7 patriotic.

Posted by: BobSanderson | May 14, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 wrote,
"Attack mode is fine if you are smart, make fine distinctions, care about someone other than yourself and teach people about stuff they don't already know"

Well, I guess that leaves out Noacoler and me.

Posted by: Brigade | May 14, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Chris isn't the only one around the Post who uses his head for something besides growing hair (sorry Eugene). From a piece by Kathleen Parker:

"President Obama has made clear his desire to nominate justices who are in touch with 'ordinary Americans.'
Enter Kagan? . . .
"But a New York City girl who attended a prep school, Ivy League colleges and law school---who once barred military recruiters from Harvard's recruitment office and was an adviser to Goldman Sachs---can't be characterized as anything close to mainstream America."

Some people must think BHO is full of crap.

Posted by: Brigade | May 14, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Geez, Noacoler, you pull out a "Lord of the Rings" quote to prove your point about bringing back old words, and you pick the one word out of five in which I have no interest.

I like "Lord of the Rings" and I like words, but "thence?" Easily the worst of the five. Now, "henceforth," that's a word that needs to come back in style.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | May 14, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

"....people don't think I'm here merely to attack."

Thanks for caring.

Attack mode is fine if you are smart, make fine distinctions, care about someone other than yourself and teach people about stuff they don't already know whether or not you are right or wrong on the politics...failing that,

like life in general,
there is an alternative,
be funny.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 14, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Noacoler wrote,
"Let's push back against the lies, not come up with bizarre defenses."

Yes, I've noticed your methodology. You push back with other lies which are even more outrageous.

Posted by: Brigade | May 14, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

What matters is the economy.

The Republicans cut taxes, borrowed and spent. The Democrats have now cut taxes and are spending even more borrowed money.

We all know this will end badly or at least, harshly. The difference between the two parties is where the money goes. It is an important difference. Republican money goes to their special interests, the Democrats' to theirs. Of course, many are shared, so called 'third rail' money, you touch it you die.

If the Democrats can borrow their way through to one more economic boom, they'll be fine until 2016.

Right now, they are all playing musical chairs. But whenever interest rates are forced to rise, the promise-of-a-better-future music stops and the party in power will have nowhere to sit.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 14, 2010 4:51 PM

-------

Excellent post, shrink2. Credit where credit's due, just so people don't think I'm here merely to attack.

Posted by: Brigade | May 14, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

BobSanderson wrote,
"What you should understand is that facts do matter. Support for drilling is in fact down to 46% for v 41% against drilling.
The concept to remember is that is despite the fact that the spill has not been seen, smelt or felt on shore. When that huge spill hits beaches and areas held precious by all Americans you will see the true effect on popular opinion. Folks like yourself may not ever care but most will be shocked and disgusted."

Another fellow who wants to travel by bicycle and jinrikisha. Perhaps already does.

BobSanderson again,
"The tea bag "party" is made up of approximately 80% Republicans that are obviously active in making the Republican Party even more conservative. (this is leading to the fact that some pressing needs of our country such as fostering economic recovery through essential Federal interventions can not be discussed politically in this party.) Can a party like that attract the moderates it needs to lead the nation?"

Oh, they didn't do to badly in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Previews of what's to come.

"OOOPS This must be bad for the democrats somehow! What was I thinking?"

I'm betting you don't do much thinking at all.

Posted by: Brigade | May 14, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

CC Didn't Palin back Hoffman in N.Y. 23 leading to Dems taking a seat that had been held by Republicans since the civil war?

Posted by: JRM2 | May 14, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

hey I *like* "whither." I love all those lost words. Whither, whence, hence, thence, henceforth. Bring 'em back.

"There is no ship that can carry me thence," said Arwen to her father Elrond .. choosing mortality, no longer eligible to go to Valinor.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 14, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Permits. What permits? We don't need no stinkin permits. Were friends of berry. We are big donors.

Posted by: Moonbat | May 14, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Whither the GOP kingmakers?
They have not gone anywhere and they are not going anywhere. They don't exist. Chris, why doesn't the GOP have any leaders?

Whither...sheesh, if you asked Sarah Palin what that word means she probably say its the part of the horse that made men invent saddles and girls the most dedicated bareback riders.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 14, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Berry will not rest until the leak is plugged. Who knew golf was so strenuous?

Once again mr TelePrompTer is blaming everyone for blaming everyone.

Posted by: Moonbat | May 14, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Whig Party.

Look it up.

That's the GOP for you.

They'll be gone before 2020 rolls around.

Posted by: WillSeattle | May 14, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA IS THE BIGGEST GOP KINGMAKER !


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | May 14, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"politically incorrect food," meaning unhealthy greasy junk that leads to heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.

I just love how you creeps get yourselves all wrapped around the axle over "political correctness," and you end up hitting yourselves in the heads with hammers and claiming Obama gives you a headache.

I don't need to wonder what kind of shape you're in, zouk, or if you smoke and drink.

Noacoler
Make mine a chicken caeser

Posted by: Noacoler | May 14, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Noacoler, I know the more intense espousers of the Tea Party attitude like to give the impression that they'll consider third-party candidates in November should their preferred Republican candidates lose in the primary, but I wouldn't count on it happening, at least not on a large scale. We'll see a handful actually endeavor to make such bids, and maybe two or three actually go through with it. The rest will either coalesce behind the Republican nominee voluntarily or be convinced by GOP to coalesce with the threat of the Democrats winning the day. And those voters who swore up and down that they would never support the establishment Republican candidate in November will end up supporting the establishment Republican candidate in November, either with a stated "Well better him than some dirty Democrat" justification or, far more likely, no stated justification at all.

Voters are more than willing to be pragmatic rather than stand on principle, so long as neither requires them to think all that much.

Just look at Ron Paul's supporters in 2008. How many of them swore endlessly after Paul lost the Republican nomination that they would never, ever, ever, in a million years, vote for John McCain? And how many of them still ended up voting for McCain, because "better him than Obama?" I can't provide concrete numbers on Paul supporters who switched to McCain for the general, of course, but I can tell you that Chuck Baldwin, whom Paul endorsed, got like five votes.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | May 14, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

What matters is the economy.

The Republicans cut taxes, borrowed and spent. The Democrats have now cut taxes and are spending even more borrowed money.

We all know this will end badly or at least, harshly. The difference between the two parties is where the money goes. It is an important difference. Republican money goes to their special interests, the Democrats' to theirs. Of course, many are shared, so called 'third rail' money, you touch it you die.

If the Democrats can borrow their way through to one more economic boom, they'll be fine until 2016.

Right now, they are all playing musical chairs. But whenever interest rates are forced to rise, the promise-of-a-better-future music stops and the party in power will have nowhere to sit.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 14, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"Despite the hysterical response to the spill from the environmental left and the media, Americans still support offshore drilling by 58%-23%. It's rather disconcerting, however, to contemplate that almost one in four Americans think cars, trucks, and buses can run on unicorn farts."

To Mr Unicorn T. Farts,
What you should understand is that facts do matter. Support for drilling is in fact down to 46% for v 41% against drilling. The concept to remember is that is despite the fact that the spill has not been seen, smelt or felt on shore. When that huge spill hits beaches and areas held precious by all Americans you will see the true effect on popular opinion. Folks like yourself may not ever care but most will be shocked and disgusted.

Posted by: BobSanderson | May 14, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The hypocrisy of the Bitter Half taking the lead in the campaign against politically incorrect food goes beyond her hefty hindquarters:

While she crusades for organic foods and puts government pressure on corporations to stop marketing fast food and junk food to children, Mrs. Obama herself profited from the very same processed food industry she now demonizes.
In June 2005, a few months after her husband was elected to the U.S. Senate, Mrs. Obama hustled a seat on the corporate Board of Directors of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. Despite zero experience, the food-processing company put her on its audit and nominating and corporate governance committees. For her on-the-job training and the privilege of putting her name and face on their literature, the company forked over $45,000 in 2005 and $51,200 in 2006 to Mrs. Obama — as well as 7,500 TreeHouse stock options worth more than $72,000 for each year.
The chairman of the TreeHouse Foods board, Sam K. Reed, was a top executive at Kellogg's and Keebler Foods, home of that great menace to children, the Keebler Elf. Before that, he headed up Mother's Cake and Cookie Company. The conglomerate sells cheese sauces, Cremora non-dairy creamer, instant soup, puddings and powdered soft drink mixes. Hardly the stuff of Mrs. Obama's new vision of nutritional paradise. TreeHouse is also a leading supplier of pickles used in the burgers of evil fast food chain McDonald's — exactly the kind of corporate restaurants Mrs. Obama is now targeting in her war on urban "food deserts."
The First Klingon only hopped off this particular gravy train when it became necessary as part of the war on Wal-Mart, TreeHouse's biggest customer.

Reed shouldn't be surprised by the knife in his back. If B. Hussein's lavishly generous backers at Goldman Sachs and BP can go under the bus for the sake of political theater, why not TreeHouse Foods?

Posted by: Moonbat | May 14, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Endorsements mean little - what matters is fundraising - and getting your message out.

There was a day - a long time ago - in which endorsements carried the weight of a political machine - and that political machine PRODUCED for the candidates which were endorsed.

NOW none of that happens - you are on your own no matter what.


Posted by: 37thand0street | May 14, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Quote of the day from B. Hussein "Everything Bad Is Bush's Fault" Obama, castigating others for disastrous events that happened on their watch.
"I will not tolerate more finger-pointing or irresponsibility," Obama said in the Rose Garden, assigning blame to oil companies, drilling equipment makers and federal agencies that oversee their operations.

"You had executives of BP and Transocean and Haliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else," Obama said. "The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn't."
Apologists and Obama culties will claim, "But he did blame 'federal agencies.' Yes, he blamed agencies for the way they behaved under the Bush Regime.
"For a decade or more there has been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill."
Maybe BP should have just said they inherited the oil spill from someone else. That's usually treated as a valid excuse.

Despite the hysterical response to the spill from the environmental left and the media, Americans still support offshore drilling by 58%-23%. It's rather disconcerting, however, to contemplate that almost one in four Americans think cars, trucks, and buses can run on unicorn farts.

Posted by: Moonbat | May 14, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The argument for the Tea Party having a positive effect on Republicans' chances would be that the vast, vast, vast majority of Tea Party people are going to vote, and they're going to vote Republican, no matter who the Republican is -- while the Democrats likely won't be having their ballots buoyed by all the people who came out in 2008 to vote for President Obama.

==

... unless there is a 3rd candidate in the mix, once again we're forgetting Doug Hoffman, and that NY23 has the first Democratic representative in over a century.

Given the choice between a centrist Republican and a hate-crazed and frothing teabagger, the 'baggers are going to vote for the mouth-foamer. The 'baggers seem to hate people like Snowe and Collins as much as they hate just about everybody else.

It's a schism, folks.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 14, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

My main point regarding the tea bag people is that they are fostering an internal battle within the Republican party and not necessarily a new national movement. They are mainly an angry republican wing whose rage really began with Obama getting elected and not with the historical national deficit issues or any such matters. The government was no more intrusive (Patriot Act, torture, wiretapping), mismanaged (Katrina, equipping of our soldiers and budget deficits) and misguided (Iraq) than under Bush the lesser. The Tea Bag wing is a disparate group with many times opposing agendas (save Social Security and eliminate SS) but they are united against Obama and anything he stands for especially his socialistic, communistic Nazi ways. :)

It could be positive for Republicans if they come out and vote for whoever the Republicans select in these primaries even if they defeated the preferred tea bag extremist.

For the Dems: they have to make a better case within the party that Obama is keeping his promises (he will have some trouble here) and also then go to independents reminding them they don't want to go back to the party that got us in this mess in the first place.

Posted by: BobSanderson | May 14, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

BB posted:

The piece does have the line: "In that race, Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman…"

Now, one could argue that the emphasis conveniently ignores NY23. However, one could not make the argument that it's sloppy work.

----------------
Aaron Blake also blogged that

The situation in the New York special election in November has raised the stakes in other establishment-versus-conservative primaries.

-----------------

Taken together, the 'meaning' must be that Palin raised the stakes with her failed endorsement in NY and then
had a roll until her soon to be failed endorsement of Fiorina, or something equally banal. ChrisF was too hard on you, BB, but you were way too forgiving of Mr. Blake's internal inconsistency in this case. Mr. Blake's entire analysis suffers from terminal silliness, as blert kindly and gently suggested. In fact, I will look forward to what blert has to say about endorsements of Specter if Sestak wins. Will Specter's endorsers be diminished? Doubt it. Will Sestak's endorsers get a return favor? Probably. There just is not much here.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 14, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

GJonahJameson writes
"Essentially, the Tea Party shows that the Republican base is fired up and willing to vote for anyone with an (R) by his or her name, whereas many of them were disillusioned in 2008 and may not have voted. If the Democrats don't come up with a way to fight that, the Tea Party means trouble for them."


Right. For Dems to avoid heavy losses in the House will require first a continued economic recovery & second a compelling message to rouse the enthusiasm of their base.

If you clieck over to the friday line, the vast majority of the 30 house races most likely to flip are held by dems. None of them are from districts with which I'm familiar, so I have to assume his expertise is onto something. For one thing, none of the districts with which I'm familiar are likely to flip, so their absence on the list is a minor data point to support his work. More specifically, local Dems (in MN), are wasting resources going after a Republican who, annoying though she may be, fits her district fairly well. Yes, I'd like to see Bachmann replaced too, but if you're talking about where to spend your money most wisely, trying to pickup MN-6 is close to being a fool's errand. Meanwhile in MN-3 they're squandering a golden opportunity to take on a mediocre, at best, freshman in a swing district. This should have been a top priority for recruiting, yet they apparently haven't given it much thought.

So, at this point, I think the GOP's prospects are best in the House, where the politics are more local & the lack of a kingmaker / coherent party leader isn't as significant.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 14, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm one of Chris's biggest defenders on this blog, but I think the people pointing out Sarah Palin's endorsement of Doug Hoffman are correct to note that it is an erroneous omission. Though I'm less inclined to refer to it as "sloppy reporting" than as "a mistake, you know, one of those things we all make."

BobSanderson, if I may, there is an argument to be made for the rise of the Tea Party being a problem for Democrats in the fall. You're correct to note that the group's attacks on Republicans it considers insufficiently conservative could work against the GOP in the fall, and you're correct to note that the general populace seems to be losing some of the sympathy it once had for the Tea Party's motives. What you're saying, it sounds like, is that the Tea Party makes up a smaller percentage of the population and is overwhelmingly Republican, and is thus not apt to pose much of a challenge for Democrats, because it's not like these people were ever going to vote Democratic anyway.

But you're making a leap of faith when you assume that won't have an effect on Democratic numbers in the fall. There may not be many people who've switched their general allegiance from Republican to Democrat in the last two years (assuming you don't count the Republicans who registered as Democrats to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary), but you can't assume all of the people who voted in 2008 will vote in 2010, nor that the people who will vote in 2010 all voted in 2008. The argument for the Tea Party having a positive effect on Republicans' chances would be that the vast, vast, vast majority of Tea Party people are going to vote, and they're going to vote Republican, no matter who the Republican is -- while the Democrats likely won't be having their ballots buoyed by all the people who came out in 2008 to vote for President Obama.

Essentially, the Tea Party shows that the Republican base is fired up and willing to vote for anyone with an (R) by his or her name, whereas many of them were disillusioned in 2008 and may not have voted. If the Democrats don't come up with a way to fight that, the Tea Party means trouble for them.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | May 14, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"It's an unusual endorsing season for the GOP, with lots of competitive primaries, an anti-establishment environment and plenty of 2012 GOP hopefuls trying to assert their political capital.

The situation in the New York special election in November has raised the stakes in other establishment-versus-conservative primaries. In that race, Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, while Gingrich backed centrist Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava and Romney and Huckabee stayed neutral."

I think a mention of how Palin's endorsement went for a candidate that lost a secure Republican seat would have been appropriate and in order within these paragraphs.

Posted by: BobSanderson | May 14, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

BB, once again you do a bizarre defense, an emerging pattern from a poster clearly smart enough to know better.

The line above reads:

"In fact, about the only major GOP figure who has yet to back a loser is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin"

That isn't taken out of context, that's what it says. It's flat out wrong.

Your defense is akin to one of those range-restricted arguments like "the Bush administration went SEVEN YEARS without a successful terrorist attack." Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play? Come on.

We have a lot of GOP posters here who lie like rugs, and even elected or former elected officals who now say that 9/11 happened under Clinton or that the economy was going swimmingly untol Barack Obama raised his right hand and took the oath. Let's push back against the lies, not come up with bizarre defenses.

Posted by: Noacoler | May 14, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Romney introducing his candidate, Bennett, to the Utah convention shows a lot of character. He knew he was toast, but he stood up for him anyway.

Makes me think Romney not the wimp I thought he was.... nah.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 14, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

It looks like Aaron bears credit for this item, though I'm not sure it's a mistake. The focus is on 2010 primaries, not on last November's elections. The piece does have the line: "In that race, Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman…"

Now, one could argue that the emphasis conveniently ignores NY23. However, one could not make the argument that it's sloppy work.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 14, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

GOP kingmakers? The GOP is a party that is in a civil war and the media and, I dare say the Fix, are ignoring the obvious. The Tea Bag wing is making a move to take over in contest after contest or just intimidate office holders. The media has chosen the meme of how terrible this is for the Democrats. WHAT?

The tea bag "party" is made up of approximately 80% Republicans that are obviously active in making the Republican Party even more conservative. (this is leading to the fact that some pressing needs of our country such as fostering economic recovery through essential Federal interventions can not be discussed politically in this party.) Can a party like that attract the moderates it needs to lead the nation?

OOOPS This must be bad for the democrats somehow! What was I thinking?

Posted by: BobSanderson | May 14, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"In fact, about the only major GOP figure who has yet to back a loser is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin"

As many have pointed out this is just flat out wrong. Palin's endorsement of Hoffman led to him getting endorsements from Pawlenty etc, and he got smoked. I hope that this was one of elves and not CC who wrote this, and that they are now in timeout thinking about what they did.

Posted by: AndyR3 | May 14, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

IndyLinda and jperkins, the odd thing about The Fix omitting Palin's endorsement of Hoffman from political memory, is that knowing of it should involve no research.

Everybody remembers it because it was just a few months ago. It was an extraordinary episode in that it set the GOP tire fire ablaze.

Pursuant to Blert's good point, one of the reasons the GOP has no kingmakers has to do with its internal divisions, a role for which Palin is well cast.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 14, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Chris, sloppy research.

One of Palin's first endorsements, if not the first endorsement was in NY-23. Her guy, Doug Hoffman, lost.

I can usually rely on the Fix for factual accuracy, even if I don't agree with your conclusions. Please correct your posting.

Posted by: jperkins2 | May 14, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I think you now need a new reverse endorsement hierarchy. Your point here seems to be that endorsements matter to the political stock of people making the endorsements, perhaps almost more than to the people receiving them.

Just wondering...is there any empirical credibility to this? Do people who play kingmaker in races for Congress, the Senate, and state offices end up seeing their stars rise in the presidential nomination lottery? Do endorsements of people who fail to win weaken the endorser's political standing? Care to offer up any historical examples? It's an interesting notion, but I'm not sure that I entirely buy it.

Obviously, if Romney's endorsee wins a race, Romney can expect that endorsement back in 2012, and that person may help push Romney in the intervening couple of years, but does the win or loss itself say anything right now about Romney's current position in the Republican presidential lottery? I don't know.

I mean, Palin is attaching herself to anti-establishment conservative candidates, and those people seem to be coming out ahead, mostly because anti-establishment conservatism is the direction of the current political swing. I's still up for grabs how much those wins are due to the political mood and how much credit Palin deserves, and Palin could end up with a perfect record of endorsements, but I still don't think that she has a snowball's chance of earning the Republican nomination. Maybe in a five-way tussle, Palin will come out on top, which means that she might win the Iowa caucuses, but as the field narrows to a two-way or three-way race, the 25% of people who carried her to victory in a five-way race won't be enough to claim victory anymore. Palin has a base, but I don't think that she will be able to expand it. People already have strong opinions of Palin, and these opinions are not likely to change. Regardless of Palin's endorsement record, Republicans want someone electable nationally in 2012, and the math for a Palin victory in the general election is virtually impossible.

This said, the lack of endorsement power among others testing the presidential waters has to be somewhat unsettling for them. Being introduced at a rally in the state by the current governor, senator, or congressperson feels much more meaningful than being introduced by the failed candidate for whatever office from two years ago. If the presidential prospects are trying to line up favors that they can call in down the road, they aren't doing well so far, and maybe this does underscore how weak Republicans still are at the top. Just like at this time two years ago, Republicans don't really have any stand-outs who excite the base except for Palin, and her base is fairly small and, as I said, doesn't look like it has much growth potential. Everyone else? Peh.

Posted by: blert | May 14, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Republican voters lately have tended to cotton to "none of the above" candidates (I'm sure I've espoused this theory on this blog before), so the endorsement of a big-name presidential candidate so far out from the 2012 election isn't going to count for a whole heck of a lot. Two years out from the 2008 election, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were the two Democratic candidates with the biggest buzz surrounding them, so an endorsement from one of them might have had some weight. But the potency of an endorsement from a potential 2012 Republican candidate is diluted, partly because there are more of them and partly because there's a very good chance none of the big names being bandied about now will end up being the nominee.

You can probably point to Sarah Palin as being the Republican candidate with the most buzz, but she's still a polarizing figure among Republican voters, as Clinton was leading up to 2008. And we don't even know for sure if Palin is going to run.

I'm thinking the endorsement of a 2012 Republican presidential candidate isn't going to have a lot of impact until their numbers -- or at least the number of those perceived to have a serious shot at the nomination -- is reduced a little bit. If we get to a point where only two or three of them are considered to have a viable shot, and there isn't widespread unrest among Republican voters who think all of the viable-shot candidates are unacceptable, then an endorsement from one of them will pack some punch.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | May 14, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"[The GOP] has no current president, popular former president, popular former vice president or clear 2012 frontrunner with a national following."

Yeah and this fact really matters in relation to the Republican Rising! that has already peaked. There are some good reasons for why the Republicans have no popular leadership at the national level.

Chris, do it, do a piece on why this extraordinary condition afflicts the Republican Party, pleeeez.

Two years ago, I said here the Republican Party would not be relevant at the national level until 2016. They can and will win local elections, but they do not have the organization, the line of march or the candidates for POTUS in 2012.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 14, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Two Fix traditions that need to be retired alongside "most important number in politics today."

(1) the preoccupation over endorsements

(2) Fix polls like "worst week"

In case you hadn't noticed, just about all these "kingmakers" have very strong negatives among the electorate.

Nikki Haley is trumpeting the Palin endorsement, as it seems to have escaped the entire GOP that Palin is roundly despised and only liked by people whose sole political imperative is "pissing off the liberals."

Newt Gingrich? Huh? Who cares about this has-been?

And where do the real Republican leaders, the hate-media jocks Limbaugh and Beck fit into the Bizarro reality?

Posted by: Noacoler | May 14, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Palin did in fact back a loser--Doug Hoffman in NY-23. Her endorsement among others (Limbaugh, Beck) is thought to have scared many mod. GOPers in the district away from Hoffman.

Posted by: IndyLinda | May 14, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"That sentiment is especially true in an election like this one where voters distrust their politicians and have adopted a "throw the bums out" mentality."


Charlie Crist may be timing his 'I' run perfectly, by severing himself from the major parties & running on pragmatic leadership.

Its looking like Meek will be the 20%er 'also ran' in the race that elects Crist with 45% & Rubio getting 35%.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 14, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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