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Face of a Republican: The wrath of your own party

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The majority of incumbent Pennsylvania state lawmakers think primary challengers from within their own party, regardless of performance, are acting disloyal.

Challengers are viewed as not playing the game by the unwritten rules. In general, there is no tolerance from the establishment for a fellow party member to call an incumbent out on doing a bad job, not honoring commitments or by challenging them unless the leadership pre-approves it.

Consider attack ads against Republican Scott Wagner occurring in the special election race for the York County state 28th senatorial district.

The ads are mainly orchestrated by the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Campaign Committee for the special election set for Tuesday.

The main issue the GOP has against write-in candidate Wagner is that he is a wealthy donor to primary Republican candidates challenging incumbents.

This recent activity by the campaign committee demonstrates that if a person decides to challenge an incumbent or the establishment, they must be prepared for the concerted wrath of the establishment against them.

How are we to rid ourselves of do-nothing legislators if it is viewed as treason to run against the party’s incumbents or chosen ones?

That’s the point — it’s near impossible. To keep electing candidates or protecting/supporting those who don’t perform up to par and somehow expect to change/improve the system is to do what Albert Einstein defined as insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Pruning an incumbent with a same-party challenger should be looked upon as policing ourselves instead of as an affront to the establishment’s control and power.

According to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee’s website, www.pasrcc.com: “The Senate Republican Caucus in Pennsylvania has remained strong by working together and doing the right thing for our constituents and for Pennsylvania, and the Senate Republican Campaign Committee works to make sure we are successful in protecting and expanding our majority.”

If this statement is to be believed, then their role in promoting party infighting during primaries (or at any time) by funding these attack ads or other methods has no place in reaching this objective.

Do the right thing and stay out of this race, let it take its course without further influence from the committee. The attitude I’d like to see the Pennsylvania Senate leadership take in this race is that they will work with whomever the voters of the district elect to send to Harrisburg.

Moving on to the March 11 special election to fill the empty seat for Florida’s 13th congressional district, the GOP had a surprise victory with longshot David Jolly. Unexpected in that it occurred in spite of the national GOP sabotage efforts against him such as leaking information about Jolly’s poorly run campaign three days before election. More details are in a March 7 Politico article titled “National GOP turns on Florida candidate.”

Both political parties’ strategists are trying to assimilate Jolly’s victory for deciding which campaign issues to focus on for the November general election. The pearls I’d like to see the national, state and county GOP establishments take from this event include:

• One, realize what could be accomplished if Republican candidates did not have to concern themselves with the establishments’ factions from their own party trying to defeat them. The party needs to save their energy and resources for fighting the true opposition.

• Two, the message voters want is honest realization and identification by elected officials of the problems that are priorities for the country/state along with simple explanations on how they plan to fix them.

Pointing out a problem alone or constantly blaming the other side is missing the mark. Almost any fool can do that. The offering of realistic solutions is expected.

• Three, your sure bets aren’t sure bets. The GOP needs to do some self examination on what really matters to voting Republicans and voters in general because having candidates that you attack still win proves the establishment is out of touch on certain levels and with specific groups. The advice is the national GOP needs to get its act together.

For the November general election I am optimistic for the GOP to gain more congressional seats. The Republicans need to take a lesson from Jolly and get back to basics of listening to the concerns and needs of the constituents.

Theresa Myers is a Republican commentator who lives in Cumberland County. She enjoys American history, blues guitar and good cooking. Her email is tmyers@proudrepublican.org

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