The GOP needs to support the core of the conservative caucus

Unfortunately, Carter makes a valid point about the GOP quest for purity and our primaries. It happens. Republican primaries in 2010 cost us at least two Senate seats — Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware gave sure GOP victories back to the Democrats. There is no argument that America is better off as a result. 

There is an emotional component to the party right now that sometime acts in a rash and harsh manner at the cost of more conservative government. And today, Sen. Orrin Hatch from Utah and Sen. Richard Lugar from Indiana face primaries from the right.  Nothing about either man would suggest they have ever been part of the problem in Washington. Sen. Hatch’s American Conservative Union lifetime rating is 89 percent, and Sen. Lugar’s is 77 percent. Our problem isn’t that we have too many senators with 89 and 77 percent ACU ratings, it is that we have too few.  Sens. Lugar and Hatch aren’t part of the problem for our country, they’re part of the solution.

In the GOP, we just can’t throw out someone who supports the core of the conservative caucus 77 percent of the time, as Sen. Lugar does, much less about 90 percent of the time like Sen. Hatch. It’s too risky, it’s short-sighted, it consumes resources that could go to other campaigns and it’s just not smart. 

Our prospects for taking the Senate have dimmed with the retirement of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and if we lose Sen.Lugar and botch another primary or two then getting to 50 seats will be almost impossible for Republicans. 

A concluding thought.  Former Governor Jon Huntsman’s situation is different. He left himself vulnerable to the charge that he was friendly to the idea of a third-party candidate. A moderate or conservative third party would ensure the reelection of President Obama. It’s hard to sell a ticket to a Republican Party fundraiser when your speaker suggests such a thing. The RNC had no choice but to cancel.  Huntsman has a good future in the GOP but he has to decide if he wants it.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.

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