Saturday, May 30, 2009

Still Looking for a Candidate Against Lincoln

Most folks that I know think that bailout-supporting Senator Blanche Lincoln needs to be sent home (she lives in Virginia). Still, many are frustrated by the inability of the GOP to field a candidate against her who is at least as good as Senator Jim Holt was when he ran five years ago. I was for Holt, but the GOP establishment did not seem to think much of him. Soon they may have to back a challenger who is much less attractive.

Recently Tim Griffin withdrew from consideration in the race. Why he should ever have been considered a good candidate for United States Senate is beyond me. His chief claim to fame is that he was a Karl Rove crony for whom the popular Bud Cummins was pushed aside as a federal prosecutor. Hint to Republican insiders: Karl Rove is NOT popular among the general population, no matter how great you think he is in your sub-culture.

Because Griffin teased with the idea of entering the race, he could wear the mantle of closest Karl Rove associate, but another potential candidate, Senator Gilbert Baker, also has a close relationship with Rove. Plus, the fact Baker was GOP chairman rules him out as a "maverick" or "independent voice for reform" in the eyes of many voters. If he gets the nomination the perception will be he is a machine candidate, and those have little swing vote appeal. They only work when their machine is the dominant party.

Baker and the now disgraced former President of UCA, Lu Hardin were tight as ticks. There is a whole campaign worth of potential scandals involving their dealings. There may also be other trust issues. Baker’s district got ten times the GIF money of the others when the verbal agreement (when the legislature put him in a key position to distribute the money) was that it would be evenly distributed throughout the state.

I could go on, but enough about him. I can stop once I demonstrate enough evidence for my thesis, that the GOP has yet to find a candidate as compelling as the one they had five years ago. Let's talk about Curtis Coleman, the former Baptist preacher turned exec after trading in his wife for a younger woman. I don't care if it was 16 years ago, or if his ex would vote for him, people have a visceral reaction to that sort of thing.

But besides that, here are his qualifications for the U.S Senate: zippo. He has not even been elected constable. Sure he talks a good game- you can do that when you have no actual record of public service. But hey, if they are looking for guys who have never been elected to anything who think that the United States Senate is a good entry-level position, can't they at least find a never-been-elected-to-anything guy who has been faithful to his spouse? I know lot's of 'em. They even talk a good game, just like Curtis Coleman. There is a role for a "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" candidate, because right now there is so much skepticism for politicians. Still, a candidate like that needs to have lived a life more sterling than most of us manage.

That leaves Senator Kim Hendren. He does blow Holt away in the ability to make verbal gaffes, but between those and the surprise shut-down of his car dealerships, I don't see him making the race. His start is not that of a good candidate, not even as good as the one who ran against Lincoln last time.


Anonymous Rick said...


From the names I have seen tossed around, and being in Montana its limited, I think Gilbert is by far the best candidate to run against Lincoln.
There are multiple reasons why Holt did well against Lincoln. He was a great candidate and ran when the Bush Administration was very popular, which always helps. If Baker runs, I think he will, and the economy continues to decline, and I think it will, he may have a shot at winning.

7:47 AM, May 31, 2009  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...


There is no best. Bush is now wildly unpopular, and Gilbert Baker hitched his star to the Bush-Rove wagon. In-state, he and Lu Hardin were tied up. Baker could raise lots of money- much of it out of state, and he is smart. Those are some pluses, but the bottom line is that the people of this state need for them to find a good candidate and right now they don't have one.

6:08 PM, May 31, 2009  
Anonymous Rick said...

Mark, I strongly disagree. I have spent some time with Gilbert and found him to be personable as well as very smart and with his experience I don't think there is anyone in the state that would make a better Senator.

5:46 AM, June 01, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The GOP: transforming unpopular democrats into viable candidates since 1854

7:55 AM, June 01, 2009  
Anonymous once bit said...

I too have spent time with Baker face to face, and found he was indeed personable- as he lied to my face.

He really knows how to spin his democrat-aligned actions, so his conservative constituents won't boot him out.

12:45 PM, June 01, 2009  
Anonymous Rick said...

Once bit, What policies does Gilbert support thats Democrat aligned?

2:00 PM, June 01, 2009  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...


There is nothing to disagree about. I also said he was smart, and I did not say that he wasn't personable.

I said that he is tied to Karl Rove and that Rove is unpopular outside of GOP circles, and that locally he was tied to Lu Hardin, who is now regarded almost universally as a bad guy. I also pointed out that as the former state chairman he can be tagged as a "party guy" and not an independent person who happens to be running on ticket X.

The one thing we might disagree on is that you don't think that there is anyone in the state who would make a better senator. I could name several of them, but I doubt any of them would run against Lincoln. They could not trust the party to really back them in a tough spot, where as Baker is tight with the national guys so they would invest in his campaign.

If the other person does not answer your question to them, maybe I will give it a shot.

7:38 PM, June 01, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please elaborate on Gilbert's Rove ties. Thats new to me.

8:05 PM, June 02, 2009  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

As state GOP chairman he got him to fly to Arkansas to participate at state events on a regular basis. I'd say three times during the Spring of 06 alone.

9:02 PM, June 02, 2009  
Anonymous Rick said...


I think the ties to Rove are a positive. He has a great political mind. Probably the best in my lifetime.

5:20 AM, June 03, 2009  
Anonymous Mark said...

It is a positive in the sense that the national GOP would actually try to help a friend of Rove win (whereas they will let a "loose cannon" -that is a person who goes by the constitution and what the typical voter wants, flounder without help).

It is a negative in the sense that the national GOP and Bush-Rove in particular are extremely unpopular outside of the 22% slice of the pop. that is strong GOP.

8:01 PM, June 03, 2009  
Blogger Steve Mackey said...

Coleman would make a great senator. He's sticking his neck on the line when he doesn't have to, which shows his heart is in it. I think his lack of experience is absolutely a positive. We need folks who know the issues small businesses face to take a stand. I'm sick of career politicians. Give me someone who just wants to do the right thing. Coleman is that man!

9:41 PM, June 27, 2009  

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