Republican State Senators Co-Host, Attend Democrat Senator Fundraiser
How would you like to be a Nashville area conservative considering a run as a Republican against big-spending Democratic State Senator Larry Teague? Every member of the 35 member senate has their name on the invitation to attend his re-election fundraiser, including all 15 Republicans(update: Senator Rappert claims that his name was used w/o permission). Some Republicans (Senator Bill Pritchard of Elkins and former GOP State Chairman Senator Gilbert Baker) are even listed as co-sponsors.
“One thing the feds could learn from us in Arkansas is after the election, we put our D’s and R’s away and do our business,” said Sen. Bill Pritchard, R-Elkins, one of the fundraiser’s co-hosts. Your business sir? Is co-hosting fundraisers for members of the opposition party "your" business?
While all the Republicans involved, and even Teague himself, said it was not an "Endorsement", it will have an obvious and chilling effect on anyone considering running against Teague as a Republican. How would you like to try to run against a guy where every member of your own party in the chamber you hope to join has signed on to a fund-raiser for him to be re-elected? While it may not be an "endorsement", people in this business understand that its a powerful message.
“I don’t think it’s an endorsement,” Teague is quoted by the APs Andrew Demillo (sorry I don't have a reliable source) as saying, “I think it was a sign of solidarity and friendship.”
Teague, as President Pro Tem of the Senate, has considerable power. He decides what committee bills have to go through, and as such he can kill a bill by sending it to a committee where he knows it will be treated unfavorably. So a lot of this is just sucking up to a guy with a lot of power. That may serve power well, but it doesn't serve the people well. People who are unhappy with the direction this state has gone under the Gov. Beebe and Senator Teague want another choice. The actions of the Republican senators, where they are all one big group of "friends" expressing "solidarity" with Teague, denies the people a loyal opposition to turn to. Or rather, denies them the Republicans as that loyal opposition.
Current Republican State Chairman Doyle Webb would not say whether or not Republican Senators lending their names to the fundraiser was a good idea. His office did release a brief statement which says "no seats are off the table." In theory maybe, but the facts on the ground say otherwise.
This is not the first time something like this has happened. Sen. Gilbert Baker had many Democrats attending his fundraiser two years ago in his bid to become the Democrat's favorite Republican. It was Baker who blocked fellow Republican Senator Dave Bisbee of Rogers from attaining the Senate Pro Tem Position by leading a group of four Republicans who voted for a Democrat for the position instead.
My take: Its bad enough that sellout Republicans back one another up so that if a reform candidate tries to take one on in the primary, he has to accept that his opponent will have a string of high profile endorsements and big names at their fundraisers. The average voter doesn't know what a snake the sellout is, they only know that the "big names" are all backing him, so they vote for him. It is a real impediment to getting good people elected.
As sorry as that is, this may be worse. Now, not only will the establishment jump all over anyone who dares challenge one of the insiders in a party primary, but the Republicans and the Democrats are to the point where they act to protect each others insiders! I have often said that the insiders of both DC based political gangs which have led our nation to both fiscal and moral ruin are more comfortable with one another than they are with the outsiders of their own parties.
Tea Party, if you have the sauce for it, you ought to find someone to run as an Independent against Teague- and Pritchard and Baker while you are at it. That's the only way the people are going to get a real choice in those races.