“Interfering” With Primaries

Even before the howls of rage have subsided in the wake of Karl Rove’s expressed intention to intervene in Republican Senate primaries to keep stone losers from gaining nominations, one of the chief howlers, the Club for Growth, has announced its own “purge” initiative aimed at House GOP “moderates.” For starters, they’ve identified nine House incumbents at a new website called PrimaryMyCongressman.com who need to be taken out:

“Big government liberals inhabit the Democratic Party, but they are far too common within the Republican Party as well,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in a statement announcing the site. “The Republicans helped pass billions of dollars in tax increases and they have repeatedly voted against efforts by fiscal conservatives to limit government. PrimaryMyCongressman.com will serve as a tool to hold opponents of economic freedom and limited government accountable for their actions.”

This is the same Chris Chocola who earlier this month attacked Rove for his arrogant national interference with the sovereign discretion of primary voters:

“It’s those pesky voters,” Mr. Chocola said in an interview. “They get to decide who the nominee is.”

So why is it an outrage for Rove’s Texas gazillionaires to meddle with Republican primaries but AOK for the Club’s (or the Koch Brothers’) plutocrats to do exactly the same thing? Well, because the latter are “true conservatives,” while the former are trimmers and hedgers, if not actual RINOs. It’s part and parcel of the belief, which I noted a couple of weeks ago in discussing the implications of the “Buckley Rule,” that there’s really no such thing as being “too conservative” unless it means losing a general election, while any even vague step towards moderation in inherently immoral and must be justified by unimpeachable evidence that’s it is necessary. So Rove and company are “interfering” with local voters, while Chocola and company are vindicating their obvious interests.

Now it’s also entirely possible that Rove and Chocola are thick as thieves and are simply staging a phony fight to help each other raise money. But anyway you slice it, the Club’s hypocrisy is pretty amazing.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.