Found on Southern Arizona News Examiner - http://soaznewsx.com/
The Establishment Trap
By Frank Antenori
was recently invited for coffee by a close friend and fellow Republican
to discuss upcoming state legislative races. Well respected in both
local grass roots circles as well as the so called "GOP Establishment,"
he was chosen to reach out to me in hopes of convincing me to not get
involved in several key legislative primaries. However, by the time we
finished our second cup of coffee, he would not only fail to convince me
to stay silent, but he would instead volunteer to help me in my efforts
to inform GOP voters of the threat to our state. It took a simple
history lesson to change his mind.
I take you back
to the 46th Legislature. In 2004, a handful of so called "pragmatic"
Republicans conspired with Democrats to give then Governor Janet
Napolitano a budget that would increase state spending by more than
$700million, a 10% increase in spending in a year that saw little
Worse yet, that budget created a
$500 million budget deficit; in violation of Arizona's Constitution
which requires a balanced budget. Rightfully, fiscal conservatives were
outraged at what was clearly an irresponsible budget. In response,
conservatives recruited fiscally responsible primary opponents to
challenge these fiscally irresponsible Republicans.
the "GOP Establishment" stepped in. They argued that we risked losing
our legislative majorities by running more conservative candidates in
the general. Even going as far as saying that even though these
"pragmatic" Republicans may have strayed a bit and voted with Democrats
for the big spending budget, at least they voted right on things like
guns, faith and family issues. They used the old rationale of "even the
worst Republican is better than the best Democrat any day." Generally I
would agree with that statement, however, it only holds true if those
Republicans support the Republican platform and not the Democrat
platform. In 2004, there were 39 Republicans in the House and 17 in the
Senate. (In Arizona, you need only control 31 seats in the House and 16
in the Senate to maintain your majority.)
the party faithful bought the establishment's argument, held their noses
and voted for the fiscally irresponsible Republicans "for the good of
the Party." Deep down they hoped these "pragmatic" Republicans would
realize the error of their ways and act "more Republican" and fiscally
responsible if they got re-elected. As a result, the fiscally
conservative challengers were defeated and the "GOP Establishment"
candidates got re-elected.
What did voting for the
establishment candidate get us? Over the next few years, more and more
spending occurred and the budget deficit got bigger, ballooning to over
$2.2 billion. Well at least it helped us keep our majorities in the
legislature right? Not exactly, in the House the GOP lost six seats and
our majority declined to 33 seats; dangerously close to the 31 needed to
maintain majority control.
Then in 2008, "Pragmatic
Republicans" did it again. Cutting a backroom deal in the dark of night
with legislative Democrats and Governor Napolitano, four House and four
Senate Republicans essentially voted to put Arizona on the verge of
Bankruptcy. They left the State with no money in the Rainy Day Fund and a
$3 Billion budget deficit. This time conservatives had enough.
grassroots groundswell of conservative candidates filed to run for the
legislature and challenge the big spenders of both parties. Once again
the "GOP Establishment" clamored about "party unity, we're going to lose
our majority if we elect conservatives in the primary, think of the big
picture and don't get hung up on a single budget vote, etc." This time,
despite the GOP establishment spending heavily on their "pragmatic"
candidates, the GOP primary voters weren't going to listen.
conservatives won primary after primary, soundly defeating
establishment candidates in several key races. Instead of lining up
behind the party's nominees, the GOP establishment instead sided with
Democrats by undermining conservative candidates in the general
election. Establishment lackey and so called "political consultant"
Nathan Sproul even penned an open letter to voters stating "In my
opinion, the Republican Nominees are not reflective of the overall
electorate." His statement was quickly picked up by Democrats and used
in mailers against conservatives.
Despite the "GOP
Establishment's" efforts to torpedo our candidates, we not only kept our
majorities in the State House and Senate, but increased them! Keep in
mind this was 2008, the year Barack Obama was elected President.
Conventional political wisdom predicted a Democrat landslide nationally
and the Tea Party was still more than a year from even coming into
existence. Arizona was one of only two states in the whole country that
saw Republicans add seats to their legislatures. The GOP Establishment
was not only WRONG, they were DEAD WRONG.
Then came 2010; "the year of the Tea Party." Both Establishment GOP candidates as well
as Democrats were steam rolled by conservatives. Republicans obtained
"Super majorities" in both houses of the legislature and it immediately
led to a balanced budget in Arizona, the first in over five years.
we're back to 2014 and here we go again. A new bunch of so-called
"Pragmatic Republicans" have again voted with state Democrats to bring
Obamacare to Arizona and once again bust the state's bank by voting for
fiscally irresponsible budgets. Where there was once $1Billion in the
Rainy Day fund, now there's essentially nothing. The budget is once
again structurally unbalanced and we're looking at huge deficits again
in 2016 and 2017.
So guess what the "Establishment" is saying. Yep, you guessed it: "Don't primary them, they only voted
'wrong' on Obamacare and the budget, but otherwise, they're still
better than Democrats. Don't primary them for the 'good of the party'
and so we don't lose our majorities."
Well I for one am not buying it. I'm not going to let history repeat itself. These turncoat Republicans,
also known as "Legistraitors," are causing irreparable damage to our
states' fiscal and economic future and they must go. We can't let the
financial disaster of 2004-2008 happen again. Reelecting these
"pragmatic" traitors to the platform will spell fiscal disaster for
Arizona. Ask yourself, do you want
to go through what we had to go through back in 2009-2011? Huge budget
cuts, a sales tax increase, selling our Capitol? Heck no!