The GOP's Increasingly Nasty Infighting

October 06, 2011 2:32 pm ET — Jamison Foser

It looks like Republicans are beginning to dislike Republicans as much as the rest of America does. First, there's the GOP establishment's desperate search for a presidential candidate — any presidential candidate — other than the thoroughly unimpressive people who are actually running. Then there's the strikingly personal attacks Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Grover Norquist are unleashing on each other. And now there are signs that Republican members of Congress may face an uphill battle just keeping their own base happy.

RedState's Erick Erickson has begun issuing weekly calls for Tea Party primary challenges to incumbent House and Senate Republicans. This week's target: Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), for sins ranging from voting for economic assistance to struggling states to voting to preserve energy efficiency programs. Last week, Erickson called for a primary challenge to Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) calling her "definitionally pathetic" and complaining she has "betrayed her conservative constituents, and failed to fight against the tide of creeping socialism in the country" before concluding, "But she's got a pretty smile."

Meanwhile, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) faces a tough re-election fight — polling shows him neck-and-neck with Elizabeth Warren, and that was before Brown's inexplicable decision insult Warren's physical appearance — and can't rely on help from Tea Party organizations that were crucial to his first election:

In 2010, he was the tea party poster boy. In 2012, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown may not get so much as a nod of acknowledgement from tea party groups. [...]

The Tea Party Express paid to run pro-Brown ads. FreedomWorks activists campaigned for him.

In short, Scott Brown was the tea party movement's first electoral victory. But now that he's up for re-election for a full six-year term in 2012, tea party activists tell The Daily Caller they're not going to bother putting together the same operation that swept him into office the first time. [...]

"Scott Brown has disappointed us a few times," Carlos Hernandez, state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, told TheDC. "So are we going to go out there and hold signs for him everyday? I don't think so." [...]

Hernandez' sentiments were also echoed by national tea party representatives TheDC talked to. One prominent tea party activist said that "while he won't be a major target for defeat ... he also won't be getting anywhere near the support that helped sweet him into office."

Republican discontent with Brown has been growing all year:

Scott Wheeler, who heads the National Republican Trust Political Action Committee, penned an opinion piece for the Daily Caller last week titled, "Why Scott Brown must be defeated."

"An organization I run, The National Republican Trust PAC, raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Scott Brown win the Massachusetts special election to fill the seat vacated upon the death of Ted Kennedy," Wheeler wrote. "That organization will now do everything possible to see that Brown is defeated by a primary opponent when he faces reelection in 2012. Why? Because there is no difference between him and a Democrat."

Not that Brown has to go it alone: Wall Street loves him — and with good reason.

Print