Thursday, August 5, 2010

Right Wingers Lose Another Statewide GOP Primary

Posted By on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 8:10 PM

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Right wingers in Tennessee are like Wile E. Coyote. Just when you think they’re finally about to catch the Road Runner, they run right off that cliff again. Beep, Beep! Tonight history repeated itself as Ron Ramsey and Zach Wamp split the right-wing vote and allowed another moderate—Bill Haslam—to win a statewide GOP primary just as Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker also did in this decade. The AP called it for Haslam quickly.

Lloyd Daugherty, as one of the founders of the Tennessee Conservative Union, could be considered the father of the hard-right movement in Tennessee. We asked him whether he could explain why right-wingers keep losing, and he fell back on the old excuse: Those damn moderates have all the money. You’ve heard of silk-stocking, country club Republicans, right? All the financial disclosures aren’t in yet but, at last report, Haslam had spent nearly $9 million—double the combined expenditures of his two rivals.

In early returns, Haslam was winning a majority of the votes. If that holds up, can movement conservatives even claim to represent most Republicans in this state? Daugherty basically admitted conservatives are gullible and easily tricked by fuzzy TV ads like Haslam’s.

“I’ve had a theory for a long time. In Tennessee politics, we have an unnatural unbalance as far as the Republican Party goes. The money is moderate, liberal Republican money. And the grassroots is conservative. Up until now, the money seems to always win. The grassroots Republicans just naturally assume that if you’ve got an R by your name that you’re a conservative. That’s not necessarily so.”

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