A Canadian take on the tea party...
Gerry Nichols went to work in a US campaign....here's a terrific report on what is wrong with American politics...
Late last year, I was recruited to work for a Republican Senatorial candidate in New Hampshire named Bill Binnie. On paper, he was a near-perfect candidate. The son of immigrants, he came from humble beginnings. Through hard work, he went on to became an extremely successful businessman and global entrepreneur. He had truly lived the American Dream.
More importantly, thanks to his business background, he knew how to create jobs, balance a budget and generate economic growth. And those are exactly the kind of skills Americans need in the United States Senate to help turn their troubled economy around.
Certainly, Binnie was not lacking in resources. A multi-millionaire, he poured nearly $6-million of his own money into the campaign. Polls consistently showed he would have easily trounced the Democratic Senatorial nominee in the November general election.
Yet when the election dust had settled on Primary Day last week, my candidate finished a distant third, garnering only about 14% of the vote. What happened?
Unfortunately, there was something about Binnie that made him unpalatable to many Republican voters: He was a social moderate. More specifically, when it came to abortion, he was pro-choice. This made Binnie a target for social conservatives, who regarded him as an ideological enemy.
To them, my candidate's pro-choice views meant he was simply not a "true Republican"; he was, as they liked to put it, a "RINO" -- a Republican In Name Only.
It was an odd description for a man who was in reality a Ronald Reagan-style fiscal conservative. Binnie wanted to cut taxes, reduce government spending and end the bail outs. He was also strong on national defence and fiercely opposed to "Obamacare."
Nevertheless, despite his staunchly conservative views, elements of America's social conservative movement became obsessed with defeating Binnie. And when the polls showed Binnie was a serious contender who stood a good chance of winning the Republican primary, they took action.
A social conservative group from outside the state spent hundreds of thousands of dollar on a multimedia negative ad campaign, which labelled Binnie "shockingly liberal." Their ads grossly distorted his views. They even claimed he was pro-choice because he wanted to "avoid the expense of disabled children."
Meanwhile, others jumped into the fray. The New Hampshire Union Leader, an influential newspaper with strong socially conservative leanings, hammered Binnie almost daily, both editorially and in the news section.
And Sarah Palin, the standard-bearer of American social conservatives, not only endorsed his opponent, but dismissed Binnie as a "self-funded millionaire running with an R next to his name."
It's hard to take that kind of pounding in a Republican primary. So, not surprisingly, Binnie, who at the end of July was close to being a co-front-runner in the primary race, began to steadily fall in the polls.