Tuesday, October 18, 2005

GOP Senate Candidates Continue Family Feud

It looks as though the dysfunction in the Republican U.S. Senate primary is only getting started.

The attacks on each other seem to be increasing both in number and in harshness by the day. Just like a dysfunctional family, they just can't seem to get along--on anything.

On Blogging For Bryant, Jay Bush asks "Does Hilleary Care He's Splitting Conservatives?".

In his post, Bush asks Van Hilleary why exactly is he running for the U.S. Senate and if he cares that he is splitting conservatives, while calling on Hilleary to drop out of the Senate race.

Here is an excerpt:

I'm convinced there are enough conservative votes that Ed Bryant will win the Republican primary whether or not Hilleary is in it. Grassroots conservatives continue to coalesce behind Bryant's campaign. Unfortunately, Hilleary's presence is a distraction though. A unified conservative base is much more powerful than a split one. While Corker's name ID is clearly low, he's well-financed and Hilleary's continued presence in the race only makes it more difficult to defeat him. The longer Hilleary continues his selfish U.S. Senate run, the longer conservative resources will be split. That means less resources that can be spent on exposing Corker's moderate record. Perhaps it's time for Hilleary to take one for the conservative team. My hope is that Hilleary will put principle above political opportunism, get behind Ed Bryant and help defeat Bob Corker and Harold Ford, Jr. Live to fight another day Van.

In response to B4B's continued crusade against Hilleary, a poster replies, "The last time I checked, this is a free country and anyone can run for office. Just ask Mr. Moder or Bo for Senate. You don't see the Hilleary campaign calling for Ed to drop out. That is because they are actually confident in their position in the race. Your constant calling for Mr. Hilleary to drop out looks pathetic and desperate. We'll see who conservatives, outside of your little B4B circle, think is being "selfish" next spring, and then we can have this discussion."

On Simple I, Adam Groves has more on the continued feud between Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary.

Groves blogs, "Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary supporters continue to be at each other's throats after the latest campaign disclosures. Van Hilleary's talking point is that he has raised more money than Ed and has a higher overall name recognition than Ed, and even leads preliminary polling over Ed. Ed's talking point is that he has beat Van's fundraising among money that can be used in the primary, has more individual contributors than Van, and is leading Van among primary voters in the most recent poll. So which is it?"

Although TeamGOP has not made an official endorsement in the U.S. Senate race, they have made it clear who they won't support: Bob Corker. On Saturday, Jeff Ward wrote a scathing article bashing Corker from all angles.

Below are some of the more powerful excerpts from the piece:

  • "...all of the leaders and main proponents of a state income tax happen to be on the Corker team too and I guess y'all would call that a coincidence."

  • "Many of the leaders of the Gore 2000 race and Kerry 2004 race [are] supporting Corker..."

  • "But now we all learn...in 2004 when Bob Corker would not return the phone calls of Republican challengers in East Tennessee trying desperately to win a majority in the General Assembly, Bob Corker was out raising money for the Tennessee Black Caucus who now may face serious inquiries from the state or the IRS."

  • "Bob Corker is not on the side of the Republican Party, it is not about abortion, or gun control or tariffs on European steel or any other issue."

Ward ends by saying, "BOB CORKER CANNOT BE TRUSTED BY AVERAGE REPUBLICANS. I know some of you haters out there won't believe that...but it is true, that is the reason for our opposition to Bob Corker."

On the Conservatives for Corker blog, Mr. Evans asks what Ed Bryant meant by this comment last week:

"Our party has to be united to win statewide. I'm not the great, but the party can unite behind me."
-- Ed Bryant, The Daily News Journal 10/11/05

One user thinks he has the answer, "Ed's speeches put people to sleep. This is a ridiculous quote which shows how out of touch Ed is. We need someone with vision not someone who's "not that great". Van Hilleary is that someone with vision and he will easily beat Ed and Corky."

Commenting on the worsening feud between Republicans in Tennessee, one guest adds, "Family feuds are deep and take a long time to get over. The Civil War turned brother against brother. We quote Ronald Reagan and some people forget that he gave us the 11th Commandment that is sorely missing in Tennessee. We want to unite and not divide. United we stand Divided we fall."

Want my advice guys? Keep it up! You are doing a great job!

Plus, I really don't think you have anything to worry about in regards to your eventual nominee. Despite all your differences, all three of your candidates have a common thread: they have all lost statewide races. (Bryant in 2002, Hilleary in 2002, and Corker in 1994) Yes, that is correct. Each and everyone of your guys have all been rejected at one point in time by the citizens of Tennessee.

And just think, you guys thought you would never find any common ground!

Update 10-18-05 3:15 PM: Matthew White adds to the dysfunctional debate today saying, "Van Hilleary has done a lot over the years to advance conservatism in Tennessee. He's been a great party builder and helped elect several good people to local and state offices. However, if his presence on the ballot means that Bob Corker becomes our nominee, all of the good that Hilleary has done over the years will be forgotten. His legacy will be that of a spoiler for conservatives. When the conservative movement had a chance to put one of its own in the United States Senate, the opportunity was squandered. Not because there was a defining issue that separated him from Ed Bryant, but because this is a race Van Hilleary thought he could win.

Which leads to one final question, does Van Hilleary really want that to be his legacy? I agree with B4B's advice to Hilleary, "Live to fight another day."

A poster replies to White's piece saying, "Maybe the grand old party really is splintering just as we were not that long ago. We're seeing this trend from the top down, inside the Beltway to the local parties. The affluent moderate fund the party, and the grassroots fundamentalists provide the sweat. It's not only right-wing versus moderate but also right-wing versus right-wing. Each group wants the primary influence and pragmatism is no longer enough. I guess the pendulum truly does swing back.

On a side note, you said of Van that "Only one Republican has lost statewide in the last 11 years." I might suggest you ad the words "in a general election" to that sentence, lest it apply both to Ed Bryant and Bob Corker, among others, as well.