Thankfully, the GOP primary in Kentucky is history. I’m thankful because I won’t have to hear that Matt Bevin is the TEA Party-backed candidate. Articles like this one will disappear, which, by the way, is terrible news for Alison Lundergan-Grimes. More on Lundergan-Grimes in a minute.

The truth is that, altogether too often, TEA Party-endorsed candidates are terrible candidates who shouldn’t be allowed near a general election ballot. While Bevin wasn’t as terrible as Todd Akin, he wasn’t a top-tier candidate:

They pointed to an exaggeration of his educational credentials on his LinkedIn page and apparent previous support for the financial bailout as evidence.

And Bevin wasn’t helped by a series of high-profile unforced errors, at one point suggesting that legalizing gay marriage could lead to parents being able to marry their children and speaking at a pro-cockfighting rally that he said he was unaware was related to cockfighting, and then later backtracked on that statement.

Simply put, TEA Party organizations haven’t done a good job vetting candidates before supporting them. Candidates that think gay marriage will lead to wierd marital relationships isn’t qualified to run for the state legislature, much less run for the US Senate.

That isn’t to say I’ve suddenly ‘gone establishment’. I still passionately believe in the founding principles of the TEA Party movement. I believe as strongly today that TEA Party principles are the remedy for this nation’s ills as when I was organizing TEA Party rallies.

This year especially, I’ve been disappointed with some of the TEA Party’s endorsements. I didn’t hesitate in criticizing Sarah Palin for saying that Julianne Ortman was “a conservative champion” at a time when Ortman was enthusiastically telling Minnesota media outlets that she opposed full repeal of Obamacare.

It’s time that the so-called TEA Party leaders did their research before shooting their mouths off. It’s time they started picking candidates that don’t tie themselves into knots on the most basic of questions. The point I’m making is that the TEA Party shouldn’t feel obligated to run a candidate in each of the races. If the so-called TEA Party candidate is a terrible candidate, the TEA Party shouldn’t endorse a candidate in that race.

It’s time for the TEA Party to take that next step. It’s time they started picking top-tier candidates who won’t fall apart like Mr. Bevin did. Until they do a better job of candidate screening, they’ll continue losing races they could’ve won.

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3 Responses to “McConnell defeats Bevin; death of the TEA Party?”

  • J. Ewing says:

    I generally agree with you, but sometimes the best GOP candidate happens to be the incumbent. The incumbent certainly has an advantage in the general election, unless they are absolutely terrible, and the single most important thing in a GOP candidate is the ability to win. Secondarily, by a long mile, is being “Tea Party” or a “100% conservative.” I’ll take 90, 80, or even 50% over the certainty that a 0% Democrat will win.

    And that’s the bigger problem, isn’t it? It’s not so much whom we endorse, but the fact that we don’t a) think about who can win against the Democrat and b) don’t get behind and push the endorsed candidate so they DO win. THAT is the problem of Todd Aiken. He was winning. He made one SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE statement about abortion and the “gotcha media” pounced on him. The cowards at the NRSC, rather than defend a sure winner, ran from the hustings like scalded dogs. Sure, there is a right way and a wrong way to say things, but we owe some fidelity to the truth or we will be governed by liars.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Jerry, Let’s be clear. there are 2 parts to this process. The first part is endorsing someone who consistently agrees with the GOP platform.

    Endorsing a candidate isn’t about whether you’ll support another candidate in the general election. The conventions are about picking someone who a) can win in November & b) isn’t a conservative after they’ve been caught being a squish.

    Finally, it’s irrelevant if Todd Akin’s statement was scientifically accurate. This is politics. Akin’s statement had nothing but downside to it.

    The quality of the candidate matters. Akin couldn’t win after making that statement. He should’ve gotten out of the race & let someone who had a chance to win finish the campaign.

  • Rex Newman says:

    Another word for consistency is predictability. I don’t expect them to be perfect going in or coming out of the election. Just be consistent. Was Norm Coleman conservative? Barely, but the part that was we could take to the bank. I’ll take him over any Democrat, any time.

    Not so, Tim Pawlenty who repeatedly surprised and disappointed us, saying one thing before the election, doing another afterward. Oh, and then lying to our face when challenged on them. It’s not that a DFL governor would have been better. It’s that he so damaged the Republican brand that his two (should have been one) terms were actually a net loss for the GOP and Minnesota.

    Between these extremes we have squishes the Jim Abeler, certainly not the best, but not the worst either. Show me a, oh, Dave Thompson quality primary challenger and yes, Abeler’s gone. But until so challenged, he isn’t likely to mess up the really big stuff like Pawlenty did.

    The Tea Party perhaps should focus on the few, big problems, like John Boehner and John McCain, races worth the risk of losing the (supposed) seat.

    The Tea Party I think actually did its job in Kentucky. Safe as McConnell might think or say he is, he may just remember this warning shot over the bow before joining Boehner’s amnesty suicide mission this fall.

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