There are, at most, a few dozen full-spectrum conservatives in Congress. Yet, moderate Republicans tied at the hip to K Street interests who will be obsequious to GOP leaders have now learned how to defeat the few good incumbents. They run as outsiders, paint our guys as insiders, and run to the right of the incumbent precisely so they can enter Congress and vote to the left. This tactic is extremely dishonest, but it succeeded, in large part, in unseating Rep. Tim Huelskamp. If conservatives don’t mobilize, the establishment may do it again, this time to Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. (B, 83%) in Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District.
Like many political neophytes who were elected to serve in the GOP House Majority in 2010, Gosar took some bad votes because he genuinely believed that GOP leaders were going to secure victories on their behalf. Gosar was challenged in a primary two years later by state senator Ron Gould because of his votes for some of Boehner’s budget bills. I endorsed Gould at the time. But unlike any other member, Gosar actually learned his lesson and got better over time. He realized the system was rigged and that leadership was a joke, and he never turned back after 2012. Since 2012, he has not only been a reliable conservative vote, but a conservative voice for so many initiatives on immigration. He joined in the fight against John Boehner and is always a reliable vote whenever conservatives need to take down a rule on bad legislation. In short, Gosar has become one of the most conservative members and a model for improvement in the House.
In comes his opponent, Ray Strauss, who is struggling to find a rationale for challenging such an indefatigable conservative fighter. So when he is interviewed by the press, he uses the same catch-phrases that other establishment challengers have used. Without tipping his hand that he’d be a shill for K Street and a reliable vote for Ryan and McCarthy, Strauss promises to be “more effective,” “persuasive,” mutually respectful,” and not “caustic” or “ineffective.”
Translation: “I will be a doormat for leadership and K Street on all major legislative battles.
Naturally, this is not a very winning message with GOP primary voters, especially in this climate. They are not about to run ads on the talking points they give to the media — that they will work with leadership and be more “effective.” Therefore, they run ads painting our guys as RINOs. In this case, an ally of Strauss had the temerity to run an ad accusing Gosar of being a career politician, voting to raise the debt ceiling and fund Obamacare.
Of course, this all happened despite Strauss having “identified few issues on which they would have actually voted differently” in an interview with the Payson Roundup.
This is disgustingly dishonest. Strauss is hitting Gosar for his freshman-year votes for Boehner’s budget deals — the very sort of deals his is now complaining that Gosar opposes. Gosar is being opposed precisely because he is a brave fighter against leadership, yet Strauss is playing the establishment artifice of hitting him for voting with leadership! As I told WND last week following the defeat of Tim Huelskamp, “special interests are channeling voter anger against special interests to back candidates supported by – special interests.”
The ad was put out by Right Way PAC, which was founded by Daniel Flynn — the same guy involved with the ESAFund Super PAC against Huelskamp. Flynn is a Washington establishment insider and a friend of Boehner. He was once Tom Delay’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Flynn has been boasting publicly that he started Right Way Super PAC to take out Gosar like he did Huelskamp and he is going to spend at least a million dollars against Gosar.
Strauss’s website is full of milquetoast bromides tossed espoused by all Republican candidates. He talks about the same old nonsense with regards to immigration enforcement, yet makes no mention of the fact that Gosar has fought every battle on immigration, including his focus on the massive surge of Cubans crossing the border and obtaining welfare immediately, an issue ignored by the rest of the party. Anything Strauss claims he will do when elected, Gosar has already been there, done it, and done more. It’s no surprise that Strauss has gotten money from farming interests, including the Western Growers Association, who want cheap labor and open borders. Why else would someone challenge a man like Gosar and make immigration his biggest rationale, yet receive a PAC check from the amnesty lobby?
Strauss was rated a “champion of big government” by AFP’s Arizona scorecard during his time on the Buckeye city council where he raised the sales tax and property tax. As I’ve said before, there is no greater insider than someone who is bought out by the RINO special interests before ever stepping foot in Congress. And there is no better outsider than one who is in Congress but fights for conservatives despite opposition from leadership and K Street.
The primary in Arizona is August 30 but most of the votes will be cast over the next few weeks during the state’s protracted period of early voting. Conservatives would be wise to learn the mistakes of the past and not allow charlatans to wear our jersey while scoring points for the other side.
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Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.