In the last few years, grassroots Republicans have directed a lot of their anger at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and it’s sister organization on the House side - the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). These organizations have unfortunately developed a reputation for two things: shutting down “new blood” candidates in GOP primaries against “old bull” incumbents and sinking GOP candidates by runnning overly nasty smear campaigns against Democrats.
I personally find this to be a travesty, as I think the NRSC and NRCC are two of the most valuable organizations we have. They are supposed to be the ones finding ”new blood”, and talking the best candidates into running. We need them more than ever in the next few years, and there are a few races in 2010 where they have major openings to both pick up seats and rehabilitate their reputation. So, I want to lay out a few suggestions as to how the the NRSC can “get its groove back” quickly and hopefully provide a model of the NRCC to follow.
Specifically, I want to look at two races - one where the NRSC is involved and shouldn’t be and one where they aren’t involved and should be.
First, the Crist-Rubio showdown in Florida. Crist seemingly has a commanding early lead - but Rubio is quickly consolidating a big following in the conservative movement. Personally, I’m a Rubio guy - but I’m also a realist. This is Crist’s race to lose at the moment, and he doesn’t need the NRSC’s help. Furthermore, he has a major image problem with non-Floridian Republicans. I’m not going to call on the NRSC to drop it’s endorsement - what’s done is done - but they would be well served to de-emphasize that race and move on to places where they are needed. Crist can win without them - and they don’t need to get involved in a big-ticket primary between two strong candidates.
On the other hand, the race to unseat Michael Bennet in Colorado is in desperate need of NRSC involvement. The Senator is highly vulnerable, but the GOP is not getting electable candidates in the race. Right now, we merely have and amateur-hour primary between Weld County D.A. Ken Buck (Oh dear…) and Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier (Oy vey…). Nothing against either of these men - but the campaign so far has shown that neither is going to take down even the most vulnerable Democrat. The NRSC actually cited the pickup opportunity in Colorado as a race that they could help with if Crist wins in Florida - but no amout of NRSC money is going to win Colorado if they don’t help us find a candidate now!
So, let’s forget about the Florida fracas, let bygones be bygones, and start using the NRSC for what it was made for - scouting out quality new candidates, talking them into the race, and making sure they win. In Colorado, they have the opportunity to totally resphape the race by pushing Major General Bentley Rayburn in, introducing his spectacular record of acheivement to the voters (how many candidates have managed a $17 billion military budget?), and making sure that he gets connected to national bigwigs who can bankroll him to victory. Seriously - how do you lose with a guy like this? Just give him a budget, wind him up, and watch him make mincemeat of Senator Bennet...
...and if you don't want the general, go pound down John Elway's door or something. Just give us a candidate!
So - this is how the NRSC and NRCC need to be operating in order to heal the rift with the base. These organizations are sorely needed in today's political situation, and there is an opening for them to go from zeroes to heroes very quickly if they allocate their resources properly. Let's forget about the large-scale brouhahas like the Crist-Rubio circus and get the Bentley Rayburns of the world into the races where Democrats are gaining a false sense of security. That is how we can move forward to victory in 2010 and beyond.