I’m not exactly sure what the reasoning is, here.
- It’s not because the race isn’t competitive. It is – or, more accurately, it could be. Jeanne Sheehan is ahead of Scott Brown by 6.5 points in the current RCP average, sure. But she’s also under 50% in the aggregate polling, which is the usual rule of thumb for an incumbent in trouble. This is the sort of situation where throwing some advertisting cash into the mix could really come in handy.
- Of course, it’s a little late for that now – back in May the Democrats blocked out about $1 million in ad buys for New Hampshire. I have been told that Senate Majority PAC has likewise put in $1.2 million. The NRSC… has decided not to spend any money for the last month.
- The problem here may simply be that there’s bad blood. Now, this may be over something like Brown’s early (perhaps premature, in some people’s eyes) hard line on illegal immigration issues; or it may simply be that Scott Brown had some moderately harsh words to say about the NRSC’s operation back in 2011, and nobody ever forgets a slight in This Town*.
- Either way, there doesn’t seem to be any last-minute money coming down the pipe. Which is… odd.
OK, let’s do cards-on-the-table. On November 5th, the NRSC is going to go out and give itself a giant big pat on the back because, hey, they won the Senate! And they’re going to be exceedingly smug about it, because they’ll have in the process re-elected Mitch McConnell, and Thad Cochran, and – in my personal opinion, which I have not been shy about expressing – Pat Roberts. And that’s fine; or, rather, that’s what will happen, so you might as well be prepared for it.
However. There is winning well, and then there is winning poorly. Every cent that the the NRSC spent on those candidates in the primaries is a cent that did not go to general races in New Hampshire, Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan and yes, maybe even New Jersey. We might win in some of those places anyway; but we might not, either. And I say this to anybody who might have a spare ten grand or so to toss at the next set of Senatorial candidates; if you are looking for speculative investments – which is to say, you are looking to get some innovative candidates in there to shake up the system – then you are not going to get good value for money from a group that’s apparently adopted the motto The Status Quo at any cost.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Scott Brown for Senator for New Hampshire, by the way.
PPS: Believe it or not, I don’t enjoy writing posts like this. The national committees provide indispensable assistance to campaigns, from expert advice to financial resources to supplementing volunteer networks. And I know that the rank-and-file folks are just trying to do their job. But – and let us be honest, here – there is a broad sense of entitlement among the top level of permanent staff that is getting in the way of the committee’s ostensible purpose. This is particularly obvious when it comes to their digital and social media outreach cadre, which apparently collectively thinks that the proper relationship between them and the Republican base should involve a leash.
Now you may think to yourself, Clearly Moe is unhappy that some people from the NRSC have been rude to him. And you would be correct! I am. – But here’s the question you should be asking: Why did the NRSC think that it was such a good idea to infuriate even a notorious Republican partisan hack? And here’s another: if the reliable partisan Republican hack is this unhappy, imagine how the rest of the base feels?
*What makes this particularly… complicated… is that the NRSC pretty much encouraged Brown to run in the first place. You’d think that they would have followed through.
13 thoughts on “So why isn’t the NRSC doing more in, say, New Hampshire’s Senate race? Or, indeed, anything?”
The NRSC clearly has fallen to Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy–
Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
And the result of Pournelle’s Iron Law is Robert Conquest’s Third Law of Politics:
The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.
A notoriously *moderate* Republican hack, at that.
While I personally wouldn’t give money to the NRSC or NRCC (because of their continue meddling in primaries), they are in the business of helping Republicans get and stay elected. I will not criticize them or the RNC spending activities, because they are honest:
From the national committees, to the state and local committees, they are political parties and not ideological parties. They are only interested in getting Republicans elected, not pissing good money away. Scott Brown was a long shot to begin with and you know it. If they go to their donors and say they blew a lot of money on Brown and he didn’t win, they are going to say no way!
Besides, Scott Brown is a bloody RINO.
It was the NRSC who forced Scott Brown on the NH GOP, they bragged about recruiting him back in April. The reason they’re abandoning him now, as well as Terri Land ( who is in a much closer race in the much more winnable race in Michigan) is because they’ve got to spend all their money propping up losers like McConnell/Roberts/Cochran
Oregon isn’t even competitive anymore and if the GOP had stayed on the anti-Obamacare message it would be.
At least they haven’t abandoned Gardner and Ernst yet, but give a few junk polls showing Grimes and Orman ahead and they’ll shift more money from them over into Kansas and Kentucky.
The NRSC hasn’t been very effective since the 2004 election and REALLY went downhill when John Cornyn took over in 2009. His poor recruitment was a big reason we left so many seats on the table in 2010 and face planted in 2012. Couldn’t beat unknown tea party candidates in many primaries (and then didn’t support the winners) and couldn’t get hand picked candidates over the line in the general. Moran’s tenure so far has the chief innovation of beating tea party challengers in the primaries (by often counter productive means). We will see how the resulting candidates fair in the general but at this point, I’m expecting middling results.
Moran’s tenure is also one of failed recruitment, in NH, in NC ( come on Tillis? why couldn’t we have gotten Cain fmr. Amb. to Denmark)
Heck VA too, though Ed is still an ok recruit for a race that didn’t look winnable, but you know Condi Rice or Bolton would’ve probably been better fmr. Bush admin. candidates then Gillespie.
The NRSC keeps on repeating the mistakes of 06 ( e.g. waste money propping up failure incumbents aka Chafee and Burns lose close races they should’ve done more in like VA and MO)
“…if the reliable partisan Republican hack is this unhappy, imagine how the rest of the base feels?”
I, for one, no longer identify as Republican.
That’s pretty much me. I may vote for some of their candidates. At this point American politics seems like fighting over the helm of the Titanic………
Same here. I am not a Republican. I will support pro-freedom candidates, regardless of label.
I no longer consider the difference between an active Prog-Rat and a self-interested lifelong bureaucrat sufficient to merit enthusiasm.
You should be if you want Harry Reid to lose his control over the Senate.
If the Republican Party itself has prioritized keeping old incumbents in office, even in the minority, over taking a majority if it involves Republicans who are not old incumbents; why should I worry about it? If they don’t care about the good of the country over self aggrandizement, conservatives cannot drag them unwillingly over the finish line.
After a while it becomes just too much to have to defeat the Republican Party before being able to fight the Democrats. They are functionally acting as the Democrats’ bodyguard and defender.
Depends on who you’re replacing him with. Are you telling me Mitch McConnell is such a great improvement?
From where I sit, the difference between a partisan hack and a self-absorbed professional bureaucrat is pretty slim.
If you’re thinking him and Boehner are a heartfelt opposition to Obama, I don’t share you enthusiasm.
When the GOP cares about first principles, I’ll care about the GOP as a label. Until then, I’ll support the candidates I believe in. And no one else.
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