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Posted on Jun 18, 2008 in Across the US, Activism, Campaign '08, Congress, Party Politics, RNC

Why a McCain victory alone isn’t enough

In the past, I have been very critical of campaigns at all levels, primarily going after their lack of effort in trying to capture the young, energetic and willing base of the GOP.

Fortunately, I haven’t been the only one who has noticed these problems, and for many of the campaigns they have made strides in the right direction in terms of using technology in their favor (see Bob Schaffer for on example).

However, as candidates are starting to finally get their websites and campaign structures in order to accommodate volunteers and activists, I’ve started to see what seems like a withdrawal from campaigns on all levels, even by those who would be classified as “campaign die-hards.”

I know that things like this are bound to happen when your party has a sitting two-term President. For many, there seems to be an assumption that simply writing a check to Senator McCain or the Republican National Committee is going to take care of securing a victory come November.

Even though check writing isn’t going to make someone President (though it helps), lets just pretend that their logic is correct. Let’s assume that each of these Republicans writes their check to Senator McCain and he is able to work the right states and win the election, then what? Was this a win for the GOP?

There are many Republicans that I have spoken with who seem to believe that the only victory that the Party has to worry about is the presidency, assuming that once John McCain is in office, he’ll simply veto every piece of earmark-laden piece of legislation that comes across his desk.

Unfortunately, those who make that assumption need to understand that if the GOP doesn’t pick up some key seats, or loses just a few, having a veto-proof majority is something that wont be too far out of reach for the Democrats.

Just look at what happened with the Farm Bill, even without the Democrats having a veto-proof majority, they were able to override President Bush’s veto and pass one of the most earmark-packed pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen.

As the Democratic majority in the House continues on its likely path of growth, why would anyone assume that the addiction to earmarks is going to lessen on either side? For the Demcrats, they know that the more votes they have, the more secure they become. For some Republicans, the assumptions sets in that even if they try to stop earmarks, the Democrats will just override them, so they might as well take what they can get for their districts.

Basically what I’m saying is that the only way that the prospects of a McCain presidency can be successful in terms of fulfilling the pledges he’s making now, is by having a strong effort to get likeminded Republicans elected with him.

While the House is probably a lost cause for at least another cycle, I think that the GOP can keep or pickup some key seats in the Senate. In my opinion, Virginia (Jim Gilmore), New Mexico (Steve Pearce), Louisiana (John Kennedy), Colorado (Bob Schaffer) and New Hampshire (John Sununu) are the states that we should focus on doing whatever we can to keep in, or bring to Republican control.

In order for any of these seats to be won, Republicans need to start helping these campaigns in conjunction with their efforts to get Senator McCain elected. Furthermore, if the means are available, we need to contribute money to these campaigns and get our friends to do the same. In fact, you can even create your own fundraising page at Slatecard.com and give to the candidates you want to see win. Just talk to Joe Mansour, and he’ll help you get started.

I’m not saying that everyone should stop helping the McCain campaign. In fact, I’d suggest just the opposite and encourage more people to help him win, but at the same time also consider helping candidates in your area who might also have a chance to bring or keep a conservative voice in Congress.

It’s going to be an ugly battle this cycle, but with the right amount of foot soldiers on the ground, I’m confident that those conservatives who deserve to stay in Congress or get elected will.