“It’s Not what they say, it’s what they do.” THAT is the slogan that hits you first when you call up The Club For Growth’s home page. What is this Club For Growth thingie? Their web site tells you rather succinctly:
The Club for Growth is a national network of thousands of pro-growth Americans, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom. We work to promote public policies that encourage a high growth economy and a swift return to America’s founding principles primarily through legislative involvement, issue advocacy, research, training and educational activity.
The primary tactic of the separate Club for Growth PAC is to provide financial support from Club members to viable candidates to Congress who believe in pro-growth policies, limited government, low taxes and economic freedom, both in Republican primaries and general elections.
The Club actively opposed Richard Hudson in the Eighth District GOP primary in 2012, but was outgunned by PACs funded by allies of John Boehner and Eric Cantor. Well, despite that setback, they’ve come back for more here in the Tar Heel State. The CFG seems to have discovered what many of us in the Second Congressional District have known for some time: Renee Ellmers is enjoying life in Washington WAY TOO MUCH. The Club For Growth has marked Renee as a RINO (Republican-In-Name-Only) who NEEDS a primary opponent in 2014. Why, you ask? Here’s their two cents:
One newspaper described Ellmers as “one of the Republican leadership’s greatest freshman allies, and a rising star in the conference she once derided from her perch at Tea Party rallies back home.” Indeed, Ellmers joined with the GOP leadership to help raise the debt ceiling by trillions of dollars. She also joined with the GOP leadership to pass a massive highway bill that will almost certainly guarantee more bailouts, and even criticized the conservative Republican Study Committee for fighting to limit government, despite being a member of the group herself.
CHECK THE RECORD:
Voted to increase the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion. (RCV #690, 2011)
Voted for a budget extension that funded ObamaCare (RCV #579, 2012)
Voted against the budget proposed by House conservatives (RCV #275, 2011)
Voted to bailout the Highway Trust Fund (RCV #451, 2012)
Voted to massively expand corporate welfare by reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank (RCV #224, 2012)
Voted against cutting $2.2 million from the National Park System and against cutting $3.2 million from the Botanic Gardens (RCV #654, 2011; RCV #624, 2011)
Voted for a massive appropriations bill that spent above the budget levels in the Ryan budget (RCV #941, 2011)
Voted against numerous spending cuts that would have reduced the size of government
Renee has benefited from being in the right place at the right time. She eked out a win in the 2010 GOP primary. Bobby “Boom Boom” Etheridge’s YouTube debut helped her eke out a win in a race that SHOULD have been a blowout victory for Etheridge. That feat earned her somewhat of a honeymoon from Tea Partiers and other grassroots activists. She spent her first two years cozying up to House leaders and throwing her diehard campaign supporters from the Tea Party under the bus. In 2012, there was so much uncertainty about redistricting. At the last minute, the GOP majority in Raleigh hooked her up with a safe GOP district. She drew multiple challenges from little-known, poorly-funded grassroots candidates in the primary. She performed poorly in the district’s two largest counties — losing one and pulling out a lackluster victory in the other.
Word on the street is that at least THREE credible candidates are seriously eyeing a primary challenge to Miss Harnett County. I am willing to bet that The Club For Growth’s public statements about Ellmers will coax at least one of them off the fence and into this thing.
Some people bash The Club For Growth for spending money to attack Republicans. The Club is actually putting heat on Republicans who talk a good conservative game during their campaigns — then join the tax-and-spend orgy once voters reward them with a new term. Not too different from our mission here.
The Bush era — and the Boehner / Cantor era — in DC are making it increasingly clear that “Republican” and “conservative” are increasingly becoming mutually exclusive terms. It’s quite a healthy exercise to pressure officials in your own party to honor their campaign promises and to live up to the rhetoric they preach on the campaign trail. If this effort forces Renee to come back to the conservative camp — GOOD. If it causes her to lose her seat, it’s a lesson learned and a warning to be heeded for anyone else out there with ambitions of furthering their fortunes in DC.