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Republican "Main Street Advocacy" Attacks Conservative Groups

Main Street Advocacy, an organization created expressly to fight limited-government groups who challenge Republican Party officials, launched its first advertisement on November 6.

“The reason that Harry Reid and the Democrats control the U.S. Senate is thanks to the efforts of the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party,” Main Street Advocacy President Steve LaTourette said in the release for a video containing brief clips from Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, and Christine O’Donnell.

Focusing on a few embarrassing losses while ignoring the success of Sen. Ted Cruz and many others, Main Street Advocacy’s message is clear: only Republican leadership should have the power to choose who runs for national office as a Republican.

LaTourette – a DC lobbyist and former congressman from northeastern Ohio – is also the current president of Republican Main Street Partnership and heads Defending Main Street, Main Street Advocacy’s sister political action committee.

When candidates backed by the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), or National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) lose, allies like LaTourette offer explanations ranging from funding, to messaging, to technology problems, to the overall political climate.

When a more conservative candidate loses after being backed by independent right-of-center groups, however, RNC, NRSC, and NRCC eagerly blame the organizations who supported him or her.

Although the reverse is certainly true in terms of fingers pointed at the Republican establishment when its chosen candidates lose, the sense of victimhood expressed by LaTourette is bizarre.

According to LaTourette, Main Street Advocacy and Defending Main Street exist because the mammoth RNC, NRSC, and NRCC need help blocking threats against their power.

Defending Main Street’s plan to spend $8 million in 2014 primary races is “a baby step that we’re beginning with to try to level the playing field,” the former 18-year congressman told The Washington Post in July.

In a September 20 Washington Post op-ed, LaTourette slammed FreedomWorks and Club for Growth as “organizations that have made a lucrative business out of Washington’s dysfunction.”

“No amount of polling will convince those who are content with pandering to the base that what they are doing is damaging the party,” LaTourette sneered in an October 15 Newsweek column on the partial shutdown of the federal government.

“For the first time, there will be a group representing the governing wing of the Republican Party that will not only defend itself, but also push back,” LaTourette said in Main Street Advocacy’s November 6 release.

In the July 31, 2012 speech on the House floor where he announced his resignation from Congress, LaTourette decried the refusal of conservatives to support bloated farm and highway spending bills.

“We’re talking about building roads and bridges for Christ’s sake. We’re not talking about big Democratic and Republican initiatives,” LaTourette said.

Since leaving Congress and becoming a lobbyist, LaTourette has been on the front lines attacking conservatives who reject the Republican Party’s standard go-along-to-get-along approach.

“We want our party back,” LaTourette said last week at a New York City fundraiser covered by The New York Times.

Shortly before announcing his resignation last year, LaTourette cosponsored a “compromise” budget that would have increased taxes. The congressman did not take kindly to conservative opposition to his proposal.

“We’re asking that members tonight stand up, that they stand up to the bloodsuckers in this town who take 5, 10, 15, 25 dollars from our constituents to pretend to defend causes on their behalf,”LaTourette said in a speech on the House floor.

LaTourette claims to speak for the “centrist” or “moderate” wing of the Republican Party, but his voting record pegs him among the party’s leftmost members.

LaTourette’s lifetime score from FreedomWorks is 54 percent; he scored 32 percent in 2012.

LaTourette’s 2012 Heritage Action score of 35 percent was lower than every other Republican except Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, the senators from Maine. Sen. Snowe is helping Defending Main Street with fundraising.

Of all Republicans, only New Hampshire Congressman Charles Bass and Illinois Congressman Bob Dold had lower Club for Growth ratings than the 45 percent LaTourette earned in 2012. LaTourette’s highest Club for Growth score was 69 percent in 2010, and his lowest was 18 percent in 2007.

Along with Rep. David Joyce, LaTourette’s hand-picked replacement for his former district, Rep. Dold is one of the six candidates Main Street Advocacy has already endorsed for 2014.

This story was originally published at Media Trackers.

Greg Ball

Edwin, I think you miss the big picture, there are only really 2 groups in the Republican party. Those who believe that government is good and can solve problems by use of force and diminishing individual rights, and those who bristle at those folks for calling themselves Republicans. If there are those in the Republican party interested in bigger government, abandoning Constitutional principles, and controlling the 'free market' than I will gladly help undermine them and their intentions. The question is - what are Republicans today? I have not supported the Republicans financially since 98 when they didn't take a vote on term limits. This guy in the article, is no more a Republican than Bill Clinton...votes matter, you know like the George Bush group that gave us the 'Patriot Act', NSA spying, Medicare Part D, what makes these 'Republican' ideas?

Edwin Loftus

La Tourette is what he is and his "score" by Heritage really does not disqualify him to speak for those that agree with him. There is a leadership struggle in the coalition called the Republican Party. That's not news. La Tourette is entitled to and should be welcomed to be an advocate for his faction within that coalition. What Republicans should really be doing is hosting a travelling debate between prominent advocates like Michael Medved and Rush Limbaugh (or their nearest equivalents). Medved argues almost daily on his radio program that moderation is the only way to further the Conservative cause, appealing to the greatest number possible in order to win elections and hold majorities. Limbaugh argues less frequently that standing up for principals is the only way, presenting the clearest alternative and a choice in direction, not just style. A similar debate should address "centralized but more restrained authority" vs. "decentralized and less restrained authority" ... "Should we seek a more conservative federal domestic government or fifty domestic governments (some of which will be overwhelmingly Liberal)? The answer for the Republican Party's future needs to be that it becomes less monolithic and more like what it is ... a coalition of factions that differ between themselves, but differ more with the Democrats. To get to that point we must begin to become more familiar with what the differences within the Republican coalition are and end this homogenous fiction that all Republicans are one thought and one goal and that those that vary from that fictional center are somehow "traitors" for standing up for what they believe in. Open debates, like this post and like the formal debates I suggested are a way to begin that process, but the change that needs to take place is that more Republicans need to know what the factions within the party are, how they differ and which each of us finds most appealing. I think it was the often sagacious Everett Dirksen that said that being a leader of Republicans was akin to the task of herding cats. So it should be. That is something to be proud of, a strength, not a weakness.

Sammy Hains

Todd Akin was not a Tea Party candidate. He had the least Tea Party support out of everyone in the GOP primary. These candidates all lost because of social/religious extremism. That is NOT a Tea Party trait. The Tea Party is about fiscal sanity and Constitutional law. Period.

It's the RINOs, like Lindsey Graham, who start pushing abortion legislation when they're facing a tough primary -- to try to distract from 5 years of pursuing left-wing policies. That's why "Main Street Advocacy" won't say the real reason these candidates lost.