Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two years later, WSJ silent on Cannon fodder

Restrictionists have cause for celebration in Chris Cannon's crushing primary defeat in Utah on Tuesday to Jason Shaffetz, 60%-40%. The same primary contest two years ago received lots of national coverage. Political newcomer John Jacob challenged similarly challenged Cannon on immigration. To the WSJ op/ed board's satisfaction, he fell short, garnering only 44% of the vote:
Mr. Cannon defeated millionaire real-estate developer John Jacob, who spent more than $400,000 in the race, much of it assailing Mr. Cannon's support for President Bush's comprehensive immigration reform. Mr. Jacob was also adopted by Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo's political action committee, Team America, which wants to make the GOP an anti-immigration party. Mr. Tancredo's PAC spent $40,000 on radio ads attacking the incumbent, and its Web site even posted a picture of Mr. Cannon with a red target around his head.

What the disingenious board failed to mention then was that Cannon spent more than $800,000 in the contest. Additionally, he had the backing of the Bush Administration and a top ranking by the American Conservative Union in one of the nation's most conservative districts. However, the board did make the following assertion:
Mr. Cannon has now survived a single-issue immigration assault from a well-financed fellow Republican. GOP voters are smarter than GOP Members think they are.
All quiet on the western front this time around, though.

Cannon won in '06 not because voters were with him on immigration, but because the GOP was still cruising along in the driver's seat. Keep in mind, the '06 primary took place five months before Republicans were thrashed in the November mid-term elections. The GOP controlled both chambers of Congress in addition to the Presidency. Cannon's open borders position alone wasn't cause enough for a mutiny.

Outspending Shaffetz nearly 7-to-1 and again enjoying the full backing of the party's national leadership, Cannon still went down in flames this time around. Shaffetz opposition to illegal immigration (his position on legal immigration is similar to Mitt Romney's, in which high value-adding immigration is encouraged) clearly distinguished itself from Cannon's unfettered support of open borders. The goodwill is now gone.

Minorities in both Houses, the GOP is set to nominate the most neoconservative Senator in the party. As a testament to how distasteful that is to many on the right, Ron Paul, the black sheep of the party's national establishment, took a quarter of the vote in Idaho, and one-sixth of it in New Mexico and Oregon as the Republican primaries finished up, three months after McCain had been crowned and the contests had been reduced to mere formalities.

Cannon's obliteration portends a rough November for leftist Republicans facing reelection, as conservative voters reclinate to their roots and refuse to tolerate deviation from the core foundation of their political beliefs.

Tangentially, I've followed the WSJ since '03, and everything the board has backed--open borders, military interventionism and nation building, unrestricted trade (even if unreciprocated)--has characterized the Republican Party's national leadership over the same period of time. What a disaster neoconservatism has been for the GOP thus far this century.


John S. Bolton said...

You caught them on this one definitely. They had crowed that Cannon survived a challenge last time, but there is no chance that they would be willing to publicize it now, that being known as the 'point man' on amnesty is a very weak political position for a republican, even one otherwise most uncommonly well-situated for unchallengeability.

Audacious Epigone said...

Really, there is no way to spin out of this one. Except for immigration, Cannon is a 'bona fide' conservative in one of the most conservative districts in the country, with the national party establishment and neocon right publications like the WSJ behind him. And he had seven times as much money to put into the primary. Oh, and Shaffetz was a relative unknown.

Yet Cannon was still obliterated. Great news.