Judson Phillips head of Tea Party Nation, writing in the Washington Times today says of the Alexander-Carr contest, "Lamar Alexander is very vulnerable, and he could be the one RINO the tea party knocks off in 2014." Say what? Are you serious?
Phillips goes on to say, "He is a Republican institution and he is polling at less than 50 percent. For politicians, those kind of numbers are red alerts. Any time an incumbent is under 50 percent, they are in a lot of trouble. Alexander is not only below 50 percent, he is significantly below 50 percent. In the poll, 27 percent of likely Republican voters said they were undecided.
I guess that is looking at the class half full rather than half empty. (Or, should I say 20% full rather than 80% empty.) Certainly there are a lot of Republicans who think Lamar is insufficiently conservative. While he does have a more moderate voting record than I would like, on some issues such as taking on wind subsidy, education reform and minimum wage, he has shown tremendous leadership and conservative values. He is one of the few Republicans who says we should not only not raise the minimum wage, but should abolish it. I am not as critical of Lamar as some others on the right.
His demeanor of thoughtfulness, reasonableness and respectfulness may strike some as more moderate than he actually is. He is certainly not a bomb thrower or fire brand. Admittedly, he is more moderate than many Tennessee activist Republicans but the degree of separation is not as great as some may think. Freedom Works gives Alexander a current score of 60%. As a means of comparison, liberal Republican Susan Collins scores a 20, Orrin Hatch a 40, and Ted Cruz scored a 75, and Marco Rubio scored an 80. So, on the Freedom Works scorecard Alexander closer to Ted Cruz than he is Orrin Hatch. Alexander is not a Susan Collins.
Heritage makes Alexander look more liberal than does Freedom Works. Heritage Action gives Alexander a low score of 46%, but as a means of comparison, Susan Collins gets a 26 and Orran Hatch a 58, and Curz a 98 and Rubio an 85. The American Conservative Union gives Alexander a score of 60, compared to Susan Collins at 28, and Hatch at 75 and a perfect 100 for Rubio and Cruz.
Admittedly those are some low scores for Alexander but most voters don't care about scores and are not going to be swayed by the rankings of groups like Freedom Works or Heritage Action or ACU. Only the most activist of Republicans care about scores. Alexander has a perfect 100% score from pro-life and pro-Second Amendment groups and if attention is paid to scores at all, those would likely carry more weight.
Tennessee has had a history of electing more moderate Republicans ever since Tennessee began electing Republicans in 1960's. While the state's Republicans may have become more conservative in recent years and Republican primary voters are more conservative than general election voters, I do not agree that Alexander is too liberal for Tennessee voters. More moderate than the average Republican primary voter? Probably. Too moderate for Republican primary voters? I don't think so.
|Joe Carr for Sentate|
Carr is of the right wing fringe. He is far outside the mainstream of conservative thought. He subscribes to the discredited theory of nullification, he believes the First Amendment does not apply to Muslims and the Second Amendment should allow one to carry a gun onto the private property of another regardless of the desires of the property owner. Also Carr has flip flopped on several issue. Also Carr just does not strike me as that competent or smart. Even if one agrees with Carr's positions more than those of Alexander, they may still choose electability and competence over ideological purity.
A recent Vanderbilt University poll shows Lamar Alexander holds a commanding lead in the upcoming Republican primary election. According to the poll, Alexander has 64 percent favorability ratings among likely Republican primary voters, compared to 20 percent for his opponent Joe Carr. Fifty-five percent of those likely voters said they’d never heard of Carr. This poll was analyzed by The Nashville Scene and it reported:
The Senior Senator's approval ratings are 47 percent among tea party members. That's not a "throw him out of office" kind of number. ....
From the last poll in December until now, pollsters at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions discovered that Carr's favorable ratings among registered Republicans rose from 16 percent to 17 percent. Seventy-five percent of the group either didn't know or had never heard of Joe Carr.