Mark goes on to offer a proposal to save "moderates" like Rep. Susan Brooks:
Math, when applied to Congress, can be a strange thing. "Majority" used to mean, in the United States Senate, 60 votes. In the United States House of Representatives, it used to mean 218 votes. Now the nation is perched on the edge of that hackneyed fiscal cliff. The reason, in large part, is the threat tea baggers, who hold fewer than 50 seats in the House. That is around 12 percent of the House Membership.
In an abstract to an article, "Getting Primaried: The Growth and Consequences of Ideological Primaries," prepared for the "State of the Parties" Conference at the University of Akron in October, 2009, Professor Robert Boatright's thesis was summarized, in part: "...the rhetoric behind 'primarying' may be an effective tool for ideological groups to threaten moderate incumbents, but this rhetoric bears little resemblance to the reality of congressional primary competition. This rhetoric by itself, however, may be effective, particularly within the Republican Party, in heightening partisan divisions."
The 2010 decennial redistricting called for by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, was used by the Republican Party---as used by the Democratic Party in previous decades---to draw district lines that created hyper-Republican Congressional districts.
John Nichols, writing in an October 1, 2013, article, "America Gets Primaried," in "The Nation," notes: "Indeed, there are dozens of Republicans who would be prepared to end the madness of the moment. But they cannot do so---for fear of being 'primaried.' In overwhelmingly Republican districts, the threat of a general election defeat---at the hands of swing voters infuriated with extremist stances and general dysfunction---is slim. But the threat of a primary challenge, and defeat, is real. With national networks of right-wing donors at the ready to fund against so-called 'Republican-in-Name-Only' incumbents, the threat is amplified."
U.S. Representative Susan Brooks represents the Congressional District in which we live. When President Obama pushed for military intervention in Syria, I wrote to her and expressed my opposition to that move. Her response was well-reasoned. She easily could have used extreme language to attack the position advanced by the President. Instead, she explained why she felt there was little evidence to support U.S. intervention. I disagree with her on other positions she has taken....
Our Congressional District, according to one local observer of voter statistics, has a baseline Republican vote of at least sixty percent (60%), perhaps as high as sixty-five percent (65%). A crucial primary race between candidates in the Democratic Party hardly seems likely. Whoever decides to throw her or his hat into the ring for the Ds has an uphill fight in the general, not the primary, election. However, if a tea bagger threatens to run against Representative Brooks because she is too moderate, we should be ready to cross over and vote in the Republican primary against such a candidate.Over the course of my some 27 years of being involved in Marion County GOP politics, I've heard this party cross-over strategy discussed and tried several times. It has never worked. Only the really hardcore partisans will sacrifice their ballot to make a political point about a particular race. Unless the margin in a race is razor thin close, those votes won't matter. Further, there are penalties for crossing over as some Republicans wannabe candidates found out when they attempted to run for their parties nomination in 2010 after crossing over to vote in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008, an ill-fated attempt to skew the outcome in that race. The crossover vote triggered a little known Indiana law that required them, because during the last primary they had taken a Democratic ballot, to get the approval of their county chairman before running in the Republican primary.
Indiana has "open" primaries. We can votes in either party's primary. It is inconceivable at this time that a candidate for the Democratic Party would be farther to the right than anyone who would present her or his name as a candidate for the GOP. Gerrymandering has bastardized an already bizarre system such that we have---this, a system in which a minority of the members of the House can shut down the government. And let's be clear: this is not an example of the checks and balances set up by the Framers of the Constitution. Hamilton wrote against super-majorities. Washington warned the nation against "factions" and their potential for pernicious influence.
If you live in a Congressional district held by a moderate Republican, let your incumbent know you have her or his back. Let that person know you will cross over to block any effort to make her, or him, effectively the Richard Lugar in the 2014 election. If the two major political parties have created a system that borders on the farcical. the least we can do is try and salvage some control from those who would try to take it over that hackneyed fiscal cliff.
The irony is that when Mark Small called me the night before he wrote the article suggesting the crossover vote strategy to help candidates like Susan Brooks, I was in an Indianapolis Tea Party meeting. The speaker was a candidate named David Stockdale, who is running in the Republican Primary in Congressional District 6 against Representative Susan Brooks.
I guarantee that if Mark Small were in a room and heard Rep. Susan Brooks and David Stockdale speak, he'd strongly side with the challenger. Stockdale's speech emphasized the importance of civil liberties and libertarian values in general. He sharply criticizing CISPA and the NSA spying program. Stockdale also spoke of being against corporate welfare and corporate bailouts. The challenger opposes an interventionist foreign policy which results in placing men and women of the military in harm's way on matters only tangentially related to our national interest. On each of these issues, Brooks has supported the position opposite to that held by tea party candidate Stockdale and opposite to that held by liberal Mark Small.
Those on the far left love to hate on the tea party, believing that they are conservative to the extreme. But the fact is the tea party has many of the same populist values that those on the left hold. In many ways it is the "moderate Republicans" who are more extreme in their utter disdain for civil liberties, their promotion of an interventionist foreign policy, and their insisting on taxpayer dollars going to corporations that enrich their campaign coffers.
Mark Small is wrong...again.