The Club for Growth: slouching towards irrelevance

Over the next few days, we will hear a great deal about the meaning of the Iowa Caucuses, as pundits and bloggers will sift through the demographic data to interpret trends, and voter preferences. There were two obvious winners. There were several losers.

The Big Loser tonight in Iowa: The Club for Growth.

I’ve written quite a bit about The Club for Growth’s ongoing jihad against Mike Huckabee.

With each salvo launched by Pat Toomey and the Club for Growth, the Huck has seemed to gain additional momentum. Each time a new “White Paper” has been released (there have been three so far) the level of skepticism towards CfG has grown. Among a large portion of the conservative coalition, the Club for Growth is no longer viewed as an honest broker. After spending upwards of $700,000 in attack advertising with the stated aim of derailing Huckabee, and future buys pending in Carolina, Huckabee went from low single digits in the polls to this solid victory in the opening act of the 08 election.

Toomey will, no doubt, claim that the message just isn’t getting out, and will order his troops to increase the volume, exaggerations, demonizations, polarizations, and continue the promotion of small-tent conservatism that continues to drive the Club towards irrelevance. In fact, I noticed today over on the CfG blog that they were still looking for reasons to explain Toomey’s primary loss to Arlen Specter.

This time? “Did Specter break the law to beat Toomey?

Last time? Well, Toomey blamed it on Stephen Moore’s lack of managerial acumen, despite the Club for Growth spending over a million dollars in negative advertising aimed at Specter.

After his election defeat, Toomey was able to build alliances on the Board in order to force out Moore and the rest of the brainpower that was originally responsible for the rise, relevance, and prominence of the Club for Growth.

There is only one reason Toomey was unable to beat Specter: Pat Toomey executed a poor strategy. Sooner or later, Steve Stephens and the rest of the big boys on the CfG Board are going to realize that Toomey’s execution during this election cycle has been equally poor. Frankly, I haven’t seen any really good stuff from CfG since the “Blowing in the Wind” ad.

Hopefully, along with that realization will come the affirmation that social conservatives are their allies, not their enemies. I’d love to see them go after the Democrats with the same fervor that they’ve gone after Huckabee. Oh, and while y’all are at it, how about using some of that supposed expertise to do a fair critique of The Fair Tax?

also at ConservaBlogs,

great analysis at American Thinker,

another great analysis at NYT, 

and also at caucus blogs

WWTD (What would Toomey do?)

Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth made headlines yesterday by announcing a major political advertising campaign, specifically targeting Republican voters in Iowa and South Carolina. His stated purpose? To attack Mike Huckabee.

Pulling out an old video which has been on the web for several weeks now, Toomey uses an out of context theme to try and persuade Republican voters that there is no kind of tax that Huckabee doesn’t like, that in fact, Huckabee is a wild-eyed, tax and spend liberal.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Huckabee about these accusations last month.

Here is Huck’s response:

“I was basically giving a put up or shut up speech to the legislature who had been saying we have got a $200 million deficit, and we don’t like any proposal the governor has to fix it,” he said. “What I was saying to them was, if you don’t like my proposals, give me yours, but let’s fix this deficit.

And we did.”

Contrary to Toomey’s claims, this is about responsible governance, not “tax-and-spend” bumper sticker politics.

Close to 90% of Arkansas’ general fund goes to fund public education, Medicaid, and TANF (temporary aid to needy families). Another 7% goes for Criminal Justice, which funds the State Police, Prisons, and the Crime Lab. The remainder goes for parks, tourism, and industrial development.

So, what would Toomey do?

What would the other candidates do?

If their criticism of Huckabee is to have any credibility, the most likely conclusion is that The Club for Growth would favor cutting money to Public Education and Medicaid: the two largest expenditures in the budget.

I don’t believe for a minute that any of the Republican field, would demand that the state budget be balanced on the backs of school teachers, single mothers, and health care for the poor.

But, that is EXACTLY what Pat Toomey and The Club for Growth are advocating.

Shame on them.


The Rules are about to change………


MM uses the T-word “troubling”. I’m sure she’ll lose a lot of sleep over it.

AP says “worrisome”, but its just more of his fredneck crapola

NRO tries to spin it their way.  David Sanders trots out Steve Stephens as an exemplar.  Henh, good luck with ‘dat.

The Country Club for Growth Strikes Again

The Club for Growth spinoff group, Club for, has their sights set on Mike Huckabee. Jackson “Steve” Stephens, Jr. and his poodle, Pat Toomey are at it again.This time, Toomey is announcing a major ad buy in Iowa and SC, and is threatening to “dramatically increase the buy in the near future.” See for yourself….

Even as their favorite candidate languishes in the polls, their battle cry has become “Anybody but Huckabee.” Hiding behind a pro-business facade, CfG’s tactics reveal them to be nothing more than a self-serving organization bent on preserving the status-quo. It really isn’t much of a stretch to believe that given their visceral hatred of Governor Huckabee, Stephens and the Club for Growth would support a Hillary Clinton candidacy, should Huckabee gain the Republican nod.

For those of you who may not know, Toomey was a congressman from PA who made the right money connections in the brokerage/securities biz. He parlayed those connections into a multi-million dollar campaign war chest, along with an additional million-dollar ad buy (courtesy of the Club for Growth), in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Arlen Specter. His reward for losing to Specter? He was named President of the CfG. The Toomster now spends his time criticizing and campaigning against other Republicans who aren’t as conservative as he thinks they ought to be.

Stephens, Chairman of, is from one Arkansas’ richest families, as well as one of the largest contributors to CfG. His feud with Huckabee goes back several years. It has seemingly become a personal blood feud for Stephens, as previously documented here. Stephens is not above using the CfG imprimatur to campaign against so-called “earmark spending”, just so long as some of the pork spending is reserved for his own companies.

idareyou.jpgAs an interested observer, I get the distinct impression that the Country Club for Growth is almost daring Mike Huckabee to run a new type of populist campaign. It would combine social conservatism with economic populism. And, while this type of campaign is probably new ground for most Republicans, especially a yankee like Toomey, Stephens really should know better.

We Southerners have watched the quadrennial gubernatorial runs of various and sundry silk-stocking trial lawyers who would don a hard hat and carry a steel lunch bucket to various and sundry factory locations, claiming that they were the true-blue supporters of the working man. It really didn’t matter that they were all Democrats. Everybody was a Democrat. Arkansas and Louisiana are the last two southern states who suffered under the Federal occupation (euphemistically called “Reconstruction”) to fully embrace two-party politics. Suffice to say, we are quite familiar with populist campaigns.

I would say to the Country Club for Growth: be careful what you ask for. You have been unable to answer the most basic “tax-cuts for the rich” Democrat mantra in a palatable way. What makes you think you can take on someone with the rhetorical skills of Huckabee who doesn’t mind using similar economic language, and who is operating on familiar territory?

What we are seeing now, should Huckabee prevail, is a dramatic realignment of the Republican coalition. And, we will have The Country Club for Growth, in part, to thank.

Bring it on, poodle-boy.

also at The Hill, and at Hot Air


Sercan Ondem

The Light

Inspire, Encourage and Empower

All about career, personal development, productivity & leadership


Sercan Ondem

The Reset Blog

Start over, just don't stop


A topnotch site

My life as Atu's Blog

a small thougt for a big planet of daydreamer

Taffy Toffy's Blog


About life, the universe and everything

Drowning in depression.

Is'nt it great being a human!

%d bloggers like this: