Wolves in Lamb’s Clothing

By | 2018-03-16T07:24:01+00:00 March 15th, 2018|
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Tuesday’s narrow win by Democrat Conor Lamb in a special congressional election in Pennsylvania has thrilled Democrats eager to believe that the entire country has finally seen the error of its ways and is about to remove the interloper Donald J. Trump, if not from power then at least from moral authority in the White House. This, they crow, is yet more proof of the “blue wave” that surely is coming in the fall, when the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition retakes the House of Representatives, re-installs Nancy Pelosi as speaker, and effects the Progressive Restoration in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016.

Chastened Republicans, meanwhile, are expected finally to bow to the inevitable and hang their heads in shame, while accepting the natural overlordship of their Democrat betters and returning to their Vichycon places at the table, collaborating whenever possible and putting up only token resistance when not.

Not so fast. It’s always dangerous to draw national conclusions from local elections, which House races are by definition.

First, the district was holding a special election to replace Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned last October after the news broke that he had encouraged his lover in an extramarital affair to abort a pregnancy, which turned out to be a phantom. Of course, for a Democrat, this would have been no problem at all, since the modern Democratic Party considers a “woman’s right to choose” to be right up there with “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” Forget honey traps: Murphy was caught in a hypocrisy trap, so he had to go.

Second, Democrats in the district have a registration advantage of some 70,000 voters, but many of those are “conservative” and it went hard for Trump in 2016. Outside observers (i.e., Democrat media shills and the krack kadres of GOP kampaign konsultants) at first expected the seat to stay red. But then the Republican bonzes took a look at the polls, and promptly bailed on candidate Rick Saccone, writing him off as lost.

Third, the district is about to be renamed and reshaped in the wake of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order to redraw its boundaries. Gerrymandering, it seems, is a high crime and misdemeanor when elected Republicans do it, but when unelected Democrats do it, it serves the cause of social justice and is thus OK.

So it’s hard to generalize from what seems to be—in the gleeful words of the New York Times—“a win in the heart of President Trump’s Rust Belt base . . . even in deep-red areas where Republicans remain bedeviled by Mr. Trump’s unpopularity.” Democrats have been itching for this moment since their hopes were crushed in Georgia last June, their sorrow only partly assuaged by the GOP’s own loss of Jeff Sessions’ U.S. Senate seat in Alabama and an easy win for Democrats in the Virginia gubernatorial contest.

All politics really is local, as Tip O’Neill famously observed, and House elections, gerrymandered to the hilt and thus subject (as the Constitution intended) to the transient passions of the moment, are more local than anything else with a national resonance. What, after all, is gerrymandering but a delayed response to political developments within a given state, including control of the state legislature, which draws the districts? Expect the federal courts to strike down this usurpation of the separation of powers in Pennsylvania, but for now the damage has been done.

Still, the fixation of the Washington press corps—and everybody in the media is now basically a member of it—on Trump and the 24/7, never-ending presidential campaigns of the 21st century means that all politics is now national, and that everything is a constant referendum on Trump. This way lies insanity, but it is a fine madness devoutly to be wished by the media and the Democrats, who do not see politics as an eternal give-and-take, but a contest to be won, and finished, decisively.

What ought to worry the GOP about the Lamb victory is not the victory itself—Lamb had been leading handsomely in the polls, running as a “conservative”—but the stealthiness of the campaign, which is all part of an emerging new Democrat strategy. As House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) noted, “the candidate who is going to win this race is the candidate who ran as a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-Nancy Pelosi, conservative.”

So behold the emerging Campaign ’18. For months now, Democrats have been recruiting youthful military vets, some of them anti-abortion, and committed to a generational change of the Democrats’ geriatric leadership. In an area like Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, which historically has been home to white, working-class, blue-collar cradle Democrats, this is a winning idea. In order to take back states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Democrats finally are realizing that the Pelosi-Schumer-Clinton axis of evil no longer holds any appeal, but that clean-cut, all-American types like Conor Lamb very much do. A party that has never had any problem compromising its transient “moral” principles won’t hesitate to run right at conservative Democrat voters, even it means betraying their professed ideals in order to support the national party with votes in Congress when it matters. “By any means necessary” is the Democrats’ slogan for a reason, after all.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the consultants who make a living by turning winnable races into close elections, bear much of the blame. Behind the scenes, in race after race, they decide beforehand which candidates are viable and which aren’t. The result is a top-down determination about where the PAC money will go, and about which candidates will get national media attention. Ask yourself this: had you ever heard of Rick Saccone until last week? Bet you heard of Conor Lamb. As CNN reported Wednesday:

Democrats in Washington believe they have found a winning strategy in Trump country: don’t nationalize the race. Coming off the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district Tuesday night—where Democrat Conor Lamb is poised to win—and Alabama’s special Senate election in December, national Democrats feel confident they have found a way to succeed by working behind the scenes with campaigns and focusing their efforts early on defining Republican candidates on issues that matter locally.

“Everyone learned their lesson from Jon Ossoff,” a Democrat operative said. “We realized that nationalizing a race like that obviously didn’t work and ultimately we lost.”

What this means is, the Young Turk Democrats are prepared temporarily to swallow their Trump hatred in order to elect stealth House candidates. This is entirely characteristic of Democrats, who play a long game, and always with one corrupt goal in mind: the domination of American politics for their own personal, professional, and ideological enrichment. Against this, what has the Republican Party to offer?

The answer to that will determine the outcome of the 2018 congressional elections. If the Republicans can’t counter this obvious ploy, they deserve to lose every seat in the House.

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Photo credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

By | 2018-03-16T07:24:01+00:00 March 15th, 2018|

About the Author:

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time Magazine, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction), and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. A sequel, The Fiery Angel, will be published by Encounter on May 29, 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules (Photo credit: Peter Duke Photo)

43 Comments

  1. Scott March 15, 2018 at 2:14 am

    Hillary Clinton the most vial person the ever walk on planet earth 🌏

    • BCML March 15, 2018 at 7:11 am

      Ironic.

      • Kill the King March 15, 2018 at 4:38 pm

        You are one unhappy little man.Why not go down to the adult bookstore and find yourself a man?

        • BCML March 15, 2018 at 7:21 pm

          Meaning?

      • CosmotKat March 15, 2018 at 4:56 pm

        I think the saying goes, “If the shoe fits, wear it, stupid.”

  2. Alex Chilton March 15, 2018 at 4:19 am

    What garbage this district was gerrymandered to be deep red. Dems did not even run anyone in the last two cycles. Scott Walker won’t even hold special elections. Basically there is deep voters remorse for about 20% of Trump voters.

  3. Don't Call Saul March 15, 2018 at 4:25 am

    And now it has just been revealed that a Paul Ryan PAC actually helped get Lamb elected, yes, you read that right, a Paul Ryan PAC worked to get a Democrat elected. The cowards and scum of the GOP establishment have shown once again they have no desire to actually lead or be in the majority, they are actively trying to lose the majority on purpose. This is the Uni Party on full display

    • Kitty Myers March 15, 2018 at 5:33 am

      “BREAKING: Paul Ryan’s PAC Elected Democrat Conor Lamb”
      “A so-called GOP PAC led by Paul Ryan spent thousands of dollars in a direct mail campaign to convince voters that Conor Lamb was a conservative who would protect American’s gun rights in Congress.”

      Check out the flyer:
      https://bigleaguepolitics.com/breaking-paul-ryans-pac-elected-democrat-conor-lamb/

    • Curt A. March 15, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Not surprised if this were true, Mr. Trump has as many enemies among the Republicans as among the Democrats.

      • Don't Call Saul March 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm

        The Uni Party was finally unmasked by Trump.

  4. ata777 March 15, 2018 at 6:19 am

    What the GOP has to “offer” is their leaders’ determination to once again be the minority party in Congress. The one that pretends to have “loyal opposition” principles that are revealed to be utterly fraudulent when they attain majority status. The party that prefers the perks of power, far more than the responsibilities of it. In short, they are quite comfortable with Democrats running the show, and protecting the anti-Trump, globalist status quo ALL of them support.

    • SmartProf March 15, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      The GOPe has nothing to offer.
      The proved this in 2016.

      • CosmotKat March 15, 2018 at 4:55 pm

        So, DumbProf, since the country elected Trump over Clinton, reason and logic would say the DNC had even less to offer.

      • BCML March 15, 2018 at 7:32 pm

        They face oblivion.

  5. RAM500 March 15, 2018 at 7:07 am

    Indiana has had a history of electing allegedly traditional or moderate Democrats who then slavishly voted their party line once in Washington. Also a history of electing Republican establishment types who act conservative only during campaigns.

    As for the Republican establishment leaders in the US, their only true concern is power and money, for themselves. If power and money accrue when they are in the minority, that status is quite all right with them. Now they’re called upon to lead, but what do we see?–an aversion to leadership, because something they say or do might offend their donors. The tax bill only passed because this was the one issue where donors and rank-and-file Republicans were on the same side.

  6. BCML March 15, 2018 at 7:09 am

    The GOP is doomed and will face massive losses in the mid-terms.

    • Bob March 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      And you better stock up on meds. You are going to need them.

      • BCML March 15, 2018 at 2:50 pm

        Don’t bet on it Bobby.

        • CosmotKat March 15, 2018 at 4:57 pm

          I think he’s really betting your trailer, there Skippy.

    • CosmotKat March 15, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Your outrage and hate is duly noted however; what animates the real American citizen is a growing economy, decent jobs, increasing wages, and lower taxes. Trump has delivered where Obama could not despite the most favorable press in our history. Trump will be reelected as a result.

      You rant is basically all hate and falls into the category of deranged leftists outrage. A subject worthy enough that one of the great old self-admitted leftist, Michael Waltzer wrote about it in the 2002 issue of Dissent asking “Can There Be a Decent Left? He has since a released a book of the same name and it was reviewed this week in the WSJ. The answer based on comments like yours, is no, a resounding NO!. I believe Waltzer has come to the same conclusion.

      • BCML March 15, 2018 at 7:20 pm

        Move on, sonny. Out of your league.

        • CosmotKat March 15, 2018 at 7:21 pm

          You’re right I no longer play in the midget league like you.

          • BCML March 15, 2018 at 7:23 pm

            Sorry. I don’t reply to lame boring people.

          • CosmotKat March 15, 2018 at 7:28 pm

            I picked up on juvenile schtick a long time ago, puke face. Your an outraged juvenile with nothing to say but smears, slurs, and character assassinations. I find the the old saying “to anger a conservative tell them lies, to anger idiots like you tell them the truth.” As your brainless commentary proves over and over it works every time.

            Stay miserable and stupid, it fits you.

          • BCML March 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm

            ZZZZZ. yawn.

    • RAM500 March 16, 2018 at 6:54 am

      If all the demonstrated good results have really come from “incompetence”, we need more of that, not less.

  7. LloydDaub March 15, 2018 at 11:33 am

    4 words: “Whistling past the graveyard.” You’d be singing a different tune if the GOP had held the seat.

    • BCML March 15, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Which they should have and didn’t. Get ready for a deluge.

      • CosmotKat March 15, 2018 at 4:43 pm

        What deluge? Like the author said only people who think like you read anything into a pretty nondescript local election. What won? Conservative values. That’s the take-away.

  8. Doctor Bass Monkey March 15, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Turnout, turnout, turnout as seen in the landslide GOP win in TN the same night that no one wants to mention. The GOP has lost VA, GA, and PA simply by not showing up to vote. It doesn’t help when saps vote for a GOP-lite Dem who will fall in line with Pelosi the moment he’s sworn in.

  9. Mel March 15, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    What does the GOP have to offer?
    They’ve recruited moderate sensible centrist electable candidates that will then go on to lose against the more conservative Dem candidates.
    You can’t make this $hit up.

  10. Bob March 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    A couple of caveats:

    The issue of voter fraud has yet to come to a head. PA has seen massive amounts of it in the past- and the PA 18 results are now in some disarray over a few issues. When this issue gets public traction, it will hurt the Dem’s.

    The election of conservative Dem’s is not the worst of outcomes. In fact, a loyal oppostition is required in a functioning liberal democracy. So a cadre of Dem’s like Lamb in opposition is a good idea.

    The GOP is still in control, and as the economic benefits accrue, and as young Rep’s take center stage, the 2018 elections can be a big win from the MAGA agenda.

  11. Arrest-George_Soros March 15, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    I will NEVER acknowledge “overlordship” bu any Democrat. Every Democrat is a traitor.

    • NutherGuy March 16, 2018 at 3:45 am

      ‘Traitor’ describes all the leadership. Among the rank-and-file most are simply screamingly ignorant.

  12. Oliver Felts March 15, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Once Lamb hits the house he’ll turn.

  13. zanzibar March 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Well there’s the gauntlet to the Pubbies but is anyone listening? It’s been discussed broadly at this point, the Dems are fielding military and intelligence people for offices. And the counter punch is…?

    A bunch of frumpy GOPe types who say it’s “my turn?” Good heavens, President Trump is going to have to do everything himself!?

    Excellent piece by Michael Walsh.

  14. Curt A. March 15, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    “Compromising their transient moral princples”? It would be hard to determine which party one is describing. Is it possibly referring to Republican candidates who for years uttered strong rhetoric and offered promises to undo the ACA and support for Planned Parenthood, and once elected, did nothing? Is it possible that Mr. Murphy may have been that sort of person? I don’t live in Pennsylvania so I don’t much about him but if the GOP keeps running the pre-Trump candidates in 2018, the possibility of losing the House is not just a whimsy.

  15. Julie Mckinley March 15, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    What happened to the report ineligible persons voted in PA elections? (Google it for yourselves.)

  16. Julie Mckinley March 15, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    That is, Google “100,000 ineligible voters in PA.”

  17. Haga Akane ✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ March 15, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Any military veteran who throws their lot in with the Democrats is not a military veteran. Might as well have deserted and joined the Taliban.

  18. RAM500 March 16, 2018 at 6:51 am

    The GOP propaganda arm is asleep at the switch. The party needs to illustrate graphically again and again how the faux-conservative Democrats have actually voted in Congress because of Democratic Party pressure or because they lied to begin with. Beat this message to death. Voters need education. The problem is that many Republicans are also faux-conservatives in their own way, so how do they get behind a campaign theme that exposes them, too?

  19. The Hillbilly Kitty March 16, 2018 at 7:23 am

    No, no. no.
    Its Trump. Trump is killing the GOP before our very eyes.
    But of courses, you’ll never read that from Trump fanatic Michael Walsh.
    That would take way, way too much honesty.
    The cake is baked. We eat it on Nov. 6.

  20. Robert Browning March 16, 2018 at 7:29 am

    The Democrats are the party of the racial enemies of whites, blacks and Jews. The only way Lamb could have won was by better appealing to whites than his opponent in a very white part of Pennsylvania. Lamb now has to betray someone , either his voters or his party. Who will it be?

Comments are closed.