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Arkansas the NRSC’s NY-23? Not so fast.

Was it too much to hope for that the GOP might actually have learned a lesson from the disastrous turn of events in New York’s 23rd Congressional District earlier this month?  After the NRCC blew nearly a million dollars on a RINO candidate who, in the end, dropped out and endorsed her Democratic rival, you’d think leaders of the Republican Party would realize victory isn’t assured in 2010 because a candidate has an “R” beside his name.  And maybe they have.

One might even expect GOP heavyweights to recognize the grassroots’ aversion to candidates too deeply entrenched in the political establishment, especially when their adherence to conservative principles is in question.  But even if they can’t take quite that big a step at the moment, the essential lesson from NY-23 is the national party needs to step aside and let the grassroots determine their nominee.  But does that mean they can’t offer any help until a candidate is chosen?

In Arkansas, a state where Democratic Senator Mark Pryor didn’t even face a Republican challenger last year, there are already seven announced Republican candidates running for Democrat Blanche Lincoln’s Senate seat in 2010.   Only two hold political office, while the others come from a variety of backgrounds–farming, business, medicine, and military–but have never run for office. This may be the most contested Republican primary for national office in Arkansas’ history.

After Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) promise that the National Republican Senatorial Committee “will not spend money in a contested primary,” conservatives in the state probably assumed the national GOP hierarchy would stand aside and let Arkansans decide who would stand against Lincoln next November.  But some are wondering if Cornyn and his colleagues at the top of the GOP food chain are already working to anoint a candidate in the crowded field.

Cornyn, along with Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), David Vitter (R-LA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) held an NRSC fundraiser last week for Arkansas State Senator Gilbert Baker in Washington and there are shouts from every corner that this reeks of the Scozzafava scenario in New York.  But Amber Wilkerson Marchand, spokeswoman for the NRSC says,   “Baker had asked to have the fundraiser at the committee’s headquarters in Washington, and that the group would allow other candidates to have events there if they asked.”

Though we’ve been unable to reach all of Baker’s opponents, we did reach Arkansas Tea Party, Inc. founder and 2010 GOP Senate candidate Tom Cox.  When asked if the committee had offered to host a similar event for his campaign he stated, “I can’t speak for the other candidates, but they [NRSC] made that offer to me.”  So it doesn’t appear they plan to anoint Baker in the Arkansas race.

It looks like the NRSC might have learned from their congressional counterpart’s costly error last month that sent Democrat Bill Owens to the US House.  They’re simply helping candidates raise much needed cash to unseat Lincoln.

Relax folks. No crisis here.

November 25, 2009 Posted by | Election 2010 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Obamacare May Target Gun Owners

by Jillian Bandes at Townhall.com

Who might be the next victim of Obamacare? Gun owners.

Government health care reform “will most likely dump your gun-related health data into a government database…that can preclude you from owning firearms,” said Gun Owners of America, in an email notification to their members, shortly before the health care debate on Saturday. GOA said that diagnoses such as post-traumatic stress disorders or other mental illnesses could be a reason the government uses to charge you more for health insurance under the public plan, or as part of co-op regulations.

Larry Pratt, executive director of GOA, said the chances of Uncle Sam using his power to regulate health care based on gun ownership was even better because Kathleen Sebelius is the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that would be in charge of specific health care regulations and their enforcement. Sebelius has a long anti-gun history, responsible for vetoes of concealed carry bills in Kansas.

“Gun owners are likely to be in there with fat people,” said Pratt.

It wouldn’t be the first time gun ownership has been tied to health regulation. GOA claims that over 150,000 vets with post-traumatic stress disorder are currently on a list that prohibits gun purchases. But Obamacare would expand government health care to millions of additional Americans.

Calls to Sebelius’ office were not returned, though a member of her press office laughed out loud when questioned about the prospect of health care being tied to gun ownership, saying, “that’s crazy.”

But Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, said such regulations were quite possible. The problem stems from government’s overriding cost-benefit assessments and their take on health issues.

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November 25, 2009 Posted by | Gun control, Health Care | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments