Friday, April 18, 2014

Behind the Ad: GOP civil war battle lines are drawn in the Idaho 2nd Congressional District

By Richard K. Barry

Who: U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)

Where: The Idaho 2nd Congressional District

What's going on: The district is solidly Republican, so this is all about the primary, and what a primary it is turning out to be. 

According to the Charlie Cook Report:
In 2014, Idaho's most fervent conservatives' long-simmering distrust of the consensus-building Simpson is set to boil over. And, because the May 2014 GOP primary has already turned into an all-out proxy war between the GOP's ideological purists like the Club for Growth and the Madison Project on one side and Speaker John Boehner and the Republican Main Street Partnership on the other, the results will have repercussions well beyond Idaho.

The hyper-conservative Club for Growth has already listed Simpson as one Republican they most want to beat in part because he is a close personal friend of House Speaker John Boehner, not to mention that he has been willing to actually get things done in Washington, a no-no for the crazy right. 

Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith is the anointed one for the Tea Party types and he has been attracting boat loads of outside cash in the hope that Rep. Simpson can be taught a lesson he'll never forget. 

Support for Simpson, on the other hand, will come from the part of the Republican base that is establishment oriented and business friendly and has had enough of Tea Party wack-jobbery. This will, of course, also include lots of outside money.

If you need more clarity on the distinction between the two, Smith was against Simpson's October 2013 vote with Democrats to end the 16-­day partial government shutdown and to raise the debt ceiling without any spending cuts.

Let the games begin. This is the real thing. 

Not surprisingly, in this ad, Mitt Romney (A.K.A. that guy who ran for president) comes down on the side of the establishment in his buttoned-down support of Rep. Simpson. 

Grade: Well, it has to be done, though the ad really defines the battle lines for anyone who wasn't sure. C

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