Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Politico reported that Sen. John McCain is purging the Arizona Republican Party of his ardent detractors.
Nearly a year ago, tea party agitators in Arizona managed to get John McCain censured by his own state party. Now, he’s getting his revenge.
As the longtime Republican senator lays the groundwork for a likely 2016 reelection bid, his political team is engaging in an aggressive and systematic campaign to reshape the state GOP apparatus by ridding it of conservative firebrands and replacing them with steadfast allies.
The ambitious effort — detailed to POLITICO by nearly a dozen McCain operatives, donors, and friends — has stretched from office buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, where strategists plotted and fundraisers collected cash for a super PAC, to Vietnamese-American communities across Arizona, where recruiters sought out supporters eager to help the incumbent defeat the tea party.
Team McCain’s goal? Unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices.
The reaction I’m seeing to this news ranges from delighted anticipation (on the part of AZ lefties) to misplaced optimism that a new era of moderate Republican unicorns and rainbows is upon us. I’m sorry to break it to everyone but this move on McCain’s part, which cost an eye-popping $300K to pull off, is nothing more than John McCain (who is known for being vindictive) punishing the activists who censured him and staving off a potential primary challenge in 2016.
Even the fact that 50 Vietnamese-Americans won precinct committee spots is not a reason to expect a saner Arizona Republican Party. If most of those new PCs are non-radicals they will quickly become uncomfortable in the cesspool of super-charged racism that is the AZ GOP. On the other hand, it’s as likely as not that a lot of those Vietnamese-American Republican activists are radical right wingers themselves. Reactionary authoritarians exist in every group.
My characterization of the 21st century GOP as primarily a white supremacist party often makes Republicans I know angry but, too bad, it’s true. And if my pointing that out makes you more upset than, for example, the Speaker of the House and GOP Majority leader supporting Steve Scalise does, then I don’t really know what to tell you. That’s a level of denial that I cannot fathom. As is the delusion that this John McCain ego avenging exercise is aimed at moderating the AZ GOP.
Also, too, post-Citizens United elections are a completely different animal than before, with massive amounts of national money flowing into states to support favored candidates. This is particularly on the GOP side in Arizona. Both major parties have seen their power wane but this is especially true with the GOP. John McCain does not need the party infrastructure to win and neither do most of the other Republican pols here.
Oh, and that candidate for MCRC Chair that McCain is supporting? She listed her Tea Party credentials right on her CV when she ran for the spot in 2012 so I wouldn’t expect too much moderation if she is elected.