Establishment Republicans and corporate allies like the Chamber of Commerce have a new game plan for 2014 – don’t elect “fools.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Chamber of Commerce plans to launch a $50 million effort to support more centrist, business-friendly GOP candidates. The ultimate aim of the campaign is to win a Republican majority in the Senate.
"Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” the Chamber’s top political strategist, Scott Reed, told the Journal. "That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket."
Republicans know they have a momentous opportunity and an equally momentous challenge ahead. With the disastrous Obamacare rollout driving President Obama’s approval ratings to their lowest levels since he took office, Republican prospects in the 2014 elections suddenly look much brighter than they had just a couple of months ago.
To take full electoral advantage of that shift, though, the GOP will have to move past the kind of infighting and tactical differences that so damaged the party’s brand in 2013. To establishment Republicans and outside groups aligned with them, that means fielding more centrist candidates and diminishing the influence of would-be rabble-rousers on the far Right.
As part of the election-year push, the Journal reports, House GOP leaders are working to “impose discipline” on Tea Party-aligned members of their caucus and to get committee chairmen to fall in step with the leadership. Some party leaders are also planning to put forth legislation that will help draw in middle-class voters.
Conservative groups like Heritage Action aren’t about to roll over, though. "Lawmakers do not have a monopoly on information, and we will continue to communicate directly with their constituents on important legislation as it moves through Congress," Michael Needham, chief executive of Heritage Action, told the Journal.
Those 2014 election battles will be ramping up as Congressional approval ratings are near all-time lows. Congress started 2013 less popular than cockroaches and root canals, and now, after another full year of political dysfunction on Capitol Hill, Americans say the 113th Congress is the worst they have ever seen.
Recent polls have consistently shown dismal ratings for those who occupy Capitol Hill and the White House. But a new CNN/ORC International poll takes the negative views a step further. Two-thirds of Americans say the 113th Congress is the worst they’ve ever seen in their entire lives. That view seems to be shared by everyone: Republicans, Democrats, men, women, rich, poor, young and old, according to CNN polling director Keating Holland.
Though the entire congressional body suffers from meager approval ratings, Democrats seem to fare a bit better. According to the latest Gallup poll, 14 percent approve of Democrats, while 10 percent approve of congressional Republicans.
The GOP’s ratings suffered as the result of October’s partial shutdown of the federal government. Tea Party-backed, far-Right wing conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz had led the charge to shut down the government over the funding of Obamacare. After that standoff, the Tea Party’s approval rating fell to 30 percent — the lowest since Gallup began tracking it during the movement’s rise in 2010. -Follow Brianna Ehley on Twitter @BriannaEhley
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