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Republican “Main Street Advocacy” Attacks Conservative Groups

Campaigns Main Street Advocacy

Main Street Advocacy, an organization created expressly to fight limited-government groups who challenge Republican Party officials, launched its first advertisement on November 6.

“The reason that Harry Reid and the Democrats control the U.S. Senate is thanks to the efforts of the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party,” Main Street Advocacy President Steve LaTourette said in the release for a video containing brief clips from Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, and Christine O’Donnell.

Focusing on a few embarrassing losses while ignoring the success of Sen. Ted Cruz and many others, Main Street Advocacy’s message is clear: only Republican leadership should have the power to choose who runs for national office as a Republican.

LaTourette – a DC lobbyist and former congressman from northeastern Ohio – is also the current president of Republican Main Street Partnership and heads Defending Main Street, Main Street Advocacy’s sister political action committee.

When candidates backed by the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), or National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) lose, allies like LaTourette offer explanations ranging from funding, to messaging, to technology problems, to the overall political climate.

When a more conservative candidate loses after being backed by independent right-of-center groups, however, RNC, NRSC, and NRCC eagerly blame the organizations who supported him or her.

Although the reverse is certainly true in terms of fingers pointed at the Republican establishment when its chosen candidates lose, the sense of victimhood expressed by LaTourette is bizarre.

According to LaTourette, Main Street Advocacy and Defending Main Street exist because the mammoth RNC, NRSC, and NRCC need help blocking threats against their power.

Defending Main Street’s plan to spend $8 million in 2014 primary races is “a baby step that we’re beginning with to try to level the playing field,” the former 18-year congressman told The Washington Post in July.

In a September 20 Washington Post op-ed, LaTourette slammed FreedomWorks and Club for Growth as “organizations that have made a lucrative business out of Washington’s dysfunction.”

“No amount of polling will convince those who are content with pandering to the base that what they are doing is damaging the party,” LaTourette sneered in an October 15 Newsweek column on the partial shutdown of the federal government.

“For the first time, there will be a group representing the governing wing of the Republican Party that will not only defend itself, but also push back,” LaTourette said in Main Street Advocacy’s November 6 release.

In the July 31, 2012 speech on the House floor where he announced his resignation from Congress, LaTourette decried the refusal of conservatives to support bloated farm and highway spending bills.

“We’re talking about building roads and bridges for Christ’s sake. We’re not talking about big Democratic and Republican initiatives,” LaTourette said.

Since leaving Congress and becoming a lobbyist, LaTourette has been on the front lines attacking conservatives who reject the Republican Party’s standard go-along-to-get-along approach.

“We want our party back,” LaTourette said last week at a New York City fundraiser covered by The New York Times.

Shortly before announcing his resignation last year, LaTourette cosponsored a “compromise” budget that would have increased taxes. The congressman did not take kindly to conservative opposition to his proposal.

“We’re asking that members tonight stand up, that they stand up to the bloodsuckers in this town who take 5, 10, 15, 25 dollars from our constituents to pretend to defend causes on their behalf,” LaTourette said in a speech on the House floor.

LaTourette claims to speak for the “centrist” or “moderate” wing of the Republican Party, but his voting record pegs him among the party’s leftmost members.

LaTourette’s lifetime score from FreedomWorks is 54 percent; he scored 32 percent in 2012.

LaTourette’s 2012 Heritage Action score of 35 percent was lower than every other Republican except Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, the senators from Maine. Sen. Snowe is helping Defending Main Street with fundraising.

Of all Republicans, only New Hampshire Congressman Charles Bass and Illinois Congressman Bob Dold had lower Club for Growth ratings than the 45 percent LaTourette earned in 2012. LaTourette’s highest Club for Growth score was 69 percent in 2010, and his lowest was 18 percent in 2007.

Along with Rep. David Joyce, LaTourette’s hand-picked replacement for his former district, Rep. Dold is one of the six candidates Main Street Advocacy has already endorsed for 2014.