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Washington Examiner: Conservative rebellion against Washington GOP establishment heating up

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From Mark Scott, editor of the Washington Examiner’s Editorial Page: Things really came to a head when the NRSC’s chairman, Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, endorsed Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to succeed the retiring Sen. Mel Martinez. Crist actively supported President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package, and has signed multiple tax hikes. Cornyn’s endorsement came despite the well-known plans of popular conservative Marco Rubio, the dynamic young speaker of the Florida House, to seek the Martinez seat.

An interncecine war between the professional political consultants who run the Washington GOP establishment and insurgent conservatives beyond the Washington Beltway, who are fed up with seeing their money go to anti-life, big-spending, tax-hiking people like Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chaffee.

The attempts in recent weeks by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to recruit a liberal GOPer to oppose former congressman Pat Toomey – a solid and articulate conservative with support from such party moderates as former Lt. Gov Bill Scranton – in the race to succeed Specter. Specter switched to the Democrats last month when it became clear Toomey would clean his clock in the upcoming Pennsylvania GOP senatorial primary.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was the NRSC favorite to replace Specter in the Stop-Toomey effort, but he declined, apparently after seeing the same numbers that persuaded Specter the days of Republicans-In-Name-Only (RINO) being nominated by the Pennsylvania party are coming to an end, for better or worse.

Things really came to a a head when the NRSC’s chairman, Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, endorsed Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to succeed the retiring Sen. Mel Martinez. Crist actively supported President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package, and has signed multiple tax hikes. Cornyn’s endorsement came despite the well-known plans of popular conservative Marco Rubio, the dynamic young speaker of the Florida House, to seek the Martinez seat.

The fact that just doesn’t register with Washington GOP establishmentarians is that the Tea Party Protests seen around the country in April were aimed as much against them as they were against the tax and spending policies of Obama and the Democratic Congress.

This struggle is among the most important political stories of 2009 because upon its outcome depends in great part whether there will be a genuinely effective opposition to Obama and the Democrats in the years ahead.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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