Sunday, March 8, 2015
Early last week, American Action Network targeted Congressman Jim Bridenstine and two other conservative Republican congressmen with radio and TV ads over the looming Homeland Security budget vote. AAN is led, in part, by the former chiefs of staff for House Speaker John Boehner and RNC chairman Reince Preibus.
Many conservatives, both in Oklahoma and across the country, were not happy, to say the least. Frustration with the GOP leadership in Washington, D.C., continues to build among the grassroots activists, and when groups with close ties to that leadership attack conservative members of Congress who are trying to correct the course in Washington, it doesn't sit well.
Enter Oklahoma Republican Party chairman Dave Weston.
Let me start this by saying that I have not publicly picked sides in the OKGOP chair race, nor have I told any of the candidates who I plan to vote for. I gave each of the candidates the same exact survey (view those here: Brogdon, Pollard, Weston), and the same opportunity to share their vision for the Party. This post is not picking sides in that race.
Evidently, Chairman Weston contacted the leadership of AAN about the Bridenstine ads. The press release on okgop.com says Wednesday, March 4th, although the OKGOP email I received was sent Thursday the 5th, same as the party's social media postings. I don't know when the conversation took place; I'm assuming sometime Wednesday.
I applaud the chairman for being proactive about defending a conservative Oklahoma congressman from attack. However, I think his role has been over-touted in this case. I've talked with some people who got the impression from the OKGOP press release that Weston was taking credit, directly or indirectly.
Here's the problem: when the ads were first announced, they were specifically going to be running on just Tuesday and Wednesday. A specific dollar amount was named, and a specific number of ads was named, in addition to specific radio programs ads would also be run on. The House then voted on and passed the DHS funding bill on Tuesday.
So here's what we have. Ads were stopping Wednesday anyway. The bill passed the House on Tuesday afternoon, making further ads pointless, as the legislation in question was on its way to the President's desk.
Did Weston play a role in stopping the ads? Considering that they were already stopping on Wednesday, plus the other points I mentioned above, I think that's stretching the facts a bit.