Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Follow the money: American Action Network

Look up a group called American Action Network. It is an organization often described as “conservative”. Well, while it leans conservative on some issues, it is, at heart, yet another East Coast big money Republican network. It’s president, a man by the name of Brian O. Walsh, has a long record of working for East Coasters. Think along the lines of Mitt Romney or Chris Christie, and you get the idea. Now I’m not here to slam either Romney or Christie. When he wasrunning against Barack Obama I was a strong supporter of Governor Romney for the simple fact he wasn’t Barack Obama. (Yes, given Obama’s record, both past and present, that should have been reason enough for most who were actually paying attention.)

Now the American Action Network is basically one of the more influential groups now raising and spending vast quantities of cash in an attempt to secure control of the GOP. Another (similar) version of Karl Rove if you will. Somewhere along the line, this organization locked in with Marco Rubio and offered him support IF Rubio would make a strong push for immigration reform. Have you heard all those Rubio-related political ads asking you to contact Senator Rubio and help him to end the “current system of amnesty”? That is American Action Network behind those ads.

As a related aside, the founder of American Action Network, Norm Coleman, was the Minnesota Senator who was defeated (illegally) by Al Franken in 2009. Coleman, similar to figures such as Romney and Christie, is a politician who leans right, but then can alter course to the left when it is politically advantageous to do so. (Perhaps we need to add Senator Rubio to that list now?) Since his defeat, Coleman has been among the more influential “think tank” figures within the GOP, repeatedly calling for Republicans to be more willing to strike “grand bargains” with their Democratic counter-parts.

Back to the American Action Network itself. Perhaps its most influential big money donor is Ken Langone of former Home Depot fame. Langone is another East Coaster. On a personal level, I like Langone’s brash Wall Street style and record of business success. Politically though, he has a long history of backing political losers, indicating he simply does not fully understand the Mainstreet Power that actually makes up the true heart and soul of Conservative America. McCain didn’t understand it either. Nor did Romney. Now figures like Langone would appear to want yet another try in nominating a GOP candidate that will likely fall short (again) in appealing to the millions of conservatives throughout the country desperate to have a candidate they can truly call their own.

In addition to the deep pockets of Langone, is one of the ranking board members of American Action Network – one former governor of Florida – Jeb Bush. While Jeb Bush had a credible record of success in Florida, and proved capable of delivering an important electoral swing state to his brother George during that Bush’s own presidential campaigns, the Bush family, as much as I admire some aspects of their service, is another example of right-of-left thinking that has created such a dysfunctional and politically homeless GOP in the first place. And in case you think I made a mistake in that previous sentence, I did not. The GOP has become a right of left organization – not a right of center one. That is why so many conservatives view it with such (rightful) distrust.

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