I had barely left the stage at CPAC when Republicans did the exact thing I told them not to do.
Contrary to giddy liberals writing the obituary of the Republican Party, the nation has not swung left. Republicans just keep losing easy races through unforced errors. I advised them to stop doing that.
Not two days later, in the Republican primary for Tim Scott's old congressional seat from South Carolina, among the top two finalists was Mark Sanford, the Todd Akin of South Carolina. You would think Akin would stand in history to teach Republicans to stop giving away winnable seats by running ridiculous candidates. Alas, no.
What's next? A Republican candidate whose campaign consists exclusively of demanding vaginal probes and discussing different types of rape?
If, in some horrible twist of fate that's been stalking Republicans, Sanford wins the runoff, he will lose the general election. Worse, he might win, making Republicans look like utter hypocrites on family values.
In any event, so many resources will have to be diverted to save an easy Republican House seat that even if Sanford wins, some other Republican candidate will lose a close election after having to beg for money.
And the payoff is: Yay! We win one of the most Republican districts in the country with a high-risk candidate!
The Republican Party owes Sanford nothing. He had a chance and he blew it. National Review wasted five years of cover stories on how awesome he was, but he never accomplished anything of substance.
He showed off about getting his hair done at Super Cuts, sleeping in his office in Congress and not turning on the air conditioning in the governor's mansion. He wore the same pair of shoes for 30 years -- they've been re-soled 70 times!
Big deal. He saved taxpayers $300 in petty cash, but he didn't implement any lasting reforms.
The most memorable thing Sanford did in his entire life was to make himself a laughingstock as governor by running off with his Argentine honey and then going on TV to announce -- in front of his wife and children -- "I've fallen in love!"
Republicans need to be like Luca Brasi and tell Sanford: "You screwed up; we didn't do anything to you. Have fun, I'm sure Maria's fantastic, but you can't run for Congress."
We don't have to use every campaign trick of the Democrats -- like vote fraud and character assassination -- but one thing we could learn from them is to stop letting idiots destroy our party.
Democrats don't reward candidates who hurt them. Where's John Edwards' comeback campaign? If you so much as mention his name on MSNBC, they'll cut to a commercial break.
Where's Howard Dean's TV show? The only place that would employ Dennis Kucinich is Fox News. (That is, as soon as Keebler lets him out of his contract.)
There are no benefits to damaging the Democratic Party.
Democrats boast that the country is moving to the left, but Republicans still hold the House -- the body most representative of the national mood -- and I can think of at least 11 Senate seats Republicans have pissed away in the last few election cycles.
Show me one example in the last decade where the Democrats allowed an election to be stolen from under their noses (Al Franken, 2008), nominated a narcissistic moron (Todd Akin, etc., etc., etc.) or allowed campaign consultants to fleece a zillionaire, rather than run a candidate who could actually win (Linda McMahon, 2010 and 2012; and John Raese, 1984, 2006, 2010 and 2012)?
Have Democrats ever run a losing candidate for the exact same office FOUR TIMES? I hope Raese's campaign consultants made a lot of money.
The last time Democrats gave up a winnable seat was in 1980 when Jimmy Carter conceded the presidential election before the polls had closed out West, sacrificing a few congressional elections in California and costing Frank Church of Idaho his Senate seat.
If Republicans hadn't blown those 11 winnable races, Republicans would hold a 56-43 majority in the Senate today. Think of how different the country would look! Those 11 seats were gifts to the Democrats; their Senate majority does not reflect any particular strength of theirs.
We don't need to jettison our principles; we just need to stop screwing up.
Getting rich is great. Not stealing elections is great. Passion is great. Forgiveness is great. But what Democrats realize and Republicans don't, is that in politics, all that matters is scoring.