Ronald Reagan is often quoted as saying that someone who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is an ally, not an enemy. Which is fine as it goes. But what about Republicans who regularly violate the GOP platform and fall well below the 80 percent threshold?
Meanwhile, the late, great conservative William F. Buckley is often quoted as saying conservatives should support the most conservative candidate who can win - meaning that in Democratic-leaning districts, a moderate Republican would be preferable to a liberal Democrat.
But what if the moderate Republican is running in a Republican-leaning district? In that case, according to a new project recently launched by the conservative Club for Growth, all bets are off.
In announcing its newest micro-site, the club says the purpose of PrimaryMyCongressman.com is "to raise awareness of Republicans in Name Only (RINOs) who are currently serving in safe Republican seats."
Noting that "big government liberals" are "far too common within the Republican Party," the new website highlights members of Congress whose lifetime rating from the club is less than 70 percent but who represent districts that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won by over 60 percent.
So we're talking about Republicans who don't meet Reagan's 80 percent threshold and who clearly do not have to vote like a Democrat to get elected in their districts. In other words, prime primary bait.
For example, the club points to Rep. Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican whose lifetime Club for Growth rating is a paltry 58 percent. Yet Mitt Romney carried Simpson's district with 64 percent of the vote. Without doubt, a more conservative candidate could win and hold this seat. Let the primary begin!
A very similar situation exists here in Nevada, where far too many moderate Republicans currently represent Republican-majority districts.
For example, Assemblyman Lynn Stewart represents District 22 in Clark County, which has over 2,000 more Republican voters than Democrats. Yet Stewart's 2011 conservative rating from my organization, Citizen Outreach, was a sickening 30 percent. Prime primary bait.
Or worse, Assemblyman Tom Grady represents District 38 in rural Nevada. He enjoys an overwhelming GOP registration advantage of well over 8,000 voters. Yet he only chalked up a 43 percent conservative score in 2011. Prime primary bait.
Then there's State Sen. Joe "The Nanny" Hardy of District 12 in Clark County; the worst-voting liberal Republican you'll find in the upper house. He enjoys a very comfortable 5,000-plus voter-registration advantage, but is a nanny-stater who rarely met a tax he didn't hike.
Indeed, Hardy is the last remaining Republican legislator who voted for the Mother of All Tax Hikes in 2003. If he's not prime primary bait for 2014, I don't know who is.
Hmm. I wonder what I should do with this PrimaryMyLegislator.com website I acquired this week?