Intelligent Discontent

Republicans Aren’t Sold on Rehberg

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Aside from the still-undecided Supreme Court and Democratic Attorney General races, the6437358163_5082a5de9a_m most interesting result from this evening has to be the Republican Senate race, in which Dennis Rehberg could only convince three out of four Republicans to vote for him against an unknown, unfunded candidate none of them had ever heard of.

It can’t be a good sign. Other than Governor Schweitzer and Senator Baucus, Rehberg should enjoy the highest name recognition of any politician in the state and he barely cracked 75% of the vote in an energized Republican primary.

The answer seems fairly obvious: small-government Republicans aren’t sold on Rehberg’s recent transformation, given his record and his current positions.

I think it shows a real vulnerability Rehberg faces in the general: his votes to cede operational control of Montana’s Northern border to the federal government, for the Patriot Act, for massive, irresponsible spending, and for REAL ID make him a tough sell for the growing Libertarian wing of the Republican Party.

Perhaps Republican voters are more sophisticated than I have given them credit for being. They’ve spotted the same hypocrisy from Mr. Rehberg that progressives have noted for years. The only question will be whether those same voters can overlook it in November.

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