Of course, she really wants us to keep asking that question, doesn’t she. Apparently, some of Steelman’s allies didn’t like the sound of the Hill interview that RBH referenced and sounded off about it. And Steelman herself sought to correct the impression that she had backed off a run for the Senate.
From an interview with Dave Catanese regarding the Hill article:
“I don’t think Mr. Blake understood what I was trying to say,” Steelman wrote back.
“I said I didn’t want to be destructive and immediately he thought I was saying I didn’t want to be in a primary because he assumed like all the insiders do, that all primaries are destructive. The Republican establishment thinks primaries are destructive. I don’t believe primaries are destructive because they provide a healthy debate about ideas such as fiscal responsibility, ethanol mandates and government bailouts,” she went on.
“However, the Republican establishment wants to hold on to power at all costs and a primary would force the establishment to admit they made mistakes and take responsibility. Anyone who challenges those ideas threatens their power and they view it as destructive to the party. I want to be constructive and build a bigger and better party based on good ideas. I mentioned “other outsiders” who may want to run because I don’t presume to be the only one who can carry that message. However, I do believe that the messenger in order to be credible cannot be a part of the Washington establishment who lead us into the minority,” Steelman wrote, signing off with “Funny the way it is.”
I don’t agree with Steelman on much, but I’ll back her up 100% on this point. Primaries are there for a reason. They are not there so that the party rank-and-file get to rubber stamp the choices made by party leaders. They are there so that people can make choices as to which candidates are best to lead them. And as a practical matter, primaries prepare a candidate and his or her organization for the bigger fight in the general election, raise public awareness about the candidate, and help to prepare the nominee against possible attacks.
Now, I find it odd that Steelman seems to think the reason that Blunt and his fellow GOP leaders lost Congress because of insufficient commitment to true conservatism. But that’s really not the point, is it?