According to Politico, Thom Tillis is the electable moderate in North Carolina, and his victory signals the primacy of electability in GOP primary voters’ minds:
The North Carolina results are a strong indication that the GOP rank and file is undergoing a shift from prioritizing purity to prizing victory. Just like D.C. strategists, voters watched Akin and Richard Mourdock blow it in 2012 and didn’t want a repeat this year.
Tillis had the backing of blue-chip surrogates like Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, and he rounded up endorsements from the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life. The candidate and groups supporting him argued repeatedly that he was the one candidate who could beat Hagan.
“They fear Tillis the most,” says a poster in his Charlotte-area campaign office, with pictures of President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Hagan.
So: is Tillis’s win a disaster for small-government conservatives? Erick Erickson said: “For conservatives, Thom Tillis was the worst possible outcome in North Carolina. Backed by Crossroads and the Chamber, Tillis will not back free markets and small government to the extent either of his other major competitors would.” That’s too bad. But Erickson donated to Tillis, because he sees Tillis as a major improvement over the Democrat.
And when Greg Sargent starts wringing his hands over Tillis’s Scary Conservatism, I feel a smile growing on my face. This was written yesterday, before Tillis’s primary victory:
Control of the Senate, the prognosticators tell us, could come down to North Carolina. If GOP establishment favorite Thom Tillis clears 40 percent today and avoids a runoff – as seems likely — we’ll be hearing a great deal about how Republicans vanquished destructive elements within the party and emerged with the strongest and most “moderate” opponent against vulnerable Dem Senator Kay Hagan.
So it’s worth pointing out that Tillis comes with vulnerabilities of his own. For one thing, whatever his relative moderation when compared with his primary opponents, he appears to be a diehard 47 percenter.
On Hardball last night, Chris Matthews featured video of Tillis — previously captured by a local North Carolina group — in which Tillis’ 47 percenter-ism was on full display.
In it, Tillis said we have to “divide and conquer” those on public assistance, by getting those who really need it — the sick — to turn on and look down at those who “choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government.” Speaking of that latter category, Tillis added: “At some point, you’re on your own. We may end up taking care of those babies, but we’re not going to take care of you.”
He said what?!?!?!?!
If these sorts of quotes are the thing that is supposed to scare us, scare away! Here is the video featured by Sargent. It’s fun to watch a guy utter common-sense statements and then watch lefties freak out over them: