In light of Tea Party candidate Ovide Lamontagne stumping for establishment candidate Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire after Ayotte beat Lamontagne in the primary, here’s a brief history of recent moments in party loyalty and disloyalty in the GOP, off the top of my head:
- 1994, GOP nominates conservative Ollie North for Senate. Moderate Sen. John Warner, in response, recruited independent Marshall Coleman to run, and Coleman took enough votes from North so that Chuck Robb (D) held on and won with less than 50%.
- 2001, conservative Bret Schundler pulls off an upset in the gubernatorial primary, beating Bob Franks, and the establishment leaves him out to dry and lose badly to Jim McGreevey.
- 2004, Rick Santorum and George W. Bush go to the mat to save liberal Sen. Arlen Specter from a primary challenge by conservative Sen. Pat Toomey. Bush appears at a rally for Specter, and Santorum cuts multiple TV ads for him. Specter wins narrowly, and Toomey endorses him. Specter then doesn’t show at a Bush-Cheney rally in the fall, and Bush loses Pennsylvania. After the election, Specter warns Bush not to send any anti-Roe justices his way.
- 2006, conservative Tim Walberg defeats liberal Rep. Joe Schwarz in the GOP primary in Michigan. In 2008, Schwarz endorses the Democratic nominee, who wins.
- 2008, conservative Andy Harris knocks off liberal Rep. Wayne Gilchrest in the GOP primary. Gilchrest then endorses the Democratic nominee, who beats Harris.
- 2009, GOP operatives choose liberal Dede Scozzfava to run in a special election. Conservative forces get behind independent Doug Hoffman. When Scozzafava's support collapses in the polls, she drops out and endorses the Democrat, who wins.
- 2009, Pat Toomey again challenges Sen. Arlen Specter in the GOP primary. When polls show Specter badly losing, he switches to run as a Democrat. When Specter loses his primary to liberal Democrat Joe Sestak, he warmly endorses Sestak.
- 2010, Sen. Lisa Murkowski loses her Senate primary to Joe Miller. Murkowski runs as a write-in.
- 2010, liberal Gov. Charlie Crist, with the backing of the GOP establishment, still falls behind conservative Marco Rubio in the polls. Crist runs as an independent.
- 2010, liberal Rep. Mike Castle loses his primary to conservative Christine O’Donnell. Castle refuses to endorse.
Noticing a pattern? The pattern is this: party loyalty is a lie used to make conservatives more obedient.