The Assault on Saul Anuzis
Stuff like this is why I predict McCain and Romney cancel each other out.
Days before the '06 election, McCain supporters in Michigan are already devising a Machiavellian plot to oust to Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, whom, it is alleged, is getting too cozy with the Romney folks. The move is led by RNC committeeman Chuck Yob, McCain's guy in the state.
Never mind the fact that Anuzis himself talked up the McCain organization (much to my annoyance!) in an interview with Chris Cillizza. In his daily blogs on RedState, he is nothing if not even-handed, promoting McCain, Romney, Giuliani, and other '08er appearance with equal enthusiasm. This isn't enough for the McCain folks it seems, who want a lackey State Chair who will keep the primary open to Democrats and independents.
But here's the thing. By any measure, Anuzis is one of the best, if not the best, GOP state chairmen in the country, and important people in the party and the new media know it. He has gained quite a following on RedState and maintains an entertaining blog of his own. He is a big reason why Dick DeVos and Mike Bouchard (who are somewhat dry candidates) are within single digits when Republican challengers are getting massacred everywhere else. His funny and clever attacks have kicked the Democrats back on their heels. (What other state party chair would think of planting a job loss clock in front of a Granholm fundraiser at Vernon Jordan's D.C. mansion?) If the McCainites try and kick out Anuzis, they will have a conservative blogosphere filled with Anuzis fans to contend with. I promise you, it will be a big and messy fight.
Don't think this heavy-handedness is going unnoticed. At the Memphis SRLC, they preached "Focus on '06" but have done anything but, going on the offense against Senator Jim DeMint and now Anuzis at the height of the 2006 campaign season, making just 2 contributions to Congressional campaigns in September while maxing out to IA and NH candidates, and publicly throwing Republicans under the bus, implying we "deserve" to lose power.
For all their organizational prowess, it is noteworthy that McCainites have failed to capture top leadership roles in state parties. In South Carolina, Katon Dawson defeated Cyndi Mosteller (the woman who was recently caught trafficking in anti-Mormon slurs) for the state chairmanship. McCain's 50 New Hampshire endorsements came from the left-wing of the state legislative GOP, with just 7 endorsees who vote with the Republican platform more than 50% of the time, and there's word that much the same is true of his Iowa supporters. This plot in Michigan is a recognition that Anuzis is too much of an honest broker for their tastes.
I don't care whether you're a Rudy supporter, a Romney supporter, or even a McCain supporter. Anuzis has been a terrific chairman who has introduced state-of-the-art campaigning to the Michigan GOP. We need more like him. We need to keep him on as chairman.