Who in Their Right Mind Would Label Kathy Barnette a ‘Woke Republican’?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News AM, when I came across this item about an ad attacking Kathy Barnette, a super-Trumpy candidate in the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary.

USA Freedom Fund, which is funded, at least in part, by Club for Growth Action, has a new ad running in Pittsburgh slamming Kathy Barnette for being a “woke Republican” who wants to build a statue of former President Barack Obama. This is ironic since Barnette has a long history of attacking Obama, including repeated false accusations that he’s a Muslim.

What the hell, Doc – are we totally through the looking glass at this point?

– GOPsmacked

Dear GOPsmacked,

We’re not just through the looking glass, we’re deep into Queen of Hearts Off With Their Heads territory.

That’s what’s going on in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary right now. Medical fraud Mehmet Oz (the Doc, of all people, should know) and MAGA fraud Dave McCormick have spent a combined $28 million on ads blowtorching one another, as WHYY’s Katie Meyer has reported.

[McCormick] has raised nearly $16 million — $11 million was a loan from himself — and spent more than $14 million, chiefly on big ad buys.

That doesn’t count money from Honor Pennsylvania, a super PAC spending on McCormick’s behalf — primarily funding ads attacking Oz. The PAC has spent more than $11 million . . .

[Oz has] loaned himself more than $12 million, and he’s pulled in another $3 million or so from donors. He’s also supported by a PAC, American Leadership Action, that has spent nearly $3.5 million to oppose McCormick.

Also like McCormick, Oz has spent around $14 million, primarily on ads.

It’s a campaign classic: 1) Candidate A spends all his time telling voters Candidate B is a bum. 2) Candidate B returns the favor. 3) Voters believe them both and turn to Candidate C. (See Carol Moseley Braun’s improbable 1992 U.S. Senate victory in Illinois for further details.)

Candidate C in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate race is Kathy Barnette, “a conservative Christian commentator with a history of advocating, among other things, that the U.S. reject Muslim immigrants and that abortion be completely banned. She’s also a high-profile proponent of baseless voter fraud theories, and is running to the right of the rest of the field,” according to Meyer.

Beyond that, Barnette is surging in the polls, despite having spent a paltry $137,000 on campaign ads so far and despite Donald Trump’s endorsement of Oz. New York Times reporter Jennifer Medina captured the current dynamic in this piece.

Many voters said they were choosing who they believed would carry out Mr. Trump’s ideals, even if they and the former president disagreed on who could best accomplish that. And interviews showed how effectively Ms. Barnette, who has never held public office, had used her life story as a poor, Black child of the South to connect with white working-class voters in western Pennsylvania. At events and in her ads, Ms. Barnette often invokes the phrase “I am you.”

Other conservatives, however, are attacking Barnette. The super PAC USA Freedom Fund is running this ad accusing her of being a “woke Republican” for proposing a statue of Barack Obama in D.C.

PolitiFact has labeled the ad “mostly true.”

[USA Freedom Fund] claimed “Kathy Barnette wants to build a statue of Barack Obama right next to the one of Abraham Lincoln on Capitol Hill.”

Barnette said she did propose a statue of Obama and his family, but she never voted for him, or backed his policies. Her idea was to use three statues to show how far Black people have come since the time of slavery.

The statement is accurate but needs clarification. We rate this claim Mostly True.

But the “woke Republican” label is a joke, given Barnette’s anti-Muslim, homophobic, Big Lie track record.

Seriously

Why Is Club for Growth Trolling J.D. Vance and Donald Trump?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News AM, when I came across this item about the GOP Senate primary in Ohio.

→ Here’s an ad that may anger former President Donald Trump. Club for Growth is up statewide with a spot that reminds voters that J.D. Vance was once a “Never Trumper.” Of course, Trump has now endorsed Vance.

What’s up with that, Doc? Why would an established conservative group want to tick off Trump, who can always count on his legion of Trumpiacs to fight back?

– Trumper Thumper

Dear Double T,

Well, for starters, The Club for Growth has endorsed former Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel in that race. Beyond that, it’s pretty clear that J.D. Vance, the author of the best-seller Hillbilly Elegy, is a total phony who went from Never Trumper to MAGAt in under 60 seconds because embracing the Big Cheeto has become the cover charge in virtually every GOP primary.

The Club for Growth ad neatly yokes Vance to Trump’s favorite chew toy, Hillary Clinton.

Drive Trump nuts graf: Vance says in the ad “Definitely, some people who voted for Trump . . . voted for him for racist reasons.”

As New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman noted, “Mr. Trump’s response was brutish: He had an assistant send Mr. McIntosh a short text message telling him off in the most vulgar terms. The group, one of the few that actually spends heavily in primary races, responded by saying it would increase its spending on the ad.”

Rob Crilly’s Daily Mail piece was even more graphic.

Trump tells head of influential conservative group ‘go f*** yourself’ after they decided to spend MORE on anti-J.D. Vance commercials despite his endorsement in Ohio

Donald Trump reportedly dumped on the president of the Club for Growth on Thursday, after the conservative group bought more airtime for anti-J.D. Vance adverts in Ohio despite the former president endorsing the Hillbilly Elegy author.

The conservative group is backing Josh Mandel in an increasingly bitter fight for the Republican Senate nomination in the state, with 13 days left in the primary.

And on Thursday, it reupped an ad composed of some of Vance’s past anti-Trump comments.

The result was a furious text message sent by a Trump aide to David McIntosh, the group’s president.

‘Hi Mr. McIntosh,’ it said, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. ‘The president shares this message with you: Go f*** yourself.’

Haberman also noted that “Trump announced his endorsement on Friday, upending a race that had seen Vance, a former Marine, trailing in third or fourth place. But internal polling on Thursday suggested he had leapt into a commanding lead at the same time as a surge in fundraising.”

Over at Real Clear Politics, the polling numbers are more nuanced than Haberman has suggested. Here’s what happened between April 14 and April 24,

So while Vance is essentially treading water after Trump’s endorsement, Mandel has gone underwater.

One last thing: Why Troll Trump? Politics, of course. But also, it’s just so much fun.