Chris Hayes made a point recently that continues to resonate: "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks."
This came up a few weeks ago when we saw Erick Erickson use his mailing list to endorse a website promising a "secret retirement plan" that "can make you America's Next Millionaire!" but I also thought of this dynamic when reading about Sen. Mike Lee's (R-Utah) latest fundraising efforts.
Sen. Mike Lee is using his effort to defund Obamacare as a mechanism to fund his campaign coffers.The Utah Republican sent out a fundraising pitch on Thursday morning, asking for a contribution to help him "keep pressuring my fellow legislators to defund Obamacare before it's too late." Lee is up for reelection in 2016.
"We still have a lot more Senators to convince," Lee argued in his fundraising letter. "Every single vote is critical, which is why we have to relentlessly pressure Congress to do what's right for the American people: End this big government nightmare right now!"
Will Lee successfully defund the Affordable Care Act? No. Will Lee be better able to try to sabotage federal health care law if his supporters open their wallets? No.
But the Utah Republican nevertheless believes his efforts -- and the notoriety of his crusade -- will rile up the base and help fill his campaign bank accounts, so he pushes the message anyway.
Indeed, we talked last week about House Republicans voting for the 40th time to repeal all or part of "Obamacare"? Why would they do this, over and over again? Some of this surely is intended to confuse the public about the stability of the health care law and some of it probably has to do with public relations.
But let's not overlook the most obvious motivation: these are politicians who want to take in a bunch of cash and see repeal votes as a reliable hook for a fundraising appeal.
Even Jennifer Rubin, a far-right writer at the Washington Post, is calling them out on the scheme: "This is a shopworn tactic: Stake out a ludicrous position, insist you are serious and then blame other pols (the sober ones) or even the public when the whole thing collapses. Really, do they imagine voters are so dim as to not realize this is purely an exercise in self-promotion and a fundraising technique?"
"Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks."