by John Hawkins | November 11, 2010 5:19 am
Does the Republican Party get it? Do they understand that business as usual isn’t good enough anymore? Do they realize that they have to start walking the talk now? Some of them do and some of them don’t. Unfortunately, some of the ones that don’t are in the GOP’s leadership in the Senate. One of the them in particular that doesn’t get it is the Kentucky pork king, Mitch McConnell.
I tried to warn people about what a disaster Mitch McConnell would be back in 2008. How can the GOP possibly get back on track when it has a leader in the Senate who’s not a fiscal conservative?
Mitch McConnell is another one of these Republicans who came to Washington to drain the swamp and ended up deciding to pal around with the alligators. Some people might protest that isn’t true — and indeed, there was a time when Mitch McConnell was a genuine conservative leader.
However, McConnell has been inside the Beltway since 1984 and over time, he has learned to love the “compassionate conservative” kool-aid that has poisoned the Republican Party.
…The GOP’s support of the bailout bill cost them seats in 2008, likely cost John McCain the election, and in the end turned out to be a very bad, very socialistic idea that didn’t fix the problem. Of course, we can once again thank Mitch McConnell for helping to lead the Republican Party down that blind alley.
Speaking of blind alleys, we can’t forget the Bridge to Nowhere. McConnell voted for it — twice. When Tom Coburn showed some actual leadership on an issue that mattered to conservatives and tried to push through an amendment to move the money for the bridge over to Louisiana in order to help repair damage done by Katrina, Mitch McConnell voted against that common sense maneuver.
Even worse, McConnell actually campaigned this year on bringing pork back to Kentucky. That’s right, folks, the Republican “leader” in the Senate got elected because he told voters in his home state that he could bring home more bacon than the other guy,
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell said Thursday that Kentucky voters would make a terrible trade if they replaced him with a Democrat lacking the clout to deliver huge amounts of federal money he took credit for bringing back to the Bluegrass state.
…The senator drew applause from the business crowd when taking credit for bringing $500 million in federal funding back to the state last year.
He said that amount towers over the sums delivered by freshmen Senate Democrats.
“Just measuring clout related to state-specific issues, this would be a pretty tough trade – you trade me in for a rookie,” McConnell told the crowd.
In other words, Mitch McConnell is representative of everything that’s wrong with the Republican Party. He’s a charisma-free, pro-amnesty, big government Republican who was in charge during a two-year period when the GOP lost AT LEAST 6 Senate seats (It could be more by the time it’s all over).
What kind of message would it send to the Republican base and to the American people if Mitch McConnell is re-elected as Senate Minority Leader? That the Republicans are still big spenders? That the GOP rewards failure? That the Senate Republicans are more interested in their chummy little social club than looking out for the American people.
Of course, no one in the Senate listened and McConnell was Senate Minority Leader again. He did a good, but not great job, in the position over the last two years. But, let’s face it: The Republicans had exactly one job during that time period: Saying “No.”
This time around, because of increased Republican numbers and a group of more pliable Democrats in the Senate who’re afraid of running for reelection in 2012, Republicans are going to actually have a chance to stand for some things. This is not a small matter because even if nothing gets passed, the American people are reevaluating the Party. They’re checking to see if the GOP means what it says or if they’re the same group of bunko artists who talked like fiscal conservatives and spent like drunken sailors during the Bush years.
Well, we’re about to have our first test and guess what? Mitch McConnell is failing it.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said he and his Republican colleagues will discuss an earmark ban when Congress returns to Washington but gave scant support to the proposal.
McConnell, who has voted in the past for a Senate-wide earmark moratorium, is skeptical about banning earmarks just within the Senate GOP conference.
“The problem is it doesn’t save any money,” McConnell said during a Sunday interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
McConnell takes a different view of the issue than House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and some Tea Party-backed candidates who won election to Congress.
He said the debate would come up within the conference the week after next.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), an outspoken proponent of an earmarks ban, is confident he has the votes to implement it within his conference, according to aides.
McConnell, a longtime member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, noted that President Obama supports an earmark moratorium in Congress because it will give the administration more control over spending decisions.
“The earmark issue is about discretion, about an argument between the executive branch and the legislative branch over how funds should be spent,” he said.
“There are many members of my conference who have said, ‘I don’t want the president to make all the decisions about how the funds are spent that might be allocated in my state,’” McConnell added.
I’ve heard all the arguments for leaving earmarks in place. Oh, they’re not that much money. We don’t want to give all that power to the executive branch. Sometimes they can do good. Yada, yada, yada. They sound like alcoholics explaining that it’s okay for them to drink because liquor takes the edge off and studies show wine is good for the heart.
The truth is that earmarks are one of the biggest factors in the corruption of Congress. You put the campaign contribution in one end and next thing you know, you’re getting an earmark. One of these senator’s relatives buys some land and next thing you know, there’s an earmarked bridge being built that makes the property worth three times as much. A senator is reluctant to vote for a terrible bill that’s bad for America; next thing you know, they get 2 million in earmarks for their state and their vote flips.
Oh, but, John, this will just affect Republicans! Democrats won’t be impacted. Well then, wouldn’t that show Republicans were much less corrupt than Democrats? Wouldn’t that make for a fantastic campaign issue for Republicans? Wouldn’t it give the Republicans every incentive in the world to find a way to kill earmarks for Democrats, too?
Gutless appropriators like McConnell, who see government as nothing but a way to distribute spoils, will only do the right thing for the country and the Republican Party if they’re absolutely forced to do so. The best thing to do would be to replace McConnell, but failing that, conservatives should at least call him out for being part of the problem in this country, not part of the solution.
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