Over the years, I’ve observed an interesting dichotomy as it relates to Republican moderates. When they are in elected office, they fold like cheap accordions before their Democrat masters. They lack any passion or gumption to fight for the principles of the party they supposedly represent. Yet, when it comes time to seek reelection against a conservative challenger, they transform into uncompromising truculent fighters who seek nothing short of unmitigated destruction of anyone and anything in their path to power.
We saw this vividly on display in 2008 when John McCain ran a feckless, insipid campaign against Obama, refusing to even criticize him in any meaningful way. Then, when it came time to face a conservative challenger in 2010 to defend his Senate seat, McCain spent $18 million tearing the guy to shreds. Towards the end of the campaign, when it became clear that the challenger, J.D. Hayworth, was dead in the water, he turned to Senator McCain in a debate and said, [paraphrasing] “John, had you spent millions of dollars tearing down Obama the same way you did to me, you would have been president.”
We are seeing the same reoccurring theme throughout some of the senatorial campaigns this cycle. Orrin Hatch and Dick Lugar are the quintessential “go along to get along” Republicans. They have cordial relations with almost every major Democrat Senator and have worked alongside their fellow Democrats to craft many pieces of bipartisan legislation (think healthcare with Hatch and the Dream Act with Lugar). Unfortunately, that gentlemanly demeanor hasn’t extended to conservatives in the primary. Lugar has been heaping personal attacks upon Richard Mourdock and Orrin Hatch talks about punching conservatives. Hence, we know where their personal loyalties lie – and they’re not with conservatives.
This brings me to Senator McConnell. There is no question that conservatives must challenge Mitch McConnell for his leadership position. But there is a more fundamental way of defeating McConnell; unseating him in Kentucky! McConnell is up for reelection in 2014, and in a state that just elected Rand Paul over a McConnell puppet two years ago, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a conservative challenger to McConnell can emerge next year. To that end, McConnell is taking no chances. This, from Roll Call:
In conversations about 2014, Kentucky political operatives repeatedly noted the potency of McConnell’s research operation and its almost spectral presence.
“He’s always put an extraordinary amount of time and effort to make sure you’ve got all the information available for a potential opponent,” said one Kentucky Republican close to the Senator. “Part of that is creating ongoing research files for people who might come after to you years — years — ahead of time.”
And the research is not just the normal looking through old newspaper articles and public records. It’s a veritable human intelligence operation that includes tapping sources on the ground and digging up “unsearchable stuff,” explained Republicans familiar with his campaigns.
McConnell’s motto is “if somebody flicks a pebble at you, you hurl a boulder back” — and he’s made good on it.
So Mitch McConnell is a fighter after all! Who would ever know based upon his performance as minority leader? Where is this heralded oppo network as it relates to challenging Harry Reid and Dick Durbin? Or is that sort of aggression only reserved for conservatives?
We are constantly hearing the DC chattering class bemoan the toxic partisanship that is endemic of congressional politics. These supercilious wizards of smart contend that if we just had a little more bipartisanship in Washington, all of our public policy troubles would dissipate in short order.
The reality cannot be more antithetical to this ubiquitous line of thought from the media. We suffer from a dearth of partisanship, not from too much partisanship. It is precisely this bipartisanship that exemplifies the consummate problem in Washington. It was both parties working together that bequeathed us this $15.6 trillion debt. It was both parties trying to pander to special interests that has left us with a $63 trillion unfunded liability for just two programs, and more than half of Americans dependent on government. Yes, we need more partisanship in Washington.
It’s amusing to watch the media applaud the recent bipartisan string of legislation in the Senate. Here is a revealing paragraph from Roll Call:
Don’t call it a comeback, or even a detente, but a strange thing is happening in the Senate: Democrats and Republicans are working together to pass legislation.
While President Barack Obama has railed on the trail against a “do-nothing” Congress and House Republicans have struggled to unite around major legislation, the Senate has recently passed sweeping bills on a bipartisan basis. From a two-year transportation bill to U.S. Postal Service reform to the Violence Against Women Act, the Senate has flipped convention on its head by becoming the chamber that works.
Undoubtedly, as we pursue a limited government agenda, we face an arduous task in reducing personal dependency on government. Democrats have successfully created a scheme where almost half the population pays no income taxes, while 40% receive something from the government. Their relentless demagoguery makes it difficult to wean people off welfare and entitlement programs. However, there is a lower hanging fruit in the statist garden that we can attack with a higher degree of success; crony capitalism and corporate welfare.
Headed into this election, we have a golden opportunity to draw a sharp contrast with Obama on the issue of government involvement on behalf of corporations, otherwise known as crony capitalism. While we have a long way to go in educating people about the vices of personal entitlement programs, we have already won the political battle against corporate entitlements. So why won’t Republicans pocket the victory and oppose all corporate welfare?
Unfortunately, a number of House Republicans sent a letter to Boehner and Cantor asking them to precede with reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank – the poster child for corporate welfare, fraud, and corruption. This, from CQ:
I’m at a loss for words; I’m really not sure what to think of this.
What word would you use to describe someone from party A asking members of party B to vote down a member of party A for supporting a fundamental view of party A?
Politico’s Maggie Haberman is reporting that the leadership-affiliated Young Guns Network has sent out mailers asking Democrats to vote for Dick Lugar (not exactly a young gun) in the Indiana Republican primary against Richard Mourdock on May 8. But that’s not all. They are stirring up Democrats by referring to Mourdock as extreme. In what way is he extreme? He wants to eliminate the Department of Education!
Do you want to know what is really extreme? The creation of the Department of Education, after surviving almost 200 years without it. Since the DOE was created, the cost of college tuition has increased over 439% adjusted for inflation! The rate of increase is almost exactly commensurate with the rate of growth of DOE subsidization. As you can see from this chart, the government-induced housing bubble pales in comparison to the government-induced Big Education bubble.
US News and World Report
Remember that the Department of Education began operating on May 16, 1980. Imagine how extreme the inflation in education costs would have been had the extremists thwarted the creation of the DOE back in 1980? Come to think of it, what would we have done had Dick Lugar failed to vote to create the Department of Green Energy in 1977? I guess that part was left off the mailer.
This is all economics 101 for Republicans, but I guess they feel they can say anything to an audience of Democrats, as long as they serve the purpose of reelecting an 80-year old liberal. The real irony here, as Bill Kristol points out, is that Young Guns was created to “chart a new course for the center-right movement and the House majority.” Lugar is neither new, center-right, or in the House!
Heaven forbid me to label this as Republican-In-Name-Only behavior, but let’s just call it plain old treachery.
Earlier today, the House voted 215-195 to extend the reduced interest rates (from 6.8% to 3.4%) for Stafford undergraduate loans( HR 4816). They will pay for the cost with repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund established under Obamacare. As always, the $6 billion cost of the extension for one year will be offset over…10 years. Democrats opposed the bill because it eliminated an Obamacare program, and that’s why the bill passed with such a low threshold.
This bill is a travesty. While everyone is focusing on the $6 billion cost to the government, they forget about the cost to the free market. It is these very subsidized loans that are creating astronomical inflation in the higher education by encouraging universities to continue raising their prices in return for more government bacon. As far as the spending offsets are concerned, we all know how this will end. The Senate will threaten to pay for it with tax increases, Republicans will balk, and we will get the extension without the spending cuts.
Here are the 30 Republicans who voted against more inflation and government involvement in higher education. Also, a special kudos to Rob Woodall (R-GA) for being the only Republican to speak against it on the floor:
This has been a tough week for conservatives in Washington. Republicans in both houses are caving on the postal bailout, highway bill, appropriations, Ex-Im Bank, Violence Against Women Act, and the student loan bailout. It’s not going to get easier when they come back from recess in May. This is why we need game-changers like Scott Keadle in Congress. Keadle is running in NC-8, the seat currently held by born-again blue dog Larry Kissell.
As I search out conservative candidates throughout the country on behalf of the Madison Project PAC, I’m struck by how few candidates truly grasp the problems at hand within the Republican conference. Sure – they all talk about repealing Obamacare, a balanced budget, and out-of- control spending. But it is some of the aforementioned issues that separate the real supporters of free-markets from those who merely offer a pale-pastel contrast from the Democrats.
I’ve spent a lot of time with Scott Keadle, and have come to realize that he is one of the biggest super stars of this election cycle. This is a guy who will get it right on every issue. And he truly understands the problems inherent with our current leadership. Perforce, it comes as no surprise that Eric Cantor and his “Young Guns” are taking their show on the road to NC-8. This, from Hotline:
We have the power to stop bad legislation in the senate with just 41 Republican senators. Incidentally, we have 47. But that has meant nothing this week. We have seen a wholesale capitulation from Republicans on the postal bailout, highway bill, student loan bailout, appropriations bills, and now the Violence Against Women Act. As we noted earlier this week, this bill greatly expands the original law to include protections for homosexuals, transgendered, illegal aliens, and prisoners. Moreover, it encourages dangerous infringements on due process, equal protection, and the presumption of innocence for men.
The law passed 68-31 with the help of 15 Republicans. Here is the list:
The Bureau of Economic Analysis just published the GDP growth numbers for the first quarter of 2012. Growth checked in at an anemic 2.2%. Excluding inventories, GDP is rose at a 1.6 percent rate. Remember that in order to recover from a deep recession, we need massive growth just to break even to where we were in 2008. We need quarters with 5-6% growth.
Stay informed, sign up for the Madison Project's email list!